Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Jazz Happens at Hedsor

even when I'm on a holiday break! 

Jazz has "happened" at the Hedsor Social Club every Thursday for over 14 years, and this coming Thursday is no exception. There will be another absentee apart from myself, and that is our regular bass player Ken Rankine, who from an early hour on Thursday will be making his way to Malta. Ken can speak Maltese and I can speak Dorset, so even if this blog comes to you via a dodgy laptop, we will all be able to understand it!!

In Ken's place will be Steve Riddle, taking time off from teaching people how to ride a motor bike.

The rest of the band will all probably seem familiar. You KNOW it's good at jazz, and always fun to hear and for you be seen at Hedsor Jazz, so do make good my absence and come in my place. 

Do also take time to promote our forthcoming concert raising money (I hope) for Cancer Research. See last weeks blog for the poster details. It would be good to sell tickets in advance of the event on May 14th, but they will be available on the door subject to capacity. But to be sure of YOUR place for the music and buffet, buy a ticket either from Dee on Thursday, or from Cookham's Stationery Depot.The price is just £10.

I have brought down to Dorset a number of CD's to listen to, so my next blog entry should let you know what I think of some of them!! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This Week at Hedsor Jazz and Other Things!

This Thursday will be a standard issue week!! Mike Jeffries will be on drums as last week, and next week, and the rest of the band will be our usual suspects.

There are a number of “special” events coming up in the next few months that I have enough detail of now to be able to promote. So sharpen that pencil (or better still find the pen) and write them in your diary NOW.

May 12th at 8pm we have Karen Sharp and Stuart Henderson coming with the Clive Burton Quintet. This is our Cancer Research UK Concert for this year, and will be starting at 8pm, and with a buffet as well all for that amazing price of £10 a ticket.

August 11th at 8pm we attempt to celebrate another year of GC survival. Again, a buffet, and this year my guests so far booked are Tracey Mendham and Alan Graham. £10 will be the ticket price.

Both of those events are at The Hedsor Social Club, but in September I am organising a concert at Cores End Church on Saturday 17th. The extra special guest for that evening will be singer Sarah Moule. With her will be Mark Aston on saxophone, John Coverdale on guitar, Nigel Fox keyboard, Ken Rankine on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums. Mike lives nearer to that venue than any other that he can possibly play at! All the others have to travel!! Kidding aside, it should be a super gig. The church acoustics are really good, they promise a snack to eat at half time (and that will be for the audience!) and again the tickets will be £10 each. 8pm start.

So you can see that even if I haven’t been writing blogs as regularly as I should, I have not just been sitting on my prostate!!

I have listened to 2 CD’s this week that are both really rather special. They are both modern Jazz Orchestra rather than Big Band, they are both superbly well recoded, they are both American and the music on them is wonderful. You need to sit and listen to appreciate them properly, they deserve more than being the background to your magazine!!

The first one I listened to is the latest from The Maria Schneider Orchestra. Called “The Thompson Fields” the compositions relate to family land in her home state of Minnesota, and the titles are all about memories of events in her experience of that state. All the compositions are new, and show a jazz orchestra in perfect form. The booklet the CD comes in is also a beautiful production, far and away a better piece of art than that which wraps most CD releases. Its on artistShare records AS0137.

The second album listened to contains some reworking of Gil Evans tunes. Called “Lines of Color”, it isn’t quite as lavishly wrapped, but it is superb as a work of art anyway with a good and informative booklet. The orchestra is conducted by one Ryan Truesdell, and on further investigation I now realise why the two albums both drew me in. Ryan also helped in the production of the Maria Schneider CD! I think if you enjoy one, you will enjoy the other, just as I did. The Gil Evans is more easily accessible because we know some of the tunes. It is however astonishing when you realise that this CD was recorded live at a concert. The musical precision is remarkable. It to is on the artistShare label as ASBN 0133

Enough from me for now, I'm off for a long lie down, 


Geoff C

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Yes, there WILL be jazz tonight at Hedsor, and I'm sorry for the late blog info It is due to entirely foreseen circumstances!!

Due to entirely unforeseen circumstances our drummer Martin Hart will NOT be able to play for us this evening. He has unfortunately had the index finger of his right hand lacerated by a stray cat!! In his place will be Mike Jeffries.

Please take note of one of our forthcoming "Special" evenings. On May 12th we are doing a fundraiser for Cancer Research UK, and have as our star guests saxophonist Karen Sharp and trumpeter Stuart Henderson.

JPEG of the poster is below.

More next week so as I'm in a rush, 

I'll see you tonight in the.....................Hedsor Social Club!!

Geoff C

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Coming to Hedsor Jazz THIS WEEK

Over the past few weeks we have had some exceptionally good sessions at Hedsor Jazz, with a wonderful mix of guest musicians. Some came simply as deps for others who were/are on holiday, some came as additional featured guests, but whatever the reason we have had some fantastic sessions.

Musicians come to us because they enjoy playing jazz at the quality level that Hedsor Jazz always produces. Without exception, they all want to come again.

And this week is no exception. Mike Wills is away, so we have a dep!! That dep is none other than Simon Spillett.

OK, so he only brings ONE reed instrument, a tenor sax, BUT…… it might be the one that used to be owned and played by Tubby Hayes. Simon is the world renowned expert on Tubby, but without doubt Simon his own man.

With him on Thursday we will have the rest of “our own men”! Clive Burton of course on Trombone (now with improved teeth fixative!), Ken Rankine bass, Nigel Fox keyboard and Mike Jeffries on drums (I think Martin is still negotiating the Bay of Biscay).

So, for just £6 you get to hear wonderful jazz, you get free parking, free raffle ticket at entry, and beer at club prices. Now try THAT at Ronnie Scott’s. A friend went last week, and a Bacardi and coke plus a tonic water cost £15!! On top of the entry charge, they had to make that last all evening!

CD Recently Listened to

Most of the music we hear at Hedsor is 1950’s style bop, with occasional excursions into more modern styles, or perhaps we hear some hints of swing. Many years and another lifetime ago I used to play trumpet in a trad band and I still have an appreciation of the tunes and well played traditional style jazz. Sadly today more often than not you hear that kind of jazz played by people and bands who have been playing the same notes and telling the same jokes since 1956!! But when played with thought and expertise, it can still be exciting and very enjoyable.

I have been listening to a double album from Proper Records titled “Chris Barber, Memories of my Trip”. Issued in 2011 it was to celebrate Chris’s 80th birthday and it has an extremely wide selection of music and musicians, all playing at some time since 1954 with Mr Barber. I recommend it to all jazz lovers, because the list of guests is mouth watering. Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Healey, Van Morrison, Andy Fairweather Low, Keith Emerson, Edmund Hall, Trummy Young, Mark Knopfler and more.

The double album is a real adventure in Jazz. Give it a go PRPCD073.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


As ever, Hedsor Jazz will be bringing you interesting and invigorating modern jazz music this Thursday. 

Last week we had with us that fantastic drummer Julian Bown, who is a real find. He had been with us once before though! We WILL have a guest this week who hasn't!!

THIS week we have our regular deputy drummer, Mike Jeffries, so you could compare the differences, (but isn't that somewhat rude?). 

Also this week we will have a guest piano player WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO HEDSOR JAZZ BEFORE!! 

A recent email from our Oxford branch explains all:-

HI Geoff

Happy Easter!

This is just to let you know that we’ve got a new guest at Hedsor this week – my friend Rory McInroy, all the way from Carterton (near Brize Norton) who’s a very fine pianist and will be depping for Nigel.  He’s got a website at http://www.rorymcinroy.com/ if you want to check  him out.

All the best


Obviously we also anticipate having our regular front line of Clive Burton on trombone, and Mike Wills on various reed instruments, and Ken Rankine will be playing his upright bass! So Quintet!

So more excitement, and we bring you these great musical experiences for the measly sum of just £6, and with the added bonus of free car parking. Try that anywhere in London!!

What with it being Easter, and having had the clocks go forward on Easter Sunday, (did that catch YOU out?) I haven't yet had time to consider CD's. If time allows, I may be erudite about a DVD before too long though. 

In the mean(Easter Egg crunch)time 


Geoff C

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I am pleased to say that our redoubtable leader, Clive Burton, has recovered from last Thursdays bout of nastiness, and will lead his quintet this week at The Hedsor Social Club. As I understand it, it will be the regular band, but with an as yet unnamed drummer, both Martin and Mike, our regular percussive persons, are having another holiday each!!

Having said “we missed you last week Clive” I will say that it was a really enjoyable session, not BECAUSE Clive was missing, but because Martin Nicholas joined us at short notice to play his part in the evening entirely on clarinet. The overall sound of clarinet, and either alto or tenor sax played by Mike Wills, playing mostly tunes associated with Benny Goodman made it a very pleasant night out.

A recent pleasant evening from earlier in the month did get recorded for posterity. The evening was with Nigel Price and Robert Goodhew. If anyone would like to listen to this do follow the link to my DropBox folder, where all of the music is there in MP3 format.

This link will lead you to a folder that contains both the music and pdf files to enable you to make a cd cover.


Sweden has produced some extremely good jazz musicians. One of them is trombonist Nils Landgren, who is good not only in jazz trombone form, but as a classical trombone player as well.

Leonard Bernstein was a classical music conductor, and writer of orchestral works of extreme perception. Combine the two, and add a voice from “Manhattan Transfer” and you have an enjoyable hybrid recording. “Some Other Time” is their tribute to Leonard Bernstein. The voice is that of Janis Siegel and this new release is truly delightful. Most of the music is taken from “West Side Story” or “On The Town” but the last track is from the Mass that Bernstein wrote in 1971, “A Simple Song”. As a piece of music it isn’t simple, I once tried to read the words to the song whilst the late dear Zane Cronje played the melody behind me, and this we did in public!!

It is a hybrid album, but don’t get scared off by that. Some of the time (!) Nils is accompanied by bass and drums, some of the time by a small symphonic ensemble. Not all the tracks have the added voice of Janis Siegel and I would point out that Nils does sings on some of the tracks and pretty well too. The recording is of Hi Fi demo quality, and the whole thing can be got at from the record label ACT under number 9813-2. This is a very recent 2016 release that I would recommend you try. 

I think this is a very appropriate message for today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

So far this week I have had very little time to write about jazz events coming soon, or about CD’s recently listened to.

Hedsor Jazz is in it’s usual place, and it would be very nice to have some of the crowd who turned out for our special evening last week come to one of our “average” (*) evenings!

Now wasn't THAT special. Our two guests, who had never met before (!!) played superbly, and they did attracted a bonar crowd (OK I did use to listen to “Round The Horne”). I was very impressed by their shear ability to play in harmony together, first time off. AND it must be mentioned, our regular guys played superbly as well. It is always better for player and punter alike to have a nice large audience, everyone enjoyed themselves, and it showed.

(*) Those of us regulars who come most weeks are used to the quality of the playing of our regular Hedsor Musicians, and it does spoil us, especially when we hear those less practised in the art of playing jazz trying to do so in public and for money!! We have maintained that high quality and that accessibility for 14 years.

So this week, we come back to our usual Quartet. Don’t forget to have your requests ready. They say they are happy to have requests, but as yet I have only heard John Lewis’s “Golden Striker” quoted (by everyone!) and they say don’t know it!

Last week I mentioned the Chris Barber 1959/60 album compilation from Lake records. HIS band played an arrangement of “Golden Striker” in 1959!! And they were a TRAD band (but a very good one).
The Band
 Nigel Price
 Robert Goodhew
 Nigel Fox

So there you have it (or not!). The only thing I can add are some photos taken last week by Geoff Swaffield on his Iphone!! Next weeks blog may well find a link to the recording I made last weeks, so watch this blog space.