Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Another Tuesday, they come round as regularly as, well Tuesdays usually do.

And as it’s Tuesday, a little time to think about Hedsor Jazz, and in fact a little bit about some British Jazz Past.

BUT British Jazz Future, well this coming Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club, it is assured and exciting. Something to look forward to and something to look back on from the future as well. We have a very exciting session to look forward to this coming week, with a cast of stars

On trumpet and flugel horn, Stuart Henderson, on reeds various, Kelvin Christiane, on keyboard Ken McCarthy, on bass, Ester Ng, and our leader on drums, Martin Hart.

It might be a stellar cast, but our entry fee of £7 still applies, as does the start time of 8.30 pm. so put that in you diary for February 20th and, as they used to say when I was young, “smoke it”!

Last week was an enjoyable evening, with some superb trombone playing (and charts) from Nick Mills, and the usual quality saxophone playing of Duncan Lamont Jr. Some of those charts included Miles Davis's "DIG", where they found it hard to hide "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Tenor Madness".

My pictures from the evening are below.

Peter Hughes

Ken Thompson sat in for 2 tunes on guitar

Last week our bass player was Peter Hughes, and I had the opportunity, alongside 4 other Hedsor stalwarts, of seeing him again next day, this time with the Echoes of Swing Big Band at Cookham Rise Methodist Church. I have gone along to support this charity fundraiser for a number of years now, but this year I thought they were playing the best I had heard them and they were playing some very interesting charts too. All of the band are good readers and players, and usually only let down by a lack of solo improvisational skills. This year, it was all a very good listen. The end result was over £300 raised for a Methodist charity for needy children, “Action for Children”.

So, British Jazz Past.

These past few days I have been listening to some of the jazz that was around when I was a growing lad. Often, in my back bedroom in the upper reaches of our house in Hammersmith I would listen to Kenny Bakers Dozen on my bedside valve radio. This was a later evening event on the BBC Home Service, and I think it was preceded by a program called “Valentine Dyall, the Man in Black presents Appointment with Fear”. So a bit of smallish group jazz was very welcome coming after the dark!

Well, I have listened to some of the recorded output of Kenny Baker this week, but it drew me to look again at the playing of that wonderful innovator on the clarinet, Sandy Brown. No Sandy wasn’t part of the Dozen, but one thing leads to another!

Sandy started playing revivalist jazz in his university days and went on to become a leader in the trend towards British Mainstream Jazz. He had a unique clarinet sound, playing, as I remember, a simple system clarinet. He never went on to play saxophone as well, but was also an excellent pianist, as well as a bluesy singer with a wonderful gravely voice. He was one of Britain’s greats. He died too young in 1975 at the age of 46, sitting in his chair at home watching England play Scotland at rugby o his TV. He had a glass of Scotch in his hand at the time too!

He rose to fame in the mid 1950’s with a tune he wrote called “Go Ghana”. Although of Scottish parents, and definitely a Scotsman himself, he was born in India and had a great affinity with eastern and African rhythms. When Ghana became the first British “colony?” to be made independent in 1956, the tune “Go Ghana” became very popular. On the CD shown below, you will see that the original 10” LP is all there, but with many additional tracks as well. Well worth tracking down.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Please be aware that Cookham Bridge will  still be closed. 

IF you usually use this bridge and were planning on coming to Hedsor Jazz TONIGHT please find yourself an alternative route.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tuesday February 11th.  Blog Day!

But also a sad day, full of happy memories of our son Stuart, who would have had a 54th birthday today!

So, to start today’s jazz nag, let’s look forward to this Thursday, the 13th of Feb. We have that lovely saxophonist, last with us at our Christmas party, Duncan Lamont jr. on reeds and with him will be the wonderful sound of the trombone again, this time played by Nick Mills. Our bass player will be Peter Hughes (who will be playing on the following day for the “Echoes of Swing Big Band” at Cookham Rise Methodist Church, see a poster below). On the sampled keyboard (also see last week)will be Nigel Fox, and on drums our own Martin Hart. 

Well, really, they are all our own, as we are all a part of that great jazz fraternity and they have ALL have played for us at Hedsor before.

 The Poster for Cookham Rise Methodist Church's Big Band Concert

Last week we had some beautiful music played by Lester Brown on trumpet and flugel horn, and Robert Goodhew on tenor sax. Roberts 11 minute rendition of “Early Autumn” in the second half was heart rending and so well phrased you didn’t  want it to stop. He really does deserve more recognition than he gets.

We first heard Robert when he was brought along to one of our Thursday sessions by Vasilis Xenopoulos just to sit in. At that time they were both in the Ealing based big band “The Sound of 17” as was our bass player at the time, Ken Rankine. I know Clive Burton tried to encourage Robert as often as he could as Clive appreciated his ability. We are privileged to have people of that calibre coming to play for us. My photos of the last Thursday’s evening are below.

Just to carry on the foot thing!

Because of today’s significance to me, I have been looking backwards, and as this is a jazz nag, I have looked back on my jazz past.

Some years ago, I was invited to a U3A gathering in Amersham to talk about “My Journey Through Jazz”. Sadly I have lost my script for this talk, BUT I still have the compilation CD’s that I produced to accompany the it.

My first track in the second half was from a 1953 album by trumpeter Freddy Randall, “Riverside Blues”. My love of jazz came up through Dixieland and traditional jazz, and Freddy Randall had one of the early commercial bands playing in that style at the time. He was a punchy trumpet player, and as I was attempting to play the trumpet at the time, I enjoyed the occasional broadcast and I also had one or two 78’s of his band. Not quite hidden in this recording though is someone I followed keenly ‘till his death, saxophonist Bruce Turner. Maybe I will write more about Bruce at a future time, but if you don’t know of his work with Humphrey Lyttelton and His band, or with his own “Jump Band” do use your search engine to find out more. I know I went on to play one of my desert island disk choices during that talk, Bruce Turner playing “St. James Infirmary Blues” from the LP “Humph at the Conway”. I know I got through 2 LP’s of that concert and now have it firmly on CD!

Also played by me at that talk was what would have once been a familiar sound in New Orleans “back in the day”. The street cry of a man selling water melons from a barrow!  I also played Herbie Hancock’s version of “Watermelon Man”. Well, inspiration usually comes from somewhere!

More reminiscing another time, right now I can hear the cry of the coffee lady!

If you want to and have the technology, you can sample 3 of the recordings mentioned above through the links below to my DropBox folder:-

Riverside Blues 

Watermellon Seller

Robert Goodhew

Enjoy the past, but make sure of the future of Live Jazz, 
become and audience!

Monday, February 03, 2020

Another week, and another blog from Geoff!

In last week’s blog I copied in the tune listing of a gig from a couple of weeks previously. Inadvertently I left in a comment made by the person (even I don’t know their name) who supplied the information. It caused an interesting comment from “our” keyboard man, Nigel Fox which I thought quite interesting and worth sharing.

Us non players often use inaccurate descriptions of musical sounds, rhythms and even instrument names. Some of us are better informed than others, at least I can tell a trombone from a trumpet, but I thought I would quote from Nigel's email to me.

The copied comment was on Nigel’s piano feature on “Everything I Love” and said “too much Rhodes piano for me”

Nigel emailed me to say “I only had my normal Roland FP2 sample of an acoustic piano not a Fender Rhodes! I occasionally use the Vibes and Hammond Organ sample but not the Rhodes as it doesn’t sound very good!”

So now we know! I wonder what actual train Zane’s keyboard used as a sample for the occasional times he used a train sound? Probably a South African one!

 I will still try and add in gig lists when I can get hold of them, but I will also try and read them more thoroughly myself before blogging them out!

I am amazed at how good electric keyboards now sound and can clearly remember how bad some of the “real” pianos did sound in the days of the house pianos. Some were so badly out of tune that they were virtually unplayable. I can remember Fred Hunt of The Alex Welsh Band of the 1970’s trying to play the piano in Maidenheads “The Bell”. In the end he gave up! Most of the gig was then piano less!

Last week at Hedsor Jazz we were nearly piano less ourselves. Sadly Ken McCarthy was unwell, and eventually decided that he wouldn’t be able to be part of the tribute to saxophone led bands that we had at Hedsor last week. So with only 4 hours notice I think we were all very grateful that Martin Pickett was able to help us out on his keyboard, on which, if my memory serves me, he only used a piano sound! I don't think he had been to Hedsor Jazz before, so well done and thank you. I hope you enjoyed the Hedsor Jazz experience.

Martin P. did incredibly well, as all the tunes were arrangements, and unusually for us, every tune and every player had a chart to read. Mike Wills and Sue Greenway made a splendid noise. No that isn’t disrespectful word to use as the two tenor players blowing in harmony DID make a splendid noise. The tunes played, my helpful scribe informs me, were:-

The Opener
On the Sunny Side of the Street
All the Things You Are
What’s New
Blues Up and Down

Second Half
Guys and Dolls
Prisoner of Love
The Note
If I Were a Bell
The Four Brothers 

During the evening Sue and Mike often managed to bring to mind the sounds, yes the actual sounds, of Johnny Hodges, Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Simms, Al Cohn and Tubby Hayes, but not necessarily in that order!

My photos (without feet or shoes) are below.

Coming to us this week (Feb 6th) we have two young players (most people under 81 are young to me!) who now play together fairly often. Maybe we were catalysts in that, I don’t know ,but Lester Brown (trumpet) and Robert Goodhew (tenor sax) have been to us fairly often in recent years and now do a fair bit of work together. Lester, as you must know by now, is a regular part of “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”  and Robert was introduced to us by Clive himself, who often used to encourage him by inviting him to play whenever he could.

With them this Thursday will be Nigel on his Roland FP2 acoustic sample keyboard, Martin Hart on drums and cymbals various, and Roger Davis on bass.

Do look back on previous blogs for a complete listing of who is on in February and March. In the meantime I will just have to sign off for this week.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Casting your minds back to my last blog, I suggested that the people who note down each tune played at each gig might like to share that information. I know when I suggested this that I thought it could enhance our memory of the gig, and go with any photos in the blog. Well I have had an immediate response, so thank you and please DON’T STOP yet!

First, before I look backwards, I will tempt you to come out on this coming Thursday. We have 2 fine saxophonists coming to play for us, Sue Greenway and Mike Wills. They will be supported by Ken McCarthy on keyboard, Terry Davis on base and of course Martin Hart on drums. Not only a great aggregation of musicians, but I have had a message from Mike about the music they are going to play!

Thursday it will be “a tribute to the great sax combos; so we’ll be doing arrangements of tunes played by the Jazz Couriers (Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes), Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons, Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Hodges, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn – and many more!  Should be a feast for sax lovers – well, I’m looking forward to it!”  Mike Wills.

Last Saturday a contingent of Hedsor regulars supported Martin at his gig in Woodley. His guest was Vasilis Xenopoulos. Vasilis played again some of  the music of Dexter Gordon, the musician who inspired Vasilis from an early age.This time the music was played without a supporting front line instrument.

It was a master class of saxophone playing given in fact by a master of music. Vasilis holds a Masters Degree in music from Berkley Collage in Boston U.S.A.

 After the gig he promised me that he hadn’t forgotten Hedsor Jazz, and will get back to us at some point in the year, which will be great. One final point, Ken McCarthy was the keyboard player on that gig too! So this Thursday he will be helping us in the understanding of other jazz saxophonists work!

Last Thursdays gig at Hedsor was also rather special. The combination of Stuart Henderson and “Tolly”, (brought to us via a sponsor) was superb music. As a one time trumpet player myself, for me the highlight of the evening was Stuarts use of the cup mute on his feature in the second set, “Willow Weep for Me”. WOW. Tolly was pretty exciting too, and our boys at the back made sure it was swinging exciting music without holes!

there are some more shoes here somewhere?

Ken McCarthy sat in in the second set

For our previous week with Kelvin Christiane and Andy Gibson I have now been supplied with a complete tune list. This gig didn’t get recorded by me, so this listing may help jog your memories of the night.

set 1 :
bye bye blackbird (flugelhorn and sax)
joyspring (flugelhorn and sax)
recorder me (flugelhorn and flute)
i guess i'll hang my tears out to dry (sax solo)
everything i love (piano solo - too much rhodes piano for me)
jordu (flugelhorn and sax)
set 2 :
caravan (flugelhorn and sax)
what is this thing called love (flugelhorn and sax)
the summer knows (flugelhorn solo)
sandu (trumpet and sax)
the thing (flugelhorn and sax)

I have also been sent some photos of the evening from our sound man, Geoff Swaffield. He did manage to capture on his smart phone camera Martin’s lightening fast drum sticks, something that my camera didn’t mange to do at all.

If you come this Thursday you will be able to pick up a printed version of our gig list for February and March. Don’t forget to put in suggestions for who  you would like to see at Hedsor Jazz in future weeks. 

Also you mustn't forget to tell your friends what a great night out can be had on a Thursday at Hedsor jazz, and most weeks you can get in for  just £7!! After that, the car parking and the music are FREE. It's just not free jazz that's all!

Until Thursday, have a great week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Hi Jazz Fans. A few too many things to do at the moment, so probably a shortish blog before the next thing HAS to be done (next!!)!!

Those keen followers of this blog may have noticed a collection of shoes (with inserted feet) in recent photos. Later down the page you will find another pair. Dr Martin’s perhaps?

I had hoped to distribute this coming Thursday paper copies of the first 3 months worth of gigs, but sadly I am still without a decent printer. However, do look back and you will see it all listed in recent blog writings!

Coming for your delectation this week (Thursday January 23rd) we have something definitely worth turning out for. OK, you have something that must be seen on TV, (“Death in Paradise” perhaps?)….record it, because this week we have not only that favourite trumpet and flugle horn player Stuart Henderson coming to play for us, but also his old associate saxophonist “Tolly”, (probably better know to his family as Anatoly Vyacheslavov). They are a cracking ensemble, and together with our regular rhythm section (Nigel Fox on keyboard, Terry Davis on bass and Martin Hart on drums) it makes it an unmissable evening, so do try not too miss it!

Below you will find some instruments, and perhaps with a player or two, in the photographs. 

Kelvin Christiane, as well know to us as he is, is a player that should be more widely famous, because he is a terrific player and never fails to put on an enjoyable session for us. With him last week to add in harmonies (I deliberately didn't use "harmony! It was all fairly "harmonious") to the front line was trumpeter Andy Gibson. 

Often, either due to my fatigue, or perhaps that of the musicians taking part, I find that the second half isn’t always as enjoyable as the first. BUT last week the second half was the better of the two. Nigel, back from his Suffolk break, was on really good form, and the whole evening ended too soon. Great fun, and with this afternoons cup of tea I have consumed part of my raffle prize, a packet of biscuits! Only one I hasten to add! But it was a chocolate bourbon!

A  postscript to this paragraph. Did you know that Humphrey Lyttelton wrote a tune called "Suffolk Punch". Apparently it was inspired by one of the lady dancers at "The 100 Club". According to Humph, she had all the grace and movement of one of the horse breed of that name!

Recently I have noticed that one or two fans write down all the evenings tune titles on there smart phones. I’m not smart enough to do that, BUT I would value a share of that info. (that’s said with a “pretty” please!). It might then remind me of more comment worthy material to add in to this mighty blog!

Don’t forget that another gig organised by Martin Hart occurs this Saturday, Jan 25th. 
Vasils Xenopoulos will be playing with the Martin Hart trio at the Woodley Theatre in the  Oakwood Centre from 7.45pm

OK it has been short and sweetish and below are some shoes. Can you identify the owners?



PS, I have NO IDEA why blogger has decided that much of the text this week should be highlighted in white. I'm sure I didn't press a button!

Monday, January 13, 2020

We are now into our second week of Jazz at Hedsor in 2020. More 2020 vision for our decade of the “new” 20’s.

Well, our vision is certainly to carry on at The Hedsor Social Club, and we have another year signed and paid for in “The Big Room” at Hedsor. 

We also have some exciting things already planned for our use of it, and with more suggestions and donations in the form of sponsorship, we will ensure even more excitement throughout the year.

For two blogs running I have stressed slightly the sponsorship idea. Like most rents, ours for the use of the hall has gone up this year. I hasten to say that what we get for what we pay is a good deal, and we have a very good and friendly relationship with The Hedsor Social Club, but we don't want to increase the entry price unless forced to, so your voluntary sponsorships would be most welcome, both financially and for ideas on the jazz musicians YOU would like to hear at Hedsor.

Last week musically was a great start to 2020. A good audience turnout and we heard had some of the new arrangements from “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”. It was so good in fact that at the end of the evening two long distance travellers who are  regulars at Hedsor Jazz said it was always well worth the journey.
My photos from the evening are below.

I don’t think we've had had the combination of Ken McCarthy on keyboard and Roger Davis on bass before, and they worked very well together, some great harmonics were being played  behind the front players and there was some good riding bass to keep everyone moving too!

This coming Thursday (Jan 16th) we have a return of both  Kelvin Christiane on multiple reeds (perhaps even two at once!) and trumpet player Andy Gibson. Nigel Fox will be back from Suffolk, and we will have Peter Hughes on bass and braces with us again too. 

I did put out some flyers at Hedsor Last week about a Big Band event at Cookham Rise Methodist Church (see also below), and Peter will be the bass player with that Big Band as well!

If you look back at my first blog for 2020 you will see that in March (March  5th ) we have a return of   IAN SMITH on trumpet  with  OLLIE WILBY on reeds. You may be interested to know that on BBC Sounds, you can still hear Ian talking with Ken Clark about trumpet player Lee Morgan. It is well worth half an hour of your time to have a listen.

Some of you have been very kind as to enquire about our Porch Extension at Cronin Towers. It was built by an occasional attendee to Hedsor Jazz (he will be with us at the end of the month). It was finish just at the start of 2020 and is a very usable facility, and starting on Tuesday it will get decorated.
There is a link to jazz in the person who will decorate  it. He is the son of Paddy Cunnigham, the one time bass player with Denise Laurence’s “Storyville Tickle” Band. When Paddy retired from the music business, the late Ken Rankine took over that roll with Denise right up until the time the band itself retired in 2009. What a small world we live in!

Friday, January 10, 2020


The last issue of the blog listed next weeks (Jan 16th) guests as Kelvin Christian on reeds and Andy Gibson on trombone. Kelvin will still be with us, but the listing is incorrect. Andy Gibson plays trumpet! 

We were hoping to get trombonist Nick Mills for this gig, but unfortunately he isn't able to be with us on the 16th. 

Geoff C

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The First Blog of 2020

So welcome to 2020. We have started a new decade, but I wonder with what clarity we will see it? 

When I was a bit younger than today (Beatles tune?) 2020 vision was used as a judge of ones ability to see things clearly. One definition of 2020 vision reads like this:-

“20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet.”

Now I think that to truly appreciate all that we have to offer at Hedsor Jazz in 2020, you have to be within 20 feet of the action! Hedsor Jazz is planning a full weekly program right through this coming year, we already have a lot lined up for you (see below), but we need you to be there, alive, listening and paying at the door. Hedsor Jazz books the Hedsor Social Club year on year, and we pay in advance, so we need your paying live attendance to enable us to continue. John Dutton I’m sure will give you more detail of the finances needed, and your ways of giving financial support.

Looking back on our Christmas party, what a wonderful evening it was. Great music, great company, great fun and great food. Stay around and we will do it all again at some point or points in 2020! My photos of it are below.

You may have noticed that in recent 2019 blogs I have featured pictures of shoes or feet. Those shown below are definitely Tina Mays!

Tina is appearing at Norden Farm on February 28th, where you will be able to check the feet live against my photos!

Hedsor Jazz’s Gig List for the Next 3 Months:-

Listed here are the gigs lined up for the first 3 months of 2020. If YOU would like to see someone at Hedsor who isn’t listed below, talk to our drummer Martin Hart. If you then feel that you could also help defray the expenses of hiring in that special musician, then you could help by sponsoring the evening. But do talk to Martin about the possibilities of having that musician at Hedsor Jazz anyway. He would also be pleased to know who you would like to see again.

   Jan  9th   Lester  Brown trumpet + Mike Wills reeds + Roger Davis bass
        16th    Kelvin Christiane reeds + Andy Gibson trombone + Peter Hughes bass
        23rd    Stuart Henderson trumpet +Tolly  Vyacheslavov tenor sax+ Terry Davis bass
        30th    Sue Greenway reeds+  Mike Wills reeds  + Terry Davis bass
Feb  6th     Lester Brown +  Robert Goodhew tenor sax + Roger Davis bass
       13th    Duncan Lamont jr reeds +  Nick Mills trombone) +  Peter Hughes bass
       20th    Kelvin Christiane reeds +  Stuart Henderson trumpet
       27th    Lester Brown trumpet +  Mike Wills  reeds
March  5th    IAN SMITH trumpet + OLLIE WILBY reeds
            12th   Alan Graham vibes + Terry Hutchins guitar
           19th   Robert Goodhew  tenor sax + Mike Wills reeds

Martin also runs an evening of jazz at Woodley every 3 or 4 months. On January 25th his guest there will be Vasilis Zenopoulos. See below for box office details.

So, here ends the first of 2020 's blogs!!