Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Post Modern Jukebox

The link I posted into my blog yesterday doesn't seem to actually work. If you try again, using the modified link below, you will get a result!

and for even more instant fun, try the first link, it takes you to AFRICA:-

ENJOY, 'cause I did!


Monday, September 24, 2018

Hedsor Jazz

Autumn is approaching, and we turn away from thinking of means of keeping cool, to means of staying warm! Now in jazz, we have both cool and hot!

BUT last weeks Big Band night with the BBO was just AMAZING! Getting all of the brass and the drums onto Hedsor Club’s stage was almost magic too!

The sound generated was terrific, and some of the well known tunes came out sounding fresh, which was a blessing. How many of us have gone to big band concert events to hear the same arrangements we have all heard before being played again (and maybe not too well!). This time, they were fresh, and the jazz tinged solos we, well “jazzy”!

Many of you will have noticed that amongst the band members were members of other big bands, including some that are very well know!

The tightness of the staging did lead me to some worry. The bass trombone kept coming to within inches of the baritone saxophone players head. And I had to smile in that the sax section was kept in there place at either end by 2 sharps! Mr and Mrs!

It was so good to see John Jordan there after his close inspection of Wexham Park hospital  earlier in the week. It was great to see Joan there too, able to enjoy her birthday WITH John. Their daughter had also gone abundance (a term usually used in Bridge I believe) with the catering. So a memorable night for all who came. AND enough money was raised to pass on £570 to “The Thames Valley Adventure Playground”. So you see, being charitable can also be fun!

 Photos courtesy of Geoff Swaffield

This week (September 27th) we are back to our normal sized orchestra, who are well able to get together in front of the stage! Our usual suspects on piano, bass and drums will have before them on guitar Max Brittian and on tenor sax Duncan Lamont jr. Two long time supporters of Hedsor Jazz. We will be back to our usual start time of 8.30pm, and our usual £7 entry fee.

It was interesting to note that my printed list of Hedsor Jazz gigs were mostly taken away and not left behind for recycling. Let’s hope that some of the people who enjoyed last Thursday will seek out Hedsor Jazz again this year.

This week I was reading in one of the jazz mags around about how one or two people in the USA have tried to popularise the experience of jazz, keeping it as jazz, but turning it into modern accessible cabaret. So using my intrepid internet travelling kit I looked up “Post Modern Jukebox” and found it described as:-

a rotating musical collective founded by arranger and pianist Scott Bradlee in 2011. PMJ is known for reworking popular modern music into different vintage genres, especially early 20th century forms such as swing and jazz. Wikipedia

THEN I looked that all up in YouTube. I heartily recommend that you do too. Absolutely non-U “fun”. For an overview of a LOT of material, see

or for something outrageous try

Sometimes it does us jazz fans good to take a lighter view. And I think Scott Bradlee has extended the jazz audience by doing so.

Slightly more towards the serious and possibly more traditional side of jazz, with a definite touch of the well played tongue in cheek have a look whilst you are on YouTube for “The Hot Sardines”.  https://hotsardines.com

BUT don’t stop by your screen too long, because we need you at Hedsor Jazz. We must keep live jazz ALIVE!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

John Jordan

I thought you all might like to know that John is now back at home, and hopes to be with us on Thursday at Hedsor Jazz. Great News.

Geoff C

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.