Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Well, here we are again and it's Tuesday.  Still unable to meet friends and family, almost threatened now by Christmas and its associated risks, BUT now with a hope for 2021. 

I just wonder how often we have said in the last 9 months, “can’t we start again please”? Well seemingly no we can’t YET. Final details will be announced on Thursday I understand, then we will know if we can start having live music indoors again or not. 

We have all missed the jazz family as well as our own. Back in March when I had to tell you that we would not be able to run jazz at Hedsor for a few weeks, we had no idea that it would go on so long, which was just as well. 

Little by little our hopes have been kept alive throughout the drabness of lockdown. We have lost friends (how bizarre to have virtual funerals!), but we have gained new ones too. During our exercise periods we have met people we didn’t know before, who all said Hello, and who, like us, just wanted human contact.

Yes, some people have been selfish, and the sight of crowds on Brighton Beach back in the summer via TV were dreadfully amazing, as were those of the “outdoor” meals seen in London, with streets closed to traffic but filled by people eating and drinking at tables very socially unaware or distant.

Through all of this, we were unable to see and hear live jazz. I think we have all begun to appreciate better the people we met regularly at Hedsor Jazz. Friends, but only though our joint love for the music that drew us to Hedsor Club in the first place. But won’t it be a joy when we can meet and talk with them again. Maybe through this dreadful year we will be able to re-evaluate what friendship means, and to make sure we value it in all its forms into the future.

But the new or old normalities won’t be yet.

One or two things have kept my sprits high this week. The BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year broadcast on Sunday evening was able to show us a little of the future. I wonder if you thought the right young person had won? In my view they, and we, were all winners. Some I’m sure will become future guests at Hedsor, or dare I say also at Swanage! If you didn’t watch the program, it can still be had on iPlayer

  https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b00bb3wt/bbc-young-musician

Whilst on the subject of links, when I wrote last week of the Ronnie Scott program I wasn’t sure if the actual program could be still watched, but Martin Ashford of Marlow Music sent me the link

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000pjcm/ronnies-ronnie-scott-and-his-worldfamous-jazz-club

This should let you watch it again for about another 11 months!

Some of the guests we have been fortunate to enjoy at Hedsor have been famous names in the firmament of jazz. Two are now combined on a new CD just out on the 33 Records label.

“52nd Street (and other tales)” has Tina May singing the songs of the late Duncan Lamont. So far I have managed to play it through just once, but I urge you to go and buy it, not just for the excellence of the recording or the music it conveys to your ears, but for the wonderful printed content of the sleeve too.

 You may need a magnifying glass to read some of he small white on black text, but it gives a great insight into Duncan, who played Hedsor many times both with and without Duncan junior

For me one song stands out, not just for the beauty and simplicity of the performance, but for the words and music themselves. On this CD ALL of the music and 99% of the words were written by Duncan himself, but on this one, “English Folk Song” the words were sent to Duncan by comedian Spike Milligan. No, it isn’t a funny song, it’s a beautiful song, poetry and melody, but a tune not unlike one that Vaughn Williams may have written during his days of collecting English folk songs. Other songs on this CD have more jazz style to them, after all with Tina together with James Pearson on piano, and with some solo work undertaken by trombonist Mark Nightingale why wouldn’t they, but do go and buy this. It gives us a better idea of the man who played that saxophone at Hedsor, which makes me realise what a special place Hedsor Jazz has been. And will be again.

Below some pictures from previous visits by Tina and Duncan to Hedsor Jazz





 









In the meantime, keep safe. We will all listen to the new rules on Thursday with bated breath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

 Its blog day again, and I have a number of things to write about!

Hedsor Jazz is financially supported by “Jazz Angels”. This is a private organisation founded to help to keep live jazz alive in the South Bucks area. It is funded by voluntary donations. Below is a message from its treasurer Mr John Dutton.

Dear Jazz Angels,

I hope you are all well and coping with the current and very miserable lockdown situation. As the “Angels” treasurer I felt an urgent need to make contact with as many of you as possible to offer my sincere thanks for your continued financial support. Each and every one of your monthly contributions have without doubt kept our finances on an even keel and removed future financial uncertainties. Despite having e-addresses and phone numbers for some of you, I hope that by using Geoff’s excellent blog I will be able to reach you all. Once again, my sincere and heartfelt thanks. Stay safe and well.

John Dutton

If you would like more information about Jazz Angels you can email him on john.dutton16@googlemail.com

The current situation regarding live anything, little own live Jazz at Hedsor, is complicated and uncertain. BUT, and it is a big BUT, we are planning to have A LIMITED live jazz event at The Hedsor Club on Thursday December 17th. THIS IS NOT A PUBLIC EVENT as such, but will be open to 25 people. We do have a number of people who have already volunteered for this trial event, but if you haven’t yet done so and would like to be considered for a place, please send all your contact details (for covid tracing) to Tracy Georgiades  (tracy.georgiades@gmail.com). There is NO Guarantee that it will take place, or if it does that you will get an invitation. PLEASE DO NOT COME IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN OFFICIAL INVITATION. I will blog more about this at a later date.

One of the doubts about running even a limited edition of Hedsor Jazz is even if the current lockdown situation is lifted on December 2nd, we will perhaps go back to the level system. When the lockdown was reintroduced Hedsor was on level 1, which would allow us to do what we plan. If Hedsor (or YOU) are “upgraded” to level 2, then the event can’t happen, OR YOU can’t travel to it. So, cross your fingers that all is fine, as the Quintet booked to come out that night are all well know to us and it will be deep joy to see them all again. Confirmed for this trial run so far are Kelvin Christian (sax), Lester Brown trumpet, Peter Hughes bass, and Martin Hart, drums and leader of the band!

More information on the level of covid 19 infections in your area can be had from the BBC News website, but today the local most recent info posted at 8:07 today Tuesday 17.11.2020:-

Coronavirus: Confirmed cases in Berkshire

The latest number of cases of Covid-19 has been confirmed as 14,498 in Berkshire.

The figure is up by 1,599 cases since Sunday.

The breakdown of figures by local authority area is:

Slough - 3,715

West Berkshire - 1,825

Wokingham - 2,273

Reading - 2,592

Windsor and Maidenhead - 2,588

Bracknell Forest - 1,505

Now on to other things!

My YouTube finds this week are wonderful. I had dug out a DVD that I had had in the cupboard for some time of various excerpts of Louis Armstrong on TV. At the end of one of the songs they ran the credits, and the American program had been sponsored by Timex. Yes, they make watches. BUT in 1957 they sponsored a prime time TV program. So I YouTubed it, and Lo and behold (well it is nearly Christmas) there are hours of 1957/8 and 9 jazz programs to watch

Start with https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=timex+all+star+jazz+show+

But do check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVpYSB_7LI8&t=2130s

This is a great lecture featuring Louis Armstrong with extracts from the Timex shows, with explanations as to who and why.

BBC 4 made efforts to entertain us again this week, with programs on Ronnie Scott’s club, Ella Fitzgerald and more. I have yet to really settle down to watching them, as I recorded the evening, but you may be able to pick up again via BBC iPlayer, although the Ronnie Scott isn’t showing up yet on iPlayer as I type!


Well I think that is about it for today.

Keep safe, and if you want to tell me about your week and wants try emailing me on octogeoff@outlook.com

 

I do not promise to solve any of your problems….but you may solve mine!

 

Geoff

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

My Blog Bits this week are roughly on time!!

Yes, this week we are shut down, but gladly through various modern media, not shut off!

And it looks like good news today on the vaccination front. Hope now for next year, and a realignment of normal. But for now (a great song, this version by Bob Dorough) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfWaloOtV74  we still have to abide by the rules.

We may not be “new normal” by Christmas, but the release from lockdown may come before, and a very limited edition of Christmas could be possible. Do still keep December 17th clear in your diaries as depending on the rules that apply at the time an instant jazz night at Hedsor before Christmas may be possible.

But just so that you are reminded of what jazz sounds like before then I have gathered together a few more YouTube links, just to help you pass the time.

Martin Ashford, of Music in Marlow reminded me that some of Ronnie Scotts programs are available on YouTube via https://www.youtube.com/c/RonnieScottsClub/videos  There seems to be lots to investigate there.

Whilst casting around for something to fill a ½ hour yesterday I came across a very young lady both singing and playing the trumpet. Her name is Andrea Motis, and the clip I first watched had her as a very young 17 year old (She was born in Barcelona in 1995), and there are quite a number clips and concerts of her singing and playing on YouTube, and here are some links to get you started:-

The first one has her alongside tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo8og3xw-Ys&list=RDUxIPVAPRBi4&index=3


You will be able to find more from YouTube from here on, but check out also

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxIPVAPRBi4&list=RDUxIPVAPRBi4&start_radio=1

again with Scott Hamilton in the ensemble.

I was amazed how self assured she seamed, and how capable. I was playing a trumpet at the same age (17), but had nowhere near the same level of skill or self assurance as this young Spanish lady.

Using Amazon Prime Music I also discovered this week another lady singer that I used to see almost every Wednesday in “The White Heart” in Southall. 

There is a great compilation of Ottilie Patterson with The Chris Barber Band:-


I recall that when it wasn’t the original Barber band playing at Southall, the Sandy Brown Jazzmen where in their place. On those nights the interval was longer, as Sandy was notorious for taking long intervals and had to be dragged back to play! The pub, now in a very cosmopolitan part of west London was demolished in 2009.


I know I mentioned Ottilie a couple of blogs back, but one tends to forget what an exciting singer she was. During those Southall days when she wasn’t actually singing with the Chris Barber band, she was sitting to one side of the stage, marking homework. She was a school teacher at the time. (mid 1950’s).

Well, that’s it for now folks.

Just an interesting self observation on leaving you this week. I have noticed that since the lock out of Live Jazz via Hedsor, I have been listening to more traditional jazz, which is where I came in! Is this my second childhood?

Don’t forget you can give me your feedback, comments, or even your life story, via octogeoff@outlook.com

 

 

 

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Like most things these days, we are all adjusting to a new “norm”, and the new norm for my blog is LATE!

I have an excuse, we had a final pickup of the computers for Ghana yesterday (brought forward of course due to the new lockdown) and getting that done has rather preoccupied me.

It is of course Thursday! I have a vague recollection that I used to go and listen to some jazz on a Thursday! One day we will be able to do that again.

We would be planning a Hedsor Jazz Christmas event for Thursday 17th about now, but you might like to put that date in your diary anyway, unless you already have another festive event happening. We may be able to pull of a quick limited edition covid safe event, but it is only an “if” at the moment. I feel that in this covid year we are being pulled through with different “hopes”. Coloured lights at the end of a tunnel, which strangely, doesn’t seem to have an end to it!

So, just to make the page look pretty, some pictures of Hedsor Jazz's Christmas in Past Years







 A listen I have indulged in this week is a fairly old CD by singer Norma Winstone called “Manhattan in the Rain.” It has one of my favourite reed plays on it, Tony Coe, and it is a superb exploration of voice, words and reed skills. If you get the chance to sample it on one of the multi media streaming devices around try for track 6, “People will say we are in Love”. A superb solo from Tony, and another from keyboard player Steve Gray. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HAPs9bFXXk

It was recorded in 1998, which somehow now seems to be just yesterday. I can still remember how I heard it first, on a Jazz Club Radio Program from Ireland. It is a simple trio accompaniment to Norma, with Chris Lawrence as the bass player. I still think it is one of the best Norma Winstone records around.


 

Well, I’m off to play with my toys now. Do let me know, via octogeoff@outlook.com what you are doing to occupy lockdown No 2, and if you have found gems to share with the rest of us.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

 A Quick PS, 

check out the links to The United Nations Jazz Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGAbp1Ro_q0

There is more to hear from Dimitri and his friends!

 Jazz from Geoff, THE BLOG, you will appreciate, is late this week.

Late is becoming the new normal.  It is very sad to say BUT with no gig at Hedsor to advertise for the last few months, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find things to write about. No photos to colour the page with either, so this week I was really casting around for things to lift our spirits.

In a way, I have failed. One of the things this corona virus period has given us though is time at home, and I have been playing things from my collection that maybe I haven’t played in a while. In doing that this week I came a cross a recording, made at Hedsor, that you won’t have!!

Back in 2008 I ran a series of monthly Monday jazz events in the bar at Hedsor (in its scruffier days) that were concentrated on jazz led by guitar. In this I had the help of, amongst others, guitarist James Fenn. 



It was James who introduced me to Vasilis Xenopoulos, and on May 19th 2008 Vasilis came with a Greek friend called Dimitri. Now, I don’t know his second name, and it was whilst trying to find who it might be that I came across Dimitri Vassilakis on you tube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udNJCRSABvw

Do take a look and a listen, as you will find a 20 minute exploration of the structure of jazz, which is quite fun, but sadly hasn’t got enough real musical content. It IS however very well done. I will try and find more from this musician, as he sounds pretty good, and comes across well as an educator.

I don’t think that this was the Dimitri who came to Hedsor in 2008. But that session in 2008 was recorded by me onto a mini disk, and I saved the music onto CD. Playing it this week, I realise that over the years those of us who were at Hedsor Jazz in its early years had some excellent jazz to listen to. I am taking a risk now, as I am going to put those recordings into DropBox without asking permission of the players, but will take it down if they really object. I don’t think they need to be bashful of the content, as it is all pretty good jazz. James Fenn on guitar, Lisa Amato on bass guitar, Nick Maragoni on drums, Vasilis Xenopoulos on Tenor sax, and the aforementioned Dimitri on alto sax. Like I said, no photos, and no cd cover, but if you want to have a listen go to

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/eoadexsaqz1se3s/AACcNnGwUs_CJSAh5bC0TgVKa?dl=0

Were YOU there? 

Do make comment via octogeoff@outlook.com

My memories of that bar were the long settle seats. You really did settle in to the ground when you sat down, but at least all the seats in the bar were comfortable enough to sit on (or even in) without bringing your own cushion!

The photo below was taken in the bar in 2011, but the d├ęcor and the seating were the same, if not the band!!


I'm sure you can name all of these!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Geoff’s Blog, again possibly a little late again this week, but ALWAYS of the same high quality!! After all it does have an inbuilt delete button on the device you get it on!

First of all, an email message from one of Hedsor Jazz’s favourite guests.

Vasilis Xenopoulos wrote in this week with the following:-

Dear Friends,

Apologies for the radio silence all these months but as you can understand not a lot happened during the lockdown period. Finally, there is some activity again in the music scene and I will be appearing in several venues around the country mainly with the Nigel Price Organ trio who they're currently on tour. We have already done 7 appearances this month already in the West Country and the North. 
For the London based jazz fans, I'm very excited to announce that I will be at Ronnie Scott's jazz club this Thursday 22/10 with Nigel Price and next week 31/10 at 606 jazz club with an exciting new band called 5-Way-Split. 

In these strange times we're living your support is more valuable than ever as we're trying to rebuild our music scene back from its ruins. I hope finally get to see some familiar faces soon! If you want a full list of dates please click here. 
https://vasilisxenopoulos.com/new-events

Many thanks 

Vasilis 

One day, we will be able to send you all an email telling you that Vasilis is playing again at Hedsor, but until then, do at least follow him on the electronic device of your choice

As I mentioned in a recent blog, I still buy CD’s. I really do find a sense of ownership and a more direct connection to the music if I can actually hold something that contains it, rather than just the right to listen to it! And so it was that this week I got to listen to a Chris Barber CD again!

A very recent purchase, as it was only released in October, is a Chris Barber recording from 1963. Alan Gilmour was the sound engineer for Nottingham Jazz Club, and he used to record the sessions for his own use through the PA. Alan died in 2003, and his family has gifted the tapes he left behind (over 1000 hours worth) to Lake Records. This is their first release, and the first of a recording of Chris Barber in a real club atmosphere. You may recall that there have been many recordings released of The Barber Band recorded live during prestigious concerts, going as far back to1954 (an LP containing bits of the National Jazz federation’s Festival Hall Concert), when they were formed, 

but I don’t think there have been any recoded in a live jazz club, and thanks to Alan Gilmour and Lake Records, now there is!


It is a double album, so you get most of the evenings music, including an extended set by Ottilie Patterson. What a joy to hear her again, vibrant, slightly husky, and as sexy and as driving a singer as I remembered her.

In the days of early courtship and marriage my wife June often used to accompany me to jazz events, and neither of us have ever forgotten an evening in Hammersmith Town Hall where Ottilie came out in front of the Barber band in a long black dress, and started to sing and dance in front of the band. It wasn’t long before, and with a gasp from the audience, she lifted her long skirt to show long bright red leather boots! Wow, it was 1959!

This new CD release is well worth having, not just for Ottilie, but for all of the vitality it shows that the band could have in 1963. With Ian Wheeler on clarinet and alto sax, it was “just” the 6 piece Barber band, but already showing the signs of things to come. Still much to cheer the Trad fan of the day, but also some Ellington and some Rhythm and Blues along the way.  Lake LACD 363

Despite my purchasing continuity, the enabling of me to hold the music purchased (a contradiction in terms surely), I do subscribe to Amazon Prime and one or two other music streaming services. I must say that they do often tempt me to actually purchasing something solid, but they are a good way of testing it out and/or finding something new to like. 

One of my favourite pianists over recent years has been Scot Brian Kellock. He can often be found both live and on cd alongside fellow Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsaScfdvGhM  click the link!

I managed to catch Brian “live” at a Swanage Jazz festival gig some years ago. He is tremendously inventive, and sometimes, to the annoyance of other musicians on the stage with him, carries his solos on a bit, usually to the excitement of the crowd.

The CD’s of note I have of him are with Smith and the Scottish Jazz Orchestra, playing some great Ellington, “In the Spirit of the Duke”

 


Another that I have loved has Brian playing alongside singer Catherine Legardh on “Love Still Wears a Smile”, and also with her on “Gorgeous Creatures”.



But, thanks to my subscription to Amazon Prime I have discovered a solo album entitled “Bidin My Time” and it says that the label it is on is brian kellock!! Do try it (and him) out. All his recordings are well engineered, and are producing a great piano sound. On this his 2020 release he plays a variety of styles, but it is truly jazz piano of the highest quality. Seek it out via https://briankellock.bandcamp.com/releases

Well that is enough from me for now, I can smell the coffee. In the meantime until we meet again, enjoy your jazz wherever you find it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 

Jazz from Geoff, The Blog

 

The Blog is late again this week. I have actually been OUT 2 days in a row! Old friends and what were once familiar faces. How we have all slipped into the routines of shutdown, whatever level we are or will be in.

I sat down last night and played the last recording I made at Hedsor Jazz. March 5th 2020. Do YOU remember that night? There was only one more to come a week later, but March 5th was the last that I recorded, and it now seems so strange that then we were all used to going out to Hedsor on a Thursday evening, meeting familiar faces and as well as having the amazing social contact that we took for granted, listening to amazing jazz, which we also took for granted.

On March 5th we listened to Ian Smith and Ollie Wilby. We talked with them in the interval; we shook hands with them at the end of the evening. We enjoyed the banter with others as they left. “Thanks Geoff for doing the tables and PA, see you next week”. The sort of evening and evening end that we had enjoyed every week for umpteen years at Hedsor Jazz. Almost every Thursday evening this century in fact.





 But in this past 7 months that normality has died. In that 7 months we too have all changed and, I for one, don’t want the Hedsor Jazz habit to be allowed to die too, which is why I have attempted to write something every week in order to keep the memory of our previous normality alive.

This hasn’t been helped by computer hackers. My address book was got at by, I am told, a Russian. I have had to think hard about how to email again to let you know about my weekly typing's, and I have still to solve that puzzle. More than one antivirus program has scanned my PC, and they all tell me it isn’t infected, and that I am protected. But do please be aware, all of you who read this will now be known by someone else.

On the music front this week I have seen no new live jazz. Scour the internet, use some of the links I have put out in this blog in previous weeks  and you can see live jazz broadcasts that you can stream for a price and there are also many streams and films from the past can be had for free via YouTube, which is great.

I understand that the musicians need to keep in practice and also to gain some income, but sitting in front of a screen listening through relatively small loudspeakers is nothing like the live vibe of club or concert. Even the glass of beer isn’t quite as good, even though Rebellion Beer have been brilliant in keeping me supplied!

No I haven’t an answer, or date to give you a hope of a return to live interaction (I was tempted to say “live social intercourse” but thought that might be misconceived!!). We are almost back were we were in March. Covid 19 isn’t going away, and I don’t want to risk lives by offering the temptation of live jazz. What I am going to do this week is put the whole of our last concert at Hedsor up on DropBox and let you all grab it for your self, and for you to have that funny nostalgia feeling for yourselves.


 

DropBox link for Hedsor Jazz March 5th 2020

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ohtymbe5ik6xgx9/AAAbYLm16CEOpLLhOm9lc4NJa?dl=0

 

More blog natter next week, but whatever you do, stay safe.

 

Don’t forget to make contact with me use octogeoff@outlook.com