Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Pictures taken at Hedsor in 2008

Just a line or two about Thursday.

Zane Cronje’s funeral will take place at Easthampstead Park Crematorium RG40 3DW, (near Bracknell), at 1.20 pm on Thursday 28th.

Those of you who are attending the funeral are asked not to wear black. Also it is requested that no flowers are given, but that donations be made to The Thames Valley Hospice.

After the funeral, all are invited to a buffet at The Fifield Inn.

Later from 8.30 pm onwards our regular evening Hedsor Jazz meeting will take place, our guest this week is trombonist Steve Shaw. A kind of J and K night!

Next week, May 5th, apart from voting for your first past the post alternative rights, we will have the Tribute Night for Zane Cronje at Hedsor from 8 pm onwards. Please pay your £10 at the door. There are no tickets in advance this time. ALL of the profit from that night is going to the Thames Valley Hospice.

I’m sure there will be many guest musicians at that event. Unfortunately, one or two cannot be with us, including the previously advertised Peter Cook, who has got a MUCH better paid gig at Ronnie Scott’s that night!! See, look at just how much you save by coming to Hedsor to see these stars!

Geoff C

Friday, April 22, 2011

Zane in Malmesbury Abbey Gardens 2004

The day that Zane Died, I had a wonderful email from saxophonist Simon Spillett. I wanted to share what he wrote about Zane with the world via my blog, but I only got his permission to do so yesterday.

So, here it is, in full. I dont need to add anything else. I think it a very fitting tribute.

Dear Geoff,

Clive just phoned me to let me know the sad news. Please extend my sincere condolences to Margaret and all of Zane's family.

He was a remarkable man; talented, hugely intelligent and extremely funny. I have many fond memories of him, both musically and off-the-stand and I always enjoyed his company, perhaps never more so than when we shared a radio spot on Cookham Summer FM.

Whenever we'd talk there would be lots of laughter and I loved his readiness to try material that was sometimes daunting. We used to like playing Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life, as anyone will tell you, a tune with a sophisticated structure full of hidden doors. Sunday night in a half-deserted Fifield perhaps wasn't the right place for such an exhibition of musical erudition, but we did it anyway!

I also tremendously admired Zane's refusal to recognise generic pigeon-holes and his trio spots at Hedsor were enriched by this, whether playing songs by The Beatles, Billy Joel, Wayne Shorter or one of his impressionistic classical borrowings.

Above all, Zane was a fine musician, with one of the most harmonically agile minds I've ever encountered and his lengthy CV attests to his all-encompassing musical ability. I am deeply sorry at his passing but I am equally certain that Zane acheived what all musicians want to acheive; to bring some beauty into an otherwise perplexing world. For that, he will be fondly remembered.


I am so glad to have been able to call Zane my friend.

Geoff C

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zane Cronje 13.5.1938 – 16.4.2011

Following on from the announcement of Zane’s funeral details, we can now confirm that there will be a tribute night to Zane on Thursday May 5th at The Hedsor Social Club from 8 pm.

It will be “a pay at the door” event, admission £10, and all the profit from the evening will be going to The Thames Valley Hospice, where Zane spent his last few weeks.

The Clive Burton Quintet, our resident band and the one Zane played in for over 10 years, will be the mainstay of this very special event. Guest saxophonist Peter Cook has already been booked for the night, and he will be joined by many of the musicians that were a significant part of Zane’s music al life.

A light buffet will be available in the interval.

I’m sure it will be great night of informal jazz, do come, support a worthy cause and together we will celebrate the life of a remarkable musician.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Zane playing in 2008 at the Dixeland to Swing Concert

This is to let you all know that Zane’s funeral will take place on Thursday 28th April at Easthampstead Park Crematorium at 1.30 pm.

It will be a non religious ceremony aimed at celebrating Zane’s life, with contributions from family and friends.

The link above will give you details of the crematorium.

After the service Margaret and the family are inviting all attenders to a buffet at The Fifield Inn, a place where he used to play, and were he and Margaret first met.

It is anticipated that in early May, a musical tribute to Zane will be held at The Hedsor Social Club on one of our regular Thursday nights.

Geoff C

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It is with great sadness that I have to let you all know that Zane Cronje died at 3.55 this morning. He had been unconscious for 2 days, and just slipped away.

Margaret doesn't want any calls at the moment, but appreciates your support. Perhaps you can let others who may not be on my nag list know this news.

More details about the funeral will come in the next few days.

Very soon after Zane arrived on our jazz scene, I wrote a kind of CV for him. Below is the front of what was a glossy fold over leaflet

Next is the summery he wrote himself to go with the CV:-

"Born in South Africa, I am a successful world stage musician, currently in the UK to extend my experience of jazz piano. I have won many awards and gained much experience in the South African Broadcasting Media.

In the 1970’s and 80’s I was a recording artist for companies including EMI and CBS Records. I have accompanied many touring singers including Caterina Valente, Alma Cogan, Sandy Shaw, Helen Shapiro, and Spike Milligan.

Since arriving in the UK in July 2001 I have been playing jazz piano with local bands “Century Jazz” and “The Clive Burton Quartet”, having regular weekly club engagements with both bands. I have also played with the “The Chosen Few” Big Band led by Bill Castle for 6 months. I have accompanied a number of local singers, both in performance and in the recording studio, and I have played cocktail piano for “The Mill” at Sonning, and “The Christopher Wren” at Eton. In addition I have appeared at a number of Jazz Concerts. I have composed music for TV Adverts, Soap Operas, and Films, as well as being a TV Studio musical director and arranger."

I knew him for most of his time in the UK, and before he met Margaret, I took him to some of the UK's tourist attractions. He loved Winchester, Salisbury, and Malmesbury, and wanted to see so much more. I also interviewed him on Cookham Summer FM, and learnt a bit about his early life in SA.

As a musician he will be sorely missed. He excelled as an accompanist, and as a soloist. He was a founder member of The Clive Burton Quintet, our regular Hedsor Jazz band and we have enjoyed his company for over 10 years.

I believe now he has found the peace that we wished for him collectively at Hedsor on Thursday.

I just hope now that his family and friends will also find some peace, knowing he is out of the trap that his body had kept him in for the last few months.

There is a time for all things, for tears as well as joy, and for memories and for recollections too.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures in Jazz Land (Well, Ealing Actually!).

Last night June and I had a real adventure. We were invited by Vasilis and his partner Valentina to see/hear the Xtet on their home ground.

The Lodge Tavern in Ealing is Vasilis and the Xtet’s regular, alternate Sunday's, place of work. On entering, it was fairly busy, although no music had started, but a loud conversational buzz was already underway.

June needed to visit the Ladies room. She was amused whilst there to be asked “you must be someones mother?”. This by a young lady who is shortly to celebrate her 30th birthday! Now I admit to being 72, June admits nothing! BUT for a jazz night at The Lodge, we were definitely the odd ones out, inviting curious looks from many of the 30 ish year old clientele.

There were other differences too. NO real beer at all, all lagers. I ordered drinks for 3 at the bar, and whilst delivering 2, I left my pint of larger on the bar. On returning for it, I caught up with it just in time to prevent a young lady from sweeping it away in her left hand. She relinquished it with a scowl, and a smile from the bar man! We don’t expect beer hijacking in Hedsor!

It seemed so different from our local jazz experience, where I would rank as a middle aged jazz fan. Some are younger, some are older, but almost NONE are 30 or under.

I thought this very interesting. We at Hedsor Jazz have been cogitating (as old codger would) how to increase our audience, and attract some younger people, you know, school children of 45! We put on first class jazz, we charge a modest entry fee (£5, the Lodge was free), but never seem to attract that age range.

The Lodge Tavern became very full as the music started. Many people new each other, and were obviously friends, just as we are at Hedsor. Some were musicians, just as at Hedsor, and, towards the end of the second half, 3 different instruments sat in for one number each, not unknown at Hedsor either.

But, the conversations didn’t stop, even after the music started, the background noise of those conversations was colossal.

But the music itself was, as I expected, great jazz fusion. If you came to the Marlow Jazz Festival last October, you would have seen the exact same band. Vasilis, leader on saxophone, Peter Billington on keyboards (2), Mark Rose on bass and Chris Nicholls on drums. Well drilled, with good solos from everyone. The music was arranged so that everyone could shine on at least one number, and in reality, on many numbers. First Class.

So, what for Hedsor. We think that younger people don’t hear “our” kind of music, and yes its true, it isn’t on the Radio very often. But there is an audience of younger people out there. How do we convince them that we would make them as welcome to Hedsor as the young people of The Lodge made us, because they did. Once their initial shock of how old we were had worn off, we were very pleasantly conversed with (“in ear” begins to have a new meaning) by a number of the guests.

So, for all you up to 30 year old wherever you are, if you like modern jazz, you will be welcomed at The Hedsor Social Club on any Thursday. You will just have to forgive us if we can remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and Saturday Morning pictures.

Or don’t 30 year olds live around here anymore?

Geoff C

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Well wasn’t that a session last Thursday? What you weren’t there? You missed one of the best improvised jazz sessions of the year. As a band, the ensemble had never played together before, but the result of the combined efforts of Clive Burton, Vasilis Xenopoulos, Nigel Fox, John Monney and Mike Jeffries was exciting, enthralling, and left one member of the audience telling me the Vasilis was a Greek god! Didn’t it swing, and Clive was right when he compared Mike Jeffries to Buddy Ric….. What an amalgam of guests. The great thing about jazz is that you never know when it is going to happen; it is almost akin to spontaneous combustion!

Which is why you should try not to miss any of the sessions we have at The Hedsor Social Club!


This coming week, we have another chance of improvised delight. We will be without Clive this time, but in front of Nigel Fox, Mike Jeffries and Ken Rankine (I think) will be John Coverdale on guitar (as advertised) BUT with another saxophonist that we have great expectations from (especially if you heard him at the Zane Cronje Benefit Concert). Don Wright will be coming out to play!

Usual start time of 8.30pm for the music (7pm for the bar), and only £5 to get you in and that gives you a raffle ticket as well.


If you have been to Hedsor recently you will know that we are keen to attract new followers. Many people who like the kind of jazz that gets played there don’t know about it. So, we are offering a very special discount.

Bring a friend who has NOT BEEN to Hedsor Jazz before and their first visit as your guest will be on us, not you. Yes, a new guest will be admitted free, and they will get a raffle ticket! Like most offers, this is time limited, so get in soon.

We also feel that it would be nice if we could introduce a younger audience to the delights of live jazz, so why not combine our special offer, and bring someone who is even younger than you!!

The BBC does very little to encourage a new audience for jazz. I guess many of you found jazz through Radio in the days when it was a generally more popular music (pre beatles?). If you have any ideas on how we can present this wonderful and vital music in front of secondary school age people upwards, do let us know.


I have two wonderful CD’s for you to seek out this week.

The first has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks just waiting for me to blog about it. “Bill Allred, The New York Sessions” also features Bill’s son John. Both of them play pretty astonishing trombone. The father has been a stalwart of the US Dixieland scene for many years, his son John plays with a more modern jazz flourish. They have combined their talents on an Arbours Records CD (therefore of astounding Hi Fi quality, they always are) which is Modern Jazz, Mainstream Jazz, Swinging Jazz, and great fun to boot! Hear you have it all, brass, Hammond organ, vocals, even Howard Alden playing a banjo. I cannot recommend it enough, and I don’t think any genuine jazz fan will not enjoy it. OK, Ken Colyer fans may call it “insincere” but they would be wrong. These guys and girls (Nicky Parrot on bass) play with a self assurance of seasoned performers who know what an audience will enjoy. It’s just great fun. Listen to “Muskrat Ramble”, or the Dave Frisberg tune “I Want To Be A Sideman” to see what I mean. It’s a new release, and the number is ARCD 19395

The Second CD is new to me, but in fact was recorded in 1992. “Joe Henderson, Lush Life, The Music of Billy Strayhorn” is just that, Joe H playing Billy Strayhorn tunes. They were always tunes of great quality and character (he wrote “Blood Count” from his hospital bed the year he died, 1967). The CD’s approach is to use different combining’s of the 5 players involved. Starting with just saxophone and bass for “Isfahan”, ending with 1 (Mr Henderson by himself) on “Lush Life”, this is jazz at its most excellent. The recording is superb. Wait till the neigbours go out and turn up the volume, and listen to the sound he makes with that tenor sax. His musical companions are all extremely accomplished players (Wynton Marsalis trumpet, Stephen Scott piano, Christian McBride bass and Gregory Hutchinson drums) and the arrangements all show off the tune to its best advantage. It is extremely good and it’s on Verve 511-779-2

I must go and play “Isfahan” again!