In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Coffee Cabin was, or seemed to be, the in place to be and be seen. It was owned and run by a chap named Ron Wynder. Ron was a nice man and a good businessman.
I played drums there several times in various line-ups of bands. The photo, above, of me playing drums was with Ian Cooper on bass and Keith (“Lefty”) Wright on piano (or it could have been either Dave Harding or Dave Warren), with Pete Reading on alto sax. As far as I recall, we never got paid to play, just a cup or two of Ron’s frothy coffee. Nevertheless, it was a great and popular little place to visit, with a lovely, friendly atmosphere.
I have a vague recollection that late one Saturday night we were paid a visit by a famous jazz band leader: either Alex Welsh or Chris Barber … or maybe Diz Disley? They had obviously heard of the Coffee Cabin and wanted to suss out the scene. As far as I know, they never returned.
I used to alternate most of my jazz playing/learning between the Coffee Cabin, the Station Hotel, Knebworth and the Red Lion in the Old Town. I learnt a lot by watching local drummers Ken Castell, Denny Dyson and George Coker and would quite often pick their brains, asking things like: ‘How do you do that?’.