A taste of music at Fleece Jazz

Lots more on on our Youtube Channel Fleecejazz1

Information about Fleece Jazz

Fleece Jazz has been providing modern and contemporary jazz (and some blues) for 30 years. We now have  gigs (with some exceptions) the second and fourth Wednesday each month. Doors open at 7:30, and gigs start at 8pm. The two sets usually end around 10:45pm.
We book musicians from the UK and far beyond, and you can find our current programme here. You can find all about purchasing  tickets on our ticketing page.
We are at Stoke by Nayland Resort whose address is
Stoke by Nayland Resort,
Keepers Lane,
Please note that satnavs sometimes mess this up: good direction information is here.
The phone number for food and hotel reservations is 01206-262836, but not for tickets.
Fleece Jazz is an association of people interested in jazz. They volunteer their time, and draw no funds from the club. The club is non-profit (you better believe it), and receives no subsidies from any person or organization. In other words, the people who come to listen to some of the best jazz available in the country, pay for the musicians and the running costs. We do try to keep the latter to a minimum.

Some History of Fleece Jazz

The first part of this history was written by Michael Burgess, who unfortunately died in 2020.

Arguably the best modern jazz venue, not just in East Anglia but anywhere outside London, Jazz at the Fleece is a known and respected name in the jazz world, presenting not only the very best British artists but also many touring Americans and Europeans. We are very proud and happy to have won The All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (the Jazz Oscars) “Venue of the Year” award for 2009. We sincerely hope to continue doing what we love to do for many years to come.

Jazz at the Fleece was started in February 1993 when it took over a gig that had been booked to appear at a pub that suddenly stopped promoting jazz after a change of landlord.

The club’s original venue was situated in the function room of The Fleece, a beautiful timbered pub in an historic medieval village deep into rural Suffolk. We stayed there for fifteen brilliant years until sadly we had to leave. Our next home, for just fifteen months this time, was The Kersey Mill, a few miles up the road where we had a very nice space but again unfortunately we found we had to vacate. In 2009 we re-located to what we sincerely hope will be our home for many years to come.

The Stoke by Nayland Club is in a beautiful setting. We have been made very welcome and have been provided with a space so perfect that it could have been built just for us.

Jazz at the Fleece is independent, non profit making and run voluntarily by committee.

From March 1993 there has been jazz every Friday night except when Christmas or New Year’s eve had the nerve to coincide. Since 2020 we have moved the day to Wednesday, and work bi-monthly.

There were 5 original committee members who bravely got together to put on that February gig and this became 6 (me!) before the 2nd gig in March and shortly after 7 when Carole was invited to join. There have been changes of personnel over the years and just 3 out the 7 remain. Our original booker pulled out after 5 years and Liz and Nick Rabett, who both left us early in 2011, did the job for the next 12. Nick Rabett also took many of the brilliant photographs you see displayed. David Gasson is our treasurer and has been since day one (even through his spell as Chairman!) he also deals with ticket reservations, two very important jobs he does brilliantly. Dave Lyons runs the sound desk which he designed and built and is a thing of beauty (the desk that is), and he also runs the website. Gerry England shares running the desk and rigging with Dave, and we have a new recruit, Samuel Hollis, a local young bass player! Marion George deals with publicity and promotion and anything else that comes his way. Carole Burgess, a jazz vocalist in her own right, operates the door, takes your raffle ticket cash with a dazzling smile and is the best looking bouncer in the biz! That just leaves me, Michael, proud to be the current Chairman, I am the MC, the deputy treasurer, and since February 2011, until this year the booker. That role is now done by the superb guitarist, Chris Allard[many thanks to Chris: booking now by Peter Fairman (Dave, 2020)]

The club has an excellent rep with all the musicians who appear and many have said that it is their favourite venue. This is due not only to the fact that we treat them well but also because our audience actually listen. We do organise coffee and sandwiches at the end of every gig and this may be another factor!

We do not have the space to list all the wonderful musicians we have had the pleasure of presenting over the years but I can’t resist a bit of name dropping so here are a few: Stan Tracey, Peter King, Andy Shepherd, John Dankworth, Martin Taylor, Dave Newton, Alan Barnes, Ian Shaw, Claire Martin, Bobby Wellins, Jim Mullen, John Etheridge, Martin Drew, Tina May, Barbara Thompson, Mick Hanson, Ken Peplowski, Scott Hamilton, Gordon Beck, Stacey Kent, Elaine Delmar, Steve Melling, Dave Green, Mornington Lockett, Mari Wilson, Guy Barker, Norma Winstone, Annie Whitehead, Winston Clifford, Michael Garrick, Jacqui Dankworth, David Rees-Williams, Steve Brown, Sarah Jane Morris,Jamie Cullum, Barb Jungr, and Kyle Eastwood and some artists the jazz world has now said goodbye to, among them are the ever popular and much loved Spike Robinson, USA trumpeter, Bill Berry, the wonderful Marion Montgomery who made just one very memorable Fleece appearance, the great bassist Lennie Bush and very recently, another Fleece favourite, Pat Crumley, Lennie Bush, Pat Crumley and in 2011 another Fleece favourite, Martin Drew.

There are countless others and we will get them all in when the full version of this brief history is published.

On April 28th 2012 we presented our 1000th gig and we are thrilled to have a true jazz superstar to help us celebrate, the wonderful Claire Martin.
And on March 4th 2018 we celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a wonderful Sunday afternoon: Georgia Mancio and Chris Allard for the first set, and Alec Dankworth’s All Star Quintet (Alec, Dave O’Higgins, Alan Barnes, David Newton and Clark Tracey.

Michael Burgess, 12/03/2012

Michael Burgess died in 2020. We miss him greatly as chair, announcer, and huge friend to the committee and the musicians. His wife Carole was a committee member, secretary, ticket desk manager and bouncer (really), and  moved closer to her relatives. Carole died in 2022. The Burgesses were at the heart of the club and are greatly missed.

After the covid interregnum, we are again holding gigs. What a blessing to be back with such wonderful musicians. To start off again with Tony Kofi and David Newton was a joy.

We are delighted to now have Steve Jordan as our Publicity Manager.

It is with sadness that we inform you that Carole Burgess, one of the first members of the Fleece Jazz committee, has died on October 31 2022, quietly and in the bosom of her family. Carole worked on the ticket desk, and did announcements. She was also our bouncer! We will miss her.

Fleece Jazz continues with the twice monthly Wednesday programme, and we are having some stunning gigs. You can look at our comments on them back to 2018.

We were delighted when Miles Dagnall became one of our crew.

David Lyons, 24/11/2023

Seating at the Club

We should have sufficient seating for all who purchase tickets. We do note that some people prefer to stand.
Even so, please note that your ticket covers admission only and does not guarantee a seat except in the case of disabled patrons who must inform us when booking.

If you have a disability, or need to be seated for health reasons, please let us know when you book. We will make arrangements. You might also look at our accessability information.

At Stoke by Nayland Club, seating is not a problem. There should be plenty of seats. Nevertheless, specific seating is not reserved.

Accessibility information

The entrance to the hotel, and the club rooms are all flat with no steps. We can provide reserved seating, or make room easily for wheelchairs of any size, either with or without table seating. It is important to call David on 01787 210796 in advance, so that we can set up for you.

Doors into the club are quite wide, but they may require someone to open them for you.

The website is designed to be accessible. You can modify its look with the little white on blue widget in the top left corner of every page. All pictures should have alternative texts. If there are problems of accessibility,  please email  Dave.

Musicians and ‘Deps’

The lineups listed in the brochure and this website are those given to us by the leader of the group, and are as accurate as we can make them. The music business being what it is, changes happen, and sometimes quite late. We have been very lucky, as the substitutions made by the bands have been quite wonderful. Nevertheless, the situation is not one we can control. After the programme is printed, we do update the website if we are informed of any changes.

Photography and Recording

Flash photography is disturbing to musicians and audience alike, so we only permit discrete flashless photography.
Recording, whether audio and video, is not permitted without the express permission of both the club and the musicians being recorded.