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Local characters, a pub and a love of hats

PUBLISHED: 09:31 10 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:40 29 October 2010

Albert Cooper.

Albert Cooper.

Derek James

A living legend will be launching his latest record this week in a Norwich pub now named in honour of a legend from yesteryear. On Thursday night the one and only Albert Cooper will be taking to the floor at The Rumsey Wells to launch his latest CD.

Rumsey Wells.

A living legend will be launching his latest record this week in a Norwich pub now named in honour of a legend from yesteryear.

On Thursday night,March 12, the one and only Albert Cooper will be taking to the floor at The Rumsey Wells pub in St Andrew's Street to launch his latest CD of jazz standards - Songs for September.

And he will be accompanied by The Chris Cooper Trio featuring his son Chris, Dave Pullin and Neil Kane.

"It has taken a long time to be able to make this CD because I was looking for the right accompaniment. Now I am very proud to be performing with my son Chris, who I regard as a fine musician," said Albert.

Rumsey Wells’ hat shop in St Andrew’s.

His latest CD, celebrating

his 75 years, is a must for his

fans and people who love cool

jazz and it proves yet again he could so easily have become a big star if he had headed for the bright lights rather than staying in Norwich.

"This is my home. I love the city and I love the people," said Albert… and we love him.

The 10 tracks on the new CD were all recorded live, engineered and produced by John Vigar at the Tontena Studio in Norfolk, and will be performed for the first time on Thursday.

In Norwich of the 21st century it is Albert, the man in black, who is considered a great character, while in the early part of the last century it was Herbert Rumsey Wells.

Rumsey was a like a blast of hot air on the cold streets. A flamboyant character, always helping others and doing charity work, he ran his famous cap business from what is today the pub named after him in St Andrew's, and boasted that he made the most expensive caps in the whole world.

Last year Dan and Katie Searle gave the pub, then called St Andrew's Tavern, a new lease of life and renamed it Rumsey Wells, making sure the great man, who died way back in 1937, will never be forgotten. His shop carried on until the 1970s.

The pair have turned back the clock, reached out to new generation, and created a city centre pub with real style.

And I am sure Rumsey would have approved and would have enjoyed Albert's timeless music and perhaps he will be there, in spirit, on Thursday when hat-wearing Albert launches his new CD with his son Chris, Dave and Neil.

So raise your glasses and join me in a toast to a pair of great characters who have made their mark on Norwich over the last century - Albert and Herbert.

t Songs for September, a collection of 10 beautiful jazz songs, will be on sale at the launch for £3 and later in Brambles in Exchange Street, Norwich.

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