As a young man, trumpeter Clive Smith was a regular on the London scene in the ‘60s. Later he became internationally recognised as a dancer and choreographer. A search for a quieter life led him to the sleepy town of Axminster in rural Devon.
His retirement from showbiz went smoothly enough until Kathy Stobart of the Humphrey Lyttelton Band visited his shop one day. The two became firm friends.
Clive was subsequently bullied into retrieving his trumpet from the attic and getting involved in the local jazz scene. Clive was soon leading the East Devon Jazz Orchestra, and the smaller professional band that emerged from that became known as the Arcadia Jazz Band.
The strong connection with Humphrey Lytleton has been maintained. The line-up of two saxes, trumpet and trombone plus rhythm section reflects that of Humph’s band in recent years, and Pete Strange, Humph’s arranger/trombonist, has written several arrangements especially for Arcadia.
Seven years on, Clive has managed to attract some of the best jazz musicians in the SouthWest to Arcadia. With quality musicians, and the eight-piece line-up, the band can effortlessly recreate the sounds of the Big Band era one minute, and take you back to New Orleans the next.
In recent years the band has shared stages with Kenny Ball, Don Lusher’s “Best Of British”, George Melly, Helen Shapiro, Marion Montgomery, Laurie Holloway, John Critchenson, and of course, Humphrey Lytleton.