It’s time for a little comforting nostalgia and some celebration of grey hair as Britain’s own Buena Vista Social Club returns to Birmingham Town Hall on Friday.

It’s with a double bill of two legendary bandleaders from the trad jazz: Acker Bilk and Chris Barber.

Or, to give the bands their full titles: Mr Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band, and The Big Chris Barber Band.

Isn’t it typical of English modesty that while the US bandleaders of earlier times added soubriquets like Duke and Count, a simple Mr was good enough for Acker.

The clarinetist, now 82, could probably have put his licorice stick away and put his feet up for life after he recorded a tune named after his daughter Jenny.

When it was used as the theme for a TV series, its name became, of course, Stranger On The Shore. It was such a big hit in 1962, that he has been playing it ever since, bringing that gently swinging, easy listening to audiences all around the world.

It’s the Band that is Big, not Chris, though Mr Barber does make a pretty hefty sound on that trombone. He has been leading this band for nearly 60 years, and its personnel keeps being revitalised, though its dedication to Barber’s eclectic mix of jazz styles remains true.

All those different genres of jazz are one to Chris, and, like the late Humphrey Lyttelton, he is just as likely to take an idea from bebop or the blues as he is from early Chicago or New Orleans jazz.

I suppose the only difference between Bilk and Barber and the Buena Vistas is that the Brits haven’t had to resort to shoe-shine stands in the bleaker days.

The two bands come together under the banner Two Trad Jazz Legends Together, at Birmingham Town Hall at 7.30pm on Friday, and you can book £22 tickets now at or on 0121 345 0600.