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Phil P Band

As a professional jazz musician, I often get a hollow laugh from fellow musos when I say I’m going off to do a Saga jazz holiday. There’s an illusion among some of my colleagues in this trade: Despite being themselves “of a certain age” and well-prone to riotous living, they mistakenly believe that Saga customers must be of a distinctly staid disposition. Wrong!

We’re in Punta Umbria, in Andalucia this week. There are just 26 guests on this holiday and the age-range is (I’m guessing) 55 to 80-plus. Picture this scene: we’ve all got to our respective airports at some ghastly hour for a 7.00am flight to Faro. Then coach across the Spanish border to the resort. Check in. Guests disappear to their rooms. Musicians spend the afternoon setting up kit, sound-checking, moaning about lack of sleep while the punters are having a siesta.

Phil P Spain

Margaret, the Saga host chatting to some guests 

Dinner: the guests appear looking surprisingly spry. The organiser/jazz host says “Why don't you just do an hour for them after dinner?” (We’re not contracted to play the first night). We say OK

Well, if you had any illusions about Saga customers, they would not not have lasted beyond the first number. I should mention that on this gig, I’m with a Jump Jive band, playing the music of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan and the great American swing era. We start playing. We’ve not played one chorus, and they’re up dancing! And I don't mean the foxtrot!

And they’ve been like that all week. We have couples, we have singles. They’ve all danced. They do. And quaffed cava. And sang

Phil P Spain

Getting into the 'swing' of playing!

For us musicians, there are few better sights than a full dance floor at a jazz gig, plus the non-dancers sitting with fingers drumming and toes tapping. They’ve been a delight to entertain, and fun to be with during the day. They’ve all got a story to share and, of course, a shared love of the music. Most of them have never been on a jazz holiday before, but they say they’re coming back. They’ve made new friends. And so have we.

I’m seventy this year. I play for all age groups, but let me tell you, we have the most fun with the baby boomers! And long may it last.

Meet The Author...
Philip Probert
Who Am I?

I'm a jazz musician who used to be a director of a brewery. What was supposed to be a retirement pastime somehow has turned out to be a serious job!

Entertaining audiences across the UK and Europe is a huge privilege and I still have to pinch myself occasionally to make sure it's real.

I always said I wanted to grow old disgracefully, and now I am! But the best thing of all is sharing it with someone who tolerates cold knees at 2.00am, and likes lying in bed late.

When I grow up I'm going to go into politics and abolish the Conservative Party.

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