Monday, July 02, 2018

Hedsor Jazz

This week our session at Hedsor should be as hot as the weather, which I hope attracts you not keeps you away!!

It is also my last session before I travel to darkest Dorset for, amongst other things, the Swanage Jazz Festival. As many of you will know, this 28 year old festival has been saved this year by the intervention of one of our favourite guitarists, Nigel Price. It looks to be a stellar festival, with other favourites of ours from Hedsor playing. Simon Spillett is there, as will be Mike Wills. Echoes of Ellington are out of Hedsor’s financial reach, but they will be there, as well as a recreation of Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall Concert from 1938. Do go on line to see who you could see if you came as well!!

So who do we have at Hedsor this week?

Stuart Henderson on trumpet, Kelvin Christiane on reeds (occasionally 2 at a time!), Steve Riddle on bass, and we are hoping that he will be able to persuade pianist John Donegan to accompany him again this week as 2 weeks ago. Martin Hart will be our drummer. So, expect more fire!!

Nigel Fox is away at  the moment celebrating 6 years of marriage! Congrats to Nigel and Ingrid.

Last weeks Hedsor Session was by our "regular" Clive Burton Celebration Quintet. They are slowly expanding the repertoire, and becoming a tighter ensemble that is very good to listen to.

The Quartet playing last week

One thing we are short of at Hedsor Jazz is helpers who are physically able to put out the tables and chairs, set up the PA system and help Martin with the lights. The other Geoff (Swaffield) will not be with us for a couple of weeks, a small op being a disabling factor for him. Even if I were able to be there, I am unable to lift these days, so finding a deputy dep (Mike Jeffries is a first dep for PA and drums!!) is becoming a necessity. If you feel you are able and willing (note the way round I have placed this phrase) please let Martin and/or Mike Jeffries know.

Yesterday afternoon at Christ Church, Marlow was an excellent way of spending a hot afternoon. Christ Church was reasonable cool, and the music played was excellent. It was all 1920’s/30’s jazz. The Danzon Guitar Duo played the kind of music associated with Eddie Lang, and they did it superbly. Martin Litton and David Horniblow did a sort of tribute to Jelly Roll Morton. As many of you will know, Martin Litton is an expert in that field and will be appearing at Swanage with his Red Hot Peppers. David and Martin had come swiftly to Marlow from a lunchtime gig in Grosvenor Square, where they had been trying to cheer up Democrats in the UK!

Tea and cake at half time, plenty of water at all times, Christ Church did jazz proud!

More music of various sorts, including Jazz will be happening at Christ Church, so  check out their web site and join the mailing list

As I will be away for a couple of weeks, I thought I would mention a CD I have played this last couple of days. Many of you will know and appreciate Arbors Records and their Jazz label. They are always superbly recorded, and usually have some excellent musicians play for them. What I dug out to hear this week was a recording by Bill Allred, a veteran trombone player, together with his son John, also now a fine trombonist. Together with guitarist Howard Alden, trumpeter Warren Vache, drummer Ed Metz and lady bass player and singer Nicki Parrott they play an excellent selection of tunes. Recorded in New York in 2010 it is really good to hear such fine trombone playing on tunes you too could sing to! Arbors Jazz ARCD 19395, it is called “New York Sessions”.

By the time you come to Hedsor Jazz next, tickets for August 9th will be on sale, price £10. One of Britain’s finest trombone players will be with us for the night, Roy Williams!
More details in part blog issues.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


As mentioned in a recent blog there is a jazz event (and cake) at Christ Church, Marlow on Sunday afternoon. After the cake we were expecting to see Oxford Classic Jazz ,which has Mike Wills in it. Sadly they have had to cancel due to illness (not Mike fortunately). In their place Martin has achieved the great combination of Martin Litton on piano and David Hornibow in clarinet.

Martin Ashford who organises the jazz at Christ Church has emailed me the following (after he had shared the bad news):-

The good news is that I now have Martin Litton and David Horniblow (ex Chris Barber band) playing.  I'm no expert, as you know, but that feels a bit like discovering you have Harry Kane waiting on the subs bench...  And of course the gig still features the fabulous Danzon Duo.  So this should be a memorable afternoon!
On the downside, advance bookings are distinctly slow.  To the extent that you can, please keep passing the word!

So, I am doing what he has requested and am passing the word.

The afternoon starts at 3.30 pm, and the entry price is £10 including tea and cake.

If you would like to reserve a ticket, please contact Martin Ashford:-

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

HEDSOR and all that JAZZ

I’m writing this this morning, before a visit to my dentist, and with the beginnings of a heat wave shinning through my windows. How can I excite myself, little own you, the reader of the blog, to come out and listen to jazz on Thursday?

Do I tell you what you will be missing? Well, until the music has been heard, I wont know what you might have missed.

However I can tell you that we have most of our regular Clive Burton Celebration Quintet coming to play this Thursday. On piano we will have Ken McCarthy, and on bass Peter Hughes. We are so lucky to have such experienced stalwarts of the British music scene coming to play for us. If you have the facility, go online and look them up.

They are joined by more names with more than just a little playing experience. On trumpet and flugel horn, Lester Brown, our newest member. On saxophone our entire reed section…. Mike Wills. Relative youth and much experience joined. Behind all of them, and making his frequent visits to the microphone, we have Martin Hart on drums. 

Did you know that Martin was an early member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers?

Well he was. Although he never recorded with them, he was one of that legendary band.

Lester Brown and Mike Wills
The music the CBC Quintet play will be fresh, some of the tunes this week may never have been played at Hedsor before. So if you don’t come, you will miss it!! Like those of you who missed last week.

Last Week 
What a miss. In my view one of the best jazz sets of recent years at Hedsor Jazz. All of the music was real jazz. No arrangements apart from what was in their heads! John Donegan on piano, well we must have again. (At one point one very enthused member of the audience came behind me and said “Please can we keep this one!)?
John Donegan

Peter Cook

Steve Riddle

John Coverdale with Martin Hart
The Band
Steve Riddle on bass, we WILL have again (on July 5th). 

Peter Cook was on alto sax and will be with us again too, on 26th July, this time accompanied by guitarist Max Brittain.
Max Brittain on a previous visit in 2010
The guitarist Peter Cook was with last week was with us for the first time in some months, John Coverdale. He has recently been really unwell, BUT what a class act John Coverdale IS! Great to have him back at Hedsor.

And of course our regular drummer was there too, MARTIN HART.

It really was an exceptional evening. Those of us who were there just had to keep cheering the band. I do hope that those of you who missed it all, really enjoyed what you did instead, because last week was really special. That “really” word yet again.

And “Really Special” is what Hedsor Jazz does. Most weeks are good, some weeks are exceptional. Just like an audience, you can never predict it before hand! Best just to keep coming! Because you don’t really want to miss it DO YOU!! 

Hedsor Jazz ……….. a £7 bargain!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


This week jazz at Hedsor will be one that has a number of surprises. We have joining with us on Thursday one or two people that used to be regulars, then became much less regular and this week it will be a delight to welcome them back, and a player who has never been to us before!

Our band this week will not be anything like our regular 5.

We will have Martin Hart on drums and announcements, our anchor man in fact!
But surrounding him this week we will have:-

a pianist not seen at Hedsor before, John Donegan, do look him up. Follow the link below, it IS worth the effort!

Nigel and Ken are both away, celebrating another pianists 90th birthday (Jack Honeyborne). So we are indebted to our bass player for this week, Steve Riddle, (another familiar face not recently seen at Hedsor Jazz, who happens to play with John D regularly), for bringing him to us.

Which brings us to a front line!

Saxophonist Peter Cook has been gainfully employed, not just by the London College of Music (follow the link for more London College of Music), but as a band leader in his own right. He used to be a regular with us at Hedsor, mostly when we inhabited the Hedsor bar. It will be a delight to have him back with us again. At one time, he was in the chain of tutors who taught Vasilis Xenopoulos before Vas went to Berkley, Boston, Mass. for his Masters degree.

With him will be a return from illness of one of our Hedsor mainstays. Guitarist John Coverdale. John could always be relied upon to come to Hedsor to play, often at very short notice. In the dark days of Clive’s illness he could be summoned to fill the gap. He has been unwell himself recently but is back to playing and it will be an exciting evening having all these guys playing for us. A great evening to look forward to.

Mentioning Vasilis brings mind last Sundays gig at Marlow Jazz. A Sunday lunchtime gig, with free entry and with such a named musician headlining led me to believe that it would be packed. I got to it in plenty of time to ensure I could park in Marlow on Carnival day, to find myself only the second punter there! It did get better, it was just over half full, but it just goes to show, you can never rely on an audience. The session was one of the best I had heard at Marlow recently by the way. It was Vasilis’s first father’s day, his son Alex is now 3 weeks old! Vasilis is wondering why he is so tired!!

Whilst on the subject of Marlow, I thought I would mention another Sunday gig in Marlow. See the advert below. It should be interesting to hear our regular reed section playing in a different style. 

By the way, Mike Wills is also appearing at this years Swanage Jazz Festival. Catch him there on the Sunday morning (15th July). Now HE may be tired at that one. He is playing the night before more locally to his Oxford location and travelling to Swanage in the early hours of Sunday morning! And I thought I needed my coffee now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

This Week at Hedsor Jazz…….

We have a return of The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet.

Now two weeks ago for our regular guys we only had an audience of 12!

Last week we had an excellent session with Kelvin Christiane in the line-up, and we had almost 3 times the audience from the week before. Now I think that was due to my nagging(!), so I hope that this Thursday, despite a football match on telly, you will turn out in great numbers to hear our own Quintet.

They have been working hard to sharpen up on new tunes, and new arrangements of old tunes too. They are truly an excellent band, and for a very reasonable entry of just £7 you can come and hear great musicians, hear great tunes, drink great beer, and park for free, AND we will throw at you a free raffle ticket too. At the end of the evening, you can actually talk to the musicians who have been generating the music.

You cannot do any of that at Ronnie Scott’s, and you cannot do any of that either from your sofa watching TV. If you are guided enough as to go to a large open air music event you may see the musicians, but probably on a large TV screen, and yes you will hear the music, but through an enormous PA system. Just try talking to the “stars” who performed there at the end of the concert and see how far you get passed the security guys!

OK, Hedsor Jazz HAS some drawbacks. BUT we do now have some pretty nifty lighting, and our sound system is pretty good too. After all, you can hear the brass players without it anyway!

Now there is a big BUT in all this (nothing personal now)! IF you are addicted to performing at Open Mic sessions, we cannot compete with a nearby local pub, one in Hedsor that The Clive Burton Quintet started out playing in 17 years ago. It is all your choice.

SO I look forward to seeing you again at Hedsor THIS WEEK, and every week. Hedsor Jazz is a very rare beast. It runs LIVE JAZZ, of an extremely high standard, EVERY THURSDAY. We have booked and paid for the hall up to and including Christmas. That is our commitment to keeping live jazz ALIVE in Hedsor as we have every week since 2001.

We have a program for every week for the next two months; pick up your events listing this Thursday.

The pictures of last weeks session (above) and of the Quintet Session (top of page) are kindly supplied by Geoff Swaffield.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

There is Jazz at Hedsor This Week

Perhaps last week we were competing with the Open Mike session being run by the nearby “Garibaldi” pub on Thursday, but our attendance for what was a very exciting jazz evening was p… pore! The band was our regular Clive Burton Celebration Quintet, that’s 5, and the audience was……12!

Such an evening is why we have the support of Jazz Angels. Thank you to all who help by making regular payments into the Jazz Angel funds. Your efforts mean we can still pay our way on nights like last Thursday. An audience of 12  isn’t our worst attendance. Many years ago when we met in the bar, we had, for a guest evening, just 9 in the audience! It broke Clive’s…… balance!

Last Thursday was a double shame, because the quintet had gone to great lengths to present to our audience some new tunes. When I got to The Hedsor Social Club at 7.30pm, the band were busy rehearsing this new material. And it was good. One day they may make this effort again.

As it was so good, I recorded it on my mobile phone (yes, in mono sound) and I have put 73 minutes of the evening into my DropBox folder, so you can hear now what you missed for real.

Geoff Swaffields photos of the evening are below.

Geoff S has asked if it would be possible for one or two physically fit Hedsor fans, to come a bit early and give him a hand it setting the room up, and if possible, putting it back as we found it at the end of the evening. Geoff does sterling work for us, but like many of us, he may be willing, but flesh is getting, lets just say, less enthusiastic! A bit more help would be greatly appreciated.

This coming Thursday (June 7th) we will have as our guest Kelvin Christiane. He will be playing alongside Mike, so a double reed front line.

Our Program over the next couple of months is beginning to shape up, and its looking like this:-

June 14th          The Quintet
June 21st          Pete Cook reeds  -   John Coverdale guitar
June 28th          The Quintet

July 5th             Stuart Henderson trumpet -  Kelvin Christiane reeds
July 12th           Mike Wills and an as yet unnamed guest.
July 19th           The Quintet
July 26th           Max Britain guitar and another as yet unspecified

August  2nd       Lester Brown & another!

August 9th         

This will be A Special Gala Evening to celebrate my survival for 80 years!

It will be a £10 ticket entry event with a light finger buffet available at half time and the evening will start at 8pm.
Our guests will include Singer Gill Cook and legendary trombonist Roy Williams. 
Both guests have some wonderful footage on YouTube so if you don't know what to expect check it out.
Tickets will be available soon. I will have some friends with me who may not be regular Hedsor attendees, so when tickets do become available, buy yours!

That's me all blogged out, so TTFN

Geoff C

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

 Hedsor Jazz, or that was a week that wasn't!

Those of you who were there will know that I wasn’t! Annoyingly it wasn’t holiday that got in the way, it was my health yet again.

Wednesday morning I woke up with a fever, and June took me to a GP in Tetbury. Yes, I do like to try out the  NHS in different parts of the UK. I really couldn’t determine which bit of me had given up this time BUT neither could the GP. SO a BIG dosage of anti biotic and I slept most of last Wednesday. Then June had to drive me home on Thursday, the longest drive she has done in a long time! I am now better, just in time for the funeral of a dear friend tomorrow!

I hope to make Hedsor this week as we have our regular Clive Burton Celebration Quintet with us, and I am really looking forward to it.

The Cotswolds are very beautiful, but seem to be a part of the country that is devoid of jazz. I did troll the internet, but nothing remotely like jazz seemed to be available, even on a once a month basis. Just remember that Hedsor Jazz followers, we are around every Thursday and have been since 2002!

I understand that last weeks session did draw a bigger crowd than usual. Lets hope we can gain a bit more regularity (no not an advert for All-Bran) from some of the people who have tasted the delights of Hedsor Jazz and Rebellion Beer!

One of our favourite star players had an announcement on Facebook this week, and I will risk litigation by reproducing a screenshot from it below:-

Congratulations Vasilis and Maria, and welcome to a changed world!

I too was born in the same hospital, and lived for many years in Hammersmith.

Whilst away, apart from visiting some wonderful countryside, and seeing
some great stained glass windows, I did trawl some charity shops and came out of one with a great Benny Goodman compilation CD recorded between 1941 and 1955. OK so I have heard most of the tunes before, but NOT the recordings. The variation in personnel was interesting, and overall, a very good cleanup of the recorded sound. Its on the Giants of Jazz label CD 53054

And just as an added treat I will include some of Geoff Swaffield’s photos from last week AND a link to my holiday photos now in DropBox. Who said I couldn’t bore for England!

The link to my holiday photos is:-

NOW your week is complete!!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Hedsor HOLIDAY Blog

I am currently away, enjoying the use of a Cotswold Stone house 1 mile inside Gloucestershire. The weather has been lovely, my activities have been great, and have encouraged me to do more walking than is good for my feet.

Westonbirt Arboritum
However, I do have access to email! And I had one from Hedsor's revered band leader, Martin Hart asking, very nicely, if I could enhance the advertising for next Thursdays Hedsor Jazz presentation! My initial reaction was that I would do this when I get home. However, I may not get home in time to give the gig a plug, so here I am about to plug 

Thursday May  24th

Martins email ran like this:-

Next week can be seen as "Special"  /   "different" .

Martin Nicklass and Mike are doing a "A SOPRANO SUMMET CELEBRATION".    They are putting together a programme.

So, there you have it, or perhaps not!!

When I was younger (yes, once I was) and impoverished (well, worse than I am now) I used to listen and illicitly record both Peter Claytons Jazz Record Requsts on a Saturday (it still runs 4pm most Saturdays, sadly no longer by the late Peter Clayton) and also Humphrey Lytteltons Monday nights “Best of Jazz”. One band I coveted LP’s of, (and could not afford) was “Soprano Summit”. This was a band led by saxophonist Bob Wilber, who was taught the soprano sax by non other than Sydney Bechet, and a clarinettist who at one time also played soprano sax, Kenny Davern. Later in life I did get to hear both these guys play. Mr Davern is no longer around, Mr Wilber, now in his 90’s, still is.

What will be simulated at Hedsor next week is some of the music of this legendary band. Mike is of course Mike Wills, clarinettist Martin Nicklass will be our guest.
Martin on his last visit to Hedsor, with Max Brittain

I hope to be there, (this house will still be available to me, so there is a strong temptation to stay) but you should be at Hedsor if you are resident at your home that day.
The House in the Cotswold's
I don’t think we will have a guitarist with us on the night, but “Soprano Summit” did, Marty Grosz. Do look up this band on Spotify, YouTube or w.h.y, then come and see how near our wonderful Hedsor Jazz ensemble comes in its replication. It will be great fun, because the original S.S were and our lot are pretty good too!

One last thought, check out the Swanage Jazz festival web site at  

I shall be there, DV as the saying goes!

 and the program looks                   GREAT

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


About Jazz at Hedsor

Sad to say it is one day late, but that was a bank holiday! It’s allowed (Mama DOES Allow!).

Also sad to say there wont be a blog next week as I am away! So this week, rejoice in the pictures that Geoff Swaffield took last week of the Clive Burton Celebration Quintet.

Also rejoice in the fact that this week we have guitarist Terry Hutchins with us alongside Mike Wills and the rhythm section.

Next week I will be missing a bonanza Thursday. The combined talents of saxophonists Tracey Mendham and Duncan Lamont junior. That will be a real WOW session, so make up for my absence by becoming twice the people you are! That is on Thursday May 17th.
Tracey and Duncan at Clive's wake

If you want to look further ahead to who is coming after May 17th, look BACK at last weeks blog to see all who are coming to play jazz at Hedsor right up until the end of June! Convoluted YES, but THAT’S JAZZ!

So don't forget to share your enthusiasm about jazz at

Thursday, May 03, 2018


In my list of coming attractions I did not have the correct spelling for two of our guests names, for which I can only offer a government backed apology (well THEY are good at it aren't they!).

It (they) are Terry Hutchins (not Hutchens) and Martin Nickless (not Nichlass).
Terry Hutchins
Martin Nichless with Max Brittain on a previous Hedsor Jazz visit

I would point out that I am your un-elected representative and cannot be replaced!! The apology is sincere and I will try harder to be very trying in future.


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Hedsor Jazz

And THIS week I hope to be there!! Sad to say I missed last week’s session with Alan Grahame due to a day of MIGRAINE!

This week we have with us at The Hedsor Social Club:- 

“The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”

Trumpet player Lester Brown has taken over Clive's “Brass Playing” roll, and the musical dynamic of the band is slowly changing with new tunes and new arrangements of old ones to. 
The Pheonix has wings!

We do now have many dates for your diary, and many great gigs for you to look forward too:-

May 3rd        The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet
May 10th       Terry Hutchins Guitar
May 17th       Tracy Mendham & Duncan Lamont jr. 
                          Two Tenor Saxophonists!
May 24th       Martin Nichless Clarinet
May 31st       The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet
June 7th       Kelvin Christiane Reeds and Flute
June 14th      The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet
June 21st      John Coverdale Guitar   +  one other guest to be arranged
June 28th      The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet

One other very advanced notice. This year I am celebrating another birthday with a zero end number. So I am foisting on you all at Hedsor jazz my choice of guests, and they will include singer Gill Cook and trombone star Roy Williams. So put August 9th in your diary NOW. There will be a small charge, but hey, I have run two jazz festivals!

So that’s me blogged out for this week.

You may however like to watch some television on Friday 4th May.

Check our BBC 4 at 9pm. The Jazz Ambassadors  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hedsor Jazz

THIS WEEK (Thursday April 26th) we welcome back that wonderful vibraphone player Alan Grahame.
Alan at his "Celebration of a Life in Music"
He has been our guest on many occasions, and has never worn out his welcome! His playing is wonderful, and if I can have some of his vitality at his age I will rejoice and be greatful!! Our usual selection of strolling players will keep him company, but expect some Benny Goodman sounds coming out of our session at Hedsor this week. “7 Come 11” please!!

Last week we had a great two tenors week (no I don’t mean it cost you £20 to get in!), with Robert Goodhew alongside our own Mike Wills. Robert had brought along some of HIS charts, and we heard some new tunes with Mike doing some superb reading. I only managed to grab the second set on my mobile phone, but do have a listen via my DropBox files at

I haven’t edited out anything except the raffle, so if you don’t want to hear the announcements just play the “odd” numbers.

Geoff Swaffield’s photos from the evening are below.

Coming up in May 

We have the Quintet on the 3rd, guitarist Terry Hutchins on the 10th and saxophonist (and larger than life character) Tracey Mendham on the 17th.

That’s me blogged out for this week, its short and sweet as I’m off to celebrate someone else’s special birthday. Mind you at my age ANY birthday is special!

See you all very soon (but only if you turn up at Hedsor Jazz!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hedsor Jazz

A short blog this week.

As mentioned last week, I have been busy packing PC’s and laptops for export to Ghana where they are used by a village school to teach their youngsters. I am told by the chief that 450 children a week are taught on what I have sent out over the years, all donated by local people as they were now surplus to their requirements. So, jazz has been in short supply this week. 

How they are moved at the other end!
Robert on a past visit to Hedsor

However, I am looking forward to this Thursday, as we have a return visit to Hedsor by tenor saxophonist Robert Goodhew.

Jazz recorded listening was also truncated during the past week as we entertained a lady chief of the village (Nyaboo). She is however a very good choral singer and I have listened to large chunks of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” off YouTube whilst she memorised the score. She is appearing in London’s Albert Hall in June!!

So join me in my Jazz rejuvenation on Thursday for a listen to Robert alongside our regular guys in the band.

One last mention. Our Brunel Student (Rory) is doing a grand job in trying to raise the awareness of students to jazz and to Hedsor Jazz in particular, and he has started a FaceBook page in order to spread the word. Please take a look, and pass on to others, with a suitable glowing comment about how good your experience of it all is!! PLEASE!