Monday, December 03, 2018

The Hedsor Jazz “Times”!

I have a relatively free day today, and as I missed a blog last week when I was in rural (cold) Suffolk I thought I would write this weeks a day early.

It gives me time to look not just forward, but back too.

Forward, well, there is still a lot to look forward to. Coming this Thursday our guest is that wonderful swing style saxophonist Al Nicholls.

Al has been guesting with “our” band since it was called “Century Jazz” and we often saw him in what used to be called “The Cookham Tavern”, now Costa’s Coffee. He was a regular guest with The Clive Burton Quintet in both “The Garibaldi” (until we moved to The Hedsor Social Club after we found the Gari had no music licence!) and has been many times since we have been at The Hedsor Social Club, but not so often recently. Sadly for him and gladly for us, his regular Thursday gig in London has finished, and we can welcome him back more often again.

He was a guest on that famous yellow cd double album with Clive’s band paying tribute to Keith Vitty (founder of Century Jazz) that was recorded at Maidenheads Norden Farm. If you still haven’t got a copy of this double album let me know, as I still have some! I know Al thought it was the best recording of HIS sound he had had up to that time.

The following week, and whilst Martin is away, we have a return visit of lady saxophonist Sue Greenway. Sadly Sue was our guest, almost exactly a year ago, on the night that Glenn collapsed at Hedsor. This time Sue will be paired with our vibs player Alan Graham. She is a lovely player and I’m sure this evening will be a really joyful one.

For the next two weeks, whilst Martin is away with his family in New York (where the weather is forecast as being sunny but cold) we will have two great guys acting as deps. On drums, Mike Jeffries, and on keyboard Ken McCarthy. There are very few jazz clubs that can summon up such quality deps and we are privileged indeed to have them often in our audience as well.

Looking back over the past couple of weeks, last weeks gig was a special. To have Roy Williams twice in a year is wonderful, even if, in the dark, he found Hedsor hard to find! To pair him with Frank Griffith was extremely nostalgia making, with strong echoes of Clive and “our” quintet. I know that Frank wanted to bring that trombone sound to us again to Hedsor and indeed it was nice to hear the combination of saxophone and trombone again. It was unfortunately a memory that Jan Burton just could not face last week.

Jan has faced a complete house refurbishment in these last few months, which hasn’t made home life easy for her, but the net result will make her home much more comfortable in the future. It has been so good to have her with us at Hedsor as often as she has been able to, and a special thanks to all who have given her a lift to and from West Reading this past year.

The week before last we had the combination of vibraphone player Alan Grahame with guitarist Max Brittain. This gave us the opportunity of hearing some less familiar tunes AND kept Nigel Fox off of his keyboard vibraphone button. I’m still trying to remember how Frank Griffith referred to him after Nigel hit that button half way though a solo. Was it Nigel Feldman Fox or Victor Foxman?

With Mike Wills unable to come to us during half the year it has enabled us to have some interesting front line combinations, which I feel has been entertaining for us punters and sometimes challenging for the players. I for one have enjoyed this variety. Do let Martin know who you have particularly enjoyed so that we can book them again, and don’t forget that if you want a particular musician to come and play for us at Hedsor jazz, you yourself could sponsor the cost of that player. When you are next at Hedsor do pick up our gig list, now showing all our gigs until the end of January.

So, Hedsor Jazz is soon going to be celebrating another Christmas Party. I know I don’t need to tell you that it will be with Tina May, Karen Sharp and Stuart Henderson as guest (but I have!). Tickets will be for sale this coming Thursday at Hedsor for £10 each. I will have a few posters (like those below) with me on Thursday this week for you to place before the public, please do your best to make our party and Hedsor Jazz better know.

Hedsor Jazz has survived another year.

                     It has often been a difficult year.

                                                  We still need to fill the empty seats.

We have ideas for the future and I think you can assume the music will always be jazz of a very high quality. So perhaps for 2019 YOU could help spread the word about Hedsor Jazz, thus keeping live jazz ALIVE in South Bucks.

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