Tuesday, March 15, 2011

News of Zane

It has been decided that Zane will go into the Thames Valley Hospice towards the end of this week. It is only a 5 minute walk from Margaret’s home, and they will be able to give him the care and attention that he needs now. There is no more that the Hospital can do for him.

This Week at Hedsor Jazz

For our regular Thursday session this week we have the regular band (The Clive Burton Quintet, wasn’t last week’s music wonderful) and the deputy pianist will be Jeff Clark.

As usual the music starts at 8.30 pm, and it will cost you £5 to get in. Last week’s attendance was a bit on the small side, and if you still have friends, bring them along, we need their money!

CD Review

One way or another, I get to hear quite a number of Jazz CD’s. If I don’t know the performer, I will usually put the CD on, listen to a few tracks, and very quickly make up my mind as to listening now, because it is so interesting, putting it off for a later time, or deciding then that those few tracks were enough.

Recently a new CD by someone I know came in, and of course I wanted to have a listen, and make up my mind if it were a good recording, a good performance and something to be savoured for later, or so good, I must hear as much of it as time allows now!

We met Michael L Roberts through Vasilis Xenopoulos 2 years ago. We wanted to book Vasilis and his Xtet for the Cookham Festival’s Jazz night in 2009. Vasilis wanted to “sell” me a male singer. I was unsure, girls singers usually have a certain attraction for me, (I saw Tina May last Friday), but I cant say I have been as keen to rush out and buy a male singers CD. OK Frank Sinatra is the exception, I’ve had “Sinatra at The Sands”, with The Count Basie Band since it was first released. But booking a male singer for a jazz night, well I wasn’t sure. I am so glad that Vasilis persuaded me to go along with his choice, because that night we heard Michael L Roberts, and people in the audience were coming up to me saying “Where did you find him, I haven’t heard anything like that for ages”.

Since then, we have heard him at Hedsor with Vasilis, and again with the Xtet at The Marlow Jazz Festival and it has always been a very enjoyable experience.

The CD is no exception, but it is pretty exceptional, because I played it through from track 1 to track 8 in one bight (the remaining tracks coming a day later!). I just hadn’t the heart to turn it off until I absolutely had to. No Vasilis! But yes, one or two familiar faces in the band from my Monday Hedsor jazz nights (Chris Nichols on Drums), and from the Marlow event (Mark Rose on bass). But also in the band are Rob Barron on piano, Chris Montague on guitar and on 2 tracks the added voice of Anita Wardell. The recording is of Hi Fi demo standard, the songs a mixture of standards and original compositions, and overall a kind of Pat Metheny sound. A truly magical mix of voice and instruments. A small group, but producing an interwoven mix. The highlight for me was one of Michael’s original compositions, “Faces” which has Anita singing with Michael. I could go on about it, but you can hear some of it for free via Michaels web site http://www.michaellroberts.com/

I think that Michael will go far. He has a great voice, with good control. You never get that unhappy feeling that he isn’t going to get the right note. That duet with Anita is worth the purchase price alone, but there is so much else for you to enjoy too.

He returns to the Cookham Festival this year again with Vasilis and the Xtet on May 20th. Make sure you get your ticket soon.

In the meantime download or buy that Michael L Roberts album. It’s called “Moving is Living” Nota Bene Productions Ltd NBP030, iTunes and Amazon.

No comments: