Friday, July 18, 2014

Swanage Jazz Festival Report Final Installment

Sunday

I went first to listen to The Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra in Marquee 1. The personnel represent the best of the local school jazz orchestras in Dorset and get together once a month to rehearse together as one band. Their set started well, as they played scores they knew well, but I thought that as they progressed the lack of rehearsal time did show. However their were some talented you musicians in there, and even if the audience is getting to be of a certain vintage, there are certainly going to be musicians in the future who will have a fondness for jazz (and Weather Report!).





Next a shift to Marquee 2 to see Mark Bassey Plays Basie.



The rhythm section mentioned above wasn’t who played the set, but this is a Quintet doing similar things in a similar way to our own Clive Burton Quintet. I got the feeling that “our” Hedsor Regulars would do just as well, if not better in Swanage as this Portsmouth (I believe) based band. Needless to say I enjoyed there set, it was a sort of familiar territory. The trombone player (Mark Bassey) had the disadvantage of shortened arms (possibly a Thalidomide casualty) and the way he overcame this problem to play the bass trombone was a great credit to himself and all who had been involved in his training.




I then repositioned myself back into Marquee 1. I had been told that I had missed a wonderful young, pretty, American piano player. So I went to see if I had been told right. I Had! Stephanie Trick, who for this set was playing with guitarist, banjoist and singer Spats Langham, violinist Ben Holder and bass player Malcom Sked was terrific in the stride, boogie piano style and she had a beautiful smile. The part set that I saw brought a great big smile to my face, and was really enjoyable. They were playing a sort of Django style music, with Fats Waller overtones. I just wish I had seen more of that ensemble, and to have seen and herd her solo piano a bit more than I did. Real Joy!




And so to lunch.

In the afternoon I took myself back to the Methodist Church to here a wonderfully amusing set called “100 Years of Jazz in 99 Minutes”. again tears of joy, they were such great fun. The very blurred sound didn’t detract too much from the performance, because that is what it really was. Everyone played every instrument you could think of. See the program intro below.








I left at the interval after they had played “Sing Sing Sing” to get back to Marquee 2 for:-



Hedsor fans will need no introduction to Tina May. She was our guest artist last Christmas (which she hasn’t forgotten), this time joined by friend and singer Lee Gibson and that rhythm section to die for!! Great fun, great songs, excellent links. Didn’t they do well!!






Then came dinner, followed by the last session of the festival, 







OK, so I was probably suffering form “Festival Fatigue” by now, but for me this terrific line up of talent was a bit of a disappointment. In essence a jam session, but I don’t think it worked. No previous discussion appeared to have been had about how who should play what. A messy intro and ensemble exit from each tune, followed by a row of solos was not a good end to a wonderful festival. 

I made the mistake of going back to my digs, and not trying out Marquee 1, which I am told was wonderful.

However, I must pay due credit and give due respect to Fred Lindup and his team for organising another wonderful jazz festival. You cannot please all of the people, (or even me) all of the time, but Fred assured us that it will be on again next year, and I have already booked next years accommodation (The Robertsbrook Guest House, thank you Clare). As I said earlier this festival, which I have been coming to for 23 years, gives you a chance to hear a great variety of talented jazz musicians playing in a wide range of styles, and in a wide variety of venues. Long may it continue.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More 25th Swanage Jazz Festival Comments and Photos

Saturday Evening

After a very pleasant meal in The Ship, my main listen of the evening was to Alan Barnes Reed Breed.


This was a well arranged ensemble of some of my favorite musicians with a rhythm section could not be bettered. 

The same can also be said of each of the saxophonists. Hedsor fans will know first hand how good Karen Sharp is, and Alan Barnes has been voted top in his class times without number. As I mentioned earlier Simon Allen is also a locally trained musician, and he is now a mature exciting saxophonist who is already very good, and can only get better. A real star in the ascendancy. Greg Abate is an American now spending a lot of his time in the UK, and is a pretty astounding alto player. Robert Fowler is someone I feel we should know better. He is a mature player (I don’t mean old!) and wasn't at all out of place at any time during this long evening set. The sound of the ensemble of saxophones was really thrilling. And as the program notes did say, the tunes played were a mixture of new and the happily familiar. The entire evening reminded me of Benny Carters's two recordings,"Further Definitions", and "Additions to Further Definitions". Best set of the weekend? We shall see!!







David Newton, who played with a number of different groups during the weekend has always been a favorite of mine, and he IS getting better. Exciting stuff from him alone. 

All together a super end to a jazz festival Saturday



And so to bed. Next time I will write up the Sunday sessions.

BUT

in the meantime, dont forget there is Live Modern Jazz of the finest quality EVERY THURSDAY at The Hedsor Social Club, and it will only cost you £6!! And you can go home and sleep in your own bed (if you want too!!).
My Thoughts on The 25th Swanage Jazz Festival.

Friday Night

I spent my Friday evening in the Methodist church. Particularly to see The Nigel Price Organ Trio with Vasilis Xenopoulos, but arriving early enough(!!) to here The Ollie Howell Quintet. Due to traffic delays, they (O H Q) were an hour late, so there set was truncated. It was nice to commence the Swanage Festival with some young musicians, who really were all performers of a high order. The acoustics in this church are very poor for music, a very blurred sound from all I heard in here, which does make it difficult to assess the music of performers you don’t know. I know that Simon Spillett said last year how difficult it was to play in there because of the indistinct and diffused sound, and it hasn’t changed!!

However the O H Q :-

 
As listed in the program notes above they had a couple of very talented players, my favorite being saxophonist Duncan Eagles. He is going to be a significant player on the jazz circuit of the future I feel.





Nigel and Vasilis? Those who come to Hedsor Jazz don’t need to be told. Despite the poor acoustics, they were superb. Exciting, innovative, all the things you know about. With Matt Home on Drums and Pete Whitaker on organ who could ask for a better way of ending a Friday night. Wonderful stuff, and with a brand new Nigel Price Trio CD just out just to remind yourself at home what you could almost hear through the acoustic fog!



the only shot I got of Pete Whitaker is blurred, sorry,!

Saturday

Saturday started with the “traditional” New Orleans street parade through Swanage. Not as long a route as before (traffic regulations cost money!) but in the sunshine it was a photogenic occasion, and with a well known face in the front line!!



The first sit down in Marquee 2 was to listen to The Clare Hirst Quintet (as listed in the program below)



Clare is married to Alan Barnes, it is (and always was) a musician with her own take on music, she was once part of The Belle Stars, and doesn’t necessarily play modern (bop) jazz. This set showed us a good competent modern (as in up to date) jazz group extending the style past bop but refraining from the avant-guard.


Next up was a walk to the Conservative Club where another young band of musicians entertained with a tight ensemble sound and excellent solos.



They are an excellent band, surprising many in the audience with their ability to sight read!! They are Manchester based, if you get the chance go and see them, you will enjoy the experience. 

The Con Club had reorganized the seating this year which made it very comfortable, and the beer and rolls were both of a high quality and remarkably budget priced, well done.

I am not complaining, because the “problem” is in fact a real joy, but it is impossible to go and see all that is on offer at The Swanage Jazz Festival.The advantage of the stroller ticket is you can wander about and catch bands or musicians that you might not know. THAT is the way they get to be know, and it is also the way you can expand your understanding of jazz and extend the people you find enjoyable to listen to. But in so exercising my prerogatives, I had to miss out the Jim Mullen Organ Trio and eat a sandwich! But I did proceed to another band new to me (except “himself”), The Bobby Worth Quintet.




All guys I have seen before, 2 local to Hedsor (Simon Allen and Paul Jordanous both came up through the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra movement now known as Pendulum), the rest just famous!! This new grouping gained enthusiastic response from the audience, playing modern jazz.

Then, as now, I took a food break!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Short (Holiday) Blogg

Hi All,
Just because I'm enjoying the sunshine does not mean I have totally forgotten Hedsor Jazz!!

Not at all. It's just that I have just remembered to jog your memories, because some of you MIGHT have forgotten that it is there.

Yes EVERY THURSDAY top class jazz is played at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30pm.

You will be assured to know that many of our regular Clive Burton Quintet do also play at well known jazz festivals as well. This coming weekend, I am off to the Swanage Jazz Festival, and one of our regular band (Mike Wills) will also be there, playing on Friday night in Marque 1.....with

Dave Moorwood’s Big Bear Stompers