What a wonderful evening those of us had who went to Cookham's Evening of Modern Jazz last Sunday. Those who attend Hedsor Jazz on a regular basis (they were much in evidence in the audience), already knew that an evening with Vasilis Xenopoulos was going to be jolly good fun(!), but it turned out to be absolutely marvellous. I know he shortens his name for publicity to Vasilis X, now we know it really does stand for eXcellence.
It was very rewarding that Cookham’s Pinder Hall was packed, especially as Vasilis’s name isn’t yet a household one, and Pinder Hall usually hosts the more Traditional Jazz of Cookham's fabulous Shirtlifters. But I think everyone there was amazed at the musical professionalism, musical joy, and shear fun of the event. The band were a highly trained team. The singer Michael L Roberts astounded everyone. (Marianne Stalk wanted him wrapped up for home delivery!). He had full control of his microphone for starters! His voice became another musical instrument, an instrument with a nice tone to it too. One of our table even said that his words (he had written many of the lyrics to go with Vasilis’s new tunes) “were like listening to Shakespeare”.
I know I haven’t mentioned everyone in the band individually, but they were all absolutely brilliant. Do try and read the other reviews on the web.
**If my blog site allows, I will insert two links. One for a different persons revue of the night, and one of Gerry Clark’s photos of the night.
One other thing I will say before moving on to my more usual nagging ways, is THANK YOU to the Cookham Festival Committee for there recognition of my part in organising the evening. Thanks for the wine, and also for the comments from Clive Burton that I was “a staunch supporter of the local jazz scene”, and “the Norman Grantz of Cookham”. I can only reiterate what I said on my 70th birthday, it has been a real privilege to work with the musicians over the last 20 years, and to get to know them as friends. Some of you know that in another life and on another planet I played the trumpet, but (as my wife will say) I was never a musician! And I am delighted to be the friend of many now.
The ONLY photo of Geoff playing to the public!
Now, as ever, to the future.
This Thursday at Hedsor, Clive is having an evening off. And in his place, to keep Mike Wills company at the front, we have John Coverdale on guitar. A great guitar player who always brings sensitivity to his two rolls with the band. Two? Yes, he is both soloist and a member of the rhythm section. In that rhythm section this week (as last) we have drummer Mike Jeffries. Martin Hart will be back for the Cancer Concert, but Mike Will be filling the drum chair until then. Zane will be back with us on keyboard (thank you Nigel Fox for last week’s piano playing). I think Ken Rankine will be abroad, so I anticipate John Monney on the bass. So almost the regular band then!! Well two of them anyway!
We are of course looking forward to the Cancer fundraising concert on May 14th at Hedsor. We have a super cast list. We now need a super audience as well. The tickets are £10 each, and will include food, but we are going to run the raffle for an additional cost. I have artwork for a poster, so if you can find a place to put one up please email me and I will send you a PDF file for you to print.
That will do for now. If I get time this week I will talk about some CD’s. I know we get to see some superb musicians locally, but its nice to take Dianna Krall home with you isn’t it!
** The blog site has blocked the hyperlinks to the web sites, but do search for the Cookham Festival website, and look for the review of the night, and Gerry Clark's photos.