Monday, January 26, 2009

Hi Jazz Fans

Well, we have penetrated another week into 2009, so I thought a review of 3 of last weeks jazz activities might be appropriate.

First off, last Monday afternoon I was invited to give an illustrated lecture on “My Journey Through Jazz” to the Amersham branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A), Jazz Section. This turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable time talking to a room full of jazz fans of about my vintage, and playing them a variety of the jazz, and root music, that I had enjoyed on my way through my jazz life. It was very interesting to see different sections of the audience responding to the different styles of music I played, tapping their feet and smiling as different styles reflected their own prime love. When I mentioned that I had first seen singer Ottilie Patterson in the White Hart in Southall in the 1950's, a very excited lady in the back row shouted out that she had been there too!! And I did play them a wide variety of the sounds I had enjoyed, from Kenny Bakers Dozen, through Ken Colyer, to Simon Spillett. Although my brief had been to concentrate on British Jazz, I did manage to slip in a bit of Johnny Hodges, a 1925 Freddy Keppard, and a dose of the Rev Kelsey. Being originally an American musical form, it is impossible to miss out our cousins altogether, and I was determined to play them some of the obscure as well as the familiar. All in all, a well enjoyed (by me at any rate) 2 1/2 hours.

The next jazz event of the week for me was the regular session at Hedsor. Last week, we had the regular band, who are playing very well at the moment, but last week they played a few numbers not usually included in their repertoire. “Big Noise From Winnetka” went fairly well. There is currently a TV advert (for a government agency!) that uses the Bob Crosby Bob Cats original version as background music. I’m not sure if this was their inspiration on the night or not! “Tishomingo Blues” was less well know to modernists, and seemingly to most of the band!

The finale to the jazz musical week was the fabulous Shirtlifters annual “Evening of Winter Ineluctability” at Cookham’s Pinder Hall on Saturday. As usual on these evenings the place was packed, and great fun was had by all. I must say (no, no one is pointing a gun) that the band sounded really good. They had the assistance of “our” sax man Mike Wills, and the ensemble sound was the best I have ever heard from them. Trombone player Malcolm has come on leaps and bounds, and was playing some really good sustaining notes. It was all great fun, AND it has been recorded for future home listening. Watch this space.

This week on Thursday 29th Jan we have another wonderful prospect for Hedsor. Star saxophonist Simon Spillett will stand in front of our regular rhythm section, and alongside him will be trumpet man Stuart Henderson. And for just £5 you cannot afford to miss it.

Next Week? on Tuesday 3rd Feb, The Clive Burton Quintet play The Bourne End Community Centre, this time with the added dimension of local singer Lea Lyle. 8.30 p.m. start, £5 to get in, and nibbles at half time. And of course, we have our usual session with the Clive Burton Quintet on Thursday at Hedsor.

CD Review

A couple of year ago, at one of the Swanage Jazz Festival sessions, I very much enjoyed a set by Scottish piano man Brian Kellock. At that session, he had with him saxophonist Julian Arguelles. Out now on a CD is a complete series of duets by those two. I found the live set delightful, full of harmonies, and although playing many well known tunes, full of surprises. The CD is the same. It doesn’t have a rhythm section behind the two players, the sound is well recorded, and it has been a joy to listen to. Tunes include “Blame it on My Youth”, “The Masquerade”, “Don’t You Care To Know” and Lee Konitz “Thingin’”
It all comes on a strange label (Thick Records) being copyrighted to Thick-Skinned!! The number is TRCD0001, its called, “The Nine Mile burn Sessions” and promises to be the first of a series.

This years Swanage Jazz Festival runs from July 10th to the 12th.

That’s it for now folks


Geoff C

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