Wednesday, August 28, 2019


This week, August 29th, the saxophonist partnering Stuart Henderson will NOT be Tolly, but multi saxophone player Kelvin Christiane. 

Kelvin on a previous Hedsor visit

Kelvin and Stuart

I was probably living in the past, or maybe in the future! Kelvin is another long time supporter of Hedsor Jazz and another busy man who runs his own big band and jazz club. Do come along and see if he emulates Roland Kirk!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I write this as the temperature goes past 80 Deg C on my (old) room thermometer. I am late writing today, as we have just had our boiler serviced. Some kind of contradiction there!

BUT there was another sort of “contra” at Hedsor Jazz last week! A contra alto clarinet!

Last weeks session featured “our” trumpeter Lester Brown, with a fairly frequent friend, saxophonist Mark Aston. After half time Mark produced a very strange looking instrument (as you will see from my photos). It was a clarinet, but it blew deeper notes than a bass clarinet, and was called a contra alto clarinet.

Very fortunately, during the one tune it was played on, Lester took a short video of Mark playing it, and this will be included in this blog posting.

The rest of the band deserve having their photo published too, so here they are

There may well be a different kind of temperature this coming Thursday, August 29th as our guests this week are Stuart Henderson on trumpet and “Tolly” on saxophone. Another of Hedsor’s sessions not to be missed!

We are fortunate in getting Stuart to come to Hedsor fairly often, but his companion this week is also a very busy man and it is a delight to get him to play with his long time associate Stuart. Do look up his CV (and his full name) via this link:-

Mind you Stuart is busy man too, with his lead role in “The Remix” big band, and numerous club appearances. Another good friend of Hedsor Jazz.

This session on August 29th is being SPONSORED. If YOU would like to put your money (where your mouth is?) into paying for a session of your choice, then do speak to John Dutton or Martin Hart, or even me, and we can see what we can do to arrange YOUR session.

Our first gig for September (5th) features “OUR” band, The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet, with Lester Brown and MIKE WILLS. Don’t miss this one either!

Are you aware by the way that if you actually become a member of The Hedsor Club, you will get a reduced bar bill, do check it out.

As the temperature is now climbing (yes the boiler has now been tested!), I will finish for this week. Perhaps you can remember to record BBC 4 on Friday 6th September for Duke Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Music. A rare chance to hear this work. If any musician would like to put together an ensemble to perform this locally, I do have the score!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Jazz at Hedsor Jazz this week brings back our very own Lester Brown on trumpet alongside Mark Aston on various saxophones. This is a very practised (and comfortable) combination as they have played for us a number of times before as a duo in front of our rhythm section, and they also play together in “another” band. Yes, it is a more traditional sound (but not “trad jazz”) and enhances the variety of jazz sounds that Hedsor Jazz provides you with.

This week our backing keyboard player will be Ken McCarthy (who has been heard to say “I don’t play trad”)!

Last week (pictures below) demonstrated yet again the versatility of not only Hedsor Jazz, but of the musicians themselves, no matter what their age. Al Nicholls used to play for the band as a dep back in the days of Keith Vitty in “The Cookham Tavern” (no, don’t go looking for it, it is now Costa’s in Cookham). THAT was in the late 20th century! The other Al on our bill last week was a true veteran of British Jazz, Alan Grahame. They both played there socks of for us last week, Alan on vib’s and various percussive instruments and Al playing that fiery sax sound he and his band “Blue Harlem” are renowned for.

The Bass Player was Terry Davis

When packing up (and a vibraphone takes a lot of packing up) Alan said “I’m sorry for the odd senior moment, but that’s to be expected at my age”! Truly remarkable for a man for whom we celebrated a life in jazz 5 years ago at Hedsor when he was only 90!

Re: Al.
I do hope by now that you have all purchased from him the CD of him alongside Jo Fooks. Produced on the “Harlem Records” label it is a worthwhile addition to anyone’s jazz library. With them both on tenor saxes we have Ted Beament on piano, Val Manix on bass and Buster Birch on drums. Jo of course was one of the mainstays of the later Humphrey Lyttleton Band (as was Ted Beament). Sadly Jo was out of the jazz scene for over 16 months from 2013 as she very unfortunately became afflicted with Bell’s Palsy. This new release with Al more than demonstrates that she is well and truly back to top form. The CD is called “Just You Just Me, and is on harlcd12. Try if you want another copy.

One final point this week, just in case I forget to mention it in September, but on September 6th there will be a broadcast recording on BBC4 of a late night Prom featuring the music of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts. The actual Prom is on 29th August, please see  for more detail.

NOW it’s back to my day job of being retired. For those young enough to worry about this, it does not mean you’re a retread!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


We did beat them to it, but we called it "The Genius of Duke Ellington":-

21 August at the 606 Club, Sarah Moule will be performing music by Ellington and Strayhorn, with Simon Wallace, Dave Bitelli and Mick Hutton

But if you want to see it all again, now you know where to go, courtesy of The LondonJazz News!

Do remember that Hedsor Jazz gives you free parking and club bar prices, which are even cheaper if you join Hedsor Club!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Another Thursday rushes toward us at the speed of…….OK, it is minute by minute and hour by hour, but  the last few weeks have all been a bit of a blur. However, I intend to get into focus for this coming Thursday because it has 2 great friends coming to play Hedsor Jazz for us this week. Al Nicholls on tenor sax, and Alan Grahame on vibes, along with Martin Hart on drums (as always), Nigel Fox on keyboard and I think it will be Terry Davis on bass. I don’t think that any of the Hedsor Faithful need any words added to either the names of Al of Alan to encourage you to come out. They are already “legends”! (BUT they do exist)!

Whilst I ponder the word “bass”, have any of you caught up with the YouTube video of “Post Modern Jukebox” and their version of “All About the Bass”? No, then go do so. It is musically (and visually) very enjoyable!

Last week I was missing from the throng of Hedsor Jazz as they listened to Duncan Lamont Jnr with Andy Gibson on trumpet, but our sound engineer Geoff Swaffield did take some photos for me, and they are below.

I have had time this week to reflect on August 1st’s session with Sarah Moule and “The Genius of Duke Ellington” and it has certainly made me revisit my collection of Ellington recordings. Not all of his music was issued on records. He made many recordings of his orchestra in rehearsal and for his own use. Neither have all of his tunes have become well known or are even played today. Some of these Duke Ellington private recordings have made there way into the public domain and I did look out some recorded in the 1966-67 playing year. Duke was asked to write the music for a play called “The Jaywalker” written by former film star Barbara Waring (later Lady Conlife). It was due to be performed in Coventry Cathedral in 1997, and he recorded his music for it on March 23rd. I don’t know if this play ever actually got perfomed, but the music, or at least some of the tunes for it, have now found there way onto a storyville cd (101 8390).

Below is an enlarged view of the cover, with ALL of the tune titles!

On this cd are also other bits of music recorded, at the Duke’s own expense, for his own reasons, which have, by and large, never before been heard. There is even an example of how a tune may have been rehearsed, including vocal direction and humming from the orchestra (“Tin Soldier“). The orchestra is as of the period, with some of the great names still very evidently playing in it. Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves, Lawrence Brown are all evident. It is well worth seeking out, even if just for its interest value. The only tune on it that I have ever heard before is “Blood Count”, but there are some excellent tune titles…”Chromatic Love Affair”, “The B.O. of Traffic”, and 25 seconds of “Cross Climax”. Maybe he had heard of the Coventry Climax range of engines! Yes, OK, I had a Hillman Imp!


Tuesday, August 06, 2019

 My blog this week will probably be a little shorter than usual, I am still recovering from some feverish family activity!

BUT, last weeks Hedsor Jazz Special was, well, just special!

Sarah Moule, Simon Wallace, Dave Bitelli, Thomas Pederson and Martin Hart gave us a wonderful insight into “The Genius of Duke Ellington”. It was both entertaining, informative, and the music was beautiful music. The food was absolutely abundant, so thank you to all those who provided a plate to share. Sadly you didn’t all eat enough, and there were leftovers! However it was one of those Hedsor Gigs where everyone left smiling and happy even if after a little snooze time! My photos from the evening are below.

As a matter of interest (well, at least to Martin), 2 of my grandchildren were there, and the youngest (Megan), who had never been to a jazz event before, thought Martin’s drum solo in the first half was “cool”. Really high praise from a 17 year old!

This Thursday we welcome back Duncan Lamont Jnr. Sadly the jazz world lost his father last week and I‘m sure Duncan junior feels it more than anyone else. This last few years Duncan junior has been a real friend to Hedsor Jazz, so our heartfelt sympathy goes out to him. Duncan Senior played Hedsor Jazz a number of times, and was always a delight to listen to and meet. According to “The Telegraph” he passed away just 2 days after playing a gig with Tina May.

With Duncan Junior this week we have (I hope) trumpeter Andy Gibson and bassist Peter Hughes, as well as Martin and Nigel. This is another gig that I may well miss all or part of due to “family circumstances”!

Well, that’s it form me folk, just run the credits….