Friday, April 26, 2013

A Friday Postscript

I just want to say "Thank You" to all of you who came to, and all of you who helped put on, last nights Concert in Aid of Cancer Research UK. 

It was a splendid evening of jazz and it was very rewarding to see Hedsor's Big Room full of people enjoying the music and each others company. 

We could have had more people, there were still a few empty seats, but we did raise over £300 for CRUK in a very enjoyable and painless way. And just to reassure you we did pay all the musicians and our room hire so the £300 is all for CRUK.

I still have to pinch myself to realize that at Hedsor now we have music of such a high quality that I don't think even if we paid 3 times what we do to get in, it  could really be surpassed. In the last 2 weeks we have 2 guest musicians who have played with Frank Sinatra!

After the show I talked with a number of guests, and it was a very sad liteny to recite all the names of the people who have left due to Cancer over the last 10 years or so. So many great characters. OK £300 could always be more in the fight against this illness, but every little helps. Last night we all had fun, so thank you for supporting CRUK through the medium of Live Jazz.

Next week back to a more normal evening, with a full night of the Clive Burton Quintet.  

 Justin Swadling

The following week, May 9th, a young saxophonist, Justin Swadling, comes to augment the quintet. Come and give him a listen, after all, you didnt know Vasilis Xenopoulos until you saw him at Hedsor, and Justin has had the same tutor, Peter Cook. He also playes in Ealing's Big Band, "The Sound of 17" as does Vasilis (and our own Ken Rankine). Have a look at his web site and come on out and give him a £6 try!

More blogging next week, TTFN 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last week 
was a great week for local live jazz, unfortunately sadden by the death of a local jazz ambassador, Charles Benson.

This week we have an opportunity to enjoy some more great jazz locally with our Thursday Concert coming up, but also by coming to that concert, we can do a little to help in the battle against cancer that has seen so many of our local jazz hero’s pass on to another stage.

Hedsor Jazz on Thursday will have a Stella cast. Alan Graham on vibraphone, Stuart Henderson on trumpet, Mike Wills on reeds, Nigel Fox on keyboard, Martin Hart on drums, and this week, deputizing for our regular broken wristed bass player Ken Rankine, Brad Lang

With the prospect of wonderful music and a buffet provided by the ladies of our jazz community we are starting at 8pm.

In retrospect last week music was a feast of saxophones. Al Nicholls and Joe Fooks at Marlow on Tuesday evening gave us great swing and to our great surprise and delight last Thursday at Hedsor we had Duncan Lamont junior (who we had booked!), but I found on arrival that he had brought his dad!! To hear junior saying it was about time to bring dad on again was amazing. Senior had accompanied Frank Sinatra and been in a band led by Benny Goodman! He is without doubt one of British Jazz's legends. 

We really are fortunate with our friendships at Hedsor. Such wonderful music so close at hand, so easy to get to, and so inexpensive to see. Free parking as well! I really do have to pinch myself sometimes. We are in such a great position to hear such quality so easily.

Do turn out for our night on Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club. Yes, it will cost you £10 to get in, but it could cost you almost as much to hire a film to watch on your TV!! 

8pm Thursday is our start time for Great Jazz Music, Great Company, Great Buffet Food and its in support of a Great Cause, Cancer Research UK.

CD Review

Those of you who were at The Marlow Jazz club on Tuesday had a chance to buy Al Nicholls  latest CD, a release by his quartet. Many of us have heard Al and his various bands over the years, and are quite used to his jump jive style. His latest album is called “That Swing Thing” and without reservation I think it is the best album of his I have heard. Most of the tunes on it will be familiar, not just to jazz fans either, but Al and his team have thought carefully how to exploit the material and bring out aspects you may not have heard before. There are still traces of the jump jive format, but there is much more of modern 1950’s jazz phrasing in his playing, and in the arrangements. I haven’t heard any of the musicians in his trio before, maybe I should have, because they are well worth searching out. I only felt uncomfortable with a couple of tunes on the album ("Last Trains Gone" and "Too Close for Comfort" didn’t work for me) but their treatment of “God Bless The Child” was revealing and “The Man I Love” almost hypnotic. My foot was tapping and my hand did so to right through the listen! 

His web site is “under construction” at the moment, but do look out for his live gigs and buy the CD from him. You will enjoy the later listens I promise you.

OK, I try and write about the music I love, and sometimes I get stumped for words, but I was amazed at the way Jazz UK wrote up a certain release in there latest issue. I will quote it in full, only with the names deleted to protect the innocent!

Working as an outlet for XXXXX's original music “XXXXX” features four of his closest comrades with acclaimed trumpeter Xxxxx Xxxxx on trumpet, former York University classmate Xxxx Xxxxx on clari­nets, the much talked about Xxxx Xxxxx on saxophone and electron­ics and Xxxx Xxxx  on double bass. The four-track E.P. boasts an overflow of creative juices with each musician allowed the freedom to express their personality through a selection of finely tuned angular grooves and intricate melodic writing. With a host of thoughtful collaborative improvisation each musician is akin to one another, but demonstrating both fine writing and intelligent drumming it is clear that Xxxxx's understanding of the musicians at hand is second to none. A personal highlight of the record is the heightened sense of texture used by Xxxxx that expertly utilises an unusual chord-less line up with an even rarer three instrument frontline of trumpet, clarinets and tenor saxophone.
Full of unexpected twists and turns, 'XXXXX” shares a slice of both honesty and personality in a debut E.P. that leaves the listener wanting more”
Well I haven’t heard the music itself so on that I cannot comment about that. 
On the review itself however, I just wonder if the writer has ever listened to a Trad band! Three part front line harmony perhaps!!
that's it for now folks coffee break calls!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Good Morning Jazz Fans

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that Charles Benson, “titular head” of Cookham’s fabulous Shirtlifters died during the night of Tuesday. He will be greatly missed by many people from many different areas of local life, which included his support as a Jazz Angel for Hedsor Jazz.

He died following treatment for bowel cancer.

I will bring a card tonight for those of you who would like to sign it in support of Charles’s family. I don’t want to write more at this stage other than to say to his family we are holding you in our thoughts.

When my son died, also of cancer, a friend sent me the following poem, which I found very supportive:

Poem Read at Stuarts Funeral

You can shed tears that he is gone or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray he’ll come back or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live your life yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone, or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, or be empty and turn you back, or you can do what he’d want.

Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

© David Harkins 1981

As you all know Hedsor Jazz has supported Cancer Research UK since 2003, raising money every year for them by a fundraising concert. The timing of this years concert could not be more poignant. It will be on April 25th. I know you will not need any further encouragement to support this event. See past issues of this blog for more detail.

In line with the thoughts expressed in the above poem, we are carrying on and Tonight’s special guest is saxophonist Duncan Lamont Junior, who will be supported, as usual, by the Clive Burton Quintet. 

See you at Hedsor.

Geoff C

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

First off today some of our forthcoming guests.

As you may remember our idea now we are in Hedsor’s Big Room, is to regularly have a guest musician perform with our (regular) Clive Burton Quintet. Since that decision was made we also have an additional need, that of replacing Clive whilst he recovers from his surgical procedure.

Then, on top of his other calamities, Ken Rankin, our (regular) bass player has managed to break his wrist, and we will obviously be having a number of guest appearances by other bass players until Ken can resume his place. Just so you can encourage friends (and yourself) to come and experience Hedsor jazz, here is a list of the named replacements/additions as I know them to day.

This Thursday April 11th we have guitarist Jez Cook coming to partner our saxophonist Mike Wills. This is handy in as much as they can share a car journey, they both come to us from Oxford! Jez is a very experienced and sought after player, catch him via YouTube to sample his style

Jez hasn’t been to Hedsor before, and it should be a very entertaining gig. It will only cost you £6 to get in. Music from 8.30 pm.

Thursday April 18th we have another player coming who hasn’t been before to darkest Hedsor. This time saxophonist Duncan Lamont Jnr will be coming to keep Mike company. Duncan, son of a famous farther who HAS played for us a couple of times, is fast becoming a much sort after player, and well worth YOUR while seeking out at Hedsor!!

Thursday April 25th should by now be in your diary, and tickets are now available either on a Thursday from Dee (on the Red Box) or from Cookham’s Stationery Depot (01628 531178). This is our fundraising night for Cancer Research UK and tickets will cost you £10. That will give you access to a light buffet at half time, time starting from 8pm. Our guest list has had to change slightly, and therefore maybe the evening will have a slightly less Benny Goodman bias than anticipated, but our guests will still entrance you. They are Alan Graham on vibraphone, and Stuart Henderson on trumpet. The regular Clive Burton Quintet will be behind them, maybe even with said Clive playing his trombone for us again that night for the first time in 6 weeks!

Further ahead, on May 9th, a young saxophonist is coming to us from Maidenhead. Justin Swadling is a very talented young saxophonist who will be joining our restored front line. Justin has his own group called “Modus”, which is a more funk style band, but he also plays for Ealing based big band “The Sound Of Seventeen”. Ken Rankine has been recommending him to us for months, and this will be his first proper appearance at Hedsor. (He did sit in a couple of times about 1 year ago).

June 6th may well be the anniversary of D Day, but it will also be the first appearance at Hedsor of former Humph band member saxophonist Karen Sharp. We are all looking forward to her appearance. Many of us have seen her in other places, so I’m sure you will all give her a very big Hedsor welcome.

July has me setting off for the Swanage Jazz Festival [July 12th, 13th, 14th ]
(where I will see many of you too I expect), but I will be hastening back for August, because August contains a 75th birthday, (mine) and a 54th wedding anniversary (ours!). So we are having a Hedsor based party on August 8th to celebrate both. 

Gil Cook  

To help me I have invited Vasilis Xenopoulos, Nigel Price, and Gill Cook to play and sing with Clive and the Quartet. I’m looking forward to seeing many friends and relatives (less as the years go by I’m afraid) from my 75 years.

After that the only thing as yet in my jazz diary for Hedsor is December 19th, our Christmas Party, and you will have to continue to “Watch this Space” to find out more about that later.

CD’s Listened to recently

First up, I mentioned the new Simon Spillett release a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t at that time had a chance to play it. I enjoyed very much the gig at Marlow where most of the tunes were played by them, and I can honestly say that this third album in the Simon Spillett Quartet’s history is the best one yet. It is an excellent recording, and is musically less busy than the previous two releases. I loved “Yesterday I Heard the Rain” and the bass feature “Bass House” named after a well-remembered beer! At 38 minutes long it has the sort of 3 tunes a side feel of an LP, which is fairly logical, as you can also purchase this release on a 12” vinyl LP!!

I noticed that Jazz UK magazine also gave it a good review. I was glad to see it had, as in my view that magazine is less useful than it used to be. You can pick up a free copy of Jazz UK from Hedsor on Thursday this week and read the review then!

Lastly something slightly different. Bill Allred is an American trombone player who used to be much associated with Disney World. He also played for many many years for Rosie O’Grady’s Goodtime Jazz Band, which would rather lead you to believe he only played Dixieland. However, together with his son John, also a trombone player, they are very capable to playing swinging mainstream with some degree (a great degree) of excellence. Arbours Records “Bill Allred: The New York Session” is a fine recording of very fine music. Some wonderful players support them, including soon to be seen in Marlow, guitarist Howard Alden. On this release he also plays BANJO! Many of the tunes are of a Dixieland origin, but just have a listen to Bix’s “Davenport Blues”, with Warren Vache on Cornet! Then try “Muskrat Ramble”. Very fine trombone playing indeed. ARCD 1939 is the number.

Thursday, April 04, 2013


Confirmed this morning, we have just recruited a substitute for our Benny Goodman Cancer Research Night in the shape of trumpeter Stuart Henderson. Not sure if that will be in place of Harry James or Ziggy Elman, but my goodness, wont that work well!


April 4th
Our Hedsor Jazz guest this week is:

Talented guitarist John Coverdale. A welcome return of this melodic guitarist with a musical sense of humour. One of Hedsor Jazz’s regular friends who comes out to play for us with little conceit for his star quality. Take a look at his biography taken from his entry in the Jazz Services Site and you realise he is one of the very best around:-

“Started in folk clubs in the 70's. Studied at London college of music with Peter Ind & began jazz gigs in 1977. Has appeared regularly at the Ealing Jazz Festival since the early eighties. Does a lot of duo work with guitarist Max Brittain, and has recently worked with Johnny van Derrick, Matt Waites and Alan Barnes.” 

He always fits in well with our regular rhythm section, and shines as a soloist. I think everyone can remember his duet with Max Brittain in February 2011 at Zane’s fundraising concert.

Tonight you can enjoy his playing again, and all for just £6.

As many of you know our regular bass player Ken Rankine has been in the wars again. 5 months after breaking a leg, he has now been very unfortunate again in breaking his left wrist. We really do wish him a speedy recovery. He must be wondering who is putting the pins in his doll!

Tonight in his place I understand we have John Monney, who played at short notice last week in Ken’s place.

And what a session that was. Stuart Henderson and Tolly (Anatoly Vyacheslavov to give him his full name) with our rhythm section backing them played music of such quality last week that we would have had every right to have charged you double to listen to it! I actually recorded it (in mono) on my mobile phone. Having now played it back through my Hi Fi I am again amazed at the quality of the music we are privileged to have  at The Hedsor Social Club.

Max Brittain (mentioned above) has unfortunately had to pull out of our Cancer Fundraising Concert on April 25th. We are still going ahead with our tribute to Benny Goodman, with Alan Graham on Vibes and Mike Wills as Mr Goodman and we will announce our replacement guest as soon as they are confirmed.

What I can tell you about guests before then is that next week (April 11th) we have another guitarist, Jezz Cook, coming to play for us alongside Mike Wills, this will be Jezz’s first visit to Hedsor, and I am really looking forward to hearing him there.

The week after that (April 18th), we have Duncan Lamont Junior on tenor sax. Another first at Hedsor.

Lots of live jazz to look forward to. Tell you friends, and do buy tickets (from Dee) for our Cancer Fundraiser on April 25th.

Remember, to keep live jazz alive we need live audiences!

Oh, and By the Way, we have gained a mention in the local magazine “Round and About” this month!