Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Life is a bit busy at the moment.....

But Thursday Night is ALWAYS reserved for Jazz at The Hedsor Social Club, (otherwise known as Hedsor Jazz!!)

This week it is the regular Clive Burton Quintet, yes, all our regulars are in the same place tomorrow night!! 

It is the usual £6 to get in, and the usual voluntary excess to get out!!

Then of course you have our world renowned raffle!! He do we do it? And all included in the price too!!

So why not come and enjoy Maundy Thursday at Hedsor.

Looking further ahead don't forget to reserve September 26th as a jazz day!! That's the day Hedsor Jazz goes to school!! Much more later, but it WILL be a very special day, with all of your Hedsor favorites coming to a school near me!!

Until then, let Hedsor Thursdays keep you sane!

An artists impression of our regular drummer, who's new CD is still available!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time flies and it has past the time for a few words about Hedsor and Jazz. 

So, OK this is LATE!

The Good News is that you haven’t missed anything. The Clive Burton Quintet WILL be appearing at The Hedsor Social Club, as usual, tomorrow evening. The music starts at 8.30 pm, and we will still let you in for just £6. Those of you who have been before will realize that there is a small (voluntary) sum to be contributed before we let you out!!

CD Review

I haven’t written anything about Jazz on CD for a longish time, so lets catch up on a wonderful box set released in 2001!!

OK I know I’m quick of the mark, but sometimes nostalgia drags you back to things of yore!

The yore is of times further ago than 2001 too. Proper Box 24 is a 4 CD set of Louis Armstrong recordings from the 1940’s. It is a gem. The booklet on the early life of Louis is almost worth the cost of the box itself, it is so informative and well done with lots of photos, but the deep joy must be reserved for the music itself. It is all presented in date order, ending up with the 2 concerts that went on to launch The Louis Armstrong’s All-stars, the only medium he used for touring and his music ever after. The Louis Armstrong All-Stars became the USA’s musical ambassadors to the world.

One or two things to highlight. Most of the material is Louis with an orchestra, generally showing his ability as a soloist, the orchestra largely not having in it anyone who could outshine Louis!

In 1946 he recorded some small group tunes again, some even under the heading of Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven! It is very interesting to hear the “prequel” to the All-Stars this early. On some tracks the trombone is played by Vic Dickenson, whilst on others it is actually Kid Ory!!

He remained the leader of a big band, and it is interesting to note that buried in some 1946 recordings is tenor sax player Lucky Thomson, a wonderful star of early bop, who sadly did not live up to his nickname.

Come 1947 and the famous New York Town Hall concert is represented (I think all that is available is here). Louis was still touring with his orchestra at the time, and the ensemble (Jack Teagarden, Peanuts Hucko, Dick Cary, Bob Haggart and Sid Catlet) were brought together by Bobby Hackett and rehearsed by him for the big man to be able to just fly in and play the night!! He can clearly be heard, but sadly, the sleeve notes give him no credit!!

The recordings are generally very listenable to and it is a purchase well worth making. It is still listed on Amazon at £13.73!!

Whatever else you do (think of the scope!!) don't let Live Jazz die. It, and the musicians who play it, need an audience, that's YOU!!

Monday, March 02, 2015

“The Away Road”
The new CD from Martin Hart

I have now had time to listen to Martins new CD, and “now’s the time” to write a bit about it.

Firstly it contains 7 tracks, and all the tunes have been written by Martin.

Secondly the music is divided into 2 different ensembles, a Septet, and a Quartet.

Anyone who has been to Hedsor on any of our jazz nights will have heard most of the musicians before as they are all regular favourites of ours at Hedsor Jazz. The cast list is as follows:-

The Quartet: Alan Grahame vibes, Ken McCarthy piano, Nick Pugh bass, Martin Hart drums.

The Septet: Stuart Henderson, Miles Hart trumpet and flugel horn, Mike Wills saxes, Clive Burton trombone, Nigel Fox keyboard, Phil Berry bass, Martin Hart drums

Musically my lasting impression of this collaboration is of rich harmonies. Whether it be the Septet or the Quartet the music is conveyed with a really rich sound. I was particularly impressed by the sound of the Quartet. With fewer people it is harder to convey that rich musical sensation, but here they do so really well. The Septet has an advantage in having more people to make up that richness and sounds, surprisingly, much more lie a big band.

It was also interesting to note that there is an 8-month gap between recording the 2 different groups, the Quartet being recorded earlier in 2014 than the Septet tracks.

For those of you who wont know the capabilities of “our” regular musicians be assured that in their individual ways they are all superb. Usually we are aware that Nigel Fox is a Bill Evans devotee, but here the tune that Martin has dedicated to Bill Evans has Ken McCarthy on piano! Stuart Henderson has long been a favourite trumpeter at Hedsor, and on this CD he again shines through. However, Martin has a homegrown trumpet player (who has appeared once or twice at Hedsor) in the shape and sound of his son Miles. Listen out for his muted solo on “The Last Goodbye”

All the musician, so well know to us at Hedsor, are well represented with solo space on these recordings. The recording itself is of good sound quality. I know some of you who read this will have some of the recordings I’ve made during live Hedsor Gigs but this is definitely a recording of real studio quality. So, even though you will not know the tunes before purchase, you will be able to have a recording of the kind of music we have offered to us each week at Hedsor in fine sound quality for the first time in a some of years (The Norden Farm Recording of the quartet under another name – Century Jazz, were made in 2003!).

One last comment. The final tune is entitled “Zane at The Hedsor Palisades”, which has puzzled me no end. I think it must signify a retreat, as according to Wikipedia “A palisade—sometimes called a stakewall or a paling—is typically a fence or wall made from wooden stakes or tree trunks and used as a defensive structure or enclosure”. So a retreat from a defensive wall. Why? Because, just as the full ensemble are getting going (with Mike Wills on clarinet), the band are faded out, and quickly too! I think that is a shame!

Ah well, you can’t have everything.

But you can have this CD, no doubt signed by some of the guys on it, especially if you come to it’s launch at the Hedsor Social club on Thursday this week, March 5th.

It will enable you never to miss the sound of Hedsor jazz, even when you are on “The Away Road”.

Geoff Cronin

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Better Late than Never

But better never late! 

Oh well, almost on time!!

Tonight at Hedsor we have the Clive Burton Quintet, with a welcome return of our regular saxophonist Mike Wills, whom we all think of as one L of a player!! He is back recovering from another bout of railing painting, one of the drawbacks of being a saxophonist living in Oxford!! It is such a fine community!

In place of our regular drummer, Martin Hart, who is saving himself for his CD launch next week, we have our regular deputy drummer, Mike Jeffries.

Next week, March 5th, we do of course have the launch party of Martin's latest CD, "The Away Road". See poster from the last blog.

It promises to be both a special and a splendid night. All of the musicians taking part have played at some time or another at Hedsor, so having the launch party at The Hedsor Social Club is a no brainer. I have now heard the CD, and I will let you know my thoughts on it before next week. The Clive Burton Quintet haven't recorded under their own name in a studio for a long time, but the core of the Septet tracks are The Clive Burton Quintet. On that basis alone I hope you will all rush out and buy a copy.

In anticipation of more time in order for me to get my review of it down in words, below is a "view" of the case.

Those with good eyesight may spot why we think Mr Wills is on L of a player.

See you tonight for more Clive Burton Quintet!

Friday, February 13, 2015


The date for John Coverdale is of course 

THURSDAY February 19th!! 

I really should use more fingers!!
As promised a bit more information about Martin's CD launch:-

Quite a cast, so come along and enjoy an evening of top class jazz for just £6. Rumour has it that there may even be a small buffet at half time!!

NEXT WEEK (Feb 18th) at HEDSOR JAZZ we have joining Clive the top flight guitarist 


Remember, Hedsor Jazz is now in it's 13th year. How do we do it? Well, without YOU we wont be able to, so tell your friends. We don't intend to keep Hedsor Jazz as the best kept secret in jazz, honestly!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


We will have the regular Clive Burton Quintet with us this week. 

BUT keep an eye out for some new news coming soon. Put September 26th in your diary NOW! Yes it is a Saturday, but this year, it will be a SPECIAL Saturday. 

Before then we will definitely be having more special events at Hedsor. On March 5th we have the launch of Martin Harts latest CD. Just watch this space, and whatever else you do:-

Keep live jazz ALIVE.

Martin Hart in full flight

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

OK, My Apologies!

No Blog last week. I had a particularly debilitating infection, and for 3 days ran a temperature of 101 deg F! Yes, in F!! My Mercury thermometer was old enough to only measure in F. For those too young to know what the norm is for human temperature in deg F it is 98.4

However, handling a glass mercury thermometer whilst being unwell as a great way of ensuring newer technology, as I managed to drop it into the (empty) bath. OK (again!) Mrs Cronin went and purchased a modern replacement which will give me results in Centigrade.

I observed when reading the instructions for this new battery powered device, that one should discard it after 3 years as it will be unreliable after that time!! Such is progress. I can now be told if my temperature is normal, or I am running a fever via a series of bleeps, but only for 3 years. My mercury thermometer might have been old technology, but it had let me read how ill I was for at least the last 30 years!

But less of this and on to things JAZZ.

At Hedsor Jazz this week we have a resumption of normal service. The Clive Burton Quintet will be back with both Mike Wills as our reed section, and Martin Hart as our percussionist! Many thanks to Mike Jeffries for his great work in the drum chair for the last 3 weeks. Many thanks too to Vasilis Xenopoulos for being our guest saxophonist last week.

I was very sad indeed to miss his night with us at Hedsor. If you did too, you can catch up with him at The Oakwood Theatre, Woodley, on Saturday (7th Feb). With a bit of luck I will be allowed out to that as well. I have a ticket!!

Being unwell I have had to miss (for the first time ever!!) The Evening of Ineluctability with Cookham’s fabulous Shirtlifters! I still have the (souvenir?) ticket in my wallet! Did any Hedsor fans go?

Did I listen to any recorded jazz during my away from it all days?

Well sadly, not a lot. I now realise that you have to be in recovery mode to do more than absorb daytime TV! Yes, I slept a lot too!

But there is one CD that I did play that I may also have mentioned before. A privately produced CD that I think I got from saxophonist Frank Griffith. I reproduce the artwork for it below, but “The Strayhorn Project’s” “Muliticoloured Blue” is well worth seeking out. It was recorded in 2003, live at “The Fiddler’s Elbow” in NW5 and the band consists of Steve Kaldestad on tenor sax, Phil Lee on guitar, Dave Whitford bass and Stu Butterfield on drums. My copy of the CD is labelled as GWB 445, so maybe you can get it somewhere.

But if you can your resourcefulness will gain you a treasure. If you left click on the jpeg you will be able to read the tunes and the sleeve notes, so you will know that the prospect is good. They are great  Billy Strayhorn tunes. The bands performance does the material proud, and you will enjoy the individual and collective work done by the band on tunes familiar and tunes less familiar. It is a gem of an album.

Well, it’s almost time for another sleep. I have actually been out today for the first time in about 10 days (apart from trips to the medics). I am working on being with you at Hedsor this week.

Don’t forget, every band needs an audience to keep music alive. Do your bit to keep live jazz alive at The Hedsor Social Club by coming to see the band every Thursday from 8.30pm ‘till 11pm. And it is STILL only £6 to get in! There IS a small voluntary charge made to let out!!