Monday, November 04, 2019


What a unique evening we had at Hedsor Jazz last week. I doubt if ANYONE has done a jazz club evening like last Thursdays at Hedsor Jazz!

OK, the 3 rhythm guys were there, Nigel Fox, Peter Hughes and Martin Hart, they had one instrument apiece (OK Martin did have more than 1 drum! ) but the 2 guys standing at the front had 10! From left to right they were a Contra Alto Clarinet, a trombone, a Soprano saxophone, a Bb clarinet, a Baritone saxophone, a sopranino saxophone, a C Melody saxophone, an Alto saxophone, a Tenor saxophone and an Alto clarinet! AND they all got played. Great fun was had by all. The music was actually surprisingly good. It was a proper jazz session. The sound made by the soprano and sopranino together was superb. And it was all down to Mark Aston and Mike Wills. It is hardly an evening that we will see very often again, if at all.

Another event that may not happen again, Steve Riddle sat in on Peter Hughes bass. Steve has had an accident with his own bass, and at the moment it seems to be irreparable. In order to raise some cash, Steve may well be delivering your Just Eat order soon! One of his shifts is on Thursday night!

AND YOU MISSED IT ALL THIS EXCITEMENT? Then I am sorry for you, BUT you can at least enjoy my photos of the evening below.

Guest for 2 tunes, Steve Riddle

AND some of Geoff Swaffields pics from a wider angle:-

The Two Alto Clarinets, how low can a contra go?

Mike Wills is coming to us this week, probably with fewer instruments, and at the front with him will be star vibes player Alan Graham. On keyboard will be Nigel Fox, on bass Roger Davis, but on drums this week we have Mike Jeffries. Do come along and support this weeks session of live jazz. Because it is live, you really can’t prejudge it and say that you have heard it all before, something of true magic of live jazz may well be heard on the night.

One thing I have been trying to “judge” is John Donegan’s latest CD, “A Kite for Kate“. I have been trying to sit and hear it all the way through for some weeks now, but having a builder tacking on a porch in front of my listening room is ever so slightly off putting, BUT I have finally go around to listening to it. AND it is a CD that I will listen to again, because it is performed by a sextet with some of the UK’s top players in it.

John has become known to our Hedsor Jazz audience for his 3 or so sessions with us as a keyboard dep. for Nigel. He is a driving player, but with an eye to good phrasing. His session with guitarist Nigel Price was memorable as they traded chorus after chorus.

For this CD he has surrounded himself with some top horn players- Steve Fishwick on trumpet, Tomasso Starace on alto and soprano sax, Alex Hitchcock on tenor sax, and beside John in the rhythm section he has Paul Jeffries on bass and Greg McCarthy on drums. They produce a good modern “bop” sound, but with hints of the lyricism that comes through from John’s compositions. All the titles are written by John. My only adverse feeling about the CD is that I have never been attracted to the very “cold” style of playing of Steve Fishwick. He is a superb technician, but for me he doesn’t add to the melody of a tune. The other horn players on his album seem to mange that better somehow.

As I said, I will play it again. It is superbly recorded, and many of the compositions in this release are really good tunes. I particularly liked “It’s Up to Her”! As a CD dedicated for one of his daughters (Kate), I couldn’t but help feel that maybe a father had run out of logical argument. I too have a daughter! Anyway John, well done, a great release on JAYDE Records, it was recorded in July this year.

I have another link to John and his 3 daughters, they have all gone to St Clement Danes School in Chorleywood. I am an Old Dane myself, having gone to the school when it was in Hammersmith. In those days sadly there were no girls present. However, this coming Friday I will be attending again as it is their Remembrance Day Service. This takes place in their large performance area known as The Barbirolli Hall. The head of the school has always been impressed by the fact that I have actually shaken hands with Sir John Barbirolli.

Thats all for now folks, 


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