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The Black Lion, Salford, Jazz Club

theblacklionI have been playing jazz since my mid-teens and The Black Lion was the obvious place to hang out. Situated on the corner of Chapel Street, I am not sure exactly when The Black Lion started to feature jazz, I do know it played a seminal role in the development of jazz in Manchester and Salford. All of the top-draw bands played there over the years. The photograph shows the 'Southside Jazzmen in 1955. They held a residency there for a significant period of time.

You entered through the main door. A regular Salford pub. The various rooms. A piano at the foot of the staircase, usually being cheerfully hammered by the archetypal pub pianist. The air was filled with an aroma of beer, both fresh and stale. Smoke of course hazed everywhere. Up the stairs to the large room on the first floor.

I can in fact remember the very last occasion I was there. A Sunday afternoon jam session. We played 'I Remember April' a rather more mainstream choice than the usual Traditional Jazz, performed in this space. Hughie Flint, the drummer from the John Myall Blues Breakers, wandered in. They had been doing some gigs in Manchester. Both he and Mayall were acquaintances. What a dynamic jazz scene there was at that time. I once catalogued more then fifteen venues featuring jazz, all with walking distance in an around the town centre. I left off living in the area soon afterwards. I believe The Black Lion is now a hotel. c'est la vie.