Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The last bank holiday before Christmas is now over, and I thought it was about time for a blog.

OK, so those of you who have paid employment feel a bit down in the mouth today (I’m paid to stay away from work you understand, so I am working on memory….now what was I saying?), so a bit of a blog may take your mind of off the work in hand.

Memories. Well, we do have a few jazz memories to look back on. The Swanage Jazz Festival (the best in Britain!), was again very enjoyable. Even though I got “memorably” wet on the Saturday, the Alan Barnes Octet more than made up for it. Simon Spillett and Bobby Wellins (unfortunately NOT playing together) also added to that feeling of contented joy that good jazz engenders. Hope for the future of jazz was also there in the form of the Youth Orchestra who played Sunday morning, at least 3 of whoom are going on to study music in London this year.

A very recent memory, from Yesterday in fact, was seeing some well known jazz faces playing at The Littlewick Green show. a couple of photo's of some of these suspects are above!

Hedsor Jazz has seen some wonderful (and full) sessions recently as well. Simon Spillett (with , dare I say, “his” Debbie (Wilson)), Peter Cook, Stuart Henderson, Max Britain, the regular band, yes, the quality never lessens.

And, just to reassure you that it won’t lessen in the coming weeks, book September 17th in your diary NOW. Vasilis Xenopoulos is coming to us again!

Many of you will know that my email address book suffered substantial loss this last month, so if you can let me have the email addresses of people you know who used to be on my nag list, please send them to me.

This Thursday at Hedsor, we have the regular band. Please come and support it, we would like to continue to actually pay them!! It really only does cost you £5 to get in, which includes an inedible raffle ticket, which could lead to a shaving mirror, a marrow escape or even a bottle of vintage Reading 2009! All the gigs start at 8.30pm, the bar is open from around 7pm. Jeff the barman will be delighted to serve you with any cold liquid you desire from then on.

CD’s listened to recently, and still out there to help sustain the coming longer nights (who remembers a reviewer writing for The Gramophone Magazine under the Heading “Nights at the Round Table”?) include one recorded at The Bulls Head at Barnes in 2006 by Bobby Wellins and Stan Tracey. It’s entitled “Tracey Wellins Play Monk”. It is in Quartet form (Andrew Cleydert on bass and Clark Tracey drums), and is every bit as good as the quality of the names would imply. Two of my favourite Monk tunes are included, “Well you Neednt” and ‘Round Midnight”, plus 6 others. Its on the “ReSteamed” label RSJ104. The recording was instigated and produced by Stan’s wife Jackie, who sadly has died in this last month.

Almost carrying on with the “sad loss” theme, is a double album on the Arbours Jazz label (ARCD 19368) “Ruby Braff, For The Last Time” was recorded with Scott Hamilton in Nairn, Scotland as part of the Jazz Festival there on August 7th, 2002. Although suffering very badly by then from emphysema, you would be hard pushed to tell that here was a very sick man playing before an audience for the last time. The music is timeless Braff, the two front men are supported by Jon Wheatly guitar, John Bunch piano, Dave Green bass, and Steve Brown drums.

According to the cd notes, Ruby had great difficult getting on the stage, and played the entire concert in a wheel chair, supported by cushions. Don’t buy it through any feelings of completeness (the last… etc), buy it because it is great jazz music from a master of his craft. All of the music is there, and it hasn’t been electronically enhanced to make him sound better than he was. He may have been a difficult person to get along with, but he was a jazz great.

Well, that’s it for now folks, roll the credits…..”I’m must thank my lovely wife June, and my parents for having the forethought to have me…” etc, etc.

Geoff C

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