Mike Farmer

Mike Farmer

Started playing jazz when I was sixteen and bought an alto sax for £20 from Stock and Chapman a Manchester Music store. I had some lessons from Nat Whitworth who played in the Northern Dance Orchestra and who was also a big jazz fan. The first band I joined was the Paul Bromley Sextet who had a repertoire of tunes by Basie, Ellington and some modern bop classics. This ended when I had to do National Service for two years mainly in Germany. 

 In the sixties I decided to switch to the tenor sax and started to visit the many jazz clubs that were starting to appear in Manchester One place I used to visit and occasionally sat in at was the Lower Turks Head on Shudehill. The scene of many great jam sessions. In the seventies I started various modern jazz groups, playing at the Black Lion Salford with John Rowland, Dave Lunt, Derek Butterfield and others. I had a two tenor quintet with Martin Dunsdon which we called Tenor Madness and which played at Art Centres and places like the Solem Bar at Manchester University. We played at Sotherbys Jazz Festival in Glossop and a Jazz and Poetry event at Standish High School. For a few gigs I  was in the avant  guarde unit Inner Space going with them in 1977 to the Dunkirk Jazz Festival. I organised a concert featuring Inner Space and another band I played with on occasion. Inside Out at the North West Arts concert room on King Street, Manchester.

I later formed a band with Alan Stander and alto saxman Paul Bayliss which we called Tour de Force and played at a pub in Failsworth\ the Bulls Head and also the Black Lion. There was a unit that had the title Reeds and Deeds that was a sextet that included Steve Pimlott and Derek Unsworth that did the Black Lion and the Lamb Inn in Preston.

Later on I ran Jazz Clubs in Stockport and Manchester and organised Jam sessions in Didsbury at the Old Grey Horse opposite the Slug on Wilmslow road. 
This covers a lot of things when the jazz scene was going well but although I have flyers and press cuttings etc the year things took place is difficult to establish.

Mike Farmer  2022