Tuesday, July 31, 2012

First off, a special mention for our Thursday this week at Hedsor Jazz.

We have a very interesting lineup for you this week.

Many of you will have heard Alan Lewis on piano. That’s if you have gone to Marlow Jazz recently. Usually after the interval, Alan is given the chance to sit in for a couple of numbers, and he is always very entertaining and accomplished. He provides fresh insights into the tunes you may well have heard before.

Well, this Thursday at Hedsor, you will be able to hear him for a whole evening, and I for one, am really looking forward to it. Ken Rankine is on bass (our usual bass player, more of whom later) and Martin Hart on drums. In front of that rhythm section will be that very melodic guitarist John Coverdale, no stranger to Hedsor at all, and a saxophonist who has been once or twice before, Mark Ashton.

All in all, an evening well worth your £6. Our evenings in the Hedsor Social Club start at 8.30 pm.

Whilst thinking of special guests, on August 16th we will have the enormously entertaining saxophonist Tracey Mendham. This event will still be in the Hedsor Club bar, and at our usual entry price of £6. So do put it In your diary now. Last time she was with us one of our regular punters said “you could not better that for £20” as he left with an enormous smile on his face!

A Day at The Ealing Jazz Festival

Last Saturday I visited the Ealing Jazz festival. Over the last few years I have done this at least once during the festival, having not gone to Brecon. It used to clash with either Brecon or Swanage, and I was a devotee of both! Now I can get there, and it is always great value for money.

They have a big circus style marquee, and two smaller venues. This year I managed to catch the last 20 minutes or so of Chris Hodgkins band, Chris on trumpet, Mike Nash trombone, John Evans clarinet, Max Britain guitar, Alison Raynor bass and Cherl Alleyne on drums. A very competent mainstream swinging band that have been together for many years.

After a tea break (yes, really) I got back to the main marquee to see and enjoy vocalist Gill Cook and her band. Gill I saw last year, and I feal she has been under rated as a singer. I do have a CD of hers, and until last year had not seen her. An excellent singer, with an excellent accompanying band, consisting of Christian Brewer on alto sax, Nick Tomlin piano, Dominic Howells bass and Matt Fishwick on drums. Vital singing, and vital solos from all. If you get a chance to see her/them, take it. She looked stunning and slim, and a punter asked me if she sold her workout DVD!! She was on the move the whole time! A musical and visual treat!

Next up, after a break to hear John Critchinson in the piano bar, was a band the really was a mixture of old and new faces. 

The Jack Honeyborne Quintet had 3 musicians in their 70’s or 80’s, one in his 50’s and one who is no more than 20 something!!
Jack of course is the pianist, and he was accompanied by Bruce Adams on trumpet and flugelhorn, Willie Garnet on saxes, mostly tenor, Bobby Orr on drums, and someone else you could have seen at Marlow Jazz Club, on bass Adam King. Great competent swinging music, the very essence of small group jazz. 

It is becoming obvious that when this kind of music is performed in front of a younger audience than jazz very often gets, that the younger element think it’s fantastic. As it is!! I have never forgotten many years ago, when Cookham FM first broadcast, that during a late night jazz program 2 of a local Slough radio team came out to find our studio (in the railway station!) to see where this wonderful music was coming from. They declared that, by comparison, the pop music they were playing was rubbish, their words not mine! Well the Jack Honeyborne Quintet proved that point yet again. We all, young and old alike, thought it was a great hour of swinging jazz.

The final set of the day was by the Sound of Seventeen Big Band, led from the drums by Dick Esmond. This band has been going for 40 years this year, and one of the original members is our regular bass player Ken Rankine. Sad to say this was the first time I had heard them live (I do have a couple of recordings of them). I wont list all 17, but what an ensemble of star soloist. In the band are Enrico Tomasso trumpet, Roy Willox alto, Vasilis Xenopoulos tenor, and another guy we have seen at Hedsor, Alan Berry on piano. They also have a very trim male singer, appropriately named Jim Trimmer.

They are a great big band, sharp (not in pitch!), swinging, not afraid to play new material, (some of it written for them by Ken McCarthy!) with some terrific solo playing. The crowd howled for more at the end, but 10.45 pm was the limit, and they played right up to it. One small point, due to logistical reasons, the piano and bass were separated from the main bulk of the band by quite a margin, which obviously made it difficult for them to actually hear the rest of the band. The very enthusiastic crowd were not making it easy for them either!!

All in all, a great day out!

Geoff C

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