Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mornings are beginning to feel Autumnish, with condensation to clear off the car, aren't they? Evenings darken up sooner than one would wish, but there is a consoling thought in all of this. Its easier to go out to the Jazz of an evening, because you cant really do the garden in the dark!!

So, for the darkness of the next few days, here are a number of alternatives to cutting the grass!

Thursday 28th September, at The Hedsor Social Club, The Clive Burton Quintet, with guest!

Saturday 30th September at The Curzon Centre, Maxwell Road, Beaconsfield, BOTH Liane Carroll and Dave Newton as part of the Wooburn Festival, from 7.30 pm, tickets I think are £20, but will include a supper, do book with the Festival Box Office.

Sunday 1st October at The Fifield, Century Jazz 8 pm start, hot food available.

October 14th Cores End Church's Third Jazz Concert, with Mike Wills, Zane Cronje, singer Alison Bentley and guitarist Kevin Armstrong who will all entertain us for a ticket price of £10, which includes interval refreshments. You can get a ticket from me, or from Crocks and Crystals in Bourne End (01628 528712). The previous two concerts have been very well received, the acoustics in the building are wonderful, and the pews are padded!

So there is a selection of the live stuff for you to go and listen too, but if you really get snowed in, what should you play on your wind up CD player?

Following on from my mention of Liane Carroll at Beaconsfield, I'm sure some of you watched the BBC4 TV broadcast (1 hour long, well done BBC) from this years Brecon Jazz Festival that was broadcast last Friday. I did, and it did more than remind me of some of the wonderful CD releases she has had over recent years. One of the songs she sings that always hits me is her own composition "Dublin Morning". This is one of the songs on her 2003 album "Billy No Mates". Its also on the "live" album recorded at Ronnie Scott's in 2001.

Another song she sang (as opener) on the TV show was "That Old Black Magic". That is available on "Standard Issue" from 2005.

Liane isn't black, but to me she is magic. so, follow the numbers:-
"Son of Dolly Bird (Live at Ronnie Scott's) Ronnie Scott's Jazz House JHCD 068 recorded 2001
"Billy No Mates" Splash Point Records SPR001CD recorded 2003
"Standard Issue" Splash Point Records SPR003CD recorded 2005

If you haven't heard her before she really is a great singer, a great personality, a very natural down to earth person and a grandmother to boot! It's not just me who thinks she's good, she did win BBC Jazz Singer of the Year this year too!!

That's it for now folks, next week I really must write about some instrumentalists!

What I haven't mentioned in the above (or in the text only email version of this blog) is that Liane is also a very accomplished piano player as well. She can sing, play, and smoke a cigarette all at the same time!!

Geoff C
Jazz from Geoff

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Geoff’s Jazz Nag

So, in the guise of trying to get back to some normality, I will start this week’s jazz ramble by going ever so slightly backwards.

What a great evening Century Jazz’s 11th birthday at The Fifield was last Sunday. Mark Nightingale was the guest, and what a superb trombone player he is. I have seen him many times, but always in an ensemble of his choosing, usually with some careful head arrangements in front of them in dot form. (Swanage Jazz Festivals performance of “Bootleg Eric” for example). On Sunday he was of course just jamming with the regular band, and it was marvellous stuff. But I HAVE to say, that in no way did I feel that anyone needed to apologise for the shear quality of “Century Jazz”. They were more than able to keep pace in quality terms with the star guest. As I said when some of my American friends listened to “The Band” at Hedsor back in August, we have just got USED to such quality, so regularly given to us at such a ridiculous low cost.

Which is a good way of leading in to “nagging on” about The Hedsor Social Club and Thursday nights. As usual, The Clive Burton Quintet (AKA Century Jazz, plus and minus 1) will be playing there this Thursday, laughing with us, and flogging us raffle tickets from 8.30 pm onwards. Just because we can, don’t assume we always will be able to hear such wonderful music for so little money, so do turn out. £3 to get in, raffle ticket to get out!

So that’s just about got your Thursdays and Sundays sorted out (after all you are going to go to Fifield on Sundays aren’t you!), but don’t forget too, that on many Thursdays you can buy jazz CD’s only at Hedsor at ridiculously low prices.

On about a month and I’m pleased to be able to tell you that tickets for the next Jazz Concert at Cores End Church are now on sale at £10, which includes a glass of wine and a light nibble of cheese etc at half time. The music will be provided by Mike Wills, with Zane Cronje plus other guests which include the lovely singer Alison Bentley, and her guitar accompanist Kevin Armstrong. Other guests could possibly be included in this up market jazz night out. Those of you who have been before will testify to the great sound quality to be had from the Georgian building (1804 I think). The pews are very comfortably padded, and it has always been a well received event. Any profit made will go to charity, so do get your tickets either direct from me, or from Crocks and Crystals in The Parade at Bourne End (01628 528712).

Coming shortly after the Cores End Concert, in November we have another of Martin Harts excellent tours through the career of a notable jazz musician. On November 18th, and the Woodley Theatre you can listen to his take on the Benny Goodman Story, with Mike Wills playing Mr Goodman. With them both are Alan Grahame on Vibs, Ken McCarthy on Piano, and Ian Scott Taylor Bass.
The Woodley Theater :- The Oakwood Centre, Headley Road, Woodley. Box Office: 0118 969 0827
In the odd moments that I have had time to listen this month, I have tried to hear some new releases. Two stand out, and as we have just mention a jazz concert in a church (not such a unique event these days, Pinner Church run regular jazz monthly concerts, given the right support we could possibly do the same?) I’m going to start with Ramsey Lewis and his new CD (2005) “With One Voice”. Like many jazz pianists he learnt his craft as a church organist (black African churches being a little freer in their music than my experience of church music!). In 1965 he won a Grammy Award for his small group recording “The In Crowd”, (it sold a million copies!) and in 2005 he returned to his old church in Maywood IL for a live concert with full choir and a great band of supporting singers and musicians. The resulting record is obviously very Gospel in feel, but it sounds just great. The choir alone massed 57 voices (more than most UK Church congregations!), with up to a dozen supporting musicians. The quality is superb, I really recommend that you give it a spin. Its on Narada Jazz (part of Virgin Records), and you can look on their web site http://www.nardajazz.com/ for more info on them. The CD number is a handy 009463-38471-2-5!

The other new release is a double CD/DVD of a band celebrating 25 years of fusion music. “Yellowjackets” is a 4 piece band that has seen very few personnel changes in 25 years, no mean feat. Keyboard player Russell Ferrante and bass guitarist Jimmy Haslip are original members, and currently they play with Bob Mintzer on Tenor sax and Marcus Baylor on drums. Most of the tunes they play are their own compositions, and it is an interesting and exciting rerun of some of their more famous past “hits” It’s a very good live recording from a concert performed in Paris in October 2005, the DVD is of a concert performed in Italy also in October 2005. The double album is called “YELLOWJACKETS TWENTY FIVE”, their web site is http://www.yellowjackets.com/, and the cd/dvd album number is Heads Up HUCD 3112

That’s it for now folks, keep playting the music, and of course, do ensure it can be kept live by TURNING OUT now and again!!

Geoff Cronin


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Geoff's Jazz nag is again a little late, and probably less compete than I would like it to be, but a few family matters have rather taken precedence on my time at the keyboard and turntable this last few weeks.

Suffice it to say that TONIGHT (September 7th) we have the Clive Burton Quintet (complete) at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30 pm onwards. I hope to bring along a few CD’s for sale at silly money prices. Of course the jazz will be fantastic, the measly charge for his great night out is still only £3, with of course an exit fee of a raffle ticket for your added excitement!

I will draw to you attention yet again that Century Jazz play every Sunday evening at The Fifield from 8pm onwards. Coming soon is the chance to celebrate their 11th year there, with special guest Mark Nightingale joining Clive on trombone, with of course, Mike Wills remaining as the reed section. Don’t miss this purely raffle funded event. I have attached a word document poster for you to display in an advantageous position to further spread the news.

Another event looming soon on the horizon is the Third Cores End Church Jazz Concert. Always a wonderful musical evening, watch this space for further details, but I can tell you that tickets will be on sale very soon at £10, which includes light half time refreshments (a bit better than 1/2 a lemon!!) and if we are lucky enough to make any profit, it will go to charity. The date is Saturday October 14th from 8 pm onwards.

I hope fervently to write more next week, in the meantime, help keep live jazz alive but turning up to at least one or two events a year!

Geoff Cronin

Jazz from Geoff