Tuesday, February 12, 2008




Here we are, and almost already at the Valentines Day post! For me, the significance of the day has changed. It was 6 years ago that I came out of Harley Street after my heart surgery. Time has really flown. But we have also seen and done so many things since, including starting up this regular Jazz Nag.

So, just to keep you occupied this Thursday on St. Valentines Day, we have at The Hedsor Social Club, on all the reeds, Mike Wills, together with the Clive Burton Quartet. Last weeks session with Mike and John Rolls was a really joyous occasion too. The music was wonderful, we had a reasonable turn out, and we almost had enough money to pay the band, which always leaves me smiling! Thursdays at Hedsor always start at 8.30 pm. We still only charge £3 to get in, and we still run the best raffle in Hedsor!

Sunday at The Fifiled Inn it will be the same combination, Mike and Clive. Start time 8 pm, free entry, raffle funded. And the music is just as good!

Don't forget to put in your diary next Monday, February 18th, because at Hedsor we have another guitar led session from James Fenn and Friends, and you know the kind of friends he brings along. So although this month is a pot luck one for the guest, it will be well worth turning out for.

Many of the musicians who play for us at Hedsor are well nationally known names in the jazz firmament, and although we cannot pay them what they are undoubtedly worth, they love coming because of the friendly, knowledgeable audience, and are very happy to keep coming back. I hope that also applies to you!

Bearing that preamble in mind, our next Concert for Cancer Research UK is on Friday March 28th, and at Hedsor (for the first time). We are trying to make Hedsor the local "home" for jazz, and I hope many of you will come along and support the charity. £10 will get you in and we have tickets for sale now!

Also in to the future, we are organising a very special Monday Date at Hedsor. On April 28th with James Fenn, Lisa Amato, and Nick Marangoni we are putting together Pete Billington on Keyboard and Vasilis Xenopoulos on Saxophone. (I wonder if anyone who saw Vasilis with Clive the other Thursday realise that it was the first time he had played the alto sax, as well as his usual tenor! It was new to him!). This session is a special, it will cost us more money, but it will be unmissable, put it in your diary NOW. It could be the start of a whole new band!

When your not out soaking up the live jazz, you may want to listen to some at home. CD's I've listened to recently, and can heartily recommend are:-

"Billy Taylor and Gerry Mulligan Live at MCG"

Recorded in Pittsburgh in 1993 this late Mulligan session, recorded before an audience, is a wonderful addition to the Mulligan catalogue. Dr Billy Taylor is a very accomplished pianist, in full sympathy with the small group Mulligan sound. There are some wonderful tunes ("Laura", "All the Things You Are", "Come Sunday") and the quartet (Chip Jackson is on bass and Carl Allen on Drums) play with great integration. It's well recorded too. I think you will need to order it from a specialist jazz dealer, as its on MCG Jazz (a local to Pittsburgh label). MCGJ1025 is the number, you can see the rest of the catalogue at http://www.mcgjazz.org/ so you may well be able to order online too.

The other CD is much more home grown, but very similar in style and feel.

"Karen Sharp Wait and See" features the young lady saxophonist who first came to most peoples attention with the Humphrey Lyttleton Band, which she left last year to further her own career. With Karen are Adrian Fry on trombone, John Perry drums, Richard Busiakiewicz on piano and John Day on bass. This combination of instruments is very familiar to listeners of the Clive Burton Quintet, and Karen's playing is mature, the ensemble playing recognises the harmonies that work, and the solos are all well executed. Many of the tunes are Karen's own, but two exceptions stand out, "Pure Imagination" and"Struttin' With Some Barbecue". It was recorded in 2006, and is available on 33 Records 33JAZZ152. 33 records often pick up and present fresh talent, who usually go on to be contracted to more prestigious labels. I'd go out and buy this one now, as it will become a collectors item! Its also a great listen, and over the last fortnight, not been put into a storage draw.

That's it for now folks, don't forget to support local live jazz, without you in the audience there will be no jazz tomorrow!

Geoff C