Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just a brief reminder 

for everyone that tomorrow night is our Christmas Party at Hedsor Jazz. It would be lovely to see you all. Singer Gill Cook heads our star guest list, with Alan Grahame on vibes, Stuart Henderson trumpet, “Tolly” on tenor sax, all alongside The Clive Burton Quintet. There could even be some sitters in from past Hedsor Jazz gigs. Its live jazz, so you never know!

After the 18th, our next regular weekly jazz club nights start on January 8th. I think that is probably the longest gap we ever have!!

Do remember Hedsor jazz, with its regular band of the Clive Burton Quintet, have frequent top name guests. We run every week and have done so for over 12 years. It would be great to “shake hands with a few new faces”; you could always make your support for live jazz your New Years Resolution!!

Most weeks our sessions start at 8.30 pm, except on special nights like tomorrow, which always have an 8 pm start time. That is usually so that you can digest the buffet that is on offer on those nights.

Hedsor Jazz takes place at The Hedsor Social Clive, Hedsor Road, Bourne End, Bucks, SL8 5ES. We have some interesting gigs lined up for next year, many in the planning stage. Always keep your eye on my blog for weekly information and the occasional CD review.

So have a good one, and whilst we are gone, why not play some jazz CD’s! Look back at past Blogs to see what I have enjoyed in the over the years.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Hi Jazz Experts

Today is one of my travelling blogs, and therefore may not be as full of interesting things to read as usual (who am I kidding!). The most vital thing to know is of course that Hedsor Jazz WILL be again this week!! with The Clive Burton Quintet (in it’s entirety) at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30pm on Thursday.

THEN on December 18th we have our Christmas Party Special This has a start time of 8pm, and will include a light buffet all for the amazing TICKET price of £10. Lots of great guys and girls are coming to play for us and Tickets sales are progressing well. So do ensure that you get yours either from Me, or Dee at Hedsor this week, or from Cookham’s Stationery Depot.

Next week looks like a bonar jazz week, as in addition to our Christmas Celebration on the 18th, Marlow Jazz Club has The Nigel Price Organ Trio plus Vasilis Xenopoulos on TUESDAY the 16th of December. I intend to get there early to ensure I get in.

I have been in contact recently with Nigel over a future event, which you may like to put in your new next year diary. On September 28th 2015 we are planning a day of jazz in Maidenhead’s St. Pirans School. That’s a Saturday, so make sure you keep it clear. Watch this space for more detail as our plans progress.

Finally, a CD that you may like to buy for a jazz friend or relative, or even for yourself.

“The Skelton Skinner Allstars Septet Play Ellington and Basie” is on Diving Duck Records  DDRCD022 I last mentioned Skelton Skinner in 2011 for their Big Band release. This time they shine through on a small group release playing Big Band tunes. They are joined by one of the UK’s hardest working musicians (well he gets about a lot) Alan Barnes. Matt Skelton (drums) Colin Skinner (alto) are joined by Alan on baritone, tenor and clarinet plus Mike Lovatt on trumpet, Gordon Campbell on trombone, Rob Barron on piano, and Jeremy Brown bass. They all make a lovely noise playing tunes like “Good Queen Bess” “Splanky”, “I’ll Take Romance” and “Jive at Five”. A very happy CD, made to look like an LP (who remembers vinyl!!?).

Well, as we all know recordings of ANY kind are only a poor substitute for live jazz, so do keep supporting the live stuff, or eventually you will only have “Sweet Substitute”.

Thursday, December 04, 2014


Hedsor Jazz will have the regular quintet tonight with the exception of a replacement bass player. Steve Pickings will be depping for Ken Rankine who is with "The Sound of 17" tonight.

One extra notice. 

Our Christmas Party on December 18th will now be without saxophonist Peter Ripper, who has unfortunately had to drop out of our extended line up. 

It will still be great value at £10!

PS. If you right click on the poster, you could save and print!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

This week Hedsor Jazz hosts guitarist John Coverdale. Always welcome at Hedsor, John is a musician of huge experience which he is currently sharing with Eton College students, he is a guitar tutor their!

Looking further ahead, tickets for our Christmas extravaganza are now available, either on a Thursday evening from Dee at The Hedsor Social Club, or any day of the week from The Stationery Depot in Cookham (tel:01628 531178). Wherever you buy them from the price is the same, just £10 each!

CD’s Listened to this week.

There are two this week, that I bet you would have walked past if you saw them in a rack in a charity shop (there are VERY few places for you to look through a rack of CD’s these days!).

The first is by a group called Albare iTD (I understand the title stands for "International Travel Diary"). The CD is called “Long Way”. I know very little about the people playing, apart from the drummer Antonio Sanchez. If you like well-recorded guitar led modern jazz music (I hate to describe it as “fusion” as it isn’t quite!) then search this out. It’s on the enja label - ENJ 9582-2 and was released in 2012. It has harmonica by Hedrik Meurkens, a tenor played by George Garzone, Leo Genovese on piano and Evripidis Evripidou on bass. Albare is the guitarist, (who was born in Morocco) so, you may well have overlooked this gem more than once in the last 2 years, but gem it is. Smooth, funky, beautifully recorded and expertly played. On a website review said of it :-

An all star sextet with one of the most impressive guitar releases for the year. A most unique personal hybrid of global textures combined with the more traditional forms and functionality of modern jazz. An absolute favourite for 2012!

So there you go!!

The next total surprise find is Don Burrell’s orjam – “Bittersweet Blue”

Now I personally don’t know the leader, who is the drummer, but I do know altoist Alex Garnet. I also know organist Peter Whittaker. I also know tenor saxophonist Brandon Allen, who at one time was in the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, which migrated into “Pendulum”. But the shock to my system was the guitarist. Terry Smith I haven’t seen for many years, and to be honest thought he had died years ago. I remember seeing him with Dick Morrissey at The Bell in Maidenhead in the 1970's and he was deeply indebted to gin for his relaxed playing in those days! The other shock was that it was recorded in a pub in Acton, West London, very near where I was an apprentice!! And the label is Actone Records!!! How many links do I need?

It’s a terrific record. If you like Nigel Price’s organ trio (which has Peter Whittaker in it), you’ll like this CD. If you like Vasilis’s “Wind Machine” you will like this CD. There are tunes on it from the likes of Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan and Oliver Nelson. It’s great jazz was recorded in 2008 and its on ARCO 1003.  A drummer led band and not a drum solo in sight!! WOW.

I hope we see as many of you who can get out on Thursday at Hedsor. We do still need a live audience to keep live jazz alive!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Morning Jazz fans.

Just a brief note this week.

This Thursday, November 13th, we have the regular Clive Burton Quintet at Hedsor, but with the exception of a guest drummer. Both Martin Hart and Mike Jeffries are unavailable this week and in the drum chair we have someone new to Hedsor. Julian Bown will playing for us. It would be nice if we could provide a bigger audience for him than the one we had last week!! Numbers last week were in the danger zone. To keep live jazz at Hedsor, we need a live audience!!

 The Field of Poppies outside St Clement Danes School yesterday.

Last night was an excellent session at the Marlow Jazz club, and that was with a full house! BUT, Michael has now reduced the number of jazz events at Marlow to one a month. We have run Hedsor jazz every week for 12 years. We have done this with no arts council grants, no local authority support, only the support of local jazz fans. Only your personal attendance will ensure we can carry on every week into another year. We are renowned for being a friendly and open bunch of people, and we are also renowned for being on every week. If you genuinely haven’t tried us before we would be delighted to see you and offer you some really great live jazz.

Assuming the life of Hedsor jazz is as far as December 18th,(I jest, just!), I hope to have tickets available this Thursday for our Christmas Concert. Do make sure you get along to that, and bring your friends too. The line up of star guests should have something for everyone, from singer Gill Cook to vibraphonist Alan Grahame via the trumpet of Stuart Henderson and the saxophones of “Tolly” and Peter Ripper, all wrapped up by our regular Quintet. We retain our big room event price of £10. To give everyone a chance to play we start at 8pm for this one.

That’s it for this week, CD reviews next week.

PS. I attended the Remembrance Day Service at St Clement Danes School yesterday and was amazed by the sight greeting you as you entered their grounds. ALL the poppies were made by the school, and all the students donated £2 each to the British Legion. I believe there were 1366 poppies in the field, one for every school pupil.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Hedsor Jazz this week has the regular Clive Burton Quintet, probably in recovery mode after our Halloween event last week.

To describe Tracey Mendham as a Hoot is an understatement. Anyone who was there will testify that she definitely hooted! The kind gift to her from one of our number of a witches hat was very appropriately worn throughout the evening, and coupled with her red dress gave a very hallowed-en look to her! She is none the less a very accomplished tenor player, with an enormous tone, and I think for everyone there it was a great night out. AND all for just £6 entry.

An additional delight was to having Ken McCarthy at the piano last week. His own feature number of the 3rd movement of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto was a real bonus, and I would imagine had a number of people thinking “where have I heard that before?”

So this week, back to Bop!!

CD’s Listened to

As many of you know most of last week I was touring East Anglia with my wife June, visiting relatives and enjoying mostly warm sunshine and some excellent food. During this tour I played a CD that strictly speaking isn’t  a jazz album at all. But it was one that left me thinking “what a shame that more jazz musicians hadn’t been put with her”. 

The album in question is the new one from Annie Lennox. I have always been a fan of hers. She has a strong voice, and a strong personality to go with it. Her new album is called “Nostalgia” and has her singing tunes like “Georgia on My Mind”, “Summertime”, “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child” all of which are no stranger to the jazz fraternity. The instrumentation is professional, but not particularly jazz orientated, which is a shame as I think she has all the makings of a great jazz singer. The album, for you to check out, is on the Island label.

My second disk, (but not played on the East Anglia tour), is again featuring another lady. This time a jazz pianist called Mary Lou Williams. Mary Lou Williams was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. She wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements, and recorded more than one hundred records. Sadly she died in 1981, leaving a legacy of tunes and arrangements that has been crying out to be played again. And the Dutch Jazz Orchestra has done just that. It is a wonderful big band recording, which means a wonderful recording with a wonderful big band. It also has an advantage over many big band recordings in giving up Hi Fi tunes from the great swing era that you probably haven’t heard before. I do recommend this one. It’s been around since 2005 on Challenge records CR73251.
One final comment. Our tour of East Anglia did have some fine food moments as I mentioned above. One of them (a very upmarket sandwich) we had in the small town/village of Burnham Market, on the North Norfolk coast at an establishment called "the Hoste". My point in mentioning this is that they run jazz evenings. 

Do take a look at the brochure I have attached, and just think. We have had some of Britains top jazz performers at Hedsor, including Tina May for half of the Hoste's £12 added to the bill for the jazz! Our Christmas special, coming very soon on December 18th, will cost you just £10 not £50, and will include a buffet supper. Who will be there? So far booked:- Gill Cook, Alan Grahame, Stuart Henderson  "Tolly" and Peter Ripper! and of course the Clive Burton Quintet! Please put US in your guide book!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First, just a few lines 

to assure you that Hedsor Jazz WILL be, as usual, on Thursday, at the Hedsor Social Club, with the Clive Burton Quintet.

This week is as usual, but coming in the next 2 weeks we have some blistering sessions!

Next Thursday, October 23rd , we have Britain’s Top Tenor player, Simon Spillett as our guest. He has again been nominated in the 2014 British Jazz Awards, so to vote please visit

AND for your HALLOWEEN experience on October 30th (OK a day early) we have tenor saxophonist Tracey Mendham. She is a wonderful tenor player, and for such a date, a real HOOT!!

Enough frivolity. Both sessions will start at 8.30pm and will only cost you £6 to get in. Free car parking, Rebellion beer, what more could you want? Well, WE want YOUR COMPANY!!

CD’s heard this week.

First up one that fitted in well to a more quiet evenings listening is one called “The London Sessions” by The Tony Barnard Trio. Tony is one of the legendary Australian Jazz Barnards, a third generation Australian musician (his grandfather ran a dance band in the 1920’s, his father Bob is a renowned jazz trumpeter still going strong in his 80’s). This CD is NOT a new relaease (recorded in 1997), but you can probably still find it online (Wave Recordings WAVE 33). It is a very enjoyable listen. Tony is not the only famous name in the trio, as the bass player is Peter Ind and the “other” guitarist is none other than Jim Mullen. Dare I say they “mull” their way through some great tunes (with Jim Mullen on your left!), including “Ornithology”, “St. Thomas” and Charlie Shaver’s “Undecided”. Well worth looking out for if you like guitar jazz.

The second one found this week is a quartet led by Tim Whitehead recorded in 2005 also in London. Tim on tenor sax leads a group of guys I don’t know, and looking at their names I guess they are from the continent. Giovanni Mirabassi on piano, Milo Fell on drums and Oli Hayhurst on bass. It’s great modern bop. Nothing too outlandish or disjointed. Together they swing and individually they solo very nicely.
Tunes include “They Don’t Know What Love Is”, John Lenon’s “Imagine” and my favourite “Ladies in Mercedies”, 9 tunes in all. It’s on the HomeMade Record label HMR 050 and is entitled “Lucky Boys”!

That’s it from me for now, don’t forget to cast your votes in The British Jazz Awards, and even more importantly for the future of jazz COME OUT AND SEE IT SOMETIMES!