Jazz Bands/Artists

Chicago Teddy Bears Society Jazz Band

Band Information

Chicago Teddybears Society Jazz Band originated in Manchester in the 1970s and the name came from a short-lived American television sitcom set in Prohibition-era Chicago. Fortunately, the band has proved more durable than the TV series and has entertained audiences across the UK and Europe for nearly fifty years now. Over that period, inevitable changes in personnel have expanded the band’s repertoire to encompass many styles of jazz – from Dixieland through New Orleans to mainstream and on to swing and jump-jive. Always lively and exuberant, the band’s versatility sees them playing at weddings, corporate events and garden parties as well as more traditional jazz clubs and festivals.
Brian Singleton – drums:
Brian started listening to British trad jazz in the 1950s and is a great fan of the sound as exemplified by Barber, Bilk, Ball, Lightfoot and Wallace. He took up drumming in the Air Force and played in a variety of bands before returning to trad when he joined the Teds in 1980. His drumming role model is Ron McKay who played with the Paramount Jazz Band. Brian lives near Warrington and is the guy to call about booking the band. 
Rae Owens – string bass, tuba, banjo, guitar:
Rae was born in Liverpool and initially learned piano, which he can no longer play! His first instrument was guitar – which he taught himself – and he played this and similar instruments in a variety of bands until the 1980s. Then, in Bahrain, he switched to string bass after meeting bandleader David Mills, who urgently needed a bassist for the Bahrain Jazz Quartet. Thus began Rae’s second musical career, which gave him the opportunity to meet, socialise and work with some of the finest musicians in Europe. He joined the Teds in 1994 and is now the band’s front man – leading from the rear!
John Hallam – reeds:
John is one of the best known and most gifted reeds players in the UK. He has played with the Teds since 2007 and is a regular at our Grappenhall residency and many of our gigs elsewhere. Click http://www.johnhallam.co.uk
for a biography of John on his own website.
James Lucas - trumpet: 
Known to the band as “James T. Lucas, the Squire of Hale”, as a young teenager, Jimmy played classical French Horn in the Merseyside Youth Orchestra and then the Camel Laird Brass Band. When that folded in 1972, he bought a trumpet, joined a dance band and became “a jazzer”. Jimmy has been with The Teds since 2013 and admires many jazz trumpeters but especially Armstrong, Beiderbecke, Wynton Marsalis and James Morrison.
Andrew Mackenzie - trombone:
Known to the band as “Mr Moonlight”, Andrew began playing trombone aged 12 and was classically trained. However, after looking through his dad’s vast collection of books and recordings, he decided he wanted to be a jazz musician. Andrew is based in West Kirby on the Wirral and has been with the band since 2014. Among many musical influences he singles out the playing of George Chisholm, Roy Williams, Jack Teagarden and Campbell Burnap.
Ed Lee - piano:
Ed only joined the band late 2016 and has – quite how, he isn’t sure – acquired a reputation as a singer of risqué songs. Born in St Helens, as a teenager, he played rock ‘n’ roll before discovering blues & jazz in the early 60s. His idol at this time – and still a big influence – was Ray Charles. Real work and a move to the south of England interfered with his musical activities from the late 1980s, until a return to St Helens in 2011. A renewal of old friendships introduced him to a number of local jazz bands and led him, eventually, to the Teds.