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