Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Little Late Blogging

In order to remind you that tomorrow night, (May 30th) at The Hedsor Social Club we have an almost complete collection of The Clive Burton Quintet. OK, due to Ken Rankine’s argument with the floor we will have a dep bass player, but do come along, you may be in for a big surprise, which will require a round of applause!

Its been a few week since we heard Mike Wills with the reed section, but this week he will be at Hedsor Jazz!!

Next week (June 6th ) is a very special night for Hedsor when we welcome in for the first time lady saxophonist Karen Sharp. Karen was at one time a member of the Humphrey Lyttleton Band, and is a wonderful full bodied tenor player. OK wise guys, I mean that in a musical sense, but she wont hurt your eyes either!! 

She has played with various members of our wonderful regular quintet before, but this will be her first outing with the entire ensemble!! Do come along, bring your dependants and tell your friends, we must stop Hedsor Jazz being the best-kept secret in The Thames Valley!!

Did any of you watch the Trad Britannia and Smoky Dives programmes? I must say they brought a great deal of nostalgia to my eyes, as I remember many of the interiors shown. I was interested in the comment one old bouncer from the Cy Laurie Club made that it was a far safer place (Soho) in those far off days than it is now!!

With the tears of nostalgia still in my eyes I sought out to play one or two CD’s of music from the period.

BUT I bet you will find it hard to believe there is one with Acker Bilk AND Stan Tracey!! Well it has some other wonderful British players on it as well, including Tony Coe, Kenny Wheeler, and Keith Christie too! 

“Blue Acker” came out on LP in 1968, I have the original LP, but also the reissue on CD, which includes 6 extra tracks that were originally issued on an LP entitled “We Love You Madly”, (which if you can find an LP of it will cost you around £50)!

Artwork for said Lake reissue is above. It’s very well recorded, and all the arrangements are by Stan Tracey, so it is definitely the best of British Modern Jazz of its era. LACD218 is the number.

Another CD that I have managed to pick up this week in a charity shop is even older, (but of course, not as old as me!). A German reissue of the 1944 Esquire New York Concert. It was broadcast and recorded (V Disk) for the American Forces. You can see from the artwork the line up is stellar. The recording is very reasonable, and the music is just wonderful. Billy Holiday’s “Billies Blues” is just perfection. OK so I only paid £1.60 for it, but you can still get it from Amazon etc from around £10.

OK, enough of me tempting you to spend money for an at home event. That New York concert had a lot of people listening to it. To keep jazz live, you need a collection of people called an audience! See you at Hedsor Social Club on Thursday, ANY THURSDAY!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Bank Holidays to come!

So you should be in the mood for a little live jazz, which of course you can get from Hedsor Jazz this Thursday!

What better way to wind down for a long weekend than to come and hear The Clive Burton Quintet, with our guest this week, saxophonist Mark Aston.

Mark has played for us a number of times before, and it will be good to see him again in the Hedsor Social Club Big Room. Only a £6 entry fee with music from 8.30 pm. Beer and chat are available from 7 pm, so don't be afraid to come either early or late.

Do put in your diary another "special" D Day. On June 6th we will be hosting Karen Sharp, a rising star in the lady saxophonists galaxy. Do make a point of coming. Try bringing some friends to help fill the Big Room, and give Karen a big welcome. She hasn't been to Hedsor before, but has played before with some of its constituent musicians !!

As many of you are by now aware, we are trying to have more guest nights at Hedsor Jazz  in order to help fill the Big Room more often. We hope it will attract new people in to hear our excellent regular quintet and to realize what they have been missing. We would be very pleased if you could let us know who YOU would like to see and hear at some point at Hedsor Jazz. It would also help our finances too if you would feel able to sponsor a guest musician, either in whole or part. So let Clive or myself know who you would like and if you could sponsor that person. Please don't let us remain the best kept secret in the jazz world!

Not had a lot of time to listen to the recorded stuff this week, I'll try harder next time.

One last point, I used to be able to let over 70 people know about my blog and the local jazz events by email every week. However, these last few months I have become aware that most of my emails are now not getting through. I can only surmise that because of my regular weekly nagging my output is being blocked. I always "blind copied" lists of around a dozen people at a time.
Do tell your friends that I will always try and keep the blog up to date with news of Hedsor Jazz events. Look here first!! You could even become a follower!!

Never despair, life will do that for you!

Geoff C

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First This Week

A retrospective.

A wonderful tribute was paid to Charles Benson on Thursday last week at his Memorial Service in Cookham Dean Parish Church. The church was packed, standing in the aisles and outside too.

He was known and respected by so many, and I, for one, am glad to have had the privilege of knowing and working with him, particularly on the jazz programs that went out during the Cookham Summer FM seasons. He will be sorely missed; he was involved in so many different aspects of Cookham life, not just jazz, and his contributions will be hard to replicate. The service was beautifully run, and all who contributed to it should be thanked by all of us who came to celebrate a life lived to the full.

Then in the evening, those of us who came to Hedsor Jazz had an opportunity to listen to a young musician still climbing the jazz staircase. Justin Swadling played alto sax throughout his evening with us, maybe finding it hard at times for find common ground with an older style of jazz than in his usual comfort zone. I thought he did very well, and it would be interesting to hear him when he is in the company of like minds and playing the sort of jazz he is more comfortable with. Considering he was in the company of people who were 40 years older than himself, he did very well. You might like to see where, and  with whoom he is playing by following his web site 

I think that Justin is around 4 years younger than Vasilis Xenopoulos, who was heard in Woodley last Saturday with the Martin Hart Trio and is a good friend of his. They have both been taught at some time in their musical education by saxophonist Peter Cook, and this Thursday at Hedsor we can hear the Master, as Peter is coming to play for us alongside guitarist John Coverdale. Our regular rhythm section just happens to have Martin Hart on drums too!

Now, one of those trivia questions to have up your sleeve. Did you know that John Coverdale has played in a band with Chris Barber’s trumpeter the late Pat Halcox? Well, I have a recording to prove it!

One final advance notice. Tell all your friends and relatives, coming to Hedsor as a very special guest on June 6th is lady saxophonist Karen Sharp.

Karen rose to fame as a member of Humphrey Lyttelton’s Band and is featured in the last gig filmed by the BBC of Humph’s band from the Brecon Jazz Festival, where the band were joined on the Market Hall stage by American saxophonist Scott Hamilton. Karen will be joining Clive and our regular Quintet from 8.30 pm. We are giving this gig away at an amazing entry fee of just £6. Now THAT is a bargain!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Things Jazz This Week

Tomorrow we have sad, and we also have glad.

For sad we have an opportunity to say our farewells to Charles Benson, late titular Head of Cookhams fabulous Shirtlifters. His memorial service and celebration of life lived will be held in St. John the Baptist Church, Cookham Dean, Berks, SL6 9PD tomorrow, Thursday 9th May from 2pm.

This will be both sad and glad, all who knew Charles will be sad that he is no longer with us, but glad that we did know him.

More Glad can be had tomorrow evening, when our evening of live jazz at Hedsor will have an up and coming young saxophonist Justin Swadling coming to play with Clive Burton and the Quartet. Usual start time 8.30 pm, £6 entry.

Coming soon to the Cookham Festival are “The Brass Volcanoes” on 17th May. They will be in Pinder Hall from 8pm. Entry by ticket only £10 obtainable from Cookhams Stationary Depot. Do look at YouTube for clips from performances by them. They are great fun.

Two days after that and if you are lucky enough to get a ticket, Vasilis Xenopoulos will be playing at The Oakwood Centre, Woodley near Reading with the Martin Hart Trio. That’s Saturday May 11th from 7.45 onwards.

CD Listened to this Week

I don’t now about you, but sometimes I buy a CD, listen to it a few times, and then put it away, maybe for a few years, before it finds it’s way into sight again. This week I dragged to the for a double album by a band that called itself “The World’s Greatest Jazz Band”, quite a boast. But with a line up of literally ALL STARS, it was a pretty exciting band. I never did get to hear all of them, but I have seen Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart. I also saw Bud Freeman and Bob Wilber, and even Ralph Sutton, but I never got to see Billy Butterfield, Vic Dickenson, Ed Hubble or Gus Johnson Jr. But they were “The Worlds Greatest Jazz Band”.

What I was listening to was a recording privately made from a 1971 performance in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall. It’s on 2 CD, so you get most of the 2 1 hour sets from the concerts. It has been issued (in 2006) on the Arbours label. Because of the recordings derivation, its not up to their usual high sound quality, but it is still very listenable, and strongly recommended. These guys were legends; Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart were the force behind the Bob Crosby Orchestra of the late 1930’s, Bud Freeman played for Al Capone, etc etc. ARCD 19343 is the  catalogue number, and Amazon lists it at £15 with 5 still available! It really is great fun, and will not now be relegated to a lower division for a little while!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

We Have Paid The Money

Yesterday, Dee, John and myself visited the Cancer Research Shop in Beaconsfield and presented them with a cheque for £325, the money raised from last weeks concert. The Beaconsfield shop had been most supportive of our advertising for the event.

I know we all hope that although only a relatively small amount of money, it will positively help in the fight against cancer which has damaged almost everyone we know in one way or another.

A note about the coming Jazz at Hedsor. This week we have the Clive Burton Quintet, and On May 9th we have as our guest a young saxophonist, Justine Swadling, coming to entertain us. Justine is another of Britain's up and coming jazz musicians. It will be well worth your while coming to hear him.

Our guest in June will be none other than saxophonist Karen Sharp. Karen was "discovered" by Humphrey Lyttelton and played in his band for some years. She appeared in the BBC film "Humphs Last Stand" in a performance of the band at The Brecon Jazz Festival with Scott Hamilton as guest musician with Humph.
Having Karen with us at Hedsor will make it a very special night, so put it in your diary now. June 6th.

That's it for the moment, don't forget to tell others of the great live jazz being put on EVERY week at Hedsor Jazz, part of the Hedsor Social Club in Bourne End, Bucks.