WHEN Henley musician Steve Jones plays a gig in Reading later this month, he’ll be going back to where it all began.
The 34-year-old saxophonist launched his jazz-funk band Brother Strut last year after winning £10,000 on a game of blackjack at the town’s Gentings Casino. He had already started assembling the seven-piece group but says the windfall helped him get it off the ground sooner than he’d hoped.
The band used the money to record their debut album, First Strut Is The Deepest, which entered the iTunes charts at No 2 last year and was praised by BBC 6 Music DJ Craig Charles.
Steve said he visited the casino with some fellow musicians last summer after returning home late from a gig in London. During a game of blackjack he successfully bet seven times that his first two cards would be of the same number, which is known as a “perfect pair”. The odds on each bet were 35 to 1.
Steve says: “You obviously hope to win big but that’s not what gambling’s really about for me — it’s more of a social thing. However, when your luck’s in, your luck’s in. When you start winning it doesn’t feel like real money because you didn’t have it before. I just ended up with a decent flow of cash that I could afford to lose.