Thursday, September 13, 2012

First, what/who is on at Hedsor tonight?

Answer, our regular guys! Clive Burton on trombone, Mike Wills on various reed instruments, Nigel Fox on keyboard, Martin Hart on drums and Steve Riddle on bass depping for Ken Rankine.

I spoke with Ken yesterday.  He is slowly improving, and has had the odd outing. His brother in law, who lives in the house where Ken fell, is a disabled person, and happens to have a wheel chair. The ever resourceful Sue “borrowed” this, and Ken was able to enjoy an outing to Weymouth, and to sit in the sun on the front. Since then, he has been given some crutches, and can manoeuvre himself (very carefully) around his cottage. He still has an amount of pain, but hopes to be able to go on holiday to his beloved Malta in mid October!!

Ken is very grateful to all of you who have sent him get well messages, and who have occupied his time by making a phone call to him. Thank you all.

Ken is having one of those enforced rests that enables you to do things you might consider yourself to be too busy to do in normal times. I told him to read a book, but catching up with your recorded listening might also be one of them.

Yesterday I had occasion to go and search my reserve stock location (the loft!) for an LP I was certain I had (Vaughan Williams Symphony No 6), but which I then couldn’t find, (it is now on order from Amazon)! However it was a bit like my past life passing before my eyes (and glasses!).

There were LP’s I had forgotten about. Music I used to pull off the shelf and listen to when the children were I bed. I still have the means of playing them, but no longer the downstairs space to conveniently store them. There is some great music up in my long-term storage unit! I really must get some down, and digitise for convenient listening.

One thing the LP gave you that the MP3 player doesn’t, and that is a sleeve note and artwork. The CD does give you some with its booklet, but the shear 12” size of the LP sleeve generated some terrific artwork, and was usually a joy to hold and observe whilst you listened. Easily read too, no 8 pt font for you here. And informative. Who is that clarinettist? When was it recorded, and by whom? You may have read it all before, but wasn’t it good to revise your knowledge as you listened again! Yes, you did get the odd crackle and click from LP’s, but a 20 minute side did seem a natural length. And you couldn’t easily jump tracks, you had to listen to each side just as the record producer wanted you to do. Now, skip and jump, reorder tracks (even play in random order!) is the order of the day (sorry), and I just feel that maybe, the “more” of CD is actually “less” relaxing!

Sonically CD’s can be more dynamic, and have a cleaner sound, (maybe a colder sound), and I know you can still go out and buy a turntable that will set you back the cost of a small car, proving that LP’s do still have a dedicated following.

CD’s might also now be on the way out. Less are being released by the major companies, and a lot are reissues of the same LP’s I have in my loft. But jazz music in all it’s forms has never been more accessible than today.

So, have I listened to anything new on CD lately? Yes, one really new recording released in April this year is by Clare Martin on Lynn Records LO 11615 entitled “Too Much In Love To Care” where she is accompanied on piano by Kenny Baron.
Beautifully recorded by Lynn, as you would expect from a Hi Fi manufacturer, Clare does a very good job on some fairly well know Love Songs. “Time After Time”, “Weaver of Dreams”, “I Only Have Eyes For You” plus 10 others. I think she does a very creditable job on all of them.

Another CD recently acquired is a reissue. The title almost says it all, because it isn’t exactly short! “Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, The Complete 1960 Sextet Jazz Cellar Session”. 17 tracks taking 73 minutes to play. Mostly recorded in November 1960, there is a 5 track “bonus” from January 1961. With 2 giants of jazz blowing, you only need to know that they are accompanied by Lou Levy on piano, Herb Ellis on guitar, Wilfred Middlebrooks bass and Gus Johnson on drums. It’s well worth searching out, on the Solar Records label 4569895.

Well, that’s almost it for now folks. Just one more plug. I will have tickets for sale as from tonight for the Simon Spillett concert at Hedsor on October 4th, priced at £10. Simon is bringing his regular quintet of John Critchinson, Alex Dankworth and Clark Tracey with him to Hedsor. Jazz Royalty no less. And you can come and hear it all for just £10

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