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

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