Thursday, June 23, 2011

First a quick (OK Late!) plug for tonight’s gig at Hedsor.

Our illustrious guest tonight is saxophonist Simon Spillett. We have Clive to harmonise with him at the front on the trombone, and a guest drummer to propel them both along (I think that will be Mike Jeffries, Martin is taking a service break), with Nigel Fox and Ken Rankine to moderate the rhythm section! It all starts off at 8.30 pm, and we still only charge £5 to get in. There is nowhere else in Britain where you can have so much fun and see so much jazz talent as at Hedsor on a Thursday, so why not break a habit of a lifetime and come along. Do I mean smoking? Well perhaps I do, but I also mean that habit of lethargy that we all sometimes get struck down by! If you like the sort of jazz that we play at Hedsor, come and help to keep it a living music, not a historic one.

As mentioned last time, I will be away until after the Swanage Jazz Festival, I will not be taking my crystal ball with me (or Kenny) so I wont be able to let you know who will be with Clive Burton at Hedsor in July. With luck, Mike Wills will be making his reappearance, as long as they pass him fit to drive again. Looking on to the end of July, on the 28th, we will all be joined by the ebullient Tracey Mendham, saxophonist, singer at cat fan. She is terrific fun, so put that in your diary NOW.

CD’s that I am taking with me.

Three really enjoyable CD’s have come out of the woodwork recently. They have some commonality, they are all on the Arbors label, and two of the three have Chuck Wilson on Alto Sax and Howard Alden on Guitar.

“Ruby Braff, Our Love Is Here To Stay” was recorded on consecutive days in April 1998. It is so good to still have previously unreleased material from Ruby being released now. This one follows his usual relaxed and melodic style, with him playing alongside very compatible musicians on tunes that have largely stood the test of time. Relaxed, swinging, never sounding hackneyed. “Day in, Day Out”, “I’m Coming Virginia”, “Deed I Do”, have all been played a million times, and if you have any Ruby Braff in your collection you would have heard them from him before. But he was always so inventive and melodic. Chuck Wilson adds a bit of Hodges like alto, and Howard Alden is as good as he always is, consistent and pleasant to listen to. On a few of the tracks they are all joined by Scott Robinson on Tenor Sax, and Jon-Erik Kellso on trumpet. The rhythm section is Marshall Wood on Bass and Jim Gwin on Drums. The CD Number is Arbors ARCD 19426 Braff fans need to add this to their collection.

Next one up is under the name of Chuck Wilson, “Echo of Spring”. Again, a very accomplished, relaxed sound by guys who play so well that they no longer have to remember how to do it! This time, Chuck and Howard are joined by a lovely trombone player Joel Helleny, who sadly died in 2009. The overall sound is kin to the sound we often get at Hedsor. “Echo of Spring” is a Willie “The Lion” Smith tune, but they have also managed to include for my benefit the Billy Strayhorn tune “Isfahan” from the Duke Ellington “Far East” Suite. Also by Strayhorn is “Upper Manhattan Medical Group” written when Billy was being treated for the cancer that eventually killed him. Small group music beautifully played. Murray Wall is on Bass and Tom Melit Drums. Arbors ARCD 19206

The last one in this little roundup is slightly different, and you may think why am I writing about a CD entitled “The International Hot Jazz Quartet Havin A Ball”, because the title alone is a lot of keys to push! 4 players, all great instrumentalists, playing trad tunes? Yes and no. Because in the selection they have elected to play for us is Jelly Roll Morton’s “Sidewalk Blues” and “King Porter Stomp”, but also Jimmy Giuffe’s “Four Brothers” and Charles Thompson’s “Dynaflow”. It is all great fun, played with real thought for each tune, and not anything like British Trad of the 50’s and 60’s. The players are Duke Heitger on Trumpet, Englebert Wrobel on reeds, Paolo Alderighi on Piano and Oliver Mewes on Drums. It was all recorded in 2010 and is on Arbors ARCD 19407. I don’t have proper artwork for this one, as it was a rescue from a critics floor job, but search it out as it is great fun and will bring a smile to you face. You cannot believe it is only a quartet that is producing the lovely sounds.

So, TTFN Geoff

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