Tuesday, October 31, 2017

News from Hedsor Jazz, Tuesday, 31 October 2017

This Thursday (November 2nd) we have a jazz “special”. We are going to celebrate the music of the French gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.

This style of music is epitomised by light rhythms and lilting tunes. To help us achieve this our special guests will be guitarists Jezz Cook (lead guitar) and Bill Medcraft (rhythm guitar).  With them we have Mike Wills on clarinet, Nigel Fox on keyboard, John Monney on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums. Do give this special flavour of jazz your encouragement, and let people know about it please.

Last weeks session with Stuart Henderson on trumpet and Kelvin Christiane on tenor and flute was a complete knockout. What a superb session. Sadly I didn’t get any photos from the evening, but it was the sounds that counted anyway. One of our regulars emailed me next day 

“Hi Geoff, A real knock-out night last night, the staggering ability of the soloists was exceptional”.

And you get all of this quality of music with free car parking and club drinks prices all for our low admission charge of just £7. AND, something Ronnie Scott’s doesn’t do, we run a free raffle!

On Thursday November 9th our guest will be Alan Grahame on vibraphone. What more can I say! After his “Celebration of a Life in Music” back in July his fame has grown larger than ever. We are having him again in December when he comes to help celebrate Christmas alongside Tina May and Duncan Lamont jnr. on December 21st. But do grab a slice of his mature energy by coming in November as well.

Thinking back to July, that event was one of the last our leader Clive Burton was able to come and play at. I went to see him, now at home, last Friday. He is very week, bedridden and unable to sit up. He was however very interested in how Hedsor Jazz was doing and I had about ¾ hour of conversation with him. He now recognises his inability to drive, and they have disposed of their car. Do give them a thought, and if you can, say a prayer too. Jan is finding the situation very difficult. Clive’s son Roy has been over from Australia but has now had to go back. Whilst here he was a great help to them both.

Hedsor Jazz is determined to carry on, and we are taking greater steps to advertise ourselves than ever before. If you have ideas where a poster can be put, or a paper to get some free coverage from, do speak to either Mike Jeffries or Ian Wallis. We have a complete program until the end of the year, and plans are already afoot for January 2018.

That’s it for now folks. I hope to see you ALL on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hedsor Info Tuesday October 24th 2017

“Woke up this Mornin’ “ and it’s Tuesday again! How quickly the need to update and inform comes around!

Last Thursday might not have been Halloween, but it was indeed “A Hoot”!

Tracey Mendham was larger than life this time, and Hedsor needed rescue! AND, after a 999 call, in came our knight in armour Simon Spillett. An application by him, as he said, of itching powder to Tracey, and musical nirvana was restored.

Simon was an unexpected guest, and played all of the second set. The sound of 3 tenor saxes was enormous. Impromptu “arrangements” of little know tunes did show what talented players we have at Hedsor Jazz. Clive would have called it “grass roots”, and would have perhaps winced once or twice, but it was a great demonstration of sax power!

Clive Burton is now at home, but there is a BIG BUT. He is in a hospital bed, and unable to walk. He has a carer coming in twice a day to help him and Jan, and this is expected to be provided for 6 weeks, after which a reassessment will take place. If he does ever get to look at his tablet again, (yes we know you have one Clive) I hope he reads that we all do send him our love and prayers.

Coming to Hedsor Jazz this week we have trumpet star (almost “Trumpet Major” as he was once a military man) coming to keep Mike Wills company on the front line. Stuart Henderson is that man!

I will put a number of items up on my blog this week for you to link to and download. The first links are for MP3 files of the recording I made on my mobile phone of the session we had with Martin Nickless and Max Brittain. If you want to make your own CD’s up of this evening I have produced a pdf file of artwork for a cover for them.

The other link is for a generic poster to advertise more widely the fact that Hedsor Jazz is every week. This is again a pdf file, and if you can print and place them in a place where the public can see them please do. Do ask permission to do this if it be a shop or on a bit of “street furniture”.

We hope to increase our advertising in the next few months, and have been offered some assistance in how to do this by Brunel University. Mike Jeffries and Ian Wallis have volunteered to be our inside men!

We do have a program through November and December and some plans for January as well. Those of you who do already know about Hedsor Jazz, and have enjoyed it in the past, rest assured that we plan to continue, and please spread the news about the great jazz we do put on EVERY THURSDAY.

Until the next blog or until we meet again, keep jazz alive!

DropBox Links

CD Art

Set 1

Set 2


Geoff  C

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


This week has the irrepressible saxophonist Tracey Mendham coming to keep Mike Wills company at the front of the band. Another session not to be missed! Indeed 2 tenors for the price of one, although neither of them are in plastic with brail markings!
Tracey, with Clive and Ken Rankine
Looking back over the past 2 weeks I must say that we have had some cracking sessions.

Two Tenors and a guitarist!
Simon Spillett played a very interesting piano less session with John Coverdale on guitar and Mike Wills on the other saxophone. Not a combination we have had before, but it was excellent, and makes you realise, (if you hadn’t done so already) that our Thursday sessions offer exciting, innovative explorations of the jazz envelope. Its called keeping live jazz alive!

Martin and Max
Last week was a bit more conventional, with clarinettist Martin Nichlass alongside guitarist Max Brittain. All very Benny Goodman, but beautifully done, and it was great to hear again those once familiar tunes (that is if you did listen to the radio in the 1940’s and 50’s!).

Coming next week we have trumpeter Stuart Henderson.
Stuart in Hedsor's bar, as in days of old!
Together with Mike Wills that should be an exciting session of top brass!

In next weeks blog I hope to be able to let you know all of our guests for the next month. We have been busy trying to plan ahead so we can give you more information for your diary. We have already some dates booked through to January.

News of Clive is much the same. He remains in hospital and is unable to have any further chemo until they get his blood condition more under control. I know we all wish him well and a speedy recovery. Hedsor Jazz is not the same without him.

Last Saturday I went to one the concerts Martin Hart arranges in Woodley. This one had one of Hedsor’s firm favourites, Vasilis Xenopoulos. Vas was in fine form. He is playing with such maturity and assurance these days. He has plenty of work (25 gigs in the next month!), which is as well, as he now has a wife to support! Yes, Vas got married in Greece back in the summer and now has a ring on his right hand (yes, a Greek tradition). He looks remarkable well on it so far and I do wish him and his lady wife every blessing. On Saturday I tried to book him for my “event” next August. He has pencilled it in his diary, but won’t be able to confirm it until at least April 2018!

I purchased from him on Saturday a CD I had not seen of his before (he is on  one or two of singer Peter Jones CD’s) but this one has him with pianist Paul Edis. It only came out this year and confirms Vasilis now as a mature musician. It is just saxophone and piano, it is very well recorded, and you would think that it was a session by two of the American Greats of the 40’s and 50,s. Tunes included include “Dat Dere”, “Jitterbug Waltz” and “What is This Thing Called Love”. (No, no question marks here please). A superb CD, privately produced, but can be got via Vasilis or on Amazon. It’s called “A Narrow Escape”

Well, that's it for now, see you (ALL?) at Hedsor Social Club.


PS, middle two pictures courtesy of Geoff Swaffield

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hedsor Jazz News

Without our bandleader Clive Burton, who is still receiving treatment for cancer and is still not able to play for us, we are arranging some very interesting combinations of musicians to come and play live jazz for us at Hedsor.

This week (October 12th) we are without our reed section Mike Wills so our front line will be occupied by guitarist Max Brittain and clarinettist Martin Nickless.

Both are well know to us, and also to YouTube! Do look them up

and or 

You might recognise a few of the players around them, and in the case of the Max Brittain film, the venue!

Our regular rhythm section will be behind them, well physically at least!

Next week we have another outstanding performer coming to play. Tracey Mendham is a big toned tenor player, with bags of personality. She makes her usual October appearance on October 19th. No, she wont be alone, the rest of the band will be around!

Both above gigs start at 8.30pm, and will cost you an on the door entry fee of £7

The last Thursday of October (26th)  our guest will be trumpet star Stuart Henderson.

A Picture taken in Hedsor's Old Bar!

Looking further ahead into November, our first Thursday we will be having a slight change in emphasis. Normally the quintet play 50’s modern jazz, often referred to as “bop”. On November 2nd we are going to feature a kind of jazz often referred to as “Manouche”. This is the kind of gypsy jazz that the French guitarist Django Reinhardt made popular in the 1930’s. So in addition to piano bass and drums we will have Jezz Cook on lead guitar, Bill Medcraft on rhythm guitar and Mike Wills on Clarinet. Do come along and give Hedsor Jazz and this innovation your support. Our usual entry time and fee apply.

Swanage Jazz Festival

As many of you know I was a fan of the Swanage Jazz Festival, and when Fred Lindup and his team told us that 2017 was it’s last year, I was one of the many hundreds of regulars who were bitterly disappointed. 

There is some good news, again from someone we are used to seeing at Hedsor jazz. Guitarist Nigel Price is trying very hard to resurrect it. Do read his interview in London Jazz News (http://www.londonjazznews.com/2017/09/interview-nigel-price-new-director.html) and follow the links to support him. 

If it is any help to you in making up your mind as to support this initiative or not, I have already bought my ticket for 2018!

CD Listened to this week

Talking of innovation I listened this week to a CD whilst repairing a computer in my garage. It was a CD that had gone unnoticed before. It had come in a plastic sleeve with no notes, but when played I was captivated by it. Allen Toussaint was born 7 months before me, but sadly died of a heart attack in 2015. I didn’t recognise his name, not being a listener to R&B. However after the storms of 2005 had destroyed his New Orleans home he travelled to New York and started performing songs he had largely written for others to sing. To everyone’s surprise he had a good voice. Always an accomplished piano player (in the New Orleans style) he made a late career as a solo performer. On his CD “Songbook” recorded live in “Joe’s Pub” in NY in 2009 he sings over a dozen songs he has helped others to make famous. The recorded piano sound is terrific, his style of playing is a blues drenched boogie woogie, and his approach to singing a sort of clean “Dr. John”. Absolutely fascinating, so far this week I have played it 3 times!

Allen Toussaint “Songbook” is on Rounder Records ‎– 11661-9154-2

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

There is a correction to be made to my spelling of Martin Nickless. Geoff Hiscott tells me it IS Nickless not Nicholas as in the entry for October 12th. My apologies.
Hedsor Jazz for October 2017

First of all news of Clive.

He is very unwell, and is in hospital in Reading as of yesterday. He has an infection in his blood, and is being treated on a drip with antibiotics. I am sure we all wish him a speedy recovery. He was due to have a scan yesterday but was deemed too ill to have it, and will have to be stronger before the state of his cancer can be ascertained.

Due to Clive’s condition we have now decided to book ahead our guest musicians so that when he returns there will be an audience to greet him! We now have a list for all of October.

This week (October 6th) Simon Spillett will be our lead saxophonist. We are very grateful to Simon for his continuing support for Hedsor Jazz. He has been busy this past week in the recording studio and has readily taken up our request to play for us, despite such a time constraint.

October 12th Mike Wills is taking a break this week, and we have filled the space in front of the rhythm section with guitarist Max Britain and with Martin Nicholas on clarinet. Martin was last with us as an emergency dep in March last year. Max has been to Hedsor more often than Martin, but not so much recently, and we look forward to seeing him again.

October 19th Tracey Mendham with her big tenor sound (and big personality!) will be joining us. Last time I think we were all impressed by her playing, which has steadily matured since her CD release a few years ago.

October 26th Trumpet Ace Stuart Henderson will be alongside Mike. 

We are already working on a program for November. Our regular saxophonist Mike Wills will be with us for all of Novembers Thursdays, and we hope to have some exciting guests to play alongside him. Just watch this blog for news.


Well I enjoyed it! It was a bit of a pity that more people didn’t get to see and hear Peter Jones alongside Duncan Lamont Junior. It was a great session and most of the food did go, even though some of it became my Friday lunch. Peter has a good voice, and sang a number of quite challenging songs. Not many jazz quintets attempt Steely Dan repertoire! I look forward to seeing him again.

One final plug, Vasilis Xenopoulos is playing alongside Martin Hart, Nick Pugh and Ken McCarthy at The Woodley Theatre on Saturday October 14th. For more details contact Website: www.woodleytheatre.org