Tuesday, November 28, 2023

What’s on at Hedsor Jazz this week?

We have a return of The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet, which means a return of Mike Wills on reeds with Lester Brown on trumpet and of course, our regular trio of piano bass and drums, this week Ken McCarthy on keyboard, Al Pirrie on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums.

The C B C Q in March this year

For those of you not familiar with the name “Clive Burton”, Clive was the originator of the jazz you now hear every week at The Hedsor Bar. “Jazz Angels” supported The Clive Burton Quintet at Hedsor from 2002 until Clive’s death from cancer in 2017. Mike Wills, with Martin Hart and the 2 other band members of the time, invited Lester to replace Clive on the front line. So this week we will probably hear some of the tunes that Clive liked to play. "Jazz Angels" STILL continues to financially support Hedsor Jazz



Life has moved on, and we now have a very varied selection of musicians come to play for us at Hedsor, all built on the foundations laid down by The Clive Burton Quintet.

And those musicians have provided some wonderful music over the years. We are slowly progressing to the end of 2023, and the selection and quality of the music we have had at Hedsor this year has been better than ever. Last week, ex Humph saxophonist Karen Sharp came and played Hedsor Jazz alongside trumpeter Stuart Henderson, backed by Martin Hart on drums, Nigel Fox on keyboard, and one of the world’s best bass players Andy Crowdy.

Yes, we are truly blessed with jazz at Hedsor played by leading exponents of the genre and this jazz session was no exception in being truly marvellous. My photos are below.

Our 3 concerts planed for December bear witness to our continuing quality. See the poster for December below. Do make sure you come to one or all of the Thursdays listed especially our party on December 21st. It will be special, and it will have a selection of party foods for you to nibble. No increase in our entry fee of £10 for this one. PLEASE NOTE however that all of our concerts in December AND FROM  JANUARY ON will start at 8pm NOT 8.30pm as has been our norm up till now.

Clive Burton was the trombone player for Keith Vitty’s “Century Jazz” and around 1999 they recorded an album “Into The Next Century”. I feel that we have managed to continue that mandate.

Keith died of bowel cancer in 2002, and we have continued to raise money for Cancer Research UK by selling used Jazz CD’s at our Thursday session and this year alone nearly £300 so far has been paid in. So perhaps you too could take a look at what is in the box for just £1 this week!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

 Hedsor Jazz

This week

Thursday November 23rd has a very special Hedsor Jazz concert with two stars (not falling tool boxes!), in the shape of Karen Sharp on tenor sax and Stuart Henderson on trumpet. They will be supported by Nigel Fox on keyboard with Martin Hart on drums and a bass player as yet anonymous to me! 

Sadly Ken will miss this one as he has to attend to a funeral “up North” of a musician he has known since school days.

Karen Sharp has been to Hedsor Jazz a number of times before and is one of the best known saxophonists in the UK. Once part of the Humphrey Lyttleton Band she is in great demand, and we look forward to a wonderful evening of jazz. She has recently performed a number of gigs with Stuart, so we anticipate a swinging evening. Our usual entry fee of £10 will be extracted from you.



Last week we had a musician at Hedsor Jazz who hadn’t been to us before, and I’m glad to say that Mark Ridout wants to come again, because I want to see him again! He was alongside saxophonist Frank Walden, who has been before and will also come again, and the fact that they enjoyed the evening wasn’t lost on the audience. The joy of their playing together definitely spread to the audience. They played a mixture of jazz standards ("Lulu’s Back In Town") and some tunes less heard ("Chitlins Con Carne") and made the evening disappear too quickly.

My pictures are  below:-


A reminder that our start time will change in December to 8.00pm, so make sure your diary is marked up to ensure you don’t miss a drop of jazz!

Our Christmas Party night will be December 21st and our first gig for 2024 will be on January 4th. And at the moment we will retain our entry fee of just £10. So please ensure you too become an active supporter of the performing arts and become a Hedsor Jazz regular!


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

 Hedsor Jazz continues to surprise and delight

Last Thursdays session with Duncan Lamont Jr and Mike Innes was all that I had hoped it would be, full of melodic improvisation.

We are so privileged to be able to attract such quality performers to Hedsor to perform to so small an audience. Yes, we all need to attract more to come and share the joy we are able to have, but secretly I know it is a special privilege to listen to the quality of performance that we had last week. On my way out last week I thanked Al Pirrie, our bass player, for coming to play for us and he said it was so good to come for such a great session. He was still smiling as I left. He still had to get back to Oxford!

The other members of the orchestra were Ken McCarthy on keyboard and Martin Hart on drums.

My photos from last week:-


If you should come this week it is sure to be just as good an experience! Another saxophonist whom we have delighted over will be with us again. Frank Walden is coming to play jazz alongside guitarist Mark Ridout. Mark is someone I haven’t heard before, but they both come to Hedsor to play jazz. They earn their income more in the area of popular music, but I think they will smile at the opportunity they have to play Jazz at Hedsor Jazz.


And a week later we have another tremendous evening of modern jazz lined up for you for November 23rd. Trumpeter Stuart Henderson is coming to play alongside saxophonist Karen Sharp. In Reading last month the theatre they played was sold out. Tell you friends, we will let them in (albeit for a mere £10 note) to listen to our session at Hedsor!


Karen and Stuart celebrating Christmas with us a few years ago.

I have been asked to remind everyone that we are revising our start time for Hedsor Jazz. From December 7th all of our evenings will commence at 8pm and finish at 10.30pm

One final sharing!

I have mentioned it before more than once, but a BBC film made in 1994 is now available on YouTube.

It’s called “Doggin Around” after the tune by Count Basie and it is one of the best jazz films I have ever seen. It’s about the British tour of an American Jazz pianist. The book was written by Alan Plater and the dialogue is witty and the story both amusing and poignant. Follow the link and give yourself  1 ½ hours of delight


It stars Elliot Gould, Geraldine James and Alun Armstrong.

One jazz musician who spent his entire life in that world said to me that EVERY Jazz musician should watch it. At one time it wasn’t available. Fortunately I had recorded it onto video tape (1994 remember) and about 10 years ago transcribed it onto a DVD. But now some kind person has uploaded the whole thing onto YouTube. The music credits are pathetic, the main character is a pianist, but no mention is given in the credits of who is really playing the piano. But its great jazz!

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

 Jazz from Geoff can tell you that THS WEEK, (Thursday November 9th) at Hedsor Jazz

We have a super combination! Duncan Lamont Jr on reeds and Mike Innes on trombone, ably supported by Al Pirrie on bass, Ken McCarthy on keys and Martin Hart on drums. Melodic improvisation at its best! You would need to pay considerably more than £10 to hear this class of jazz anyware else. And at Hedsor Jazz you get free parking for your £10 entry fee. Start time 8.30pm



Last week was fun, perhaps slightly less organised than this week will be, but Mark Aston, (who did play his trombone as well as tenor sax and clarinet, just as I hinted in last weeks blog) had never met James Fenn (on guitar) before. I think with a few more meetings this could be a wonderful duo combination.

James insists on travelling (even in a gale seemingly) to Hedsor by bicycle!!So he has to plug in to our PA system rather than bring his own amp. But he has great technique and I think enormous potential.

My pics below.

On Bass, Peter Hughes!


Mike Jeffries was on drums this week


For those of you who are already looking forward to Christmas I can now confirm that on Friday December 15th there will be concert of Christmas Jazz at Maidenheads United Reformed Church, with all profits going to their Ukrainian project. This concert will be supported by Hedsor Jazz, and will have  Mark Aston, Gill Cook, Nigel Fox, Peter Hughes and Martin Hart all taking part. Poster and ticket info coming soon. Its a great venue with excellent sound and seating, and you may even be allowed to sing a couple of carols.

Coming to Hedsor Jazz next week (November 16th) will be Frank Walden on reeds and Mark Ridout on guitar. This is a combination new to us, but we have enjoyed Frank a number of times before.

Frank Walden


Mark Ridout



“MARK RIDOUT is an experienced guitarist having performed in many of the UK’s major jazz venues and festivals with such names as Jimmy Smith, Babara Dennerlein, Tony Martin, Natalie Cole, Jane Monheit, Eddie Parker etc.  He has appeared on albums for various jazz artists including Jacqui Hicks, Andrea Vicari, Stuart Curtis, Simon Thorpe’s Improphonics and also pop and rock albums. As a session guitarist Mark’s playing is featured on some computer and wii game soundtracks.  Mark toured the US with Jazz funk band ‘Down to the Bone’ in 2001. He has performed on TV for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, with Alison Moyet on the ‘Lesley Garrett Show’ and is regularly to be heard on the radio in the BBC Big Band.

Mark has a busy teaching schedule and has taught on the Wavenden Jazz Summer school amongst others.  Mark has an interest in all areas of guitar playing but is often sought out by students for his in depth knowledge of jazz improvisation. Mark kindly performed at Fleet Jazz Club’s first gig with Steve Waterman and we are always delighted to welcome him back.”

 Above text courtesy of Fleet Jazz clubs web page.

So tell your friends ,come yourself, because Hedsor Jazz is a great jazz experience.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023


We have a return of guitarist James Fenn. When our poster for November was printed we didn’t have a partner for him at the front, but I am delighted to say that it will be Mark Aston, saxophonist, who has an extraordinary collection of reed instruments that he could bring, as well as a trombone. Yes he can play them all too! We will of course be providing a suitable rhythmic accompaniment for them, with Ken McCarthy on keyboard, Peter Hughes on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums. Our start this month is still at the time of 8.30pm, but do remember that from December onwards our start time will be 8.00pm.


I’m sure James will have a little dilemma on his hands this week. Last time he came from his home in Fifield by bicycle. With darkness and rain against him, he may now choose to come by car, BUT of course, curse curse, (it is Halloween!) Cookham Bridge is now closed. Cars no, bikes yes!

Last week we had a return of that legend, Alan Graham. At 95 still an energetic and wonderful vibraphone player. I just wish I knew (and had been taking) what he has been taking this last few decades!!

He was helped along for a few tunes by saxophonist Duncan Lamont Jr. His tone and his phrasing were great to hear and almost as big as his music stand! 

They were accompanied by Ken McCarthy on keyboard, Ester Ng on bass and Martin Hart on drums

My pictures are below.


Our audience was slightly larger than the week before, do keep it up. Just to encourage you, below is our musical promise for December!


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Hedsor Jazz this week has the return of a Legend.

October 26th will see Vibraphone player Alan Graham with us again, alongside saxophonist Duncan Lamont Jr.

Having now celebrated his 95th birthday and being interviewed at Hedsor Jazz for a regional TV program, (now available on YouTube) he now returns to play some more vibrant (!) Jazz for us. Backing them will be Ken McCarthy on keyboard, Ester Ng on bass and Martin Hart on drums.


Last week we had another surprise, as we had expected Nick Mills to be joined by trumpeter Ed Benstead. However, in place of Ed, at the last minute Nick had brought along saxophonist “Tolly” (Anatolly Vyacheslavov!) whom we hadn’t seem at Hedsor for a year or so due to his other music commitments. A delightful swinging evening was had by all, my photos are below


Next week, the first gig for November, (November 2nd) we will have a return of guitarist James Fenn, so do make sure that your clocks have all gone backwards, and that if you are coming from Berkshire, you have crossed The Thames by any other bridge than Cookham! Cookham Bridge is closed and won’t reopen until March 22nd, and I’m sure that date is published in hope!


For November our starting time will remain at 8.30pm, but from December onwards we are going to start all of our jazz evenings at Hedsor at 8.00pm. This change has come at the request of our audience and I do hope it won’t put off too many people. We did take a democratic paper vote of our audience and a large majority were for this change. Our usual 2 hours of music will be provided and our entry fee will remain at just £10.

Don’t forget to tell your friends, both about Hedsor Jazz and about the quality of its product!

Hedsor Jazz in The Hedsor Bar, free car parking, club bar prices. SL8 5ES

Our NOVEMBER Program



Tuesday, October 10, 2023

This week’s view ahead for Hedsor Jazz may well become this fortnight’s view ahead for Hedsor Jazz,

 As my next 2 weeks become somewhat complicated.

 If you have yet to reach the age of “retired” then take my advice. Pencil in days for being “off”. DO not commit yourselves to too many voluntary, even pleasurable, events, because it becomes important to have time for you, sometime the unexpected you! "It could happen to you"!

 Coming to Hedsor this week (Thursday October 12th) we have “our” Mike Wills, who at one time came every week, as a complete saxophone section in his own right. He will be accompanied on trumpet by someone who was with us LAST week, “our” Lester Brown. Perhaps we will have some new arrangements of old tunes, or perhaps some old arrangements of some new tunes? But to be assured, an excellent night of swinging jazz will be yours for your £10 admittance fee. On keyboard will be Ken McCarthy (having recovered from a recent wedding anniversary), on bass Peter Hughes, and on drums? Back from his recent holiday Martin Hart!

Lester and Mike earlier this year


Last week Lester Brown was accompanied by saxophonist Alam Nathoo, who has been a fine addition in recent months to our line-up at Hedsor. Alam and family move this week, but fear not, they will be even nearer to Hedsor Jazz as they move even nearer to Bourne End railway station than to Cookhams!

 AS this may be a blog you will refer to for 2 weeks rather than one, October 19th will have that fine trombonist and band leader Nick Mills playing alongside trumpeter Ed Benstead. Ed has only played Hedsor Jazz once before, and I was on holiday at the time, so I am looking forward to hearing him. Ken will be on keyboard and Peter Hughes on bass.

Nick Mills


Ed Benstead

Please remember that Cookham Bridge will be closed from Monday 16th October until March 2024. Yes, that's right, way into next year. Do be prepared for a diversion if you come from South of the river and use Cookham Bridge as your river crossing.

 Last Friday a number of folks seen at Hedsor Jazz were to be seen at The Progress Theatre in Reading. Stuart Henderson was alongside saxophonist Karen Sharp, with Leon Greening on piano. It was a lovely evening of modern jazz. We will have both Stuart and Karen with us at Hedsor on November 23rd with Ken McCarthy on keyboard. The Progress Theatre was full, lets hope the same will be said of Hedsor Jazz in November.

 Talking of things later this year, on December 15th (a Friday) there will be an evening of Christmas themed jazz at Maidenheads United Reformed Church. You will see many familiar faces at that event, so put it in your diary now.

 Some of my photos from last week are below. This week’s photos, as yet untaken, will be above? 

Last Weeks Grand Ensemble