Wednesday, September 28, 2016


It is with great sadness and regret that I have to tell you that Ken died peacefully this morning at about 4am at his new home in Weymouth. He was with the nursing staff who had looked after him for the past week or so.

I am sure we will all miss him, and want to remember him both as a friend and as a wonderful bass player. More details of a time when we can all share our memories of him will come later. In the meantime we must remember in our thoughts and prayers his long term partner Sue, and his sister Linda who are both currently in Portland.

Please let others know of his passing, and of any further information that may come via blog or email from me.

Geoff Cronin
Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Only a few words of blog from me this week.

I am still basically house bound, with the prospect of another hospital visit to be looked forward to (yes, I do mean looked forward to, as a resolution of my current problems would be very welcome)!
I gather that last Thursdays evening with Al Nicholls was a big success. One of the nurses who dealt with me last Thursday in A&E knew of “Blue Harlem” a band that Al runs! It’s a small world, as she was also involved in Motor Car Racing (another activity I used to be involved with).
As mentioned a few blogs ago, our Christmas Special this year is on December 22nd. I am delighted to announce that we will have a very special guest with us for this party. Trombonist Roy Williams, ex Alex Welsh, Ex Humphrey Lyttelton is coming to keep Clive Company. A few other surprise guest may well also appear, so do please ensure you put this date in your diary NOW so that you don’t forget to come!

By now, you will be aware that we have had to increase our usual weekly entry fee. Hedsor Jazz is available to you now for the still very manageable sum of £7.

Roy Williams at Swanage this year
OK, keep the live jazz flag flying whilst I’m away.
Geoff C

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hedsor Jazz and All That

This week we have our usual quintet at Hedsor, and I must say that last week they were very good with tight ensembles and good tunes played! I'm sure this week will be of similar quality so do yourselves a favour etc etc!

Al Nicholls
Next week (September 22nd) Hedsor Jazz will have a very special guest. Saxophonist Al Nichols of Blue Harlem fame ( is coming to join Clive and the band. Al has been a featured guest of the band since Century Jazz days, and it will be a super evening I’m sure. Sadly, I wont be able to see him as I have an appointment with a surgeon on Monday 19th September!!

As you heard last week, the rent we pay for the room has been increased. After discussions with Jazz Angels treasurer John Dutton it has been decided that from the beginning of October (Thursday 7th) after many years of a £6 entry fee, we are going to have to increase our entrance charge to £7. To somewhat offset this, we will no longer be passing the pot round for voluntary room rent contributions.

Hedsor Jazz sessions are still incredibly good value, the entry fee includes our wonderful raffle, free car parking and candlelight as well as quality live modern jazz.

Sarah Moule
John Coverdale and Nigel Fox
Cores End Church. An Engraving circa 1982
Away from Hedsor, but not that far away, coming up this Saturday September 17th Cores End Church in Bourne End is hosting a jazz concert featuring singer Sarah Moule. Also taking part will be Mark Aston on saxophone, John Coverdale on guitar, Nigel Fox on keyboard, John Monney on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums. Originally this had been planed with Ken Rankine and the line up chosen by him but sadly he wont be able to be with us. 

Ken Rankine
Ken is still in Dorchester General Hospital and may soon be transferred to a hospice.
Since the stroke he had 3 week ago he has lost a lot of his ability to communicate, being unable to use his phone, read, or enjoy his Walkman. I hope to record the concert at Cores End and eventually get it to him so that he can hear the concert that he helped to set up.
Tickets for this concert are still available. If you come to Hedsor this week, I still have a few, but sales will continue at the Bourne End Gifts and Card Shop and also on the door on the night. The £10 ticket also includes a glass of wine at half time, and some nibbles to go with it.

So, whilst the music is still available and you can still hear it, why not keep supporting live jazz.

See you next time.

Geoff C

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

After some summer weeks of jazz excitement, we are back to our “normal” quartet this week. No, it wont be an anticlimax, but this week we will have the added comfort of Mike Wills familiar face, and multi reed musicianship!!

Tracey and Mike in August this year

The past few of week have included Tracey Mendham, Stuart Henderson with “Tolly”, and then, last week, Simon Spillett.

Stuart and Tolly with Clive and Tina May, Christmas 2013
Simon Spillett with Clive at Christmas 2008
It just goes to show that our “little” jazz enterprise at Hedsor does attract some pretty wonderful musicians. We know how good The Clive Burton Quintet is, the world knows how good Simon Spillett is and they are beginning to discover Stuart and Tolly, but all the above enjoy the atmosphere of Hedsor Jazz, and come and play for a very small amount of money.

Coming soon is another saxophonist who has been associated with the band in all its forms for a long time. I first saw him at The Cookham Tavern (now a Costa Coffee Shop) back in the 1990’s and I saw Al Nicholls last at The Swanage Jazz Festival, where he had the fabulous trombone player (from the Alex Welsh and Humphrey Lyttleton Bands) Roy Williams alongside him.

He will be coming to join Clive Burton and the rest of our band on September 22nd. Al was featured on the double CD album that was recorded at Norden Farm Arts Centre in a concert that was a tribute to the late Keith Vitty.

Before Al’s reunion with the band on the 22nd, but not at Hedsor, we have some familiar faces playing and supporting the wonderful singer Sarah Moule. On Saturday September 17th a very special concert will be played at Cores End United Reformed Church, Bourne End, from 8pm, see advert below.

For me and for most of those taking part, it will be bitter sweet. It was originally arranged with Ken Rankine, who as most of you now know, is terminally ill and in hospital in Dorchester General Hospital in Dorset. He chose the band and the singer. I would like as many of you who can come to come and enjoy the evening and silently pay tribute to Ken by enjoying the music he enjoyed being part of. 

Tickets (£10 each) are available from me at Hedsor on a Thursday, or from The Bourne End Gifts and Cards Shop. Do let people know about this event and help us fill this Georgian church. The acoustics are pretty good, and Mark Aston, the leader of the band on the night, has arranged a great program.

TTFN (look it up!),

Geoff C

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I have been remise,

for the past 2 weeks I have not written a blog!! Things other than jazz have rather taken over!!

Some very good jazz has been listened to at Hedsor in that time of course, last week with Stuart Henderson and Tolly being “just one of those things”.

And without doubt this week will be NO exception. For at Hedsor Jazz on Thursday we have as a special guest that award-winning saxophonist Simon Spillett. He will be joining Clive and the band just to be part of our Hedsor Jazz Scene. No special build up, no posters, no advanced ticket sales, and no bumped up price either. Just one of those nice events that Hedsor Jazz is becoming renowned for.

Simon on an earlier visit to Hedsor
 I was asked last week if we were going to have a Christmas Special this year. Yes, and it will be on December 22nd. I’m sure that there will be food, and tickets, and special guests, so make sure you have it in your diary, and if you plan to be away for Christmas, go the following day!!

Sadly, someone who has always been at our Christmas events every year in the past as a member of the band, Ken Rankine, will not be able to be with us this year. Some of you are by now aware that Ken’s illness has taken a turn for the worst, and he is back in Dorchester General Hospital in the Stroke Ward. After a period of confusion initially thought to be caused by his need for morphine, he had another scan and blood clots were discovered in his brain. Sue will be returning to Portland on Friday to be near to him again.

CD’s Listened to.

I have had great enjoyment this past couple of weeks in listening to two young British bands.

A Quartet called “Echoes of Swing” generated a broad smile to my face. They are great players with a crisp sound and they do swing. Colin T. Dawson trumpet and vocals, Chris Hopkins alto sax, Bernd Lhozky keyboard and Olive Mewes drums bring a refreshing change to those great old (traditional?) tunes. They have definitely taken a good look at the repertoire. My favourite from this disk is Bechet’s “Premier Bal”, but equally well they bring dancing steps to “Moonlight Serenade”  and the “Original Dixieland One Step”. All in all they are great fun. ACT 9103-2 is the disk number.

The other British jazz group has one more member than “Echoes of Swing”. It is by “The Man Overboard Quintet” and they follow in the manouche tradition, with Thomas Gould violin, Jean-Marie Fagon guitar, Louisa Jones vocals, Ewan Bleach clarinet and Dave O’Brien double bass. They swing, and again generated in me a broad smile. They say of their material on this album that it “..ranges from early 1920’s (New Orleans Wiggle) to the mid-1950’s (Sister Sadie). Hot swing, torch songs, raw blues, and a little ragtime….and all can be found Down in the Deep, Deep Blue”. And “Down in the Deep Deep Blue” is the title of the album available on Champs Hill Records CHRCD089

So there you have it (or not, as the case may be). Live jazz, unpredictable exciting and “never the same way once”, or recorded music you can listen to at home, where you get to know every note. You can of course have it all. Come and be sociable and support live jazz, especially at THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


At Hedsor Jazz, we are going to try and bring some joy into this years summer. So, as a celebration, we will have some buffet food PLUS in addition to our regular Clive Burton Quintet TWO very special guest musicians:-

The Lady Saxophonist with the Big Sound, and even bigger heart TRACEY MENDHAM

And playing with her for the very first time, that amazing young at heart vibraphone player ALAN GRAHAME.

To make sure we have enough time for all this we are starting at 8 PM but we are only charging our regular entry fee of £6, which of course includes a raffle ticket for our renowned raffle.

Advanced Notice

On August 25th by very special request we have a return visit of trumpeter Stuart Henderson and with him will be his saxophonist friend TOLLY. This will be another night of not to be missed exciting jazz music. And again, another night that will only cost you £6 to get in. Tell your friends, NO, bring your friends. These two will be again augmenting our regular Clive Burton Quintet, so it will be a big sound in Hedsor's big room.

Advanced Notice

I have been asked to organise another jazz concert at Cores End Church, and as well as many familiar faces from Hedsor Jazz my special guest is singer Sarah Moule. Tickets are £10 each (and I do have some to sell you) and will include interval refreshments. The musical director will be saxophonist Mark Aston. This concert has no hidden agenda, we just need to break even, so do come and support local live jazz. Sarah Moule is a really great singer, if you haven’t heard her before please don’t miss this opportunity.

Ken Rankine

Ken has been able to take on food this week, and is fast approaching getting to 9 stone in weight., Although still on morphine, he has been able to have a couple of outings during this warm weather which has cheered him up no end. 

The concert at Cores End Church would have had him playing, as the flyers states, but just in case he isn't able to make it, we have booked John Monney as a dep. for the gig.

Private Listening

At home this week I have listened to a tribute CD to that great saxophonist Benny Carter. All the tunes played are songs written by him, but played by a quintet led by Warren Vache. It’s on the Arbors Jazz label and therefore very well recorded. With Warren are Houston Person on tenor sax, that lovely lady bass player Nicki Parrott, Tardo Hammer on piano and Leroy Williams on drums. On the album you will recognise at least 2 tunes that are played by our own regular Hedsor Jazz Quintet. “A Walking Thing” and “Doozy”. It’s a very enjoyable album, ARCD 19446

Those of you who are unfamiliar with Benny Carter's jazz standing, go and have a listen to what I have as an LP (that's a round lump of vinyl about 12" diameter) called "Further Definitions", an album he released in 1966. Basically a saxophone quartet with a rhythm section, absolutely great.

OK so I know that you don’t actually have to own a CD to listen to the music any more, but I for one like looking at the booklet notes, something you don’t get with a Spotify stream!!

These days you not only have to campaign to keep live jazz alive, you have to prod to get jazz CD’s!!

See you soon.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

This Week at Hedsor Jazz

This week we should see back our reed section in the shape (and sound) of Mike Wills. Our bass player this week will be John Monney.

Last week was interesting, with 3 deps out of a quintet, leaving just Clive and Martin from the standard lineup. However it was all good fun. In fact everyone played exceedingly well. Kelvin Christiane added a bit of variety to the evening with both flute and soprano saxophone being added to the mix.

Kelvin Christiane

Alan Berry

It was nice to see Alan Berry again. He was one of the first pianist I used to see when I first moved out of London. He was the keyboard player with "The Lenny Best Quartet" in Maidenheads "The Bell" back in the 1970's. A few years of really great jazz, with good named guest musicians every Tuesday. Tubby Hayes played one of his last gigs with Lenny in "The Bell". He only had strength to play sitting down, but gave a master class that I for one have never forgotten.

News of Ken Rankine

Ken is now out of hospital and since Monday back at his Portland cottage home . Sue is with him. He had a stent inserted into his oesophagus to enable food to get past the tumour, and has been able to eat soft food and to take on board fluids. He would like to thank all who have signed and/or sent cards. Although still on morphine to control his pain, he is hoping to gain strength now he can take some food again but is taking things a day at a time. He has even tried for a few minutes to play an upright bass again and says it seems it is a bit like being a beginner again!

I'm sure we all wish him well, but do keep him and Sue in your thoughts and prayers.

Next week? Well Tracey Mendham, Alan Grahame, and food!! You cant miss August 11th!

(the above photos are courtesy of Geoff Swaffield).