Thursday, April 26, 2012

OK, so this weeks blog is late again. There are events to publicise, and encouragements to make, but this week has been a sad one.

One of my friends had to have a funeral. She was not a regular at Hedsor, but she did love traditional jazz. And she loved dance. Sadly, for the past 2 years she could barely walk, let alone dance, and she died suddenly after an operation that removed one of her legs. 

So before I continue with my exhortations to come out and play, let me share with you all a poem she wrote, and that was on the funeral order of service.

Freedom to me is Dance
Expression of body, mind and soul,
In everchanging
Combinations of movements
Flowing unceasingly.
Earthbound in time and space
I seek through line and curve
Inner thoughts unfurl,
In visible motion.
Restricted, yet free
I dance
Within the sphere of eternity.

Celia Johnson 1938-2012

Tonight at Hedsor we have the Clive Burton Quintet, with one variation! On bass tonight we have Steve Pickings in place of our regular Ken (Rankine).

Coming soon on May 17th we have a very special event indeed. In the big room, on 17 chairs, we have the Remix Jazz Orchestra, led by trumpeter Stuart Henderson. Not only that, which should be enough to draw you out for an 8pm start anyway, but guesting with the orchestra will be the UK’s top tenor man Simon Spillett. And it may well be that he will bring with him two arrangements for the Tubby Hayes Big Band that he will perform with the Remix Orchestra on the night.

Rumour has it that in addition to this we will have Simon playing for part of the evening with our regular Clive Burton Quintet. A light supper (OK a very light supper, if I am lucky twiglets!) will also be provided to sustain you to the 11 pm end. And all of this for just £10, yes just Ten Pounds!

Tickets will be available from tonight at Hedsor via Dee, our lovely lady of the till, and from next week from our usual box office, The Stationery Depot in Cookham (01628 531178). Bring your friends.

Another piece of news. For all of you who hold a degree in Facebook, we have a new collaboration for you to be involved in.

The full Facebook page name is Jazz In Wycombe, Maidenhead and South Bucks. and you can use this link:

to go straight to it. Tell your friends, and together we can increase the fan base at many local jazz events.

That’s about it for now folks. Those of you who get nagged as well as blogged will also have a poster about May 17th to help us publicise this event.


Geoff C

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time for a Blog

And a fair amount to write about today.

First up, tonight’s session at The Hedsor Social Club will be with the Clive Burton Quintet, again this week with Ken McCarthy on keyboard. 

I must say that for the last couple of weeks we have been spoilt by wonderful jazz brought to us by some very special guests. But it would be wrong to think that our regular band isn’t special in itself. When we do get them all together, we are treated to some wonderful, arranged, harmonies, and often within tunes that are not your usual run of the mill jazz club fodder. So, just because tonight isn’t a STAR night, don’t forget that we still need you!

Looking back, first to the night with Tracey Mendham, hands up all those who noticed a drop in her usual vigour. What no one? Well, she was just getting over a bout of flu, but you would never have noticed. She was worried that she hadn’t put in enough practice, but hey, that enormous tone on her tenor made it sound twice the size it was. And her laugh!! Infection, but not perhaps flu! It was a great night, with great music and a great audience. And everyone went home with a smiling face.

Last week of course was our night for Vasilis and his one time tutor Peter Cook to come and play for us. I was worried that we would be unable to get all of the audience into the bar, but we did, just. They had specifically requested to play in the bar, as they had done once before in 2009. 

This time they were joined by our regular band leader Clive on trombone, and the sound was wonderful. I was asked on the night, “when had they practiced together for tonight”. They hadn’t, not all together as a band! They are just such good musicians that they can read each others musical minds, and the jazz flowed. Wonderful stuff. But it didn’t stop with Clive, Vasilis , and Peter. After the interval up stepped two more musicians, this time from a younger generation. Justine Swadling sat in on alto sax, and Emily Frances took over Ken McCarthy’s keyboard for a couple of tunes.

With a four piece front line, the sound in the bar was enormous, what a privilege to have that all for just £5. If we had paid double that to get in, we would not have been robbed. I did use my trusty mini disk recorder, and may have some samples available soon. All money raised from the sale of such material goes to Cancer Research UK. You may be interested to know that I have raised around £100 for them by selling you Hedsor Jazz on Record.

Do take time out to take a look at Justine’s web site by the way. I’m sure we will see him at Hedsor again.

Hedsor Jazz has been going now for about ten years, and it is because of the solid support from the Clive Burton Quintet, and from the faithful regular audience, that we can now attract top jazz musicians to come and play. We often don’t have to ask them to come, they ask us if they can!! I will say this however, don’t let it go. You may think it’s always going to be there for you when you want it, but we though that of Woolworth’s didn’t we? If you don’t use it, it will disappear.

But not yet!!

We do have another very special evening lined up for you in May. On Thursday May 17th we have our first presentation at Hedsor of a Big Band. Led by Stuart Henderson we will be having a performance by the Remix Jazz Orchestra. This is a 17 piece band in the swing style. They also have a web site which is well worth a look, . The evening will be in the big room at Hedsor, and it will cost you £10 to get in, and a light buffet will also be provided for the entry fee. The evening will kick off at 8 pm. Tell your friends, and if you can bring them along, why not.


As you know, I write blog and nag, and other organisers and myself are talking of having one FaceBook page to promote local jazz around Marlow and High Wycombe. I will let you know more when it is available.

Jazz at Home

Well, you do play your jazz CD’s at home don’t you? Two I have enjoyed a lot this week are:

“Jazz Goes to Church” by the Matt Wates Trio. You may remember that I reviewed a previous recording by them, and you may have purchased one yourself from Nigel Price when he was with us. This is another in the same style with the same personnel. Mate Wates alto, Nigel Price guitar and Julian Bury on bass. The title of the album reflects the content, all of the tunes are Hymn tunes! Initiated to raise money for a church in Bristol, Matt has transformed some well know hymn tunes into works of jazz art. Matt himself writes “I could take all sorts of liberties with the harmonies, but I had to leave the melodies more or less intact”! If you enjoyed the previous album you will enjoy this (no one sings!), and you will be raising money for a good cause if you buy it (from Nigel if no where else). HittCD04.

The other album to raise a smile to my face this week is less art, more outright fun! “The James P Johnson Songbook” by Marty Grosz and The Hot Winds is toe tapping smile music. Marty is well know from his many performances with Chicago style players, performing on banjo, guitar and vocals, (he used to be the guitarist with Soprano Summit) and is a wonderfully professional musician. With him (I nearly wrote hymn!), are James Dapogny keyboard, Dan Block clarinet, Jon-Erik Kelso on trumpet, Scott Robinson on soprano, C-Melody and baritone saxes, Vince Giordano bass various, Arnie Kinsella drums, with an addition from guitarist Jim Gicking on one track. The tunes  used are all little known tunes associated with stride pianist James P Johnson. It’s on Arbours Jazz ARCD 19427. It is well worth a punt, unless, that is, you really are only interested in avant-garde jazz!

Well, roll the credits.

Blog by Geoff, jazz music by all those mentioned above!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hedsor Jazz Update

Good Morning Jazz Fans,

It has been a week or so since I last blogged, time and computer problems are my only excuse!

Today there are a number of things to blog about, first being tonight’s Hedsor Jazz concert, with Clive Burton, the trio, (this week with Ken McCarthy on keyboard) plus Vasilis Xenopoulos with his one time tutor, Peter Cook on saxophones various. It should be a terrific event. They asked specifically to play in our small room at Hedsor (for teetotallers, that means the bar!), and I think it will be pretty full, so come early, pay your £5, sit back and enjoy the music.
 The Last Time was 2009

Secondly, for me I know it only seems like yesterday, but on April 15th it will be the first anniversary of Zane Cronje’s passing. For many of us this will be a sad period of time and perhaps a time for a little recollection of the man and his talent.

As some of you have been aware, we have been wondering of late how long our residence at The Hedsor Social Club will last. A number of Hedsor Jazz representatives met with the club treasurer/secretary and another committee member last night, and they reassured us that Thursdays at Hedsor is ours for the foreseeable future. It has been suggested that our Thursday regulars might like to actually join the club (Hedsor Social Club), which will give the club the benefit of your membership fee, and us, as a jazz organisation, a little more weight in our presence at the club. To this effect, membership forms will be available on a Thursday from tonight. The fee is modest, retired members paying around £9 per year.

We will be looking into other means of trying to support Hedsor Social Club in the future, as it is very apparent, that they are in an economic hard place.

It is still my intention to add to the blog in the not too distant future, with a couple of CD reviews, but my usual computer, with all of it’s reference material and programs, sadly died of unknown causes this past week. So, my promises will have to be fulfilled at a later time.

In the meantime keep supporting live jazz. Not just for the jazz’s sake, but also for the threatened venues that have supported it in the past. The best way to do this of course, its to turn out, not necessarily your pockets, but with your presence! We can then help you with the dust in your pockets!