Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Grove jazz club bites the dust..

It seems that the Grove Inn Jazz Club may have now died. Leeds drummer Sam Gardner ran the venue for the last couple of years following on from the irrepressible Carole Eve Bell. The Grove has seen some amazing bands - in recent months Mike Walker and Stuart McCallum, Laura Jurd quartet, Magic Hat, and many more have squeezed into the tiny front room in the pub surrounded by huge office blocks in Holbeck just south of the Leeds rail station. Sam says says - "unfortunately the pub are no longer prepared to contribute any money to the night so I decided to pack it in. I didn't want to pay the musicians any less than they were already receiving. Sad but perhaps a sign of the times"

So another venue hits the dust; but people will have extraordinary memories of very special nights there. Leeds jazz singer Carole Eve Bell ran the jazz club for nine years before Sam running it with Leeds guitarist Guy Hatton. She put her heart and soul into the project. It was a time consuming commitment, but she treasured the privilege of all the musicians and singers who agreed to a low paid gig and recognized how extraordinary it was to play in such a place, with such a history and helped create such an atmosphere.

Carole says "It was an adventure I will never forget. When I was a lass, and first went to the 'Grove Inn,' that became over the years my second front room; where I was welcomed, unthreatened and allowed to drink alone, as a young woman, sharing gossip, music and artisan knowledge with so many folk, The landlord and landlady Madge and Ian made life wonderful in that extraordinary pub. They experienced great joy and personal tragedy over their few years there ,but ensured an ongoing inheritance of exceptional atmosphere. Ian died earlier this year, suddenly, shockingly and before his time. I was devastated for his wife and family, having shared wonderful conversation with him on the finale night for Rachael who has kept it alive and well for 22 years. Now Sam has decided to stop too the era is ending in so many sad ways"

There is still one jazz event there - the band Abtuse run a monthly jam session at there after their gig on the second Monday of every month (8.30 start) - for details contact Brian Whittington: or see the web page

The Grove Inn is on Back Row, off David Street, off Water Lane, Leeds, LS11 5PL

1 comment:

  1. 'and many more have squeezed into the tiny bar in the pub surrounded by huge office blocks in Holbeck ' not quite correct.
    The club was run in the back room of the pub, where the Folk club too held its ancient and wonderful history intact. I made sure the curtains were drawn, there were candles on the tables to promote atmosphere, and every special occasion was celebrated according to its relevance. Roses and chocolates for Valentine's night, every birthday of its survival celebrated with balloons and special guests, and every anniversary of faithful fans of the club acknowledged. . It was an intimate space , up close and personal with a loving an enthusiastic audience who knew they were somewhere special, and just big enough to be very special. Carole Eve Bell.