The Dragons started life as Johnny Everett’s Red Dragons. Sadly, Johnny left us to join the Great Jazz Band in the Sky over a year ago. Babs, his widow, has kept the band going with her enthusiasm for the band and jazz in general. She is to be seen all over the jazz circuit.
There are four original members: JOHN BODENHAM, clarinet and soprano sax, who started his jazz career 60 years ago with the Side Stream Jazzband; he took a long break and then was in at the start of Graham Smith’s Allsorts which developed into the Red Dragons. On drums is RON SMITH, who has comprehensive drumming experience, he came to jazz late, after playing Country & Western and Rock’n’Roll; he’s played Jazz Salon Rouge and The Allsorts). Permanently at his side in the band is MARK JOHNSON, on bass & sousaphone; he played with The Allsorts in the early 90’s, later joining the Red Dragon Jazzmen. He’s played with Jazz Salon Rouge, Eureka Jazz and Sheila Fawkes; he’s an all-rounder, playing also in folk, brass & dance bands & theatre pit orchestras). Other regulars are our versatile trombonist, DAVE DEAKIN, who started his musical career in silver bands; he joined the Dragons in 2012. Also playing sousa and bass, he can be seen in many bands on the jazz circuit, including The Sopranos, The Eagle, Apex jazz & Swing). The two ‘new boys’ are the enthusiastic PETER ROBERTS, who’s played banjo and sung in folk and jazz groups since the ’60’s with many bands, including Jazz Salon Rouge & Dene River Jazzmen where he met trumpeter, JON STONE who joined the Dragons after supporting Johnny through his illness. Ex- Denise Lawrence’s Storeyville Tickle, he’s been a muso on trumpet and bass for 67 years; you’d think he’d be better by now!
The style of the band is best described as Dixieland. There are items from the ‘Trad’ repertoire but their developing repertoire also features some more unusual items from the Golden Era of jazz.