Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I haven’t put finger to keyboard for a blog for a couple of weeks now, so I thought it was about time again!
I’ve had a further thought about value, and what we do! Record shops that disappear, clubs that close, and what do YOU perceive to be value for money?
As you know, we charge a very reasonable £5 for entry to the weekly Thursday Jazz Sessions at The Hedsor Social Club. Over the last 2 years, with this figure also giving you a chance to win the raffle, our audience has waxed to 50 and waned to 10. As is not unusual in the “10” circumstance, you examine your pricing structure. Are we too expensive? Well, I recently saw a booking form for a London Opera Company. The cheapest seats for the least popular work were £20! The best seats for a popular work were £85!
OK, Hedsor isn’t glamorous. Recently it isn’t that warm either. And we do have to tempt you out against the competition of TV (aren’t all the programs so compelling these days? Which repeats do you value most?).
BUT, you get great jazz, live in front of you. You can talk to the musicians (whilst you buy them a drink), you can expect the unexpected. Who will sit in? Will the magic of improvised jazz really take off tonight? And all for £5. Perhaps we need to persuade you that the event does have a value greater than £5. How about if we charged you the cheep seat price of £20 to get in? See what I mean?
So why not try £5’s worth tomorrow. Our guest is guitarist John Coverdale.
Next week our guest will be Simon Spillett.
That means on February 25th you can have two tenors for a fiver!
Thinking again of the record shops of yesterday, long ago and far away I used to visit a second hand record shop in Chiswick. You could buy LP’s there of people you didn’t know, just to try the music out. You could always sell it back if you didn’t like it. There, back in the 1950’s, I discovered the pianist Ralph Sutton. He was a pianist in the style of Fats Waller. It wasn’t “Modern Jazz”, or “Trad”, but it was two handed playing of recognisable tunes. Sadly, this particular LP was clapped out, and it did go back to the shop. Ralph died in 2001, but recently released is a CD of recordings he made in1994 on a friends bedroom Disklavier, a piano that recorded what you played onto a floppy disk! This perfectly relaxed and “private” session has been re recorded using a modern Yamaha Disklavier Grand Piano and released on the Soliloquy Music label (SOL 002) in 2007. For fans of stride playing, this is a must. Called “The Bedroom Sessions” it contains tunes from another era, but almost certainly you will know them. “Old Fashioned Love”, “Ring Dem Bells”, “A Hundred Years from Today” and 16 others. Well worth a search for.
Another more accessible CD is a 1989 recording on the Verve label by The Gerry Mulligan Quartet. It contains one of his “train” tunes, “The Flying Scotsman”. I remember seeing him perform this at The Brecon Jazz festival in that big Market Hall. The organisers flew him and his quartet in for the one show, and flew him back again. It was a masterly performance, he looked like the US President, and he played like the master he was. Thank goodness for recordings. This reissue (2009) is on Verve 0602527068756. No, it isn’t my telephone number! That’s the number on the cover. The number on the CD is A&M 75021-5326-2. Help, I don’t think it’s me who is mad!