Monday, December 17, 2018

The Last Blog Before Christmas

And probably the last before our first gig at Hedsor for 2019, which will be on January 10th 2019, (although I might put out a wake up call in early January).

I don’t want to do a full review of 2018, just to say that we have been royally entertained throughout the year, with some really great Jazz being played at “The Hedsor Social Club” (cue for a chant!). If you want a recap on the year, just look back through my previous blogs and have a re read!

The fears that Hedsor jazz might fold after the loss of our dear Clive have been put to rest. What we have experienced is the support of a lot of top jazz talent coming to play at Hedsor for, I will admit, not a lot of money. I feel that they came initially to support us, and then came again after they realized that our support team are really very good and that our audience do know their jazz onions, (no, not the Bechet song!).

Over the past 12 months we have all had sessions that have been our favourites, and the great thing about jazz is that they have not been all our own favourites!! Each person is an individual and likes different aspects of jazz (now there’s a title for an album!) and each one has their own favourite player and style of music.

Next year we hope to see more of Mike Wills, our reed man for many years, and of Lester Brown our new trumpet and flugel horn member of the front line. But we will be having guests, some whom we have been before, and some whom we haven’t seen before as well.

Now and again we will have award winning musicians playing for us, just as  we have had in the past.

One thing we do need and that is a bigger audience. What we have with our music is a quality product, but it needs to be more widely known, and that is down to all of you.

We will try to do more public advertising, but that costs quite a lot of money and personally I would rather have that money spent on the performers. So please, see what you can do to spread the word.

Hedsor Jazz is, in today’s world, remarkable. We meet EVERY WEEK, and we always have TOP PLAYERS, and they are always backed by a quality rhythm section. AND WE HAVE BEEN DOING SO at The Hedsor Social Club SINCE 2002. Once upon a time the club was pretty run down, but now it is a first class place to spend an evening, with first class liquids to keep you refreshed and very nice people to serve you. Once we would have had to sort of apologize for the venue, but not any more. SO one Thursday why don’t you invite a friend to come with you? There is a real difference in hearing live music, and at Hedsor, you can actually talk to the musicians. Just see what a reaction you get when you offer to buy them a drink!

I would like to thank again all those who actively participate in running “our” Hedsor Jazz. I mentioned last week the rolls played, you can add the names. But without their weekly committed support Hedsor Jazz would not happen.

This week do not forget our start time of 8pm. It will cost you £10 each because it is our PARTY NIGHT.
Karen Sharp and Tina May
Stuart at Hedsor in 2014

This year our special guests are world renowned singer Tina May, this years winner of the best UK tenor sax player award, Karen Sharp, and once a trumpet player for the Queen, Stuart Henderson. To assure yourself of a ticket before the night, go to Cookham’s “Stationery Depot”. Alternatively you can risk getting in on the door. If the latter do come early! Apart from mine, there are no reserved seats!

Below you will find a few photos from last weeks session with Sue Greenway and Alan Grahame.

This session worked well, and I have promised Sue that we will get her back before next December. I don’t think Alan and Sue had played together before, and Sue told a lovely story about her childhood and her attempts to play a vibraphone belonging to a friend of her parents. Last Thursday was the first time she had played saxophone with a vibraphone accompaniment since!

A special thanks too, for over the past 2 weeks we have had Ken McCarthy on keyboard and Mike Jeffries on drums whilst our regulars have taken a holiday. Isn't it rather special that such deps are often just in our audience! They are wonderful musicians, and it was very nice to have them as our rhythm section for the past 2 weeks. I'm not going to forget to thank Steve Riddle either. He wasn't a dep, he is one of our 3 regular members of the bass playing fraternity and will be playing for us this week too! 

Last weeks session was well supported, which just show that cold weather cannot always be blamed for poor audience numbers!


If you are still wondering what auntie can get you for Christmas (or what you can get for Auntie!) I can recommend Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith’s 2017 album “Embodying the Light”. (Spartacus Records STS025)

Now this album is dedicated to John Coltrane, so it may tell you that it is in the newer part of the modern jazz spectrum. But it is not a copy or a clone of John Coltrane’s music. It is music inspired by John Coltrane. It is wonderfully played, (and recorded), and as well as Mr Smith, it has Pete Johnstone on keyboard, Calaum Gourley on bass and Sebastiaan de Krom on drums. It is grown up music, and like most good scotch, goes down well and sweeps you along. The playing is top rate, and it really is worth a listen. It will suit Hi Fi fans a treat too.

So, I hope to see you all on Thursday. Our regular rhythm section are back from there hols, so we will see Nigel Fox on keyboard and Martin Hart on drums, our bass player will be the young and wonderful Steve Riddle.

If for some inescapable, unexplainable, reason I don’t see you in the coming few days, I do hope you all have a truly wonderful Christmas time, and we all look forward to a new New Year in 2019.

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