Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The last blog of August is upon us!!

And what a cracking jazz August it has been. I am still enjoying my birthday bash in retrospect (I recorded it on my mobile phone but don’t tell anyone!) and am still pinching myself that I can call so many great musicians my friends.

Last week we had a pretty regular version of The Clive Burton Quintet, Mike Wills being allowed temporary remission form his rail-painting task and so able (very able) to join us on his many reed instruments. Our regular pianist was away learning some more tunes, and in his place we had Ken McCarthy. It was a very enjoyable evening.

During the interval last week I was asked if we were going to have a return visit from one of our founder guest artists any time soon. Well, yes we are. This week, as we have had to return Mike to his railings, we will have the energising presence of Simon Spillett on tenor sax. It will be good to catch up with him again, and learn all about his new Trio. Just to quote from his press release:-

Featuring two legendary figures on the UK Jazz circuit - bassist Dave Green and drummer Spike Wells - this new band celebrates the pianoless freedoms heard in the classic Sonny Rollins line-ups from the late 1950's. The emphasis is on spontaneous melodic development, with the band creating elastic treatments of jazz classics and standards and dynamic interplay.

Well, we wont be getting his other partners, well not this week anyway, but it will be really good to add Simon to the list of this years guest saxophonists. Usual start time of 8.30 pm for the music, with the usual cost of £6 to get in. There is also a small charge to get out, but that is purely voluntary!

With hot sunshine being our experience this year, listening to recorded jazz has taken a back seat recently, but I have been absolutely captivated by pianist David Newton latest release. “Out of this World” is its title, and it is also a trio album. David combines his talent with Andrew Cleyndert on bass and Colin Oxley on guitar.

It is clever, melodic, laid back music, beautifully recorded and released by Trio Records as tr590. Three Newton originals are included in this 11 track recording. Harold Arlen, George Gershwin, and J. J Johnson are also some of the other “representatives”. It’s a well thought out recording, with good solos by all three participants. Well worth searching out.

That's it for now folks. See you Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Good Morning jazz fans.

A fairly brief blog today. After last weeks mammoth blog and mammoth event, this week we return to a more normal weekly jazz Thursday at Hedsor.

Mike Wills is still facing a long run of railings, and so in his place this week we have one of our regular helpers, John Coverdale on guitar, to keep Clive company. John is an excellent guitarist who has played in a number of styles on a number of stages over the years. A subtle note player and harmoniser and an occasional addition to the rhythm section, those who have heard him before will look forward to his appearance. For those who haven’t heard him before, let me welcome you to The Hedsor Social Club this week. Usual start time and charges apply.

OK, Last Week!

If any of you have heard the Lionel Hampton LP “Newport Uproar” you will recognise my “WOW! That hasn’t happened since….”.

Exactly, it hasn’t happened before. We were FULL. And what a night you all gave me to remember my 75th birthday and 54th wedding anniversary by. No matter where you go in the future to hear jazz, you will not hear better, more exciting jazz than you did (if you were there) last Thursday. Without exception all of the musicians played there socks off.

So lets say some thank you’s. Thank you to Clive Burton, who has come and played trombone for us, and told us jokes (OK some of the are the same jokes) for over 12 year at Hedsor. It would not be there without him, and he has stayed by us through some pretty thick and thin. Thank you too for Ken Rankine and Martin Hart, who have played bass and drums for us for most of the same period of time. Thank you too for Nigel Fox, who has taken over our piano chair on most occasions since Zane passed away, and in my view has grown in stature since coming to us.

Then thank you too for our wonderful guest players on the night. Singer Gill Cook, who I am sure was imitating another blond singer doing a version of Happy Birthday for a certain President, didn’t she do well. To Vasilis Xenopoulos on alto and tenor saxophones, doesn’t he know how to play!! And finally to Nigel Price for some really formidable guitar work. He even apologised for being late having been held up for 2 hours on the M25!

But not really finally, because some very hard work was done by Helen and Michael Weinblatt setting (and upsetting? i.e. clearing up) the tables. All those who did food for us. Dee who “manned” the door, and was kept a lot busier than ever before taking your money and generally directing the traffic. There were others, lets not forget the bar staff. This sort of event doesnt just happen, it takes human effort to achieve. So Thank You to all who played there part. Thank you too for all your kind thoughts for my birthday and our anniversary expressed through cards and gifts

 Gill Cook and Clive
 Some of the Audience
 Nigel Price
 Vasilis Xenopoulos
 One Note Samba
 Martin Hart

Can we do it all again? Well probably, but possibly not for a birthday of mine! Our next Big Event will be our Christmas Party on December 19th and with Tina May coming, this will defiantly be a ticket only event. You have shown from last Thursdays turn out that you cannot assume any more that you can always buy a ticket at the door! We will sell tickets to regular attendees of Hedsor Jazz, and we will also sell some via a box office, but entry for that event will only be by ticket!

See you on Thursday


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Hi Everyone,

I know all blog readers will by now be aware of the very special evening of jazz that is going to be with us at The Hedsor Social Club SL8 5ES this Thursday, August 8th, and many of you will know this is to celebrate my 75th birthday.

Actually my birthday is the day before, and August 8th is actually the day my wife and I celebrate our 54th wedding anniversary. June, who isn’t that fond of jazz, has kindly allowed me to have my “party” at Hedsor, and to help me celebrate 75 years with my jazz loving friends and with some of the best live jazz around.

I thought that just for once I would ramble on (as old people do) about how and when I started listening to jazz music.

During WWII dance band music and American swinging music was always available on “The Radio”. That was the Home Service and the Light Program. And often we got the American Forces Network as well on our valve AM radio’s.


At about this time on a radio not unlike the one above, I started listening to Kenny Baker's Dozen.

My first introduction to records was via 78 rpm disks played on a wind up “acoustic” gramophone during the war. We played “Songs from the Western Front” during air raids in our Anderson Shelter!

No, this isnt my family, but it IS an Anderson Shelter!

But real jazz came into my ears around 1952, probably first from Sid Phillips (78 of “Clarinet Marmalade”), then 78’s followed from Louis Armstrong’s Hot 5 and All Stars.

I think once we had an electric gramophone capable of playing LP’s (about 1954) I found Ken Colyer and Humphrey Lyttelton. You will not that these are bands that were led by trumpet players. Those early 78’s got me playing a coach horn alongside them with me playing as many notes as I could match! As that wasn’t many, in the end I purchased at trumpet!

The Blue Anchor as it is now.

So I played Trad (badly) for a few years with a number of friends. One of those was a drummer who just so happened to live in The Blue Anchor at Hammersmith. We both played to his record player. Wonderful stuff, the music and the beer! When he decided (as a drummer) that he needed to know more chords and started to learn the guitar, I had a go at playing the drums to! As a trad trumpet player I didn't need to know any chords of course!

Much to the relief of the general public (and the underground system, have you ever tried going to gigs on the London Underground helping to carry a drum kit?) I last played in public in 1971.

Listening to jazz, and being keen of Hi Fi equipment has never stopped! My taste in style developed over the years. I had always listened to American music, and an early LP was The Buck Clayton Jam Session with ”The Hucklebuck”, and one of my first major equipment purchases as an apprentice engineer was a Leak TL12 Plus amplifier with a Varislope 3 Pre amp. 15 Guineas this cost me out of my £3 wage! 

I think Bruce Turner introduced me to a saxophone. Before him we trad people thought that a saxophone was an impure thought! Now one of the records I would take with me to a desert island would be from the LP Humph at the Conway, and Bruce turner playing “St James Infirmary Blues”. I’ve worn out 2 LP’s of this concert, and now have it on CD!

Live jazz music was harder to pay for than classical music. As an engineering apprentice I qualified for very cheap tickets for the Industrial Concerts that were put on in the Albert Hall once a month on Fridays by The London Philharmonic Orchestra, but for jazz, the cheapest way was to join a club. So, I became a member of the 100 Club (100 Oxford Street), and of Studio 51 (under Moon’s Garage in Soho Square).

Little did I realise how large my collection of LP’s and then CD’s would become during the intervening 50 years or so. Neither did I dream that I would actually get to know some of the fine musicians I now listen to. But, I am very privileged to be friends with most of those who come to play at The Hedsor Social Club. I am also privileged to have those who listen to the music there as my friends as well.

It will be a great evening of jazz on Thursday. It would be great to have YOUR company there as well. I cant promise another bash in 5 years time, but I can now promise you that at our Christmas Party on December 19th, we have coming as our very special guest Tina May!!

Take care, and perhaps you too can try and keep live jazz alive!