Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hi all you jazz lovers out there.

Once again I hit the keyboard to remind you of jazz at The Hedsor Social Club, and to report on a few listens I've had recently.

Thursday at Hedsor will be the regular guys! Yes, Clive Burton and Mike Wills are back with us. Ken Rankine wont be, as he is now recovering from his hip replacement op. I had a text from him Friday to say that it was all done, very painful, but he is enjoying the morphine!! So, John Monney will be playing with the band until Ken is well enough to rejoin us.

Coming up VERY soon now is our Christmas Party, on December 17th. This looks to be a wonderful jazz event, with the regular band, plus at least the addition of Stuart Henderson on trumpet and Sarah Glazer on vocals. We hope also to be joined by Al Nicholls on tenor sax, and possibly by "Tollie" as well. Mike Wills is unfortunately not going to be with us, and we have fined him appropriately!

Tickets for this event are on sale now, either from me in person, or from The Stationery Depot on The Parade in Cookham (01628 531178).

I was away last week, traveling some of the country that seems to have missed out on roads! First stop was Hunstanton on the North Norfolk coast. A very beautiful part of the world, but with "long and winding roads".

Then even more excitingly I travelled from there to Stone in Staffordshire.

Here I was entertained to a gala evening celebrating 25 years of music at Granvilles Brasserie ( http://www.granvilles.st/granvilles.htm ). The music for the evening was from Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen, who are celebrating 50 years as a band.

Not usually the kind of music I now listen to, but they are still good at their job as musicians and entertainers. They were really good fun. Two pieces of note. A piano trio (led by pianist Hugh Ledigo) arrangement of Bach's Toccata in D, which I thought they did very well.

The other tune of note was a bit like "Cute" by drummer Nick Millward, entitled "Your Nicked". A real percussionists tour de force, including "Big Noise from Winnetka" with the help of the bass player and a tour of the restaurant hitting bottles and glasses in time, without missing a beat! AND staying in tune!!

I really did think they put on a good show. Do check out both Kenny Ball's website ( http://www.kennyball.co.uk/TheBand.htm )and Granvilles. Just to add colour I've put the artwork for the CD that contains both pieces at the top of the page.

Back in 1970 a concert was arranged to celebrate Louis Armstrongs birthday. It was perfomed at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall by a glitterati of British jazz musicians. These included Alex Welsh and the band, Humph, Wally Faulkes, Bruce Turner, Beryl Brydan and many more. It was recorded, and released initially on the Black Lion Label. It was received badly by the musical press because the recording was incredibly out of balance in great patches. I had been looking to obtain a copy of this double album for some years now. What once might have been considered rubbish, now with a 30 year perspective, does become more desirable. So many of the cast are no longer with us. I am pleased to say that I have been able to locate most of the tracks and download them via Spotify. It really has been a worthwhile exercise. I've placed the artwork at the top, and can thoroughly recommend anyone to go and find the music. Called "Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Live at The Queen Elizabeth Hall" there are some very good performances by all concerned. For anyone out there who doesn't know the kind of music Alex Welsh was playing in that year, go and find out. It wasn't "trad" but the tunes were from the traditional jazz repertoire. BUT, just listen to how the ensemble play "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy", and you will get excited. For those of us looking backwards at those times, we have real regret that music as swinging and polished as the Welsh Band is now much harder to find.

BUT to finish on a plug, the music you get to hear, and the value, provided by Jazz at Hedsor every Thursday, is truly remarkable, and I thank my lucky stars that it is so accessible and regular. Many people are much less fortunate in their ability to access such wonderful entertainment.

So, keep coming, and keep live jazz alive!

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