Apex Jazz Band
Rochdale, 1962 - 71

Line-up included  
Dave Morehouse trumpet     
Dave Chaffer trombone 
Alan Greenwood guitar
Robin Chadwick vocals
Pete Whitehead double bass
Dave Hewitt drums
Greg May drums
Mick Threlfall bass
Bill Pickvance piano
Dave Clough clarinet
Alan Geordie saxaphone
Greg Baker drums
Wilf Butterworth vocals
Sam Foxton double bass
Christopher Connolly electric bass

I presume that the line-up described was probably the last known formation prior to the break-up of the band in 1971. I joined the band in 1962 and I was responsible for changing the name from Belshazzar's Jazzers to The Apex Jazz Band, named after Jimmy Noone’s Apex Blues and later Apex Jazz R&B.

The founder members were Dave Morehouse, Dave Chaffer and Alan Greenwod – all Rochdale Grammar School boys. I left the band in 1966 because we weren’t getting any gigs.

Whilst I was with Apex I can remember several lads who came and went, namely Robin Chadwick (vocals), Pete Whitehead (double bass), Dave Hewitt (drums) Greg May (drums), Mick Threlfall (bass) and Bill Pickvance (piano). All the lads were above average musos given their tender age. I was the youngest by two years.

We played a form of accomplished Dixieland jazz. Trad we most certainly were not. We were the youngest band ever to play The Black Lion (Salford) and The Sporting Guild.

We even opened for Freddie and the Dreamers at Bolton Casino Club and at the Embassy, Manchester. A fifteen minute spot and we were back in Rochdale by half past eight. We never made more than a quid each. It took us months to save up for our black cord Beatle suits which we purchased from C&A in Manchester.

Most of our gigs were played in youth clubs and we played our share of wedding parties, local carnivals, pubs and the odd cellar club. Around the end of 64 we introduced an R&B set.

The “real world” had begun to make its demands. Alan went to Bingley Teacher Training College, Dave Morehouse became a hospital administrator and Dave Chaffer was a works apprentice at some mill. Dave Hewitt became a plumber, Pete Whitehead went to night school and Mick Threlfall became a Methodist minister.

John Clough

Add a Comment to this page

Please note: All comments are moderated and will not appear straight away. Please do not re-send.
Sorry ... but personal messages not related to the purpose of Manchesterbeat may not be added to the site

Comments (35)

Topic: Strand Showband
Brenda Jones says...
I am just listening to Brian Matthews "Sound of the sixties" and he has played the Walker Brothers "The sun ain't goin to shine any more" brought back floods of memories. I was a regular at the "Wishing Well" every ... Read More
17th August 2014 9:12pm
Allan Greenwood says...
Hi Brenda - nice to hear that remember the band (Apex jazz band) - can you fill in any memories? Where did you hear us play. Some of us are still in touch and still playing (nearly 50 years on!!) Who do you remember?
Cheers Allan
21st December 2014 5:16am
Brian Fletcher says...
8/12/14 I attended Rochdale Grammar School and remember Belshazzar's Jazzers very well. They got together whilst I was a pupil there and they were very, very good (a fact that is recognised, although I was never a jazz fan). I was playing lead ... Read More
8th December 2014 10:55pm
Allan Greenwood says...
Hi Brian - memories fade - so I can't remember everyone's name - what class were you in? The FlyB Nites name rings a bell - who was in that band with you?
21st December 2014 5:13am
Brian Fletcher says...
Hi Allan Thx for your reply. I was in the year below you at school. As I remember, you were the one with the cheeky face and rosy red cheeks. I can't remember the name of our form master. As you rightly say, memories fade; but hopefully ... Read More
25th December 2014 1:44am
Allan Greenwood says...
Thanks for you reply, Brian - yes..I do remember the flybies...so you went on to make a record with Decca?? - (envy, envy)...some of those cuttings on the website page bring back memories of the Rochdale Observer and its typeface, etc. So ...you ... Read More
27th December 2014 10:03pm
Brian Fletcher says...
Hi Allan
I assume you couldn't get my email from the boss, so hang the consequences.
beejayval@hotmail.co.uk Unsure
7th January 2015 12:54am
Brian Fletcher says...
Hi Allan
Just wondering if you got my mails... I got yours and sent you a couple of replies. Hope to hear from you again soon.
17th January 2015 1:14am
Allan Greenwood says...
what a lovely surprise seeing all those nostalgic references to the Apex jazz band - I'm assuming that the writer (John Clough) was known to the rest of the band members as "Dave Clough" (great clarinet and harp player)(the guy who got ... Read More
21st December 2014 5:09am
John Clough says...

It was indeed Dave Clough, my older brother. My name appears in the article because I typed up the information from his hand-written letter.
5th February 2016 12:13am
Allan Greenwood says...
Thanks for your response, John. Any chance of getting in touch with Dave? I understand if it's not possible, but - we're having a band re-union sometime this year!
5th February 2016 3:50am
Dave Clough says...
Hi Allan, Yes I did indeed attempt to decribe the doings of The Apex Jazz Band after my brother informed me that somebody had included a mention in Manchesterbeat. Certainly the Apex was worth writing about because it was at times outstanding given ... Read More
5th February 2016 5:10am
Dave Clough says...
Hi Allan,
It would be nice to meet and catch up about APEX. March 16th and 17th I will be in Rochdale. Any chance to meet for a drink? You can reply to my brother John.
David Clough
7th March 2016 6:16am
Allan Greenwood says...
Hi Dave- nice to hear from you. Greg, (our drummer),is in the middle of trying to agree a date for a re-union of the Apex Jazz band some time this summer. It'd be good to meet up with you - why not give me ring (01535 644704)?
8th March 2016 6:26am
steve green says...
Hi. I'm the steve green mentioned in one of your comments.I was in the band's second incarnation.The line up at that time was Billy, Burt &George from the original lineup,with Max Beesley senior on drums,Alf verner on bass &myself on ... Read More
20th July 2015 2:55pm
Kevin Kinsella says...
Any idea what happened to Alf vernier I was a partner with him in a company called videotex in Poland Manchester thanks
17th August 2015 2:44am
Alf Verner says...
Hi Kevin. Alf from the Strand Showband. Lynda& I still alive and doing fine. There as been a lot of water under that old bridge since we last spoke
31st August 2015 3:50am
Alf Verner says...
Hi Steve We had some good times with the strand. thanks for all the advise you gave along the way.
31st August 2015 3:54am
Peter Coleman says...
Hi Steve, yes, I also can confirm that you exist and were with The Fentones at some point. I was mates with Dave (our kid) you used to say. You let me and some others use your band's equipment one time, for what I always considered a really ... Read More
11th March 2016 7:39am
bruce russell says...
As Linda Russell and Bruce we were on the bill with them at Batley Variety club circa 1968.
10th July 2016 3:47am
Kevin Kinsella says...
Alf good to hear you and Linda well. Last saw Linda at an awards in Liverpool I was with John stokes at the time getting him out of the Bachelors I'm still at it five days a week but will be happy to meet for lunch or dinner please both come as ... Read More
18th July 2016 10:07pm
Ron Turner says...
I remember the Strands, and knew most of them when I used to work at the 'Talk of the North', who were very popular with the audience. I cant remember who was who, but one of the guys had an Irish wife, who worked as a croupier in Stretford ... Read More
26th August 2016 2:23am
Frank Hunter says...
Ray Miller was the bass player and his wife worked as
7th September 2016 8:07am
Ron Turner says...
Hi Frank,
Thanks so much for the reply. Are they still together & living in the UK, would love to know how they are.
Were you connected with the band or friends of there's?

Thanks once again Frank, all the best, Ron.
8th September 2016 2:44am
Frank Hunter says...
Hi Ron , I was their first road manager we all grew up together in Belfast with the exception of Max who still lives in Manchester. Ray lives in London ,Jim is still living in Manchester,Billy lives back in Belfast,don't know where Burt Robinson ... Read More
8th September 2016 8:23am
Ron Turner says...
Hi again Frank, Thanks for your reply. Just by chance I thought I would look up the Talk, and surprised there was so many people on it. I saw Rays message on it to you, and sent him a msg to see how he and his Mrs were getting on. Where in Oz do ... Read More
9th September 2016 5:47am
john chapman says...
Hi Frank,
Did Ed Hutton move to South Africa in the eighties with his wife Jenny returning to the UK in the late ninties early twenties?
29th December 2016 4:28am
Ray Millar says...
Hi John,
Ed and Jenny and family did go to South Africa but did eventually return to Manchester. Ed has since, sadly passed away. Jenny is still well.
Regards, Ray
6th January 2017 11:36pm
john chapman says...
Thank you Ray. Very sad news , Ed and i were very close friends from the late eighties until his unfortunate return to the UK. I myself returned to the UK from SA for different reasons a couple of years ago and have been attempting to trace Ed's ... Read More
12th January 2017 12:40am
Mary (RICHMOND HILL) says...
would that be Jim Bingham in Manchester
21st October 2017 7:08am
Mary (RICHMOND HILL) says...
would that be Jim Bingham still living in Manchester, he was a great trumpet player I saw the Strands in Bangor just when they were on their way up. His brother Roy was on the drums. glad to know they are well.
23rd December 2017 11:47am
Ray Millar says...
Hi Ron,
I did have a Dalmation dog, how did you know that? My wife and I got divorced 40 years ago and she passed away about 10 years ago. I have lived in London for about 35 years and I am still an agent.
6th January 2017 11:41pm
Frank Hunter says...
Hi Ray Happy New Year , Have you any idea were Bertie lives ? ask Max he didn't know. Billy is in Perth at the moment his Daughters live there .Cheers Mate keep in touch Frank
8th January 2017 6:05am
Ray Millar says...
Hi Frank,
Happy New Year to you.
Burt seems to have disappeared to every one but Inge. She should be able to tell you. Will you see them in Perth?
Take care of yourself,
9th January 2017 10:32pm
Tim Rushton (Manchester) says...
In 1965 or 1966 my physics teacher and double bass player Sam Foxton asked me to make two posters for the Apex Jazz Band. I would have been 15 or 16 years old at the time and this was the first ever artistic "commission"I was given. If ... Read More
24th January 2018 8:31am


Copyright © manchesterbeat.com
All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any content is strictly prohibited.

Please read our Disclaimer/Copyright Notice