Friday, December 12, 2008

John Slater and Simon Spillett


Clive and Simon

“WOW”, as a Newport jazz festival compare was recorded as saying after a terrific set from Lionel Hampton’s big Band in 1966. “WOW”

Last nights Jazz Party at Hedsor was another of those WOW nights.

I think that the very good crowd who turned out had every good reason to say WOW too. The music was excellent, Simon Spillett won more new friends, and our regular quintet, led by Clive Burton, showed just how good and versatile they are.

One of the strangest musical collaborations (that I don’t think I would have called), really worked. A duet, with rhythm accompaniment, between Simon Spillett and Cookham’s fabulous Shirtlifters (a trad band!) lead trumpet player, John Slater.
It was what jazz is always all about. Its all very well for a regular band, to read the scores and rehearse, play well and get it right on the night. BUT for two musicians who had never played together before, and who come from almost the opposite ends of the musical spectum of jazz, to combine and produce sheer magic together was just one of those jazz moments of history. It’s what jazz is all about, it’s what LIVE JAZZ is all about, and if you only listen to records, even on your highest Hi Fi, then you will never experience the thrill. Yes, OK, it doesn’t always work, we’ve all been to disappointing musical events. It does work much of the time though, and if your not there, you will never get that thrill.

The closing number (“Hit That Jive Jack”) was again, that well worn, “lets get all the players up at the same time to finish the evening” scenario. But it was absolutely magic. One, irregular, attendee, said afterwards that Martin Hart should play more drum solos! It wasn’t pre planned, he called for a go!! And it fitted within the framework. And you could feel the combined smile of the audience widen as he played. The riffs backing all the solos were something from the best of the big band era, and I’m also sure many were surprised to see Clive lead the singing too, so Jamie Cullem, watch out.

These Jazz concerts in Hedsor’s Big Room are becoming a regular event. We are making more friends as we do them, and we will do them again.

So don’t miss out, start coming out to Hedsor to see for yourself what great jazz is being performed just up the road from you.
I'll tell you about some great CD's to add to your collection next time, but, unless next time is after the festive day, may I wish all my readers (who?), a Very Happy Christmas Time.
Geoff C

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