Monday, October 31, 2011


Clive Burton, Simon Spillett, and the band

John Coverdale

Simon Spillett and Tracey Mendham

Well, wasn’t it a great night? A HUGE thank you to all who came to play, all who came to help on the night, all who provided food, and finally all of you, who came out in order to help keep live jazz alive at Hedsor Jazz.

As a musical experience it was fabulous. One of our audience emailed me later:-

“Music was great (thought SimonS and JohnC's rendition of "A Nightingale sang..." was worth the price of admission alone) and what great entertainment from the front 'persons' - we certainly went home with a smile on our face!”

And they were not alone in the “smile” stakes. It was first class entertainment all round. I think the biggest thank you of all must go, as Simon Spillett said on the night, to Clive Burton. His links and humour, his playing and organisation of the players and their sets, was first class. He has been that front man for over 10 years now, so we are greatly in his debt for helping to keep it all going through the thick and thin.

There were many there at Hedsor last Thursday who had not been before, at least one jazz fan who actually lives in The Hedsor Road had not been before, and she has promised to come again.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could attract that same number of people on a weekly basis. Think of the guests we could invite to play for us then. Just as a thinking point. Do you think that the reason people tend not to come to the small room is because it is “small”, and not as comfortable as the big room? Do email me with your thoughts on this.

One final point, yes, we did succeed in raising more money than we spent on organising the event, and we have replaced in Jazz Angels coffers some of the money that we need to keep Hedsor Jazz alive. Most weeks we don’t take enough in the small room to pay for each weeks event, and most weeks it is subsidised by the Jazz Angels.

Don’t forget that there are other live jazz events for you to keep supporting, Tuesday at The Bourne End Community Centre we have Al Nicholls as I mentioned in the last blog.

We return to our normal location and band this coming Thursday at Hedsor. I hope to see you there.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I know you all know, but just to really NAG you, tomorrow is our very special Gala night for jazz in this part of the world (South Bucks). In order to raise funds for Hedsor Jazz, we are putting on a VERY special night, tomorrow from 8 pm (note the earlier start time). We have performing with the Clive Burton Quintet:- (ladies first)
Tracey Mendham on tenor sax and personality!
Simon Spillett on Best Tenor Sax in the UK (performed with tie)!
Stuart Henderson on Trumpet. Yet to win an award, but I have yet to hear a better trumpet man.
Andy Dickens on Trumpet and vocals, possibly jokes as well.
Can I request “I Cant Get Started” now please, it was a hit at Swanage this year.
John Coverdale on guitar. A quiet man, but hear and watch how he plays!

I’m sure more musicians will come out of the woodwork just to be part of the night. I hope you come out too. It’s only £10 a head, including a light buffet (OK it may be a packet of crisps!) AND a chance to win one of our infamous raffle prizes!

Support live jazz at Hedsor!!

BUT do save some energy for next Tuesday, because at Bourne End Community Centre they have Al Nicholls who emailed me to say:-

“it may be of interest to you and the good folks at Hedsor (?), that I am playing at Mo's club at the Bourne End Community Centre on the 1st November with Bob Haddrell piano, Nils Solsberg guitar and the indefatigueable Rex Bennett on drums. It would be nice to see some friendly faces there.”

Can I stand the pace? But you can!!



PS. If you really cant make either of those two events (flu, child birth, world financial crisis, are only excuses you know!), you could order on line "Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton Play The Blues". It is Preposterously good!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Those of you who have looked at this mornings posting, and were expecting to see a bit of video, well, so was I !! Google Blog hasn't managed to complete the task yet!! I will have another go later, in the meantime, here is a photo of Julie Lewis, also taken on Sunday afternoon at The Star in Weymouth.
The Return from Weymouth

I am now anxious to get you to buy as many tickets for the Ocoberfest jazz concert, now rushing towards us on October 27th. We need you as much as you need us, but to help you make up your minds, the cast list of guests is growing.

So far, as well as our regular guys (all thanks to Allbran!), those committed to the task are:-

Tracey Mendham, saxophone, song, dance and personality, Simon Spillett, saxophone, tie and personality , Stuart Henderson, trumpet (not heard him sing yet!), Andy Dickens, trumpet, and song (yes he does!), John Coverdale, guitar (not heard him sing yet either), and more yet to come.

We need YOU, to come and sing and applaud, and pay your £10 entry. All the profit from this super evening of live jazz will be going into Jazz Angels coffers to ensure we can keep live jazz alive locally, especially at The Hedsor Social Club (we can all sing that!).

Tell your friends, kidnap them if needs must (they do!), and ensure that the big room at Hedsor is full.

For those dedicated to the Hedsor Jazz cause, this week we have another of our fantastic combinations of talent in the Hedsor Club Bar. Our regular rhythm section will be behind (in every sense), Simon Spillett and Mike Wills. If saxophone summit wasn't the name of a band, we could call this Thursday “Saxophone Summit”, or even “Two Tenors for a Fiver” ‘cause it will only cost you £5 to get in, slightly more to get out of course.

Just one more item. Whilst in Weymouth I visited again the pub I wrote about last week. This time I took my camera, and attached to this issue is a video of the super lady pianist who was at the keyboard there in "The Star" last Sunday. You will recognise the bass player, but the lady at the piano is Julie Lewis.



Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Just to update my bit about jazz in Weymouth, this is a photo, not avalable to me yesterday, of the Saxophonist who sat in, with Doug Cooper, the drummer, and singer Tanya Lonergan.

Dont forget Hedsor Tomorrow, someone has got to take my place at least!


Portland's east cliff yesterday, looking towards Lulworth Cove.

Geoff, on holiday.

Yesterday amazingly sunny, today wet! You can only win some of the time!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Yesterday, The Front was Lulworth Cove.

A Message from the Front

Well, sea front really. Although as I type, I am only just within site of the sea.

BUT, still able to cajole you all about JAZZ.

This week, at The Hedsor Social Club, we have our regular front line of Clive and Mike, with a variegated rhythm section. I don’t know who they are! I am aware that Ken Rankine and Nigel Fox will be absent without leave, but who is in their place You will have to go to find out.

As you may be aware from my opening sentence, I am away at the moment. Not in a heartland of jazz (although I did visit Swanage yesterday, which seemed very strange, with the sun beating down, and NO marquees one and two on the grassy banks).

But the area is not without jazz. On Sunday afternoon I visited a pub in Weymouth called The Star. It is a bit to one side, in a backstreet near a car park, but from 3.30pm on Sundays it is transformed into a jazz venue. And what was on offer was of surprising quality.

It is not every backstreet pub that can boast a drummer who spent 3 weeks in Chicago with the Count Basie Orchestra, but this was one. On drums, Mr. Dougie Cooper ! He wasn’t the band leader, and “the band” was a fluctuating ensemble. The event (a regular one over the last few weeks) is organised by a once married couple, bass guitarist Chris Lonergan and his ex, singer Tanya Lonergan. The keyboard player Mark ? alternates with another yet to be heard.

It was a great coming together of people who know the music, but who don’t regularly play as a band. Proficient sitters in are encouraged, and last Sunday we had a male singer called Geoff (no not me, even when drunk I don’t sing!) who was excellent. Obviously a man of experience, with 50 years of marriage behind him! He was of well above average standard, and obviously a great professional.

A man also of some vintage, sat in for a few numbers on tenor saxophone and flute. Again, someone who had great experience, and of “Hedsor” quality.

Also sitting in for a couple of bluesy numbers was a guitarist, more used to a blues band than jazz, but non the less adding a different ingredient into the mix.

The whole event is held together by Tanya, singing, linking the tunes and the musicians, dancing, encouraging, and sounding terrific. Her repertoire was song book and I thought that if you put her together with Tracey Mendham, you would have great explosions.

I’m staying on a day longer than I anticipated, just to see them all again next Sunday afternoon.

They were good, and the experience showed through. How is it that for jazz musicians, such talent has to play where it can in today’s society? Well done to the landlord of The Star for funding it. No fee was asked of us at the door. If the trend in our culture is to ignore jazz as a musical art form, I can see such venues in the future being a bit like priests holes!

Talking of The Future, our mammoth cast list for our fundraising special concert at Hedsor on October 27th is growing fast. In no order of importance, (only of booking!) we have Tracey Mendham, saxophone and personality! Stuart Henderson, trumpet, Simon Spillett tenor sax, John Coverdale guitar, and signed up only last week, trumpeter Andy Dickens.

So there are some really star names to make you book your tickets. They are still only £10 each, and you can get them from Dee on Thursdays, or from Cookham’s Stationery Depot.

Well, that’s it for now folks, TTFN