Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Chris Barber Band in 1954, Lake Records LACDD141/142
Picture from the LPCover

Calligraph CLG CD 038

Due to the business of life, I don’t seem to have written a meaningful blog for a number of weeks, so this in some way goes towards rectifying that, and of telling you all about some wonderful jazz gigs coming up at the same time.

This Thursday at Hedsor we have the amazing saxophonist Simon Spillett, who has been missing from Hedsor for too long. But, for a mere £5 you can catch him this week, accompanied by our regular, (and wonderful) Clive Burton Quintet.

The following Thursday, we have another jazz star, but one who hasn’t been to Hedsor before. Trombone player (with the BBC Big Band) Gordon Campbell is coming to compete with our regular bone shaker Clive.

Both gigs start at 8.30 pm. As usual we will be selling second hand Jazz CD’s at both these events. That’s just an added incentive for you to turn out. After all, keeping live jazz alive is our primary aim.

Coming fairly soon after those events, you will find our Christmas Party rushing towards you. On December 11th, we will be occupying Hedsor’s Big Room, from 8 pm onwards (note the time), and we will be providing party buffet food included in your £10 ticket price. Tickets are now available. We are trying to round up the stars as I tap.

One of the reasons for not writing a blog recently has been my upcoming involvement (in January 2009) with the University of the Third Age (U3A). I have been persuaded to talk to the Beaconsfield contingent about my journey through jazz. So, of course, I have been trying hard to recall who I heard first, and what attracted me into being a jazz fan in the first place.

This has meant me looking back at some of the music I listened to first in about 1953. That has also meant me pulling out some of the old (now on CD) LP’s and listening to them again. Space is too short to describe here in detail how I became enchanted by Jazz, but an early television outside broadcast was party responsible. It was Jazz live from what became The 100 Club, with the Humphrey Lyttelton Band, and I was struck forcibly by “Sweet Georgia Brown”. The sheer gaiety (we could use that word without flinching back in 1953), and informality of it all convinced me that this was THE music for me.

I cast around for similar sounds, not knowing what or who, or even how. I purchased second hand 78’s on my way home from school. A wide diversity of artists and styles came through that means. Sid Phillips, Chris Barber, Louis Armstrong (Hot 5 and 7). Ray Anthony, and numerous others. This last week, I have also rediscovered Ken Colyer, a banjo player called Tony Donegan, and then I went on on my musical journey with Johnny Hodges (“Come Sunday” from the first concert of Sacred Music), Bruce Turner (“St James Infirmary” from Jazz at The Conway), The glorious Humph band of the 1960’s with Tony Coe, Alex Welsh’s band with Roy Williams and John Barnes, my trawl through my collection has to go on in the next few weeks, because I have got to identify the music I want to play to illustrate my journey through jazz.

BUT the journey hasn’t stopped. 78’s were replaced by LP’s, and LP’s have been replaced by CD’s. BUT IT IS STILL LIVE JAZZ that gives me the greatest buzz of all. Yes, it’s great to recall times, and musicians, and music from the past. I have yet to reach Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz in my recorded collection. But to hear Live Jazz, played by people who can express themselves through their instrument, is the greatest joy of all. It can be full of surprises, and often full of smiles too. Others have obviously though so too. There is a Bechet tune called "Spreadin' Joy", and a Clark/Boland Big Band LP called "Smiles"

Our usual door charge at Hedsor is £5. For £5 you can have joy, and friendship.

If you wanted to watch the American Football this afternoon at Wembley, you would have had to pay a minimum of £50 a ticket

Join me sometime at a live jazz event. They are around, but I do wonder for how much longer?

Geoff C

Friday, October 10, 2008

I was reminded last night that some of our local jazz fans look to this blog to find out what is on!! Well, that was the purpose of it in the first place. I have tended to make this a secondary operation after I have emailed people with my nag. This really needs to be corrected (in my head anyway), and so I have reproduced below the attachment from the last nag that lists OCTOBER'S interesting events.

October 2008 Jazz Gigs associated with The Clive Burton Quintet *
issue 2

Sunday 12th October
The Fifield Inn (TFI) 8pm
The Clive Burton Quintet aka Century Jazz free entry, raffle. Guest saxophonist Peter Cook

Thursday 16th October
HSC 8.30pm
The Clive Burton Quintet £5 entry

Sunday 19th October
TFI 8pm The Century Jazz Anniversary night, with special guest trumpet star Martin Shaw.
See for more info on Martin Shaw. Free entry, raffle

Thursday 23rd October
HSC 8.30pm £5
The Clive Burton Quintet. with guest guitarist John Coverdale
Note, details amended in second issue!

Sunday 26th October
TFI 8pm
Clive Burton Quartet plus another UK jazz star Simon Spillett, free entry, raffle.

Thursday 30th October
Clive Burton Quartet plus another UK jazz star Simon Spillett, £5 entry

*Clive Burton’s Regular Quintet are, Clive on Trombone, Mike Wills on Reeds, Zane Cronje Keyboard, Ken Rankine Bass and Martin Hart Drums. On Sunday’s the bass player is John Monney An ALL STAR Band!

Advance Notices
November 6th at Hedsor we hope to have as our guest Gordon Campbell.

“Gordon is regarded as one of this country’s leading trombone players. He is currently Lead-Trombone in the BBC Big Band, a position he has held since 1984. His varied career has encompassed Jazz, Classical, Musical Theatre, Film and Pop and he has worked with many of the world’s leading performers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Barbara Streisland, Tony Bennet, Ray Charles and Robbie Williams.”

November 15th The Woodley Theatre ( ) will have a band led by our drummer Martin Hart, with Vibes player Alan Graham, and bass player Andy Crowdy, alongside Ken McCarthy on piano.

December 11th we are planning to run our Christmas Party, with lots of guests, in the Hedsor big room!! Put it in your diary NOW

Very Advanced Notice
Cookham’s Festival of the Arts Jazz Evening in 2009 will be Sunday April 26th, and it will be Very Special!! Remember to keep it free.

Now, If I forget to nag in October, you can still find out whats on!!

If you were used to getting my weekly nags by email, and have recently stopped getting them, would you please send me an email asking to be reinstated.

Keep live jazz live, you know it makes sense!! Turn out or it will turn off!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Below is a repeat of the text of my irregular Jazz nag, inviting fans to attend the sort of gig I go to myself.

Tomorrow, Thursday 2nd October , at The Hedsor Social Club, The Clive Burton Quintet play from 8.30 pm, admission £5, which now includes a raffle ticket. Second hand CD's are also for sale at this event.

As most of you know, Clive's Quintet play modern jazz, which isn't really modern, but for all you Bop fans out there, they do play it very well.

On Tuesday 7th October, we have another chance to hear Clive, and if you enjoyed some of the music from last years Cancer Research Concert, you will have another chance to hear Clive with John Slater on Trumpet, voice and humour!
In this iteration they will be called "Jubilee Jazz", and will be playing more in the Dixieland style than Bop, so if you are fan of Cookham's fabulous Shirtlifters why not come and hear their lead trumpet in a different musical environment.
The band will be at The Bourne End Community Centre from 8.30 pm, entry, with raffle ticket and half time refreshments is still only £4 (I think!).

Now I'm going to write about some of the Jazz CD's I've listened to in the last week or so. The artwork should be at the top of the blog.

First up, one I hadn't heard before, even though it was recorded on 1960. To be honest, in 1960, I was more likely to be listening to Chris Barber than Stanley Turrentine, but listening from this new perspective of time distance, it really is something I should have been listening to before. It's classic bebop, with Stan on tenor sax, Horace Parlan piano, George Tucker bass and Al Harewood drums. The album is called "Look Out", and its well worth lookin out for. Its a BlueNote reissue via EMI. They play mostly compositions by Stan, but "Tiny Capers" by Clifford Brown will be familior to most, as will Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays". Its one of Rudy Van Gelder's remasters, so the sound quality for the year is excellent.
OK, so Stanley Turrentine wasn't the most famous star of the bop revolution, but he should not have been missing from my earlier education, and so maybe he should now be included in yours!! The number is a mind blowing 50999-5-14377-25. What are they on!

Next Up, is a band that I listened to right from the start. It is again back in the 1960's, this time 1968. And The Kenny Clarke-Fancy Boland Big Band were making a big impact in Europe. Most people into Big Band Jazz had purchased "Smiles, and "More Smiles", and I'm sure some people bought those just for the covers alone, but this one "Fellini 712" had a more modest cover. The musicians were all legends, taken from Europe, the UK, and the USA. They included Benny Bailey, Tony Coe, Dusko Gojkovic, Johnny Griffin, Ronnie Scott and many more. It was a beautifully crafted and well rehearsed big band playing modern music with an accessible melody line. All soloists gave something to the music, and the mix was magic. And it can still be had today, because its all reissued on MPS Universal 02498 14805. Its not a new reissue (2004), but should still be obtainable.

The last album this time has been reissued so many times, and I have bought all of them!! Its one for my Desert Island. "Humph at the Conway" never ceases to enthral and entertain. Its from the "Dirty Bopper" period, with Bruce Turner joing Humph's well established band with Wally Fawkes clarinet, Johnny Parker piano, Micky Ashman bass, Freddy Legon guitar, and George Hopkinson on drums and washboard. What a mix, and it was 1954!
Timeless music, call it mainstream or whatever. I just call in marvelous. The sense of fun, the live atmosphere of the recording, it's was all, for me, wonderful stuff, as I discovered that jazz didn't have to be constrained to a trumpet, trombone, clarinet front line. One single track stands out for me, Bruce Turner playing "St. James Infirmary Blues". Go and search it out. I've got it this time round on Calligraph Records CLGD 038, published on 2000.

Well, that about rounds up this one. Look out for the CD's, and do keep live jazz alive by turning out to the gigs.


Geoff C