Harry Turner's Episodes of Personal History
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Out of the Past

It's Boxing Day after the Christmas following Manchester's ill-fated bid for the Olympic Games, and I'm standing in the snow on a car park near the Cathedral, rather the worse for wear after celebrating until the small hours, arguing with Vic about where the Manchester Sports Guild, that solid hunk of Victorian brickwork, used to stand.

Exactly when did the Guild shut its doors and bring a Northern jazz era to a close? I demand. Vic hazards fifteen years ago. I think it was more that the city council just earmarked the block for demolition, then left the premises standing empty, wasted, for years before finally razing it in the name of inner-city development.

We agree on some things. That the MSG started in the Fifties when a few enthusiasts got together to raise money to support amateur sports groups by organizing jazz clubs and concerts in venus around Manchester. And very successful they were, too.

After nine years, they had amassed enough funds to take over a drab commercial property on Long Millgate, overlooking the Cathedral, and convert it into a thriving sports and social centre within a year of opening. Thanks to the links built up with the local bands and a following of devotees, the MSG, with its ballroom and jazz cellar, was the leading jazz centre in the North West. ■

Manchester Jazz Society programmes from 1967/68 featuring talks by Harry Turner.

Talks by Harry Turner

1967/05/31 Jazz Forum, Harry Turner on The Team
1967/06/21 Famous Sessions, Jazz Giants '56
1967/09/13 Milt Jackson

1968/01/24 The Origins of the Avant Garde
1968/01/31 Hear Me Talking To Ya
1968/07/03 Monk's Music
1968/10/02 The Lenny Tristano School

1969/03/05 Dizzy & Dee Dee Records
1969/04/23 "Supervised by Norman Ganz"
1969/08/18 Jazz Forum chaired by H.T.
1969/09/10 Bud Powell & the Bop Pianist
1969/10/01 "Supervised by Norman Ganz"

1970/01/14 More Bop Pianists
1970/02/11 Jazz Forum chaired by H.T.
1970/03/04 Sonny Rollins
1970/04/22 Jazz Quiz by Harry Turner
1970/05/06 Film Jazz

1972/11/16 Miles Davis

Compiler's Note: There was some sporting activity at the MSG. Manchester Sword Club, of which I was a member, used to meet there until the place was closed for demolition. A similar fate overtook the fencing club at the College of Adult Education on Lower Mosley Street, which was also flattened by the town planners. P.H.T.

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