My name is Alison Eales, and I’m one of the regular guides for Glasgow City Music Tours. I’ve been involved with Glasgow’s various music scenes since moving here in 1999, mainly by playing keyboards with Butcher Boy and singing with Glasgow Madrigirls. I’ve been lucky enough to play at some of the city’s best-loved venues, including Barrowland, King Tut’s, and – my favourite place in Glasgow – the Panopticon.
Tour Guide Alison Eales
I’ve been leading the Music Mile tour since last summer, and have recently started leading the Merchant City tour as well. This year I’m leading a special, one-off tour about Glasgow’s jazz history. (I was supposed to be leading the tour last year, but I managed to twist my ankle a week beforehand – possibly an occupational hazard!)
Since 2011, I have been involved with Glasgow Jazz Festival, as its history is the subject of my PhD (after 28 June, you can call me Doctor Jazz). The Festival first ran in 1987 and is still going, making it the city’s longest continuously-running cultural event. It might not have come about at all if not for a handful of jazz enthusiasts determined to bring the great and good to Glasgow – enthusiasts including Pat Lally, who was then leader of the Council and an award-winning dancer!
The Festival has attracted some big names over its 31 years, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, George Melly, Jimmy Smith, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, BB King and Slim Gaillard. All of these characters will feature in the tour.
Our jazz walk is filled with stories about festival appearances from the great and good, and range from the touching, to the funny, to the downright weird. Come along to learn which singer would have made the Green Cross Code man proud, which musician had to be taken shopping for new pants, and who has made the most bizarre rider requests.
The brilliant, hardworking gals– take a well-deserved bow ladies – behind the scenes at Glasgow Jazz Festival have done us proud: buy a ticket for our tour and get one half-price for the Buddy Rich Tribute gig with the SNJO featuring Alyn Cosker, plus an opening set from Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock Duo.
And just a final word of reassurance: no, we won’t be making it up as we go along!