Savage Club concert
Stan Malton’s first sax was a Grafton. Made of plastic it nevertheless cost him £72 back in 1951 when he decided to give up his ‘C’ melody clarinet.
The apprentice carpenter/ joiner who became a drain-layer before working at Steelfort Engineering for 22 years, used to practice in his parents’ cowshed.
He began playing dance band sax for the Ken Hicks Orchestra in Pahiatua, where a newspaper reviewer likened him to a musician called Harry James.
Even though he kept the cutting, Stan is still indignant.
‘‘Harry James was a trumpet player!’’
10 years on, and Stan had met Nancy, sister of a piano player. It was ‘love at first night’, and Stan started looking for an excuse to spend less time playing and more time with the woman who is still his wife.
‘‘There were dances to play at on every weekend.’’
This was getting in the way of his courtship.
‘‘I’d had enough of not being able to give up playing.’’
So, one day as the couple were driving across the Ruamahanga Bridge in Wairarapa, Stan stopped the car, took the sax out of its case and dropped it in the river.
‘‘If I didn’t have an instrument, I couldn’t play,’’ he chuckled. He kept the case. It could be used as a tool-kit.
After he and Nancy married, Stan took up the instrument again, buying the Selmer sax that he still plays, second-hand for £60.
A big fan of English saxophonist Freddy Gardner, Stan has been a valued member of the venerable Savage Club for 42 years, and will play as part of the club’s orchestra at the annual variety concert on this Sunday afternoon in the Speirs Centre. He’ll also do a couple of items in the good old dance tune style.
The Savage Club was named for an argumentative 18th century satirist, Richard Savage who died in a debtors prison, and was established in Britain as a club for performers and writers.
Compered by Peter Elliot, the traditional concert with its cast of illustrious and seasoned performers commences at 2pm, with $15 tickets available from Beggs Music World on Princess St, and door sales from 1pm.
When it comes to the horn fewer blow more mellow notes than Stan Malton. The veteran musician joins the line-up for this Sunday’s Manawatu Savage Club annual variety concert in the Speirs Centre.