Tuesday, September 18, 2018

It’s Tuesday again already

And time for another blog.

I was not able to get to Hedsor Jazz last Thursday, anyone who ever gets a migraine will appreciate why I didn’t get there!! I had one!

Sadly one of our regular guys, a loyal supporter for many years, was also unable to get to Hedsor last week. John Jordan suffered a heart attack. Fortunately it wasn’t too serious (I have had 3, and I can assure you they are always serious) and John is being looked after in Wexham Park Hospital where he underwent a “procedure” yesterday. I am sure you will all join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Because of my migraine I managed to miss another of Hedsor’s heart condition regulars:- Mike Wills. I am assured he played his socks off! Not that there is photographic evidence for this! BUT Geoff Swaffield’s photos of him, Jezz Cook and the rest of the band are below.

This coming Thursday, September 20th, we have one of our Gala nights. The BBO Big Band will be with us, starting at 8pm. Some tickets at £10 each are still available. 
More detail of this event, and the guests for the next few weeks can be found in last weeks blog.

Just as a reminder, the next quintet gig is September 27th when we have Max Brittain on guitar and Duncan Lamont jr on tenor sax.

I have had time this week after the migraine left to listen to some recorded jazz.

First up was a CD on the Act label, and I may have mentioned it before. It is very entertaining and is called “Basiecally Speaking”. No, it isn’t a spelling error, almost all of the tunes have been played by the Basie Band.
ACT9101 – 2 is the CD number. It was first issued in 2013.

Drummer Pete York has played over the years with diverse company. The Spencer Davis Group, Chris Barber’s Band, Dr John, and members of what at the time was know in the rock world as “Deep Purple”. On this ACT release he is coupled with 3 European jazz musicians (ACT is a German label), Torsten Goods on guitar, Gabor Bolla on tener sax and Andi Kissenbeck on Hammond organ. They make a really good sound, more modern than you might expect from the Chris Barber reference, especially with the influence of Gabor Bolla on sax, who is a real find. Once you have listened to it through once, play it again, but I would advise you skip the tracks where Mr York sings. OK he is better than me, but I don’t record the results! 

Next was a blast from the past brought about by our recent guest at Hedsor, Roy Williams. Roy was one of the mainstays of the legendary Alex Welsh Band, and in 1967 American trumpeter Ruby Braff joined the Welsh band on a tour which took in Nottingham’s “The Dancing Slipper”. The evening was recorded (initially for his own entertainment) by Allan Gilmour. This recording has recently been released on the Lake Label (LACD223) and is a great reminder of what the Welsh band were like in their heyday. It also acts as a reminder as to how bad the local pianos were back then!

The Welsh Band are in great form (as is Braff), and all the players are those that those of us who used to go and see them in the 60’s and 70’s will remember. That does mean that the trombone player IS Roy Williams, and alongside him is John Barnes on reeds, Jim Douglas (who eventually married Alex’s widow) on guitar Ronnie Rae on bass and of course Lennie Hastings on drums. The CD was first released in 2006.

BUT with good fortune, I will be supporting LIVE JAZZ at HEDSOR JAZZ this Thursday! 


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hedsor Jazz News PLUS

Well, I may “plus” something, but initially I need to tell you of all the wonderful jazz we have lined up for you in the next few weeks on Thursdays.

Most weeks whoever occupies the “front line” is backed by our rhythm section who are usually made up of Nigel Fox on keyboard, Steve Riddle or Peter Hughes on bass and Martin Hart on drums. Sometimes these regulars arrange for other guest deps. to take their place.

This coming Thursday, September 13th, in the front line we have a visit from our usual reed player Mike Wills. As most of you know, Mike has been restricted from driving due to his pacemaker firing off in the middle of the night. These rare events mean that he isn’t allowed to drive for 6 months afterwards, and so has been unable to travel to Hedsor to be part of the quintet.  I would stress that Mike is perfectly well, and has been able to play wherever he is able to get to. However our guest this week is guitarist Jezz Cook, who also lives in Oxford, and will be able to bring Mike with him. Mike and Jezz often work together in and around Oxford, and if you haven’t heard them before I can really recommend that you come and hear and see them this week. The evening starts at 8.30pm.

September 20th sees a large variation to our normal sessions. We will be having a visit by the renowned BBO Big Band, a 17 piece orchestra who have done much over the years to raise money for various charities. This week they come to Hedsor to raise money for the Thames Valley Adventure Playground for Disabled Children and Young Adults. This will be one of our Gala evenings with a buffet at half time. The evening will start at 8pm at entry will cost you £10

September 27th we have another guitar saxophone combination. Two great supporters of our music at Hedsor, Max Brittain on guitar and Duncan Lamont jr on saxophone will be with us.

October 4th will see a return of last weeks guests. Lester Brown is now hardly a guest, he is our very own trumpet King, but Robert Goodhew is a young man who we are always happy to have as a guest. His feature number last week (Gentle Rain) was absolutely wonderful and shows the maturing of a young musician into a major talent.

October 11th we will see Robert again, this time alongside another of Hedsor’s great supporters, guitarist John Coverdale. Beautiful music is assured!

October 18th will see “our” Lester Brown on trumpet alongside Kelvin Christiane, the multi reed player who can “multi” two saxophones at the same time, astounding! You wont be able to see the other famous exponent of this art, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, as he died in 1977. But if you come to Hedsor Jazz….!

October 25th . I am delighted to say that we will have two major UK jazz stars as our front line. DO NOT MISS our evening this week. Trumpeter Stuart Henderson will be playing “end to end” with saxophonist (and author) Simon Spillett. And still we will only charge you £7 to be there!

November 1st will be an encore of October 18th, Lester and Kelvin. Another chance to be wowed.

ADVANCE NOTICE for our Christmas Concert. We are delighted to announce that singer Tina May has again promised to be with us, and the date will be December 20th

The Plus?
Well below are Geoff Swaffields photos of Lester Brown and Robert Goodhew from last week’s session. BUT if you want to hear the entire concert again go to my DropBox at

As I usually do, you have all the chat and all the music, with track markers for each new tune. Mp3 format.

The Band

The Band

Lester on Flugel Horn

Martin at The Microphone


Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Hedsor and all that JAZZ

Last weeks session with Al Nicholls and Alan Grahame (Geoff S’s pictures below) was as exciting in practice as it had been in anticipation.

Alan is just amazing. Forget his age, his vibes playing (dare I say) is as “vibrant” as a 20 year old. Al Nicholls playing is as vibrant as any saxophonist I have ever heard and the fact that Alan G had never played with Al N before was only reflected in the time taken over the choice of tunes!

This was a real “off the cuff” session that shows the strengths (and sometimes, especially when choosing and endings) the weaknesses of live jazz. A wonderful session.

Al Nicholls hadn’t been at Hedsor for about 4 years, a regular London Thursday night gig preventing him. As I mentioned in last weeks blog, he used to be a regular guest, especially in Hedsor Jazz’s formulative years. Sadly for him that regular work has now ceased, so we hope to see him with us more often in the future.

What we didn’t know last week when observing the energy he put in to his performance was that he had to be on an aeroplane at 5am next day. I hope he slept well on the plane!

The prospects for this week (Thursday September 6th) are just as exciting. We have our own Lester Brown on trumpet and flugel horn coming to play alongside saxophonist Robert Goodhew. Two young players making a name for themselves and maturing almost before our eyes. It has been a real privilege to have seen them both develop over the last few years. So with them together, and with our regular rhythm section, a great evening is in prospect.
Robert Goodhew

Lester Brown
 Don’t forget that tickets are still available for our special Big Band charity night on September 20th, priced at £10 including a light finger buffet. The BBO Big Band will need the stage that week to all perform in front of you (there are 17 of them), but it is all in a great cause. All moneys raised from the evening will go to The Thames Valley Adventure Playground for disabled children and young adults. It will be an 8pm start.

Now the weather is becoming more British (do I mean cool and changeable?) we may be in the right frame of mind for us to choose our favourite jazz musicians. The nominations for the British Jazz Awards 2018 have been announced, and you can vote for them online at

Finally thinking of going online (you are already if reading this), then why not see how our student from Brunel University (Rory Windass) is doing promoting Hedsor Jazz on facebook? Go to

But from me this week, that’s it. See you all on Thursday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hedsor and all that jazz

I am still in holiday mood, and finding time and enthusiasm now the weekend is over is coming hard this Tuesday. However, if you are also like me, you may be excited to know that we have 2 great supporters of Hedsor Jazz coming to play at The Hedsor Social Club this Thursday.

Alan Graham needs no introduction. All I can say is I’m sorry I missed him in July but I’m so glad to be able to see and hear him play again this week.

Vibraphones are not everyone’s favourite jazz instrument. I suppose many of us got to know of the instrument through Lionel Hampton and the Benny Goodman Quintets of the 30’s and 40’s.

Then in a different style, The Modern Jazz Quartet brought the vibraphone back to us with a different style and a tune that almost everyone “quotes” from at some stage of an evening but which none of our regular guests ever play completely… “Golden Striker”! Funny enough I first heard this tune in my trad days, and surprisingly it was then played (without vibes) by Chris Barber!!

Alan and Milt Jackson
But Alan has brought the vibraphone to us at Hedsor, and we have all become amazed at both it’s and his versatility. And who can ever forget the 3 hours of music we had at Hedsor when Alan celebrated his 90th birthday with us a year or so ago.

The other guest this week is a saxophonist who was a guest with Clive long before Clive Burtons Quintet was created, and long before we met at Hedsor.

Al Nichols was often to be heard with Clive and Keith Vitty’s Century Jazz at The Cookham Tavern (in fact in the last century!). Al is on the famous 2 CD concert that was recorded at Maidenheads Norden Farm as a tribute to Keith after Keith passed away in 2002. To have such a vibrant saxophonist back with us, and alongside such a vibrant vibraphone player as Alan, can only mean an evening of wonder and excitement. And all for just £7!

Two other people I have raved about this bank holiday are pianist Brian Kellock and saxophonist Tommy Smith. And this holiday break I found a wonderful example of duo playing by them on YouTube

I love Brian’s playing, and want to draw your attention to the following:-

Do watch it all the way through. The sound is a little on the hard side, especially at the beginning, but do persevere.

I think it’s terrific. If you like it, do draw others attention to it. In my case (and only because it was a holiday weekend of course) it was improved even more by a sample of 10 year old malt!!

Below are some ofGeoff Swaffield’s pictures from last weeks amazing session with Kelvin Christiane and Andy Gibson. None sadly of Kelvin playing alto and tenor sax at the same time (having already put down the clarinet he started off with) but you cant have it all. 

Instead are 2 characters you may have seen before that my remind you of a Sondheim tune from 1973!
The Band
Andy and Kelvin
Isn't it rich? 

Are we a pair? 
Me here at last on the ground, 
You in mid-air”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Brief Blog This Week

To remind you that we have  Kelvin Christiane on sax and flute this week, together with trumpeter Andy Gibson, who I seemed to have missed on his last visit.

The program for the following weeks is below

         August 30th              Al Nichols sax -  Alan  Graham vibes

         September   6th        Lester Brown tpt -  Robert Goodhew sax
  September  13th         Mike Wills sax and Jezz Cook gtr (Mike is still not able to drive    and is being brought by fellow Oxford resident Jezz Cook).

  September  20th       we have another special night with the BBO Big Band...a    sponsored evening to raise money for the sponsors charity (The Thames Valley Adventure Playground for Disabled Children and Young Adults)
         September  27th       Max Brittain gtr -   Duncan Lamont Jr sax

Last week's session with Robert Goodhew and Max Brittain was another great session with some wonderful saxophone playing, showing how Robert is maturing into a really fine tenor-man. If you missed him he is with us again at the beginning of September. Max is back with us again at its end!

Geoff Swaffield's photos of the evening are below.


I've probably mentioned it before, but one of the UK's great big bands that are currently still playing is The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, led and run by saxophonist Tommy Smith. I have been listening again to their version of "Rhapsody in Blue", a 54 minute live performance with Brian Kellock doing the solo piano bits. This is a reworked version of the Gershwin original, still eminently recognisable, but definitely a terrific jazz piece for a modern big band. Wonderfully recorded (as are all there CD's) it's on Spartacus Records and every comment on Amazons page for its purchase gives it 5 stars. I have loved it since its release in 2009 and can heartily recommend it.

BUT for now


Geoff C

PS. The listing for August and September appears slightly scrambled. Sadly I have been unable to correct this, as Googles software seems to inhibit is correction!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


I just want to say a BIG thank you to all of you who came last Thursday and made for me a really memorable evening.

Thank you to all who so generously gave cards and presents.

Thank you to all who provided food, laid the tables out, and at the end of the evening cleared up as I enjoyed the closing moments of my special day.

I hope you all enjoyed the music. It WAS recorded. If you want to hear it all again go to:-

I must thank all who provided that music:-

Roy Williams, Gill Cook and Duncan Lamont Jr guests for the evening.
Our more regular performers, Lester Brown, Nigel Fox, Ken McCarthy, Steve Riddle, and of course Martin Hart.

Then there was that surprise song from Charlie Wren where nearly all the lyrics were made up of tune titles. It was written especially for my birthday.

All in all for me it was a wonderful evening, with many of my friends from long ago coming many miles to share with me my kind of party.

So THANK YOU all again for creating it.

Some of Geoff Swaffields photos from the evening

Below you can see what we have for you into the next few weeks:-

Aug 16         Max Brittain gtr - Robert Goodhew sax
       23         Kelvin Christiane sax   -   Andy Gibson tmp
       30         Al Nichols sax -  Alan  Graham vibes

Sept   6        Lester Brown tpt -  Robert Goodhew sax
13                       Mike Wills sax and Jezz Cook gtr
20         BBO Big Band night...a sponsored evening to raise money for the sponsors charity (The Thames Valley Adventure Playground for Disabled Children)
       27         Max Brittain gtr -   Duncan Lamont Jr sax

All gigs will have a rhythm section made up from some of our familiar faces, who often are, Nigel Fox keyboard, Steve Riddle bass and Martin Hart drums.

Except for nights when a buffet is run entry fee is £7 
                                                                       and start time 8.30 pm

Hedsor Jazz is ALWAYS on a Thursday evening and has been since 2002.

Geoff C

Monday, August 06, 2018


And unusually a Monday Blog, because there are 3 advance announcements to make, and one of those is TOMORROW.

At the Bourne End Community Centre tomorrow, Tuesday 7th August, Mike Jeffreys is fronting (from a drum chair!) a band with a few familiar Hedsor faces in it, including Mike Wills, who will be transported to Bourne End by guitarist Jezz Cook. So those of you who have missed Mike at Hedsor these past few weeks can catch up tomorrow. I think its an 8pm start. Sadly I am otherwise pre booked!

Then on Thursday 9th August we have a Gala (pie?) night at The Hedsor Social Club. Again with an 8pm start, you can come and hear our regular band of Nigel Fox keys, Steve Riddle bass, Martin Hart drums, and Lester Brown trumpet but with guests for the evening : Roy Williams trombone, Duncan Lamont jr tenor sax, Gill Cook vocals.
Roy Williams

Duncan Lamont jr with his dad at a previous Hedsor Jazz Event

Gill Cook at an Ealing Jazz Festival Perfomance

£10 entry. Music from 8pm, buffet from 9pm. It should be a really grand evening so do brave whatever the weather throws at us and come along.

Finally advance news of another gala evening. On September 20th Hedsor Jazz is being sponsored to host the famous BBO Big Band. All profit from this evening will be going to the sponsors nominated charity (it is in support of Thames Valley Adventure Playground for Handicapped young people). Put the date in your diary now. It will be an 8pm start and a buffet evening, so put your money behind the clock on your mantelpiece NOW!!

Finally a retrospective. Last week we had one of those special and memorable sessions at Hedsor. One that is difficult to analyse, or indeed to predict beforehand, but the amalgam of Lester Brown, Simon Spillett, Stuart Baker, Nigel Fox and Martin Hart was what, for me, jazz is all about. Musicians who are all well in control of their instruments, all comfortable with the few rules that jazz demands and who then go on to produce the gold that alchemists strove for.

Hedsor Jazz pans for it every Thursday. Sometimes, we find it!

Below are a couple of Geoff Swaffield’s photos of the experiment!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

This Week at Hedsor

We have are a return of saxophonist Simon Spillett to play alongside Lester Brown. With Stuart Barker on bass, and other recognisable usual suspects, this should be an exciting and unique session.

Last week I did manage to get it wrong (again), as the guest alongside Peter Cook was that wonderful vibraphone player Alan Grahame. A gig I was very sorry to miss. One of our regulars sent me this email about the evening:-

Hi Geoff, Glad to read that you enjoyed the Swanage Jazz Festival. I am moved to report on last nights gig at Hedsor, now where shall I start? I think it must be with that vibraphonic marvel of the age (and what an age) namely Alan Grahame. To say he played well would be the understatement of the year; he was FANTASTIC ! His solo piece on Stardust was nothing short of Divine. Well, I must give some credit to the other Musos - Pete Cook turned in an exemplary performance (what a fine alto player he is). Pete? Riddell contributed some very nice bass-work, and Nigel Very nearly played his socks off! Martin contributed some tasty fills as usual and, all in all, it amounted to a wonderful night of jazz- yoyful in fact. Kindest regards, Alan.

That was from Alan Peppett. The bass in fact was Steve Riddle, and perhaps Alan meant “Joyful”. Youful might be a bit too Hep! But you can see why I was sad not to be with you last week.

I had another email this week, this time from our Brunel student Rory. He wanted me to correct the impression my blog made the other week. I said that the first half of the evening was by students from Brunel. In fact they were from the NYJO Academy, and the band are actually called the Harrison Dolphin Trio. Harrison is from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Here is the link to Harrison's website: 

It was another unmissable session I missed this summer!

Next week of course I really really want to be with you, because it is my annual celebration of survival, and this year it has another zero in the number of years survived. So to miss the guests we have coming (see last weeks blog, and the poster, now plus Duncan Lamont jnr) to play, and the guests coming to help me home (!!)...that would be a disaster!

Listening at home last week I had 2 real CD joys.

I had never really listened much in the past to saxophonist Ike Quebec. To me in the late 50’s and 60’s I thought of him as another sort of Earl Bostic, flashy, but not a serious contender. After all, I was catching up on Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Tony Coe and Bruce Turner at the time! Since then I have discovered many more of the great saxophonists of jazz, but somehow Ike Quebec was still not on my radar. Last week I heard for the first time his CD (it had been an early Blue Note LP) “Blue and Sentimental”. Absolutely knocked me out. As did the playing of guitarist Grant Green on this album too. There are some wonderful moments on this release, “Blues for Charlie”, with hair raising fills from drummer Philly Joe Jones for one. The recording is of Hi Fi demo standards, and I heartily recommend trying this reissue. Blue Note 0946 3 93184 2 1 (released I think in 2007).

The other was a CD I have had in my collection for years, but pulled out again last week, having listened to the Benny Goodman recreations at The Swanage Jazz Festival.

On the CD it is titled “Benny Goodman 16 Top Tracks”, but in effect it is most of the recordings made by BG in MOSCOW in 1962. I had forgotten how good it was, with a band that included alto saxophonist Phil Woods and tenorist Zoot Sims, plus pianists John Bunch and Teddy Wilson, and British vibraphone player Victor Feldman what a band it was. All of the music recorded in BG’s Russian tour is now available on an Avid 2 CD release. Go find, it is GREAT music.

Well that's about it for now. Try not to get into too much mischief these next few days, and I really hope to see you ALL  on Thursday