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!

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