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


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