Monday, November 24, 2014

This week Hedsor Jazz hosts guitarist John Coverdale. Always welcome at Hedsor, John is a musician of huge experience which he is currently sharing with Eton College students, he is a guitar tutor their!

Looking further ahead, tickets for our Christmas extravaganza are now available, either on a Thursday evening from Dee at The Hedsor Social Club, or any day of the week from The Stationery Depot in Cookham (tel:01628 531178). Wherever you buy them from the price is the same, just £10 each!

CD’s Listened to this week.

There are two this week, that I bet you would have walked past if you saw them in a rack in a charity shop (there are VERY few places for you to look through a rack of CD’s these days!).

The first is by a group called Albare iTD (I understand the title stands for "International Travel Diary"). The CD is called “Long Way”. I know very little about the people playing, apart from the drummer Antonio Sanchez. If you like well-recorded guitar led modern jazz music (I hate to describe it as “fusion” as it isn’t quite!) then search this out. It’s on the enja label - ENJ 9582-2 and was released in 2012. It has harmonica by Hedrik Meurkens, a tenor played by George Garzone, Leo Genovese on piano and Evripidis Evripidou on bass. Albare is the guitarist, (who was born in Morocco) so, you may well have overlooked this gem more than once in the last 2 years, but gem it is. Smooth, funky, beautifully recorded and expertly played. On a website review said of it :-

An all star sextet with one of the most impressive guitar releases for the year. A most unique personal hybrid of global textures combined with the more traditional forms and functionality of modern jazz. An absolute favourite for 2012!

So there you go!!

The next total surprise find is Don Burrell’s orjam – “Bittersweet Blue”

Now I personally don’t know the leader, who is the drummer, but I do know altoist Alex Garnet. I also know organist Peter Whittaker. I also know tenor saxophonist Brandon Allen, who at one time was in the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, which migrated into “Pendulum”. But the shock to my system was the guitarist. Terry Smith I haven’t seen for many years, and to be honest thought he had died years ago. I remember seeing him with Dick Morrissey at The Bell in Maidenhead in the 1970's and he was deeply indebted to gin for his relaxed playing in those days! The other shock was that it was recorded in a pub in Acton, West London, very near where I was an apprentice!! And the label is Actone Records!!! How many links do I need?

It’s a terrific record. If you like Nigel Price’s organ trio (which has Peter Whittaker in it), you’ll like this CD. If you like Vasilis’s “Wind Machine” you will like this CD. There are tunes on it from the likes of Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan and Oliver Nelson. It’s great jazz was recorded in 2008 and its on ARCO 1003.  A drummer led band and not a drum solo in sight!! WOW.

I hope we see as many of you who can get out on Thursday at Hedsor. We do still need a live audience to keep live jazz alive!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Morning Jazz fans.

Just a brief note this week.

This Thursday, November 13th, we have the regular Clive Burton Quintet at Hedsor, but with the exception of a guest drummer. Both Martin Hart and Mike Jeffries are unavailable this week and in the drum chair we have someone new to Hedsor. Julian Bown will playing for us. It would be nice if we could provide a bigger audience for him than the one we had last week!! Numbers last week were in the danger zone. To keep live jazz at Hedsor, we need a live audience!!

 The Field of Poppies outside St Clement Danes School yesterday.

Last night was an excellent session at the Marlow Jazz club, and that was with a full house! BUT, Michael has now reduced the number of jazz events at Marlow to one a month. We have run Hedsor jazz every week for 12 years. We have done this with no arts council grants, no local authority support, only the support of local jazz fans. Only your personal attendance will ensure we can carry on every week into another year. We are renowned for being a friendly and open bunch of people, and we are also renowned for being on every week. If you genuinely haven’t tried us before we would be delighted to see you and offer you some really great live jazz.

Assuming the life of Hedsor jazz is as far as December 18th,(I jest, just!), I hope to have tickets available this Thursday for our Christmas Concert. Do make sure you get along to that, and bring your friends too. The line up of star guests should have something for everyone, from singer Gill Cook to vibraphonist Alan Grahame via the trumpet of Stuart Henderson and the saxophones of “Tolly” and Peter Ripper, all wrapped up by our regular Quintet. We retain our big room event price of £10. To give everyone a chance to play we start at 8pm for this one.

That’s it for this week, CD reviews next week.

PS. I attended the Remembrance Day Service at St Clement Danes School yesterday and was amazed by the sight greeting you as you entered their grounds. ALL the poppies were made by the school, and all the students donated £2 each to the British Legion. I believe there were 1366 poppies in the field, one for every school pupil.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Hedsor Jazz this week has the regular Clive Burton Quintet, probably in recovery mode after our Halloween event last week.

To describe Tracey Mendham as a Hoot is an understatement. Anyone who was there will testify that she definitely hooted! The kind gift to her from one of our number of a witches hat was very appropriately worn throughout the evening, and coupled with her red dress gave a very hallowed-en look to her! She is none the less a very accomplished tenor player, with an enormous tone, and I think for everyone there it was a great night out. AND all for just £6 entry.

An additional delight was to having Ken McCarthy at the piano last week. His own feature number of the 3rd movement of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto was a real bonus, and I would imagine had a number of people thinking “where have I heard that before?”

So this week, back to Bop!!

CD’s Listened to

As many of you know most of last week I was touring East Anglia with my wife June, visiting relatives and enjoying mostly warm sunshine and some excellent food. During this tour I played a CD that strictly speaking isn’t  a jazz album at all. But it was one that left me thinking “what a shame that more jazz musicians hadn’t been put with her”. 

The album in question is the new one from Annie Lennox. I have always been a fan of hers. She has a strong voice, and a strong personality to go with it. Her new album is called “Nostalgia” and has her singing tunes like “Georgia on My Mind”, “Summertime”, “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child” all of which are no stranger to the jazz fraternity. The instrumentation is professional, but not particularly jazz orientated, which is a shame as I think she has all the makings of a great jazz singer. The album, for you to check out, is on the Island label.

My second disk, (but not played on the East Anglia tour), is again featuring another lady. This time a jazz pianist called Mary Lou Williams. Mary Lou Williams was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. She wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements, and recorded more than one hundred records. Sadly she died in 1981, leaving a legacy of tunes and arrangements that has been crying out to be played again. And the Dutch Jazz Orchestra has done just that. It is a wonderful big band recording, which means a wonderful recording with a wonderful big band. It also has an advantage over many big band recordings in giving up Hi Fi tunes from the great swing era that you probably haven’t heard before. I do recommend this one. It’s been around since 2005 on Challenge records CR73251.
One final comment. Our tour of East Anglia did have some fine food moments as I mentioned above. One of them (a very upmarket sandwich) we had in the small town/village of Burnham Market, on the North Norfolk coast at an establishment called "the Hoste". My point in mentioning this is that they run jazz evenings. 

Do take a look at the brochure I have attached, and just think. We have had some of Britains top jazz performers at Hedsor, including Tina May for half of the Hoste's £12 added to the bill for the jazz! Our Christmas special, coming very soon on December 18th, will cost you just £10 not £50, and will include a buffet supper. Who will be there? So far booked:- Gill Cook, Alan Grahame, Stuart Henderson  "Tolly" and Peter Ripper! and of course the Clive Burton Quintet! Please put US in your guide book!