The ingredients of a great birthday party were there in abundance.
There were speeches throughout the evening, starting more formally with a welcome from the Lord Mayor, continuing with a summary of Andy’s life from Lord Morris, and culminating in an emotional, bear-hugging one from Carl Chinn.
There was the showcase for the younger partygoers at the beginning of the evening, with two numbers from the Notebenders, the band of beginners started by Andy.
There were the candles to be blown out and the cake to be cut; there was the gathering of family and friends, and the name check of absent ones, specifically Andy’s trumpeter son Graeme, who was stuck in Goa.
And, of course, most important of all, there was the music.
Andy’s band, The Blue Notes, acted as house band for a wealth of guests, including Jamaican musical director Sonny Bradshaw and his wife, singer Myrna Hague, tap-dancer Will Gaines, drummers Nana Tsiboe and Lekan Babalola, and violinist Omar Puente.
The unexpected guest was Courtney Pine, who raised the excitement level while never upstaging the main man himself.
The most moving and satisfying moments in an evening filled with them, were when Andy played, side by side with son Mark or taking his solo spots. His unmistakeable tenor saxophone voice is filled with elegance and wit, wisdom and affection. His most famous song is Silvershine, and no word better describes the sound he makes.
Of course it was a long party, and of course no one wanted to leave, least of all the birthday boy who was encouraging us with talk of how he might celebrate his next birthday.
Finally, hurrah again for the Town Hall - if ever an occasion and a venue were in perfect harmony it was on this night.