Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another Special Week

Hedsor Jazz has another special guest this week. On Thursday we have none other than that VERY SPECIAL saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos coming to play for us. 

He probably needs no introduction to regular members of Hedsor Jazz, but for those who haven't heard him before do everyone a favour, including yourself, and come along this Thursday. He plays exciting tenor sax and has studied with  some great American saxophonists too. He graduated as a Master of Music from Berkley Collage in Boston U.S.A.,the premier jazz music university. He told me that one of the things they taught him there was that the audience is important, and you must entertain them, as well as yourself!!

Vasilis is a regular festival attraction, having performed twice for us at The Cookham Festival. He is also a frequent performer at other festivals, including Ealing and again this year he will be at Swanage in July with another of my favorites, Nigel Price on guitar. They will both be with me in August at Hedsor celebrating another of my birthdays!

Come and see him this week at Hedsor, and help US keep great live jazz alive locally. It will cost you £6 to get in, there is free car parking and the music starts at 8.30pm.

Vasilis will be playing alongside our regular Quintet, Clive Burton on Trombone, Mike Wills on various Reed instruments, Nigel Fox on Keyboard, Ken Rankine on Bass (look out for him on the new British Heart Foundation adverts!), and a guest drummer (well it saves him lurking by the bar every week!) Mike Jeffries on Drums. Our regular drummer, Martin Hart, is taking his wife Glenn with him to do his community service in India this next week or so!

Vasilis and Clive at Cookham

Looking back on last weeks Hedsor Jazz wasn't Tracey great fun? I am always overwhelmed by the great big TONE she gets from that tenor sax. 

I was also impressed that she stuck to our contract! She didn't sing!!

One important thing I must mention before I close. Hedsor can now be accessed from all direction without the use of waders. The River Thames is back within its banks, just, so the roads are largely flood free. Be aware of some large puddles, and of POTHOLES.

One final word, do read last weeks blog because I wrote about some CD's I had listened to and would recommend. 

Now there's a thing. Another advantage in coming to listen to Live Jazz at Hedsor is you can buy some bargain priced part used CD's there as well!!

So we will see you all, wont we?!

Geoff C

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I was greatly heartened last week by the response of one member of our Hedsor Jazz audience.He had come, despite local flooding, not just because we had a guest saxophone player, Frank Griffith, (who played not only tenor sax, but excellent clarinet as well) but because I had said in this blog that Hedsor was accessible from above!!Well, tomorrow it still will be. As I write this, the B4447 is still closed, and the road over Cookham Bridge is also still closed. The flood levels are subsiding, but they do have a long way to go down!!

But do please make the effort to come tomorrow, because we have another great night lined up for you. Lady Saxophonist Tracey Mendham is our guest. A superb musician, Tracey has a big, strong sound in the tradition of Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley and Sonny Rollins (it says here), no, its true. She has a big sound and a big personality. If this were an ITV football match I think I would take odds on whether our regular leader (Clive Burton) will be able to keep her in check!! 3 to 1 against in the first half!!

Our normal entry fee of £6 still applies, so do yourselves a favour and come and have a great night out.

The following week (Feb 27th) I am hoping that I will be able to get to Hedsor by a shorter means than over the last few. Our special guest next week is that Greek master of the saxophone Vasilis Xenopoulos.

Now all of the above refers to live jazz, something I am passionate about keeping alive. Without an audience for live jazz music it will die. Then it will become an archaeological exercise to listen to it. Probably via the recordings that were made when jazz was less of a minority cult!

So, just in case, do go out and buy some good examples of it while you can.

This week I have listened to 2 CD's that contain in the main, players from the past.

First up is a CD that contains recordings made between 1939 and 1941 of Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian. They are from the Benny Goodman Sextet of that period. Benny of course made many recordings, but because of his early death, Charlie Christian is less well represented in the CD catalogues. Charlie lived from  July 29, 1916 to March 2, 1942 and was one of the earliest users of an amplified guitar. The electric guitar is now almost commonplace, but before WW2 it was only just beginning to be used in jazz, and Charlie was one of its first true masters. The BG Sextet recordings give ample space in a chamber music style for everyone to solo to advantage, and for you all to realise how much fun small group swing could be. My copy is the CBS Jazz Masterpieces series of CD's (itself now a bit vintage, 1989!) 465679 2

The other CD is not so old a recording, but I am always keen to seek out reordings of the Humphrey Lyttelton Band from the time when Tony Coe was amongst it. Of the 25 tracks (some of them announcements) made available by The BBC on Upbeat Records are 10 tracks with Humphs normal sized band, and 5 or so by The Humphrey Lyttelton Big Band with Jimmy Rushing. Its taken from a 1958 broadcast and includes not only Tony Coe, but Jimmy Skidmore, Joe Temperley, John Picard and Eddie Taylor too. For the big band you can add in some members of the then Ted Heath Orchestra, including Bert Courtley and Bobby Pratt, but also Kathy Stobart, who was from time to time a member of the Humph organisation.  Upbeat URCD 174, issued in 2001.

Well thats it for now folks.


Geoff C

Thursday, February 13, 2014

From Today's Maidenhead Advertiser

You might like to see this tribute to saxophonist John Rolls, who funeral was last Friday. He played many times for us at Hedsor in the past, but I don't think he ever made it to our Big Room.

"I don't care what the weatherman says, When the weatherman says it's raining, You'll never hear me complaining, I'm certain the sun will shine.
The lyric is "Jeepers Creeper" by Johhny Mercer

On my last blog update I gave a kind of Jazz Forecast for the prospects for February. It was fine! Unfortunately the weather has been less pleasant, and my access to the Hedsor Social Club has become more difficult.

The good news is that despite the flooding, I can still get to Hedsor, and so can you. The Hedsor Club is open for business, and as long as you choose your route carefully, you should get there without too much of a problem if a slightly longer journey.

The band can get here too (I have just woken Clive to be assured!) and our special guest tonight is well worth making the effort to come and deserves our support. It is non other than American saxophonist Frank Griffith. Tonight will be his first appearance in the Hedsor Big Room!

So do spread the word, Hedsor Jazz is ON TONIGHT. Usual time, 8.30pm, usual entry fee £6

Dont let Live Jazz be another casualty of the storms that rage around us!!

Below I repeat the main text of an email I put around on Tuesday. If you look at the photos of the river you will see how much wider it is than ever before!!

Please be aware those travelling to Hedsor from South of Hedsor should look out for flood diversions. I'm pretty certain that those who approach the Hedsor Club from the hill above it (as if coming from Cliveden), will get there. The B4447 and the A4094 are at the moment both closed through Cookham. You will not get over Cookham Bridge, great tune though it is!
Below is a link to photos of the floods at Cookham that I took Tuesday.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

It looks like being a great February 

at Hedsor Jazz.

Which I would remind you is held EVERY THURSDAY at Hedsor's Social Club from 8.30 pm.

This week (Feb 6th) we have the normal (?) Clive Burton Quintet, bringing you melodic memories from the bop tunes of the 50's and 60's. We do however have a guest bass player in the shape and sounds of John Monney.

The following week (Feb 13th) we have American saxophonist (now UK resident) Frank Griffith  (http://www.frankgriffith.co.uk/). He has been before, but not since we have been in the BIG ROOM!

The following week (Feb 20th) we must all gird up our loins for a return of lady saxophonist extraordinaire Tracey Menham

Those of you who have had the Tracey experience before will need no further encouragement to come and experience the Mendham phenomenon again. Those who haven't yet had that deep joy MUST come and see who I am writing about. It will be a thoroughly entertaining evening, the like of which you will not get for £6 anywhere else!

Feb 27th will bring you another gripping jazz experience. Our guest is Greek Master of Music saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos. Tell your friends, make up a party, because he is now so well know on the London Jazz scene that he doesnt get to play with our Quintet nearly as often as we would like him.

A Poster for the February's events is reproduced below together with a link to the PDF File on DropBox.


If you could print some posters off and plaster your neighbourhood with them we could share our joyous music with others!