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!