Friday, January 26, 2007

First, what a wonderful evening last night turned out to be. I suppose those of us who go regularly to the Hedsor Social Club on Thursdays have rather got used to having Simon Spillett playing his, and everyone else's socks of for us. And we are used to the intimate and friendly atmosphere, but we are going to have to get used to the idea, that other quality musicians want to come along and sample the very special atmosphere that we have all created at Hedsor. Last night Simon was joined by another quality tenor player in the very large shape of American Frank Griffith. It was a real knockout!! AND he wants to come back and play for us again!! It was a truly memorable night, not just for Hedsor, but for jazz!! (Frank can also be found teaching clarinet at Brunel University, and he has an excellent CD out called "The Coventry Suite", try for more info).
The picture above was culled from the website!


Sunday at The Fifield Inn, as a replacement for Max Britain, Simon Spillett! Fifield on a Sunday could just become a habit!!

Last night Clive Burton couldn't remember who he had booked for Hedsor, but a couple of weeks ago he had told me it would be Pete Davis. Unfortunaly I wont be there, but you could go and see if I'm wrong!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


TOMORROW at The Hedsor Social Club, we have as our guest the up and coming (Jazz UK Official) Simon Spillett on tenor sax, together of course, with Clive Burton and his quartet. 8.30 pm start £3 in.

SATURDAY at Cookhams Pinder Hall, the fabulous Shirtlifters present an evening of jazz Winter Ineluctability!! Tickets I am told are in short supply, but that nice Mr Benson HAS reserved mine at the entrance! (Ta). You could try ringing him on 01628 472163 to see if there are any left.

SUNDAY Fifield Inn doesn't have Max Britain, but I'm sure there will be a guest for Century Jazz. Free event, raffle funded.

In to the Future, put it in your diaries. May 11th (a Friday) will be the next Cancer Research Jazz Concert at The Bourne End Community Centre. This year it will be entitled "From Dixieland to Swing" and Tickets will be available soon.

Mike Wills

I tried to visit Mike last Thursday, but the gales (and an overturned lorry blocking the M40) prevented me. I was going to see him tomorrow, but he now has an appointment with the medical profession to sift through future options for him. I've had a long chat with him on the phone tonight and the news is generally very good. In himself he feels well, and has had 2 one hour practice sessions in the last few days, one on clarinet and the other on alto. He felt fine during and after these sessions, so its looking good. The Medics still need to decide if they are going to put in one stent to open up a blocked artery, or leave it alone for now. Open Heart surgery is still a possibility. Soon he will be starting his cardiac rehab exercise routine (which is basically doing an hours circuit training in a gym once a week). I have booked another visit with him next week, but you never know!!

Listening at Home

I'm still mildly amazed by new technology, and have been playing with some of my newer toys this week. I have put together a couple of CD's of music from my own collection using MP3 format to get them onto an ordinary CD. When played back on a DVD player, you can then access 13 albums from one disk. And the music I enjoyed most during this little experiment was a jazz album I first heard 40 years ago at least, and have mentioned here before. Coast Concert by Bobby Hackett and his Jazz Band is absolutely timeless. Its relaxed, tuneful, swinging music, played by masters of the art. Jack Teagarden on trombone joins Bobby Hackett in the front line, with Matty Matlock and a few other ace players on tunes like (yet again) "I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man", "Basin Street Blues" (where Teagarden sings "hang on now while I play a trombone coda"), "Royal Garden Blues", and they all end up with "Fidgety Feet" which I had all the way through! Its combined on my Dormouse International CD with another album from the same period called "Jazz Ultimate" (the period being 1955 and 1957 respectively). OK, they are traditional tunes, but its not Trad Jazz (a British invention), its just Great Jazz. Seek and ye shall find. Dormouse died with the company owner some years ago, but I'm sure the albums are still around somewhere.

The other object was watched as well as listened to, because I was using the DVD player for its prime purpose, watching a film. Nils Landgren is a trombone player some of you may have heard off, although I would guess not too many of you. He is a Swedish player with a remarkable technique, that wasn't restricted to Jazz Music (I heard him some years ago performing with The London Philharmonic Orchestra). He can also sing very well. ACT have released of a DVD of Nils performing a "Christmas Concert with My Friends" from a medieval church in Stockholm. The friends to me are largely unknown (but shouldn't be, because they are amazingly talented) but they do include singer Viktoria Tolstoy, who has a couple of really good jazz albums out in the UK, a lovely voice, with a stunning presence. The tunes are a real mixture of the classical and the jazz. So "In Dulce Jubilo" (a piano solo) mix with "The Christmas Song" and "When You Wish Upon a Star". Some of it is sung in Swedish, but the overall visual and sound experience is worth the purchase. ACTDVD 9901-9

That's it for now, keep live jazz alive,

Geoff C

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Max Britain appearance scheduled for Fifield Next Sunday has been CANCELLED.

If I can discover who the replacement guest will be before the event, I will let you know.

Last nights event there, with Pete Towndrow on trumpet and flugel horn was a great set. A really melodic player, who usually plays trad in the Epsom area, he was very at home with Clifford Brown tunes, and the harmonies created between Pete and Clive on trombone were a joy to experience.

But, and there always is a but, not many of you turned out for it. As the Fifields rent has just gone up by 3%, it wont only be the landlord (Barry) who would appreciate your attendance!!

Help to keep live music live. It isn't a hardship, we are getting such fantastic musicians playing in our area that you would be doing yourselves a disfavour by missing out on the music!

Don't forget, Simon Spillett at Hedsor on Thursday.

Geoff C

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A little Jazz Information that is new, and some that is just a little bit more nagging!!

TONIGHT, at The Fifield (8pm start, free, raffle funded) with Century Jazz is the trumpet player Pete Towndrow.

Nagging reminders: Simon Spillett is the guest at The Hedsor social Club on Thursday, 8.30 pm start. £3 in raffle out!

Cookhams fabulous Shirtlifters evening of Winter Ineluctability are at Cookhams Pinder Hall on Saturday (27th) from 8pm., but you will need a ticket (£7) try ringing 01628 472163, and if Mr Benson reads this, please reserve me one!!

And on Sunday 28th Jan at Fifield, guitarist Max Britain will be playing with Century Jazz.

Just don't miss out!!

Geoff C

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Again this week I will keep it brief ish.

two or three gigs

First. THURSDAY (18th Jan), our guest at The Hedsor Social Club will be none other than that great swinging sax player Al Nichols! Clive promises to be there too, so it should be another great session. its an 8.30 start.

A bit like the sales, when its gone, its gone, and our sessions at Hedsor will not inevitably carry on indefinitely, things don't work out like that. So stay at home and enjoy the TV, and remember what live jazz was all about, or come on out (even if it is dark and wet) and see what it is still like. The choice is yours. And seeing as it will only cost you £3 to get in, what's the problem! You may recall that last week my wife and I were very generously given tickets for the Sound of Music at The Palladium. Well, the cheapest seats in the house were £45, and the place was a sell-out. At Hedsor we are giving away quality live jazz music at only £3 a head. We will of course charge you a raffle ticket to get out, but we wont sell you a souvenir program for £3.50!!

Second. Sunday, Century Jazz's guest at Fifield will be Pete Towndrow

Thirdly, Cookhams fabulous Shirtlifters evening of Winter Ineluctability is on Saturday Jan 27th. Tickets £7, grab one from Charles Benson soon, cause they go like hot cakes.

Home Listening

Something Old, Something New

First the old, and got out of my collection on hearing of the recent death of clarinet player Kenny Davern. A record he made in 1986 with Humphrey Lyttelton on trumpet, John Barnes on various saxophones, Mick Hutton on bass, Martin Litton on piano and Colin Bowden on drums. yes, a really eclectic selection of players. Mick Hutton is more of an outright modernist, and Colin Bowden used to be Ken Colyers drummer, a very New Orleans style player. But the overall product really works. Its been reissued on an Upbeat CD (URCD138) called "This Old Gang of Ours" and is timeless jazz. It swings, and Bowden on drums to me is outstanding. He propels it all. Martin Litton is well know for his academic work on 20's and 30's jazz, John Barnes and Humph can play anything from trad to swing, and to hear tunes like "A Porters Love Song to a Chamber Maid" without its vocal makes you realise what a good tune it really is. Go out and find it!

The new one is the latest from the Matt Wates Sextet, called "Plum Lane". Matt writes nearly all his own material, but an outing on Jimmy Rowles "The Peacocks" just shows us he knows how to play other peoples tunes as well! The Line up Is Matt on alto and flute, Martin Shaw on trumpet, Steve Kaldestad on tenor, Leon Greening on piano, Malcolm Creese bass and Steve Brown drums. Its very smooth jazz, full of harmonic flavour, played by people who make it all sound so easy. The great thought about it all is that mostly they are young men!! During their lifetime at least we can be assured that there are people who will be able to play jazz, even if they have no place to play it! Its on the audio-b label as ABCD 5019. will get you more info.

Well, that's it for now, the blog will have the CD artwork.

Geoff C

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just a quick Nag today, to let you know that our guest at The Hedsor Social Club on Thursday will be Simon Spillett. He is also featured this month in an article in the Jazz Uk Gig Guide, copies of which should also be available on Thursday. The article is about rising young talent, and its good to know that others now know what we have found out by ourselves!! If YOU haven't found out about him yet, do come along to Hedsor tomorrow! Its still only £3 to get in, and yes, it is still a raffle ticket to get out!

A quick update on Mike Wills. He is still recovering gently at home, the pacemaker is doing its job, and he is due to see a specialist at The Radcliffe sometime soon! He did try a quick blow of his clarinet, but after about 1 minute he gave up! A bit more recovery time (and cardiac rehab exercise) before he can play properly. Patience is a virtue (but I don't seem to have acquired that one yet!).

I'm probably like you, still recovering from the Christmas and New Year activities, but I have been reminded of some Louis Armstrong sessions from a while back.

A friend asked me if I had both the LA All-stars New York Town Hall and Boston Symphony Hall concerts on CD, as they have just been released as a package on the Definitive label, as an import, for about 19 €. As it happens I do already have them, but the enquiry reminded me of the marvellous music they contain. Both these concerts were recorded live in 1947, long before Hi Fi, Stereo, or LP's. And if you think of Louis as a bit "Uncle Tom" grab a listen to these. He was at the top of his playing form, he had wonderful support from Jack Teagarden on trombone, Barney Bigard (in Boston) or Peanuts Hucko on clarinet, Dick Cary on piano, Big Sid Catlett on drums and Arvil Shaw (Boston) or Bob Haggart on bass. The New York set was rehearsed by Bobby Hackett, who stayed behind to play in the gig on Cornet.

The acetates have cleaned up remarkably, and if you want to learn was loose swing is all about, grab for this set. Rockin Chair, Back of Town Blues, Big Butter and Egg Man and about 3 dozen others. The title of Butter and Egg Man refers to the lady singers desire to have a "Big Butter and Egg Man" as a sponsor for all her activities. After all, it would mean he was a rich farmer!!

So, from this impoverished jazz lover,


Geoff C

I'm just off to see the Sound Of Music, honest. Curtesy of our lovely daughter-in-law.