Monday, June 01, 2015

This Week at Hedsor Jazz

We have something special, yet something also “ordinary”. We are, after all, so used to the quality of the music we have at Hedsor, that we almost take it for granted.

This week, there will be a bite of supper, a kind of ploughman’s, not enough to stop you eating your tea, but food is something we only do on rare occasions.

And this rare occasion is:-

The 20th Anniversary of the founding of the band!

All of you who come to Hedsor Jazz will know the band as “The Clive Burton Quintet”.

20 years ago it was formed as “Keith Vitty’s Century Jazz” and first played in Bray cricket club, and then at “The Fifield Inn” on a Sunday night. Through a number of gestations, the only surviving band member is Clive himself.

Keith Vitty was a drummer, who had been a long term resident of Hong Kong. On returning to the UK he was determined to found a first class band to play “Modern” jazz. The first members alongside Keith were Clive, who always did do all the announcements, John Monney on bass, Roger Munns on keyboard and saxophonist Mike Wilson. That band was how I first knew it, playing every Thursday at The Cookham Tavern. No, don’t go looking for the pub now, it is a Costa Coffee Shop!

Keith became ill with Bowel Cancer, and eventually had to give up playing, and his place was taken by Martin Hart. Keith died in 2002.

Sundays carried on at Fifield, with John Monney on bass, but when The Cookham Tavern Closed, the Thursday band transferred to Hedsor, initially to the Garibaldi, but finally to the Hedsor Social Club. On a Thursday the bass player became Ken Rankine.

Roger Munns moved to France, and our pianist became Zane Cronje. With Zane’s death our pianist became Nigel Fox.

The Thursday Band became know as The Clive Burton Quintet, and the saxophonist became Mike Wills, who had always played with the band as a dep in the past anyway.

So there you have it. 20 years of regular jazz, the last 13 being at Hedsor. Century Jazz did make 2 recordings, one cassette tape and 1 CD. The Clive Burton Quintet also made a recording of the tribute concert to Keith Vitty at Maidenhead’s Norden Farm in 2003. This double CD album is still available.

So, I do hope as many of you as possible will come along on Thursday June 4th to celebrate the history of “The Clive Burton Quintet” and all of the wonderful musicians who have played for us over the last 20 years. Another celebration will take place in September, when on the 26th, Hedsor Jazz will go to School, at St Pirans! But that will be another story!

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