THE 85th birthday celebration concert of master drummer Eric Delaney, staged in the aptly-named Swing Suite at Horwich RMI Social and Recreation Club, will be talked about for a long time. There are umpteen adjectives I could use to describe how successful it was, but none would adequately convey the joy of listening to the wonderful Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, the gobsmacking brilliance of trombonist Mark Nightingale, and Delaney himself, still rattling around his monster drum kit and timpani with energy and enthusiasm bordering on miraculous, given his age.

There were times during a memorable and emotional evening when Eric seemed overcome by the warmth of his reception, particularly during the standing ovation he and his fellow musicians received at the conclusion. Of course Eric is almost an “adopted” Boltonian, as he has a huge fan base in the town and this was the eighth sell-out concert organised around him by local entrepreneur Ken Chaisty. Both Ken and his wife Sue deserve great credit for the way they had planned the event down to the finest detail to ensure that Eric’s big night — it was his actual 85th birthday — went without a hitch. They laid on a splendid young pipe and drum band to meet and greet people as they arrived, a wonderful touch; gave Eric a miniature gold cymbal and magnificent cake as mementos of the occasion, and presented McMillan Nurses with a cheque for £700 at the close.

Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra and Delaney are not exactly strangers as Eric has worked with the band on a number of previous occasions. However, its personnel changes as members grow older and graduate to Wigan Jazz Club’s senior band, leave for college and university, or become full-time professionals. With that in mind it is a tribute to musical director Ian Darrington MBE that he somehow manages to unearth a continuing stream of brilliant young musicians to maintain its continuing high standard.

Mark Nightingale, hailed as the world’s finest jazz trombonist by the great John Dankworth, was impressed by the accompaniment the WYJO had given him and Eric and made a point of mentioning it in his farewell speech to the audience. His solos during his slots on the programme were mesmerising.

As I remarked earlier, Delaney was Delaney, showcasing his phenomenal talent with renditions of Skin Deep and a selection of the tunes which have become his trademark during the 65 or so years he has been entertaining the British public. And that, more than anything, ensures his continuing special place in their hearts. Besides being a great percussionist, Eric is an entertainer. The Horwich crowd knew that and got what they came for. They responded by cheering him to the echo, not simply because he is a remarkable 85-year-old, but because he always gives value for money. You can’t say fairer than that.

l Keyboards legend Vinnie Parker, One of the most admired and respected jazz musicians in the North West, will guest with Jeriatric Jazz at their regular monthly gig at Dobson and Barlows Sports and Social Club, in Bradley Fold Road, Bradley Fold, Bolton, on Wednesday, June 10. Vinnie has agreed to do a number of similar “deps” with the band through the rest of the year. His appearances will be publicised well in advance.

ART LESTER BIG BAND: The Pennine Suite, Horwich RMI Social and Recreation Club, Chorley New Road, Bolton. Every Tuesday. 8.30pm to 11pm. Free.

Ballroom dancing in the main hall every second Tuesday in the month. £4 on the door.

KEN WARD BIG BAND: Leigh Liberal Club. Every Monday. 8pm to 11pm. Free.

JERIATRIC JAZZ: “Dobbies”, Dobson and Barlows Sports and Social Club, Bradley Fold Road, Bradley Fold, Bolton.

With special guests Vinnie Parker (keyboards) and John Hargreaves (vocals). Wednesday, June 10. 8.30pm to 11.30pm. £1.

EAGLEY JAZZ CLUB: Dunscar Conservative Club, Hardman’s Lane, Bromley Cross, Bolton. The Yorkshire Stompers. Monday, June 15. From 8.30pm. Members £4. Guests £5.

RON HAYES BIG BAND: Brackley Conservative Club, Hazelhurst Road, Worsley. Every Thursday. 8.30pm to 11.00pm. £2 at the door.