Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hi Folks,

Due to family circumstances I haven't had time recently to give full value to my blog. So, I thought that a rainy Saturday afternoon would be a good opportunity.

Just for a change, I wont tell you whats coming next week, I'll nag about that later, but I will talk about a couple of recent gigs and a couple of Cd's listened to recently.

Last night I went to the Norden Farm jazz evening, which featured The Pendulum Jazz Orchestra, with solo guest Julian Siegel.

I hadn't heard Julian "live" before, and I hadn't heard Pendulum for many years.

I thought it was a knockout. And like somebody else recently, I thought the Orchestra punched well above their weight. The section playing was very polished, and the solo playing exceptional, especially when considering how young they are. (I think all are under 25). The rhythm section are all mature hands at the job (Clark Tracey drums, Andy Crowdy bass and Peter Billington piano), and they supported both when behind the large ensemble or behind a couple of waring soloists. My only downside comments would be that the young lady singer wasn't as good as any of the other soloists, and should never have scatted "Lady Be Good", and the auditorium was much too hot!

Of lady soloists I really should comment about Sarah Glazer, who sang for us at Hedsor a couple of Thursdays ago. She is a real find. She studied music at York and is now living locally studying again at one of the London music collages. She is a fine musician (being also a cellist)and handled the swing era jazz songs with finess, making them sound fresh and new again. Particularly noteworthy was her performance of "I Cant Get Started" using all of the original lyrics.

You can catch her voice as "Lady Scarlet and the Candlesticks" on Facebook.

We have had some wonderful sessions at Hedsor recently. The standard is so high. It does make one very reluctant to travel into London to pay more money for similar quality. It wont be more fun!

Listening to Cd's recently I came across a big band recording from a bunch I had never heard of. What was so astounding about it was that they are so good. The Dave Rivello Ensemble are a Rochester NY rehearsal band, and this release entitled "Facing the Mirror"(Allora Records 1002)is their first. Dave, and to some extent the orchestra, have been mentored by Bob Brookmeyer. All of the music on the album was written by Dave Rivello, and played by a 13 piece "Ensemble". The nearest description I can give is that they produce a similar polished sound to the famous Maria Shneider orchestra. If you get the chance listen to one of their shortest tracks "Chorale" for an example of precision playing.

By contrast the other CD I want to mention is a reissue of some BBC Jazz Sessions from the 1970's and 80's produced by the Upbeat Jazz Label. They have released a number of different sessions, previously locked away in the BBC sound vaults, but this one features The Humph band of 1979 (which had Bruce Turner and Mick Pyne hiding in it), and also some tracks by The Pat Halcox Allstars (1980) which features some of the then Chris Barber Band, let loose on her summer holidays and playing swinging mainstream. Finally there are 3 tracks by the John Barnes/Roy Williams Quintet (1980)again with Mick Pyne on piano.

It's a great snapshot of British jazz in that period, and it is surprisingly good! We denigrate ourselves to much! Upbeat Jazz URCD152. I'm sure Liz Biddle will sell you a copy, and send you a mailing list of other recordings she is looking after for us!

Artwork for both Cd's is at the top of the page.

Well, that's about it for now. Jazz as usual at Hedsor Social Club on Thursday. Tickets for our Christmas Party will be on sale then as well, at £10 a go. Value, not arf!

Geoff C


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