Darlington New Orleans Jazz


Ray  Sams  ray@darlingtonjazz.co.uk   Graham Foster graham@darlingtonjazz.co.uk

    History of Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club

The club was formed by an impromptu birthday request from Les Haire who asked Ray Sams to arrange a band over a pint in Number Twenty 2 bar one evening in 1996.

Brian Carrick’s Heritage Hall Stompers were engaged and bar Number Twenty 2 in Coniscliffe Road Darlington became a regular Sunday night venue for New Orleans jazz for around one year.

Les was a highly respected art teacher at Darlington Arts Centre and with much tenacity and persuasion secured a monthly residency in the Garden Bar at the Arts Centre where New Orleans inspired jazz came back to Darlington once a month on Saturday lunch times

Following the untimely death of Les Haire from cancer in 2000 Ray agreed to continue the club as a fond memory of his friend and “Jazz partner in crime”.

The club ran successfully at the Darlington Arts Centre Garden Bar until 2012 when the council closed the Arts Centre.

A short unsuccessful period followed in an alternative council venue until St. Augustine's Parish Centre agreed to host the sessions from the 5th October 2013.

This venue has proved to be a success with a stage, excellent acoustics, and comfortable accommodation, bar facilities, free car parking and very supportive management from St. Augustine’s.

This has allowed the club to go from strength to strength with increased audience numbers over the last few years allowing us to engage first class UK and international bands. Unfortunately Covid dented our plans for 2019 and 2020 but we are now back to record attendances once again.

So if Les is looking down on us we are sure he will be well pleased as we are for his original request.