Keith’s keys open the history of jazz

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IN a celebration of kings of the keyboard, Keith Nichols will be jazzing up the Customs House tomorrow.

He will be joined at the South Shields theatre by multi-award winning cornettist Digby Fairweather

Keith, pictured, is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on classic jazz and ragtime, specialising in all older jazz piano styles, including Scott Joplin, James P Johnson, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington.

He turned professional after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and since the early seventies he has given regular ragtime concerts at London’s South Bank, both as a soloist and with small groups.

He first visited the U.S. in 1976, appearing at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

His recording credits include an LP with Bing Crosby, and he has been featured on more than 30 albums.

In this Customs House solo concert, Keith takes us on a virtuoso solo tour through the works of some of his favourite master jazz pianists, from Scott Joplin’s stately ragtime to Fats Waller’s exuberant Harlem stride, interspersed with anecdotes and reminiscences.

A spokesman from the Customs House said: “When we learned that cornettist Digby Fairweather – bandleader, broadcaster, author and seven-times winner of the UK Jazz Awards trumpet poll – would be in the North East on other business, we lost no time in asking him if he would care to join Keith, an old friend and frequent musical associate, to play some cornet/piano duets in the course of the evening.”

l Tickets for the evening of jazz, held from 8pm tomorrow, cost £12, £11 concessions, and are available by calling the Box Office on 454 1234 or by visiting