Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tonight at Hedsor Jazz

Sad to say but Clive Burton is still unwell and will not be able to be with us tonight. 

To keep Mike Wills company this week we will have guitarist Terry Hutchins. 

Terry has been to Hedsor once before, on the Alan Grahame Celebration night, and it will be good to have him for the full duration of evening.

Terry Hutchins at the Alan Grahame Celebration

Geoff C

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hedsor Jazz Plus

Last week was blogless, basically because I used my time to write a “Newsletter” to put out at Hedsor for people who don’t read my online blog to at least read a bit about recent things at Hedsor Jazz. It was well received, and I will reproduce it as best I can for those who didn’t get to read it last week to at least have a read this week!! I will try, as requested, and do a paper newsletter about once a month.

It was another of those sad weeks when Clive had to ring late in the day and say that he again wasn’t well enough to come. In his place we had Mark Aston. Again, “thank you” to Mark for turning out at very short notice to come and play alongside Mike Wills for us.

And what an array of instruments we had last week! Mike had his alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, and Mark brought his alto and tenor saxophones. BUT he also plays TROMBONE!! And brought it along for a couple of tunes as a tribute (he said) to Clive.

Photos by Geoff Swaffield

We all had a wonderful night and a number of people took the trouble to say they had enjoy the spontaneous fun that was generated. This is all the more surprising as Mark (who works for BP) hadn’t finished work on Wednesday until 2am on Thursday!! He thought he was going to have a light night on Thursday, but instead, he got Hedsor! 

Thanks must also go to Ken McCarthy who was depping last week for Nigel Fox on keyboard.

This week we all hope that Clive feels up to coming, and maybe we will have some of the original Quintet tunes and arrangements that we used to get played.

Last week was “special” for a completely different kind of reason. Some months ago I had mentioned to Simon Spillett that I had some reel-to-reel tapes in my loft of recordings made many years ago. Most had come off of BBC Radio and although he enjoyed one of two that I had dubbed to CD, they could not be more widely shared, as they were BBC copyright.

But I did have one that was recorded in the days of “The Bell” in Maidenhead and I copied it onto a CD for Simon.

In 1972 Philips portable cassette recorders were beginning to make their way on to the domestic market. In the 1970’s “The Bell” in Maidenhead was THE place to hear modern jazz. The Lennie Best Quartet was the regular backing band, and it equally regularly had some very special guests, one being Dick Morrissey. 

On August 8th 1972 a Philips Cassette recorder and Dick Morrissey came together. I was a regular at “The Bell” in those days, and on August 8th 1972 I went with a friend who took along his portable recorder. I asked Dick if we could record him, showed him what on, and he realised it could not outgun any studio equipment he was used to, and for the price of a pint he said “yes”!

Later that month I copied the cassette recording made that night on to a reel to reel recorder, and after a few weeks enjoying it, forgot all about it. Until talking with Simon this year!!

Using his contacts he has now managed to get a “proper” CD of about 1 hour of the music from that night produced and issued (last week) on The Acrobat label. It just so happens that there are very (very) few recordings of Dick playing modern jazz made during this period, so this recording, having lain in my loft for 40 years, is now available for all to hear. And the recording isn’t too bad. Like most portable recorders, the tape has managed to balance the drums ahead of the piano, but it is all very listenable. For those who were there on the night what a nostalgic souvenir to have. For those who weren’t there, but who appreciate Dick Morrissey’s jazz playing, I am so pleased that it can now be heard again. Take a listen to "Over the Rainbow" and you will realise why we miss Dick as we do.

Simon has written a superb essay to go with the sleeve notes. It might be worth buying for those alone, but the real joy is in the music and in having a bit more of Dick Morrissey to listen to.
Acrobat CD ACMCD4395

Now that Newsletter:-

Most of you know I publish a blog, Jazz from Geoff ( This week, and especially for those few who don’t read that for one reason or another, I thought I would go into Hard Print!

As has been obvious to all who have come to Hedsor Jazz this year, our band leader and master of ceremonies Clive Burton has not been very well and quite a number of times we have had to
reorganise what we do at very short notice. Can I thank all of you for your continuing loyalty. You have kept supporting us no matter what. Thankfully sometimes our very quickly reorganised Thursday Sessions have become quite magical. So not only you, the audience, should be thanked, but an especial thanks must be given to all the musicians who have generously stepped in and supported Hedsor Jazz over this past difficult year.  Clive continues to receive treatment, and he will be getting another scan at the beginning of October. We wish him well (we do need him!).

We quickly realised that we had always relied on his PA system too. When he wasn’t at Hedsor,
neither was his PA! So Hedsor Jazz now have our own system. This is set up and taken down by our own resident sound engineer, Geoff Swaffield (ex BBC!), so another big “Thank You”.

Someone else (we found out the hard way,) we missed was Dee! She too has had time away due to illness this year, and we must thank Helen Weinblatt for stepping in and handling the ins and outs from the Red Box during Dee’s absence! And of course thank you Dee, welcome back again and I’m sure all the musicians thank you for your regular cash payments!!

In a conversation with Tina May at the Swanage Jazz Festival (see below), she pointed out that the jazz fraternity is a big family. This year Hedsor Jazz  has shown this family bond more than ever. We are a friendly bunch. We love the same kind of music and enjoy sharing it together. However, we are aware that there is more chat and that it continues whilst the music is being played. This is distracting to those who want to listen and disrespectful to our musicians. Please do talk to each other— but please not during the music. 

Talking of music……….

In July we had a really memorable evening as Alan Grahame Celebrated his Life in Music. It was a truly unique event, with 3 hours of continuous music from some of the best jazz musicians in the country. It was a privilege for Hedsor Jazz to host such an event.

Now that event took place very close to the time when I have in previous years celebrated MY life and friendships in the jazz fraternity (often in recent years, I have just celebrated survival)!

This year my celebration is a delayed event and I’m doing it in a slightly lower key (!) I have invited singer Peter Jones to come and help me mark the passage of time together with saxophonist Duncan Lamont Junior. They will be joined by our regular Clive Burton Quintet. This will take place on SEPTEMBER 28th. I might stretch to a few nibbles for half time, but our usual entry charge of £7 will apply as will our usual start time of 8.30pm. Last month Peter released a new CD. I have his 2016 release (see artwork) and I know we will all have a splendid evening “with a difference”.

Peter Jones

Another event to put in your diary is our Christmas party. During this year’s Swanage Jazz Festival (sadly it was also the last !) I chatted with another singer, Tina May, and she said how she would like to come to Hedsor Jazz again. She helped us celebrate Christmas a few years ago, and she is going to do it again this year. This will be on December 21st. And as last time, we have invited Alan Grahame to come and help as well.

Thank you to all who make up The Hedsor Jazz Club. For all your support and friendship, and for the wonderful music—we look forward to many more hours of shared jazz.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Well, this is a novelty! A blog about jazz, from Geoff, and on a Tuesday!!

Last week I was away in East Anglia, visiting friends and relations, who, because of the isolation of the area from me, don’t get visited very often. Then one crams in too many people in too short a time. Hence, I didn’t get to Hedsor last week for a session which, I’m assured by those who did, was great.

The Helmet Replica at Sutton Hoo
This week on Thursday, we have our regular band back again!! The Clive Burton Quintet! Be prepared to hear some of the tunes from their book, ones we haven’t recently heard. You will recognise them, but please, don’t sing along with them!

Since getting home from last week trip I have been watching (so far only the first half) the BBC Prom on “Swing”.

What a joy to see many musicians we know. Some have played Hedsor, some we are still saving up for! One I don’t think we will ever be able to afford is Hiromi. She is an incredibly talented pianist whom I first hear about 12 years ago in Brecon. She trained alongside Vasilis Xenopoulos at The Berkley Collage of Music near Boston, Mass. and I must say I was surprised to see her being used as a replica for Mary Lou Williams. However she is an incredible musician and if you get the chance to see her, especially with her own trio, go for it.

We did see on that Prom though many others we know. I wonder if you noticed them all, and counted them off as Hedsor Players! It did seem this year as though the BBC have woken up to the fact that jazz musicians are really good musicians. And the music is worthy of being presented in its original form with some history of its story being told a well. There then IS a glimmer of hope after all.

In the ensemble were two saxophonists I have written about before, because I saw them a couple of years ago at the “late” Swanage Jazz Festival. Karen Sharp has played Hedsor a couple of times, but as yet, Robert Fowler hasn’t. They put out a CD on the 33 Records label a few years ago that is a wonderful piece of jazz to have at home. Paying and Playing tribute to Al Cohn and Zoot Simms called “Brandy and Beer” (cat number 33Jazz192) it is superbly played and recorded, and as the sleeve says ”Karen is in the left speaker and Rob in the right”!

A CD I mentioned a year or so ago was brought to mind by the BBC paying tribute to Mary Lou Williams. Yes, she is under represented under her own name in the record catalogues. However the Dutch Jazz Orchestra put out a CD in 2005 on the Challenge Records label playing music she wrote that had largely been unrecorded. It is well worth a listen. It’s titled “The Lady Who Swings the Band” and the cat number is CR73251.

Needless to say I think both the above CD’s are worth searching out.

Thinking of the BBC Proms broadcasting JAZZ, did anyone record the Mingus Prom? I missed most of it, heard some on the Radio, and would love to see as well as hear it. Bits of it are already on YouTube, but it would be nice to see all of it.

One last point today. I’m old fashioned, but I like actually owning the CD’s themselves, with their plastic boxes and their sleeve notes. I like holding the boxes as I listen, often referring to the notes even for recordings I have had for years. Sometimes it is good just to refer to the artwork that the recording has inspired.  I know that many people now would rather “stream” their music than collect it. Do bear in mind when you do this, that in buying the hard copies you do actually contribute towards the musicians who play on them, and to the companies that have actually taken the trouble to get it to you in the second place!!

AND do remember that music is still a living product. Live Jazz needs to be kept alive. It shouldn’t just be brought out as a quaint reminder of things past!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Well, fans of Hedsor Jazz anyway!

I think we are all still more or less in Holiday Mood, although we do have at Cronin Towers our hall and stairs being redecorated starting today. BUT with another damp looking Bank Holiday coming up I thought I would again mention what we have for you to enjoy jazz wise.

This Thursday (August 24th) we welcome back vibraphone player Alan Grahame. He is, of course, wanting to commence his next 90 years in the same place that he celebrated his Life in Music, Hedsor Jazz!! It will be good to have him back with us.

For our last Thursday of August (31st) we have another returnee, saxophonist and flautist Kelvin Christian.

The year is racing towards Christmas, but we do have at least one more "event" planed before our Christmas party (which you know is December 21st with Tina May as our guest).

On September 28th we have a first. Acclaimed singer Peter Jones will be joining us together with saxophonist Duncan Lamont junior. Peter has a number of critically acclaimed CD’s to his name, and as we haven’t had a male singer to Hedsor for many years, I thought it would be a good opportunity to plug the gap. It will be a normal start time event, but I may give away a few nibbles to help the evening along!

If you go to Peter’s website you can sample his singing before you come.

CD reviews later in the year when all the holiday breaks and decorating are over. 

BUT one last plug, Jazz FM is available on DAB Radio in mono sound (which is still great entertainment), but they have recently launched Jazz FM Stereo, which can be had in the newish version of DAB radio called DAB+

for even more info


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I'm sorry but I missed last Thursdays session,

but I hope to be with you at Hedsor Jazz this Thursday. And in a repeat of last week I also hope we will have Mike Wills back with us now that he can get his shoes back on!

Next week (August 24th) we can look forward to having Alan Grahame with us on vibraphone. 

What a celebration his "Life in Music" was. A totally unique experience for all who were able to be part of the audience.

A Geoff Swaffield Image of Alan's "Celebration"

There again, Hedsor Jazz does try and give you some great musical experiences. 

Looking a long way forward I can confirm that we will have a very special guest with us for our Christmas Party on December 21st. World Famous singer Tina May will be joining us to herald in Christmas, and I'm sure she will be a far better herald than the adverts on telly for this annual event! 

So with luck I will see you all tomorrow. Do encourage others to become Hedsor Jazz acquaintances. Better still, encourage those who are already acquainted with Hedsor Jazz become regular attendees!

Above are two images of Tina May the last time she came for Christmas!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

It HAS been pointed out to me that in today's original blog I inadvertently credited critic Clive Davis with being the leader of Hedsor's regular quintet. He isn't, it is OF COURSE Clive BURTON!!
Just when you thought you had got it all sorted out,

you get a phone call!!

Mike Wills will NOT be with us on Thursday after all!! Sadly he has got a bad case of gout!

So bad in fact that he can't get a shoe on. 

Anyone who has ever suffered with this sort of problem will sympathise (and it doesn't really have a close association with drinking lots of port!) as it is very painful. So for Mike, for a while, it is footy up time.

In his place this week I am delighted to announce that we have that lovely toned young saxophonist Robert Goodhew. It will be great to have him back at Hedsor Jazz once again.

So for us, if not for Mike, a consolation prize!

Geoff C
A short (but pretty?) blog today,

To tell you all that tomorrow we have the return of our REGULAR saxophone section in the shape and sound of MIKE WILLS!

Yes, Mike can drive again, and so we say a very "Welcome Back" to our Oxford based (and now married) regular member of the Clive Burton Quintet.

I also want to say "thank you" to all of the musicians who have helped us out during Mike's absence. I hope we get other opportunities to enjoy all of you at some future time. Now there's a thought. Is there such a thing as "future time"?

Now for some of the photos of recent events at Hedsor Jazz I haven't had the opportunity to publish before.

These are all from the amazing night we had celebrating Alan Grahame's Life in Music. Most of the above are from Geoff Swaffield, on or two are from my camera.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

My First Post Swanage Holiday Blog,

And what a lot to say!!

First our guest for this week at Hedsor Jazz is the famous son of a famous father. Duncan Lamont Junior will be joining Clive and our rhythm section this week. 

We also have another guest this week in the shape and sound of Mike Jeffries on drums. It is regular drummer Martin Hart’s turn to paint the railings, and I understand they are a rather long set, so we will be seeing Mike Jeffries again next week too.

BUT what about last week?

An awe inspiring evening, one which Hedsor Jazz had the privilege of hosting. The celebration of Alan Graham’s Life in Music.

Now if we are asked who has played at Hedsor jazz we can really reel off an incredible list of musicians. There are also a few names we can boast about who have come to listen too! There were over 100 people present!

I will attach as many photos of the evening as Blogger will allow, for you to see and recognise, but I will list just a few.

Obviously some of Alan’s family came and played for and with him. A grandson who is an excellent drummer, daughter Lisa on saxophone (she brought along another member of the Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra on trombone), both Duncan Lamont senior and junior on saxophone, Simon Spillett on saxophone, guitarist Terry Hutchins, Ken McCarthy on piano as well as our own Nigel Fox, John Monney and 2 other bass players. 

I am going to give you the opportunity of identifying some of the others who played.

But in the audience were some eminent musicians who didn’t play. Bill Ashton, founding director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, accordion player Jack Emblow, musical director and pianist Laurie Holloway (came in towards the end), and I’m sure many more faces with names!

One interesting musical interlude was having Peter Ripper duetting with Lisa. Master and pupil, he had been her musical coach some years ago.

Another part of the 3 hours of non stop music, (yes, there were only changeover breaks for different amalgamations to gather), was a request by Alan Graham to play a ballad with Simon Spillett, this was absolutely beautiful, I dare anyone who heard that to say that Simon cannot play ballads!

And the food. Jan Burton, you excelled yourself. It was vast and wonderful, and available for continuous grazing from 9pm!

Enough text and eulogy for now, all I will add is that it has been an absolute privilege to have been involved with Alan (and our own regular trombone player, Clive Burton) in getting this musical celebration held at The Hedsor Social Club. 

Now many more musicians know where it is, even in the dark!