On Saturday night, my jazz trio Centrepiece played a concert in aid of the Stars Appeal, the charity that raises money for Salisbury District Hospital.

Regular readers will be aware of my fondness for jazz music, so it felt only right to put my money where my mouth is and step up to the musical plate.

As a general rule, Salisbury, like many other places, doesn’t have much jazz going on: as a musical genre it tends to be confined more to the big cities, bar a few hardy clubs here and there.

There was a jazz club in this city for about forty years, but that closed around the time of the first Covid lockdown and didn’t return.

Apart from the monthly Music and Dance events and Salisbury Big Band concerts, local jazz fans usually have to travel further afield to enjoy their live music.

So putting on a jazz gig felt a bit of a risk. Was there an audience for it? Would anyone turn up?

We were fortunate to have an amazing location for a concert: the Long Room at Farley Hospital, a 17th century almshouse, was stunning. With its wood-panelled walls and low lighting, it had all the atmosphere and the mood that you’d hope for a jazz venue: like the Pizza Express Jazz Club, except without the pizza.

There’s a famous line from the film Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

And to my pleasant surprise, people did come: so many, in fact, that we sold the venue out in a standing room only sort of way.

Not only that, but it felt like an audience that knew and appreciated its jazz.

As at a proper jazz club, there were no phones going off or talking during the set, everyone listening and applauding at all the right points.

It was one of those magical nights where everything seemed to fall into place. As the bass player in the band, my role is really to hold things together and let the real talent in the group shine: which Andy (guitars and drums) and Cathy (vocals and keys) both did.

The applause at the end of the concert seemed genuine, rather than relief that it was all over.

There was a piece in this paper last summer about how the new owners of the Cathedral Hotel were considering having a jazz and terrace bar as part of their refurbishments.

I hope that happens because from Saturday night, there feels an audience in the city ready for it.

In the meantime, if anyone is looking for a jazz trio, for a charity event or otherwise, please feel free to drop me a line!