Sunday, May 10, 2009

Its time for a blog!

It’s a busy month.

Last night was the Woodley Theatre Jazz night, organised by our regular Hedsor drummer Martin Hart. A nice little band, with Ken McCarthy on keyboard (with a very nice audio setup, it sounded a treat), Nick Pugh on bass, and Vasilis Xenopoulos on Alto and Tenor Saxophones. As a pickup band they played mostly standards (well know tunes really) and it all went extremely well. I don’t know if it is a sign of the economic times, but there were still some empty seats, which is unusual for this small intimate performance area. I enjoy going there, and will try and blogg about the next one. They run 6 a year.

Driving home along the A4 was a bit like a time warp. The A4 at 10.30 pm was almost deserted. It felt very much like I was driving back in the early 1960’s, hardly a car in sight, wonderful!

Now to the bits we haven’t done yet. Next Tuesday May 12th, at The Marlow Jazz Club, British Legion Hall, Marlow, Vasilis is playing again with guitarist Nigel Price. Those of you who came to the sell out Pinder Hall Concert (part of the Cookham Festival) will remember Nigel and will want to hear the combination again.

Then, the event I haven’t done enough about. The annual (now) concert to raise funds for Cancer Research UK takes place at The Hedsor Social Club on THURSDAY May 14th from 8pm, yes that’s right 8pm.
The entry will be £10, there will be an additional cost Raffle, but some food will be there for you to graze during the evening. Please ensure you buy your drinks at the bar, though you can bring your own coffee!

The line-up for this event should attract you, even if you are hardened to charity causes.

Clive Burton, and his trombone, will be our host, Zane Cronje will be our keyboard player, Ken Rankine will be on bass, and Martin Hart (with less jet lag than last night) will be our drummer.

They will be joined by singer Liz Cooper, guitarist John Coverdale, trumpeter Stuart Henderson, and BBC Rising Star Simon Spillett on tenor saxophone. Simon has also just been awarded best album of the year by Jazz Journal for his CD “Sienna Red”

It will all take place in the big room at Hedsor, and all we need is a big audience, which is where YOU come in. Come along, bring your friends, and tell others about it too. Let’s make it a sell-out, and raise lots of money for cancer research whilst having fun ourselves.

Many will know why we do this concert every year for Cancer Research UK. Originally the band Clive Burton now leads was founded by drummer Keith Vitty. Keith died of bowel cancer in 2002, just 3 months before my son Stuart died of lymphatic cancer. Many of Hedsor’s fans and supporters have died of cancer in the intervening years, Ernie Evans, our original sponsor, who founded Jazz Heaven, and Jazz Angels for one. But a number of others have been affected by this condition too. So please turn out. It should be great fun (if I don’t weaken!).

A long time ago, in a magazine called The Gramophone (still being published) they used to have a section called “Nights at The Round Table”. They also had a section that reviewed Jazz. I don’t think they do this now, because they seem to have concentrated on Classical Music these days. But I thought of this, because when they did do both of the above, I had an LP of pianist Ralph Sutton. This week, a CD by said Sutton turned up. Soliloquy Music SOL 002 has a most unusual (but beautifully recorded) provenance. Called “Bedroom Session” you may think “risqué music”. However, this recording saw him playing a Yamaha Disklavier recording piano in the London bedroom of a fan. Sutton is a stride piano player, and he really does shine on tunes like “Old Fashioned Love”, “Alligator Crawl”, “A Hundred Years from Today” and a dozen or so more of the same ilk.

Ralph Sutton died in December 2001, and this set of recordings (effectively recorded on to floppy disks) came to have a greater value. So the floppy disks found there way to a Yamaha grand Disklavier and were acoustically recorded. It is so much more realistic than a piano roll, and the sound quality is excellent. I really recommend it to any stride fans out there.

Another recording of note to rotate in my front room this week is a recent recording by Scottish singer Carol Kidd. I have never forgotten hearing her first recording played by Humph on his Monday Night program. He played one of his “guess where she comes from” games, and I bet most would have said America. She still has the magic, and the determination for perfection in her recordings that marked her out for Humph’s special treatment. “Dreamsville” is a LINN SACD, i.e. a technically superb recording, released last year, containing some familiar songs. “How Deep is the Ocean”, “Stars Fell on Alabama” and “It’s Alright with Me” being just ¼ of them. The Number is AKD 325, it's called "Dreamsville" and, yes, it does play on your ordinary CD player.

I still don’t know anyone with an SACD player, or anyone with a Disklavier for that matter, but it doesn’t stop this wonderful music getting through.

What ever else you do though, keep live music alive.

The best fidelity to jazz music is your presence!

Geoff C

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