Tuesday, January 15, 2019

OK, this is the second blog of 2019.

So lets for a moment look back on the first Hedsor Jazz session of this New Year.

Last week brought us a reunion with “our” regular sax section in the shape and sound of Mike Wills. He had managed to get to Hedsor because our guest last week was guitarist Jezz Cook who lives near in enough to Mike in Oxford to give him a lift.

It was a joyous first session. Jezz and Mike’s interpretations of some Pat Metheny tunes produced some wonderful chords and harmonies on tunes that Hedsor Jazz isn’t used to hearing. Really good stuff for a brand new year’s start!
My Pictures are below

For a first gig of a new year the audience was good too. Thank you for turning out! I can promise you however that the quality of the music we have planned so far for 2019 wont disappoint or diminish either.

This week (January 17th) we have a soon to be wed Lester Brown on trumpet together with Duncan Lamont Jnr. on tenor sax all backed up by our usual selection of rhythm!

Most weeks in our rhythm section we can rely on having Martin Hart on drums. Martin has taken on the roll of band leader and musician booker. He does however occasionally take a break, and then we usually see Mike Jeffries step in as his regular dep.

On keyboard the usual fingers belong to Nigel Fox, but when he takes a break we often see Ken McCarthy.

On bass we have a choice of 3 who take it in turns. Mostly that means Peter Hughes (as last week) or Steve Riddle, but occasionally we have an even more local man, Stuart Barker, who lives in Maidenhead but works more often in London at a certain well know jazz club that has been running longer than Hedsor Jazz!

On January 24th we do have another rather special evening, and you can see, and hopefully replicate and place amongst your community my poster for it below.

Yes, Vasilis Xenopoulos is coming to lead us into the musical land of Jerome Kern. He has specifically asked for Stuart Barker as his bass player of choice, and that together with keyboard and drums is your lot! For the £7 entry fee your lot will be amazing! Do try and come yourselves, and come early, because it is a pay on the door only event.

Talking of personnel we do have another change. For 10 years the Red Box at the door has been guarded by Dee. She has decided to hand that task on, so watch out for that Red Box, no matter who its guardian may be, and put money into it!

Joking aside, 10 years is a long time for voluntary service, and I’m sure you will want to thank her for all her sterling works. She is now going to be able to sit slightly further away from the draft of the door!

Next week I will publish our guest list for February, but I do have it. Our room rental (which we pay in advance) has gone up this year, but we still hope to keep the regular door fee at £7.

CD Review
One from my collection this.

In my much younger days I used to go and listen to the Chris Barber Jazz Band at the White Hart in Southall. Yes, I played trad jazz on my turntable as well in those days, even though I did discover via early LP’s the delights of Buck Clayton and Duke Ellington. And I did eventually get to like and listen to the likes of Dick Morrisey and Terry Smith at the Bell in Maidenhead as well.

However not only did my tastes grow, but so did the Barber Bands type of music change. You could say that we have all been on a musical journey of discovery. In 2011 Proper Records brought out a two disk set of Chris Barber entitled “Memories of My Trip”. It contains mostly previously unreleased material from all of the Barber Bands journey, from blues through gospel to mainstream. If you think you know what Chris Barber represents, go out and get this revision course! It is very enjoyable, and includes music from Ottille Patterson (who used to mark homework beside the bandstand in Southall before going on to sing), Van Morrison, Paul Jones, Mark Knofler, Edmond Hall, and probably a dozen others. Its on Proper PRPCD073

Don’t forget though that to keep live jazz alive, we need the audience.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Welcome to 2019, and a Happy New Year to everyone. My first jazz blog of 2019 (!), but just to get back into practice I will make it fairly short.

Hedsor Jazz’s first event of 2019 on Thursday the 10th is a welcome back for our very own saxophone section in the shape and sound of Mike Wills. Mike has yet to be passed fit to drive by himself from his home in Oxford BUT our extra special guest this week, guitarist Jezz Cook, is going to bring him with him as he too lives in Oxford. It will be good to see and hear them both again, and it will also be good to see our regular trio again who will be backing them.

If you have forgotten, we start on Thursdays at 8.30pm, and yes, we are still at the Hedsor Social Club every week. The entrance fee remains unchanged at £7, but the consolation is that you get a free raffle ticket with a chance to win a wonderful prize. Sometimes the prize is even jazz orientated!

Looking back (via the photos below) at our last gig of 2018, I thought everyone did amazingly well. The musicians (which in my view ALWAYS includes the drummer, no matter what he himself might say) were terrific, and our Christmas guests on the night will be back again at some time in 2019. They themselves all said how much they enjoyed playing at Hedsor Jazz. Thanks again for all who helped put the evening together. The food and overall fun was great.

Looking forward into January we have a rather special evening coming on January 24th. That talented master of Music, Vasilis Xenopoulos, is coming, and together with his choice of bass player (Stuart Barker) as part of the rhythm section he will examine with us the music of Jerome Kern. Our usual entrance fee of £7 will apply so tell your friends, this will be a bargain night of superb music. This will be an un-ticketed event, so make sure you get to Hedsor on time that night!

Over the Christmas Break I played some of my collection of jazz CD’s. Two stand out. One I played more than once during the holiday because it was good humoured music with a terrific swing.

The CD is by Bob Wilber and Friends and is indeed called “What Swing is all about”. It was a live performance recording, made in Hamburg in 1996 but not released until 2003. With Bob (who is a saxophonist and in his earlier years was trained by Sydney Bechet) who on this cd playes both soprano sax and clarinet is accompanied by musicians of various nationalities, including Antti Sarpila on tenor sax and clarinet, Mark Shane on piano, Phil Flanigan bass, Joe Ascione on drums and there are some vocals by Bob’s wife Pug Horton. 17 tracks in all of sheer joy. If you can “track” it down, its on Nagel Heyer 5007

One of the other CD’s played during this festive break took me right back to when I used to play. I was in awe of the expertise of Alex Welsh, and Lake Records have produced a CD (LACD8) of some of the earliest Welsh around. Recorded live at The Festival Hall in 1954 (the hall was only opened in 1951!) and again in 1955 here are those first amazing tunes with Roy Crimmins on trombone and Ian Christie on clarinet. I didn’t make the 54 concert but I was there in 55! OK its history, but so am I, and its also great fun too.
Early George Melly is on it (you wont get away with “Mississippi Mud now) and I do remember how much thinner he was then (but so was I)!

So, let us all go bravely forth into 2019, hold your breath……but not for too long eh!