Wednesday, January 18, 2017

There will be a small change to our personnel tomorrow at Hedsor Jazz.

In place of our reed section Mike Wills ,we will have John Coverdale on guitar instead.

Mike is OK, but has had to have treatment in hospital today for a bout of angina. He is now home, but has been told to rest.

The angina may have been brought on by a discussion I had with him last week about the C-Melody saxophone. He does have one, and I had challenged him to bring it to Hedsor and play it. Obviously one ask too many.

Joking aside, I’m sure we all wish Mike a speedy recovery to full fitness.

Geoff C 
A Short note of blog today just to reinforce the message that Hedsor Jazz is alive and well and operates every Thursday.

This Thursday is no exception, and will be with a version of our regular Clive Burton Quintet.

Last week we had an excellent evening of jazz from the quintet, with Ken McCarthy in the piano chair (OK, stool!) but sadly the audience were largely scared off by the weather forecast. By the middle and end of the evening eleven brave souls had arrived, and I think everyone there enjoyed the evening. So, if you are free this week, and it doesn’t snow, flood or come down with a plague of frogs, maybe you too can enjoy the sound of live jazz. OK, I do nag!

If you can get catch up TV in some form or other I can strongly recommend a three-part serial on the “Drama” channel.

From my perspective a program that contains WWII aeroplanes, big band jazz, famous actors, comedy and gangsters is a must. And to have one that has George Melly actually singing makes it even more fun. “Aint Misbehavin” has all of these elements and is available for about another 10 days or so. Its so good in fact that I have just ordered the DVD (from Canada!).

One last conversational piece. Last night a number of the Hedsor Faithful visited Marlow Jazz. The guest musician was going to be guitarist Jim Mullen, but he has very recently been taken ill and is in hospital. In his place Michael Eagleton had booked Nigel Price, another fine guitarist and Hedsor favourite. The supporting trio was Frank Toms keyboard, with Elliot Toms on drums and Malcolm Creese on bass. In order to achieve some balance, saxophonist Frank Griffiths was also added in to the front line and actually acted as host for the evening. It turned out to be a pretty entertaining evening of first-rate jazz. The remarkable bit for me was that Malcolm Creese lives in Bury St Edmunds. I asked him at the end of the evening if he was travelling back that night. “Oh yes” he said “but I have to take Frank home to Bedford first”! So his journey to Marlow from Bury St Edmunds had been via Bedford in the first place.

And we get all of that effort for just £8!!

PS for those geographically challenged, Bury St Edmunds is in Suffolk! It would have meant a return journey of 246 miles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Good afternoon everyone

A late posting, but a reminder none the less that we have another Hedsor jazz session tomorrow, Thursday, at 8.30pm

It is always difficult after Christmas and New Year to get back into ones regular pattern (no, nothing to do with AllBran!), and even more difficult with this years pernicious cold virus doing the rounds. Hopefully I will be over mine enough to actually get to Hedsor myself tomorrow.

One does miss the friendships as well as the music. The missed pint of Rebellion also needs catching up with!

Tomorrow should be the regular Clive Burton Quintet, so don't forget to get your requests ready, you know how Clive always like to get them, (and likes it even more after he has forgotten to play them!).

The only commercial jazz recording I have listened to this past few weeks (I have tried to catch up with some classical orchestral recordings over the holiday period, and also some unpublished recordings by the Alex Welsh Band I was prompted to revisit after Roy Williams session with us at Christmas), but one jazz issue that I know Alex would have loved has come my way.

It is simply called "BIX" and is by the band "Echoes of Swing". 

This is a double album, and very bravely they have put some original Bix (Beiderbecke of course) recordings on a disk to accompany their version of his music. I will hasten to add that they have not copied the arrangements at all, but have brought new thinking to the familiar tunes, and it is VERY GOOD new thinking. 

There are 14 tunes newly recorded by "Echoes" and 10 beautifully remastered recordings from Bix from the 1920's. The old recordings have come up beautifully, and I have heard worse recorded sound from British 1950's Trad recordings (one in particular I can remember, a recording of Cy Laurie's band recorded in mono from a microphone hung from a club ceiling, actually issued on LP "to bring you all the atmosphere of a live club session"!).

Echoes of Swing themselves are Bernd Lhotzky piano, Chris Hopkins alto sax, Colin T Dawson cornet and Oliver Mewes drums. They are augmented by other guests including Australian Shannon Barnett on trombone and vocals. And she can really play the trombone!! 

It can all be found on the ACT label as 2 CD-Set 9826-2, BUT saxophone purists may well hate it, for their is, on some of the tracks, a c-melody saxophone!! Now I wonder if our regular sax section has got one of them!! 

Maybe tomorrow we will find out.


Geoff C

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Few Lines of Blog.

to make sure you know that our next Hedsor Jazz is January 5th 2017. I think this will be at our normal start time of 8.30pm and will probably have what passes for our normal resident band!! It WONT have food!

January 5th gives you enough time to walk off the Christmas filling (!) and perhaps the New Year hangover as well!!

I do hope you all enjoyed our Christmas party on December 22nd. I thought it was all absolutely splendid, AND the room was wonderfully full of all you people supporting live jazz. If you want to see all the pictures I took of the evening, and maybe listen again to the music, click on the link below to my DropBox folder.

It was a real delight to hear Roy Williams again. Back in the day of jazz at Maidenheads “The Bell” pub, (the 1970’s) he was a frequent visitor with the great Alex Welsh band. He then went on to join the Humphrey Lyttleton’s band, and again played alongside John Barnes. John was a bit like our own Mike Wills, a player of many reed instruments including baritone sax. Mike used to live within walking distance of John’s home and they were friends. It was John Barnes playing that inspired “our Mike” to start on the saxophone. To see Roy and Mike recreating some of Roy and John’s duet moments was very poignant. But that’s jazz!


Until 2017 I wish you all a happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Now and again life doesn't seem fair! 

I know we all have had this experience. So, what do you want just after a bad health year? Well, a bad head cold week of course!! Add to that a bloggers PC that throws a hard drive wobbly, and you really are down Moan Street! 

That has been my experience since last Friday. So, just a short blog today to remind you all that despite myriad problems, jazz is ALWAYS every Thursday at the Hedsor Social Club!!

This week we have another chance to hear Ken McCarthy on keyboard. He was with us last week for an excellent session with Duncan Lamont jnr, and he will be back to play with a returning Mike Wills, our regular reed section, together with Martin Hart, John Monney and of course Clive Burton!

So good was last week in fact that I wiped out my old mobile phone (well it was "smart" in 2011!) and recorded a lot of the excellent music that was reaching my ears. YOU can have a listen too by going to my DropBox link:-

(Copy and past this into your browser).

Both music and a CD sleeve should be available for you to download.

Tomorrow, Thursday 15th, will be your last chance to pre-purchase a ticket for our Christmas Party on December 22nd. Our guests include trombone master Roy Williams, and Barbadian singer Judy Vaughn. Some tickets will be available on the night, but why leave it to chance? Previous special evenings HAVE sold out, and we have had to turn people away at the door.

I hope to see you all at Hedsor tomorrow,


Geoff C

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Hedsor Jazz

Sometimes it is easy to write about jazz, and Hedsor Jazz in particular. I still believe that it is a unique place, especially for a local jazz club. Every month, every Thursday, we have the ability to come and listen, in reasonable comfort, despite the chairs, to jazz of a very high quality.

We can come by car, and park for free, or by train, as we are only a short walk from Bourne End Station. We can hear good jazz played by good musicians. And for this we pay the very good price of only £7.

We get excellent guests to bring us a variety of sound. They very often come and play for less than their fare home. They come because they want to come. The quality of our regular band, the warmth of our membership, your warmth and welcome, encourage them to want to be with us at Hedsor Jazz.

I have been writing about who is on, and encouraging you to keep live jazz alive, for a dozen years. And yet sometimes it is difficult to do. This year has been a difficult one for me. I know I am not alone, but sometimes life plays you a bad hand, and this year for me has been one of those years. My own health issues, and the passing of friends, has become a darker issue than sometimes can be shrugged way. Last night, just as I was about to sit down and write this blog I had a phone call from a mobile phone number I didn’t recognise. My immediate reaction was that I didn’t want to talk to another double glazing salesman, especially as I was just starting on my eggs and bacon.

The phone call was to tell me that another close friend had died that morning of a heart attack.

And so this mornings writing is more reflective than usual.

The objective of my evening was now changed. I had others to tell. When I had done this I sat and listened to one of my favourite CDs.

A wonderful recording, a wonderful reflective and contemplative use of words. The singer Catherine Legardh with the pianist Brian Kellock and the CD “Love Still Wears a Smile”. I have mentioned it in this blog before, it was issued by Storyville Records in 2013. It was just right for me.

I followed it for a partial listen to another CD with Brian Kellock, this time with saxophonist Tommy Smith, called "Whispering of the Stars”. If you look at the sleeve reproduction you may see that there is a ballad medley. In 8 minutes they play 11 tunes, and the changes are very cleverly conceived. Some of the tunes would have been better presented in a more complete fashion, but one has to admire the concept!

On the cover of this album are the words to the opening tune “You Must Believe in Spring”. Sometime we don’t take on board the lyrics to popular songs. In jazz, we often don’t get to hear the words at all. But I though the words did just sum up by contemplation, and so I am going to reproduce them below

When lonely feelings chill
The meadows of your mind
Just think if winter comes
Can spring be far behind?

Beneath the deepest snows
The secret of a rose
Is merely that it knows
You must believe in spring

Just as a tree is sure
Its leaves will reappear
It knows its emptiness
Is just the time of year

The frozen mountain dreams
Of April's melting streams
How crystal clear it seems
You must believe in spring

You must believe in love
And trust it's on its way
Just as the sleeping rose
Awaits the kiss of May

So in a world of snow
Of things that come and go
Where what you think you know
You can't be certain of
You must believe in spring and love.

There is hope, life goes on, not always in the same way, but Spring does always follow Winter.

Tomorrow night at Hedsor music will be played, we will chat with friends and be taken away from our day of good or bad, into toe tapping and good company.

To help us on our way tomorrow we have some of our regular Quintet. Clive will play the trombone, Martin will play the drums, John Monney will play the stick (sorry) bass!! But to help it all along we will have Ken McCarthy on keyboard, and Duncan Lamont junior on tenor sax.

So, if your feeling ever so slightly down, come along tomorrow for some Hedsor Jazz therapy!!

Geoff C

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another short blog today

Always trying to fit life around the writing does mean that just sometimes what I write does sometimes become "compact"!

This week at Hedsor Jazz I understand that we welcome back from the far East, our wonderful sax section Mike Wills. 

Over the past 3 weeks during Mike absence we have been entertained by 3 wonderful guests, sadly sometimes without the quintet leader himself, who has suffered a nasty cold/flu like bug. However this week, he will be back!

Also this week, I too will be back! I'm very sorry to have been forced to miss Max Brittain, but unfortunately an infection of a different kind kept me away.

So this week will be something to savour!

Last Sunday many of us payed tribute to Ken Rankine at Cores End Church. The event, sad though its cause, was well attended, and was filled with, as promised, words and music, and also with laughter. If any of you would like to hear the content of the event, I have posted my recording of it on my DropBox account:-
The sound does go up and down a bit, but it is ALL there. Do feel free to download and listen.

Hopefully we can all now put sadness and illness behind us and look forward to Christmas (well I still do, but I may still be that small child inside really). Our Christmas Party at Hedsor is on December 22nd, with at least 2 special gusts so far, trombone star Roy Williams, and Barbadian singer Judy Vaughn.

For now then it's TTFN.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sorry for this late posting, but life does sometimes get in the way of Hedsor Jazz!

BUT Hedsor Jazz this week will again be without our regular sax section, Mike Wills still being away. However we do have the services of trumpet and flugel horn player Lester Brown.

Clive is still having a problem getting over his cold flu-like bug but is still hoping to be with us tomorrow for a double brass front line!

I must praise last weeks guest Simon Spillett. He performed an excellent job for us, especially as he had to occupy the front line all on his own, Clive being unwell. It gave us an opportunity to fully appreciate his big sound, no PA being available without Clive or Mike. But it was a memorable set, thank you Simon. In a room the size of Hedsor, and a sax sound like Simon’s, no PA made no difference!! It did of course make announcements slightly more difficult and shorter, and the raffle certainly got speeded up!!

I have spent some time this week putting together the program for our Tribute to Ken Rankine in Words and Music to be performed at Cores End Church (post code SL8 5HZ) on Sunday 27th November at 3pm.

The music will be provided by Clive on trombone, with Robert Goodhew on tenor sax, Ken McCarthy on keyboard, John Monney on bass and Martin Hart on drums, with Gill Cook singing a couple of songs as well. 
Do come along. No charge will be made for entry, and light refreshments will be provided afterwards. We will however take up a retiring collection for The British Heart Foundation, an organisation that Ken actively supported.

Next week we have a welcome return of guitarist Max Brittain. He hasn't been able to get to Hedsor for a time, but he will be back with us next week.
Max at Hedsor in 2010
Don’t forget our Christmas Party on December 22nd. Tickets (£12 each including buffet) will be available tomorrow at Hedsor.

Yes Hedsor Jazz, at the Hedsor Social Club, is regular, and weekly, even in winter. So do keep supporting live jazz, and keep coming yourselves. Tell your friends, and we will be able to  carry on for another year!