Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First, just a few lines 

to assure you that Hedsor Jazz WILL be, as usual, on Thursday, at the Hedsor Social Club, with the Clive Burton Quintet.

This week is as usual, but coming in the next 2 weeks we have some blistering sessions!


Next Thursday, October 23rd , we have Britain’s Top Tenor player, Simon Spillett as our guest. He has again been nominated in the 2014 British Jazz Awards, so to vote please visit www.instant.ly/s/Ruudg


AND for your HALLOWEEN experience on October 30th (OK a day early) we have tenor saxophonist Tracey Mendham. She is a wonderful tenor player, and for such a date, a real HOOT!!

Enough frivolity. Both sessions will start at 8.30pm and will only cost you £6 to get in. Free car parking, Rebellion beer, what more could you want? Well, WE want YOUR COMPANY!!

CD’s heard this week.


First up one that fitted in well to a more quiet evenings listening is one called “The London Sessions” by The Tony Barnard Trio. Tony is one of the legendary Australian Jazz Barnards, a third generation Australian musician (his grandfather ran a dance band in the 1920’s, his father Bob is a renowned jazz trumpeter still going strong in his 80’s). This CD is NOT a new relaease (recorded in 1997), but you can probably still find it online (Wave Recordings WAVE 33). It is a very enjoyable listen. Tony is not the only famous name in the trio, as the bass player is Peter Ind and the “other” guitarist is none other than Jim Mullen. Dare I say they “mull” their way through some great tunes (with Jim Mullen on your left!), including “Ornithology”, “St. Thomas” and Charlie Shaver’s “Undecided”. Well worth looking out for if you like guitar jazz.


The second one found this week is a quartet led by Tim Whitehead recorded in 2005 also in London. Tim on tenor sax leads a group of guys I don’t know, and looking at their names I guess they are from the continent. Giovanni Mirabassi on piano, Milo Fell on drums and Oli Hayhurst on bass. It’s great modern bop. Nothing too outlandish or disjointed. Together they swing and individually they solo very nicely.
Tunes include “They Don’t Know What Love Is”, John Lenon’s “Imagine” and my favourite “Ladies in Mercedies”, 9 tunes in all. It’s on the HomeMade Record label HMR 050 and is entitled “Lucky Boys”!


That’s it from me for now, don’t forget to cast your votes in The British Jazz Awards, and even more importantly for the future of jazz COME OUT AND SEE IT SOMETIMES!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

It’s THAT time of week again when I start to think of my blog, and what to write.

This week at Hedsor we will have the normal sized Clive Burton Quintet, with no additions or subtractions in numbers. Normal except that we will have a guest bass player as Ken Rankine is still in Malta and I don't know who has been booked!

It was good to hear one of the Quintet’s old book played for me last week. It is some time since Matt Wates “Stargazer” was played, and although a little rusty (Nigel Fox wasn’t a member of the band when I think it was last played and our guest bass player Steve Pickings hadn’t heard of it) I think the band coped admirably, it was very nice to hear it again. Perhaps we can prevail upon Clive for some more of the older arrangements to be dragged out again.

For those of you who haven't been to Hedsor since it was last played, it is now just £6 to get in, (which includes a raffle ticket) and our music still starts at 8.30pm. All of the music is now played in the Big Room, and we could do with you all coming back to see what that's like!!

Having got the weekly need to say we are still at The Hedsor Social Club, this week I am going to concentrate on my review of Gill Cook’s new CD.

“Morning with You”



After a gap of 7 years since her CD “Something Cool”, it is a delight to be able to write up her latest CD. And, yes, even this release is slightly later than expected (perhaps a ploy to heighten ones expectations?).

Those of you who have listened to her “live” over the intervening years, either at the Ealing Jazz Festival or in a club like Hedsor, will know that she is an accomplished performer, and this is instantly recognisable in her new CD.

The choice of material is a little less “Song Book” than many singers would choose. The songs are from a much wider musical path than many would have risked. Those titles that you have heard other singers perform are given a Gill twist. The openers “Sunday in New York” and “Black Coffee” are performed in such a way as to make you hear the words as though for the first time, you are made to think about their meaning all over again.

The musicians she has chosen to collaborate with on this release (Nick Tomalin Piano, Dominic Howles Bass, and Matt Fishwick Drums) provide a very easy light and lilting accompaniment, and they are enhanced on alternate tracks by trumpet star Steve Waterman who was, like Nick, also on the earlier CD. Steve plays some excellent licks at all the right times! You can see why he is so highly rated.

The first non-standard jazz tune to be sung is Carol King’s “Stand Behind Me”. OK you might have found this one before but I wonder how many jazz fans or singers would find material like Prefab Sprout’s “When Love Breaks Down”.

So a mixture of the unusual and the usual all performed with swing, skill and insight. It leads the listener into the unexpected and into finding music they might never have listened to before. The CD, our vehicle for the journey, has also been very well recorded at London’s “Red Gables Studio”.

Is there a negative side? Yes. It’s a shame that the last track (“If I Were a Bell”) ends in a fade. It had been tapping my feet nicely!

To start your 52 minute journey go find Mainstem Productions MSTCD0058.

Finally I’m just glad I have already booked Gill for Hedsor’s Christmas Party!


Geoff C

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

First Blog of a New Month. Oct 1st 2014


For the first Thursday of a new month we don’t have an extra guest or a front line replacement. But we DO have a fist class deputy as our bass player this week. Ken Rankine, our usual bassist (!?) is on his second away holiday of the season (Malta, where he has an advantage over most of us who have ever gone there in as much as he speaks Maltese) and in his place we have:-

STEVE PICKINGS. A fine bass player and overall hoot!!

who probably speaks Vout!

Last weeks Hedsor Virgin, guitarist Kevin Armstrong, was a fine addition to our “friends of” list. It took a few numbers for him to feel comfortable with “our” regular team, but he played some fine jazz guitar, especially in the last set after the raffle interval. 

Hedsor Jazz is blest in having such a wide choice of guest musicians that are pleased to come and play for us, and we appear to be particularly strong with guitarists. 

In the days of closing venues for jazz music to be played in, I am very proud that Hedsor has been able to provide a quality jazz venue every week for over 13 years. If YOU haven’t yet been there, either as a musician or as a fan, it is only £6 to get in, it is every  Thursday from 8.30 pm and it can be found at The Hedsor Social Club, SL8 5ES.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

CORRECTION!!

Mike Wills tells me that the Wikipedia link refers to a DIFFERENT Kevin Armstrong to the one who is coming next week. The Oxford School of Music reverence is correct, as is the photo!!

Geoff C
REFERENDUM DAY!

Today, whilst Scotland votes on if it wishes to continue being a member of the UK, and the rest of the UK have no say in this, purely democratic you understand, we in reachable distance of the Hedsor Social club can vote with our feet for the survival of live jazz!!

Just to encourage you we have a guest coming to fill our piano chair this week. Neither of our regular pianists being available we are delighted to be able to welcome Alan Berry to Hedsor.

Alan used to be the regular pianist with vibes player Lenny Best at The Bell in Maidenhead back in the days when jazz (and I) were there every Tuesday. He has been to Hedsor once before, but I don’t think he has visited us in the larger room. He is now a regular part of the Ealing Jazz Scene.

Now some news for next week. Coming along with our regular reed section (Mike Wills) from Oxford we will have the addition of Kevin Armstrong on guitar.



This will be Kevin’s first visit to Hedsor, so we look forward to giving him a warm welcome. You can easily find out more about him, as he has his own page on Wikipedia!! Also he has a page in the Oxford School of Music web site and you can follow this on the link


We try to keep Hedsor Jazz an interesting place to come to. Not on account of the new chairs! but it would be hard to find music this good for £6!! anywhere else in the UK, and every week too! (next week we may have to add a different reference to what might be left of our country). Our friendly atmosphere is renowned, and as Simon Spillett said during his recent visit to us, there is no other jazz venue anywhere else like it in the UK. He wasn’t cracking a joke at the time either!

You can sample the reality of this and with the music from 8.30 pm every Thursday!! AND you can also park your car for free too!!

CD Listened to.

This week I have been impressed by a jazz CD made by a musician who was largely made famous in a more popular musical field.

Peter York came to fame in the 1960’s as the drummer with the Spencer Davis Group. He then crossed the boundary to Jazz by becoming the drummer with Chris Barber’s Band. He has always been a fan of jazz and of Count Basie and has recently made a very enjoyable CD with some young Continental Friends. 

Called “Basiecally Speaking, the band is imaginatively called “Pete York & Young Friends”! It is released on the ACT label (a German Company) and it follows some of the same ideas as “Wind Machine” in playing well know swing tunes with a modern jazz twist.

The line up includes Hammond organ, guitar and tenor sax, so there are more similarities with Vasilis’s band. However this album reflects some of Peter York’s background by also including a few vocals. It is a great listen, very well recorded, but with slightly too many drum solos to be perfect. Great stuff though, with some great Basie tunes refreshed. Look for ACT Good Time Jazz ACT9101-2




Tuesday, September 09, 2014

An Indian Summer!

OK, so “Autumn Leaves” are upon us, but it is lovely to have a quick burst of Sunshine. Yes, there are number of tunes associated with summer sunshine, it would be showing my age if I had used “You Are My Sunshine” there, as the last time I heard it played by anyone it was guitarist Gary Potter. Mind you he also used to play “Daisy, Daisy”!

It is unlikely, but not impossible, that either tune will be played by the “regular” Clive Burton Quintet this coming Thursday, but you never know!

Yes, this Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club we have the regular band led by Clive Burton on trombone. The musical start time is 8.30 pm, but the bar will be open from at least 7 pm, so come and unwind from “a hard day(‘s night”!!) in the now comfortable surroundings of the Hedsor Club, as the outside signage now tells us it is. Usual charge to get in £6, and you get one of our valued raffle tickets too!

Last week, with Simon Spillett with us after a gap of some months, we had a delightful evening, great tunes and great harmonies, all improvised too! Real Jazz. 

We had a message from our American friends, who joined us at Hedsor Jazz for the Wind Machine evening in August :-


Dinner on the dock in front of our house soon after we got home. It's a bit warmer here as you can see...

Geoff you not only have far better jazz, you also have superior walking trails!

Still in the afterglow from our stay in England.....

Carol Robinson

It seems very strange that Americans have to come to the UK to get to hear real jazz these days!! But they do live in Maine, and are 50 miles from the nearest traffic lights!

A CD Recently Listened to.


As it should be following a quote from an American citizen, this is an American band and is great fun. It’s a sort of manouche plus!! trio called “The Hot Club of Cowtown” and consists of violin, bass and guitar, not unusual for a French, "Django" inspired group. 

The difference is that the violinist is a lady, and she also sings. They are polished players each, and with a very polished group ensemble. It has added enchantment in that the ladies voice is very attractive, and the whole performance conjures up a memory of times past, that may or may not have been more innocent, but in listening to this music it makes you think it was! Don’t you just wish that she was singing for you when you hear “I’m In The Mood For Love”, or “I’d Like to get you on a Slow Boat to China”? And it even has a sunshine song “Sunshine of Your Smile”!!

It’s a delightful CD, very well recorded in Dripping Springs, Texas! 



So search for “Rendezvous in Rhythm” GS004, released in the UK via “Proper” records. It was recorded in 2012.



Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A Quick Message on the Hedsor Jazz Front

This Thursday, September 4th, at Hedsor, we are delighted to be able to tell you that we have award winning saxophonist Simon Spillett coming as a replacement!!

 Simon Spillett on a previous visit to Hedsor

Yes, whilst our regular reed-man Mike Wills is off finding more municipal railings to paint, we have one of Britain’s finest tenor saxophonist coming to join Clive Burton and the rest of the quintet.

Our bass played Ken Rankine is also off on holiday, so we can wait with bated breath to see who will be filling his place behind (or even beside) the bass this week. No matter who, the quality of Hedsor Jazz’s product is of the highest order.

So come and enjoy the best of jazz for an entry fee of just £6. OK, getting out may cost you more (!!), but the car parking is free, as is a breathalyzer test if the blue lights appear behind you as you leave!!

8.30 pm is the start of the music, the bar is open from at least 7 pm, Rebellion Beer is on tap at reasonable prices (don’t forget those blue lights) and Clive’s jokes are memorable (you will remember that you have heard them somewhere before!) so turn Autumn into swing!

Thursday September 4th, Hedsor Social Club, special guest Simon Spillett, £6 on the door.


Support Live jazz. You just know it makes sense.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TIME STILL HASN'T SLOWED DOWN

In fact I feel very like Antony Newly, "Stop the World I wont to get off"!

I have to be brief this morning, but just to let you know that Hedsor Jazz tomorrow will again have the renowned Clive Burton Quintet. There is an unsubstantiated rumour that Mike Wills is bringing a guest with him from Oxford, who might be a guitarist, but again, it might not!!

One day life will not have too many visitors or visits, and I can write up an appreciation of some of the Hedsor Jazz events that have gone past seemingly in a cloud of dust!!

In the meantime for those of you who appreciate aeroplanes as well as jazz, below you will find a couple of photos from my visit to the Dunsfold Wings and Wheels show. That is also another L O N G story.