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The Oxcentrics
The Oxcentrics in 2005
The Oxcentrics in 2005
Background information
OriginOxford, England
GenresDixieland jazz
Years active1975 onwards
MembersGraham Downing, Charles Kuta, Glyn Lewis, Paul St John-Smith, Adrian Sheen, Mike Southon, Geoff Varrall, Simon Wallace, Oliver Weindling, Chris West
Past membersAdam Brett, Billy Jenkins, Mark Lockheart, Colin Moynihan, Alan Shealy, Ashley Slater, Hugh Wallis

The Oxcentrics is a Dixieland jazz band founded in 1975 at Oxford University.[1] The band's name was derived from The Oxontrics,[2] an original 1920s jazz band.[3] Several (although by no means all) members were from University College, where many of the rehearsals took place. They played at a number of Oxford Balls, for the Oxford University Jazz Club, on May Morning,[4] and for other events,[5] including playing on punts on the River Cherwell in Oxford.[6] The line-up, mostly Oxford University undergraduates, who recorded The Halcyon Days of the '20s & '30s on 29 February 1976 at the Acorn Studios in Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, and the songs recorded were:[7]

Adrian Sheen was the original bandleader and Mike Southon subsequently took over as frontman in late 1976 (as "Gorgeous Mike Vaseline").[9][10] Colin Moynihan was the original but short-lived pianist. Sally Jones tap danced for the band on occasions. Jonathan Bowen took many photographs and recorded the band in the 1970s. Further musicians who played with the Oxcentrics included Yva Thakurdas (trumpet) and Hugh Wallis (tuba). The band's manager was Laura Lassman.

The band continued in a changed form in London in the 1980s, managed by Olly Weindling, using many of the top young London jazz musicians such as Ashley Slater, Mark Lockheart and Billy Jenkins. Guests included Django Bates, Iain Ballamy and many others from Loose Tubes. In 1988, the Oxcentrics produced a CD, Oxcentromania! through Eccentric Records.[11][12]

In 2005, the Oxcentrics reformed to celebrate their 30th anniversary. They also got together again in 2006 for a one-off gig at a ball held at St Hugh's College, Oxford, again in 2016 for a late 40th-anniversary gig, and in 2019 back at University College, Oxford, followed by a recording session. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the band produced a distributed lockdown version of the 1925 song Don't Bring Lulu.[13]

See also



  1. ^ Knott, Herbie (1990). Black and White. Boxtree. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-1852832834.
  2. ^ "The Oxcontrics". The Sketch: A Journal of Art and Actuality. Vol. 137. Ingram Brothers. February 1927. p. 332.
  3. ^ Parsonage, Catherine (2017). The Evolution of Jazz in Britain, 1880–1935. Routledge: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-1351544740.
  4. ^ Yates, Richard; Postlethwaite, Clive (2 May 1977). "Revelling in May mists". Oxford Mail.
  5. ^ "Cue for a song". The Times. 10 June 1976.
  6. ^ "Varsity jazzman go up the lazy river". Daily Mail. 7 July 1976.
  7. ^ The Halcyon Days of the '20s & '30s, Stonesfield, UK: Acorn Studios, 29 February 1976
  8. ^ West, Chris. "About Me". www.chriswest.info. Chris West: Professional Writer. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  9. ^ Southon, Mike (22 February 2014). "Mike Southon — Life Story". www.mikesouthon.com. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  10. ^ "An Interview with Mike Southon". Freshbusinessthinking.com. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Oxcentromania!", CD #350230653068, UK: Eccentric Records, 1988
  12. ^ "Oxcentromania". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  13. ^ Wallace, Simon (3 June 2020). "The Oxcentrics. Don't Bring Lulu". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2020.

Media related to Oxcentrics at Wikimedia Commons