Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hedsor Jazz

First, news of Clive. Those who were at Hedsor last week will have heard that he had had a fall. I spoke with him on the phone yesterday, and he has actually fallen down stairs, hitting the wall at the bottom, and he is very uncomfortable in a lot of very bruised places including bed! I’m sure everyone wishes him a very speedy recovery.

In the meantime, this Thursday we have a definite from Stuart Henderson on trumpet and flugel horn, and we are hoping to get his saxophonist companion “Tolly” to come and keep him company. Mike Wills is moving house! The rhythm section is slightly modified as well, Steve pickings will be on bass and Mike Jeffreys on drums. Nigel Fox is on keyboard I think!

Looking back on last Thursdays modified band, I thought it all worked out rather well. With Simon Spillett leading from the front on tenor sax it was always going to be good. Our regular saxophonist Mike Wills and our regular keyboard man Nigel Fox played as well as ever. Peter Hughes on bass in place of Ken Rankine meant that the bass section was still top rate, but our advertised drummer who was depping for Martin Hart (on holiday), was replaced by another dep. All the way from Fleet in Hampshire we had a first visit from John Nettle who did a very fine job and still made the 30 mile drive home! Well done everyone.

Hedsor Jazz Christmas Party

We are now in a position to sell you tickets for our Christmas Party, in the big room at Hedsor. These will cost you £10 a head, and we are hoping to gather a stellar cast to perform for you. Without doubt, with a buffet included, it will be a great night of preparation (if you need any) for the Christmas festivities. Tickets from Hedsor on Thursdays, or from Cookham's Stationery Depot tel: 01628 531178

Listened to This Week

Mention of Christmas brings me to one of the CD’s I’ve listened to this week. I have always enjoyed Stan Tracey’s music for “Under Milk Wood” that he recorded in the late 1960’s, and it became even more enjoyable when he started performing it live with the Dylan Thomas words added in by an actor. Now he has just released another Dylan Thomas inspired work, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”. It is completely magical, and blew me away. With Stan on piano, he has Simon Allen (who came up through The Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, now known as Pendulum) on tenor sax, Andy Cleyndert on bass, Clark Tracey on drums, and the poem is narrated by Stan’s grandson Ben Tracey. It is wonderful and magical and another masterpiece for sure. It can be obtained from Resteamed Records RSJ 111 www.reSteamed.com

I have had great fun recently resurrecting some of my old LP’s. Having digitised the “Just Jazz” concert from 1947, commenting on the way about how well they could all swing, even at very slow tempo’s, I turned my attention to an LP of the First Esquire Concert, performed in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House in January 1944. It’s a very scruffy recording, but with a couple of real high spots.

We have on two tracks, Billy Holiday. On both Ellington’s “Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me” and on her own “Billie’s Blues” I was again captivated by her. A legend, yes. We all know how good she was, but I wonder how often now we actually listen to her recordings. When I do, even after a period of months, I am amazed by the emotion, pain even, in her voice. “Billie’s Blues is straight from her inner soul.

The lineup around her is also astonishing to us now, but Roy Elderidge, Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Al Casey, Oscar Pettiford and Sid Catlett are the band, and Louis Armstrong is a guest. I only have volume one, an LP issued in 1974. Hi Fi it aint, but JAZZ it is.



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