Wednesday, September 23, 2020

 

A better than never late, but late, blog this week. I was enjoying the sunshine too much!

But the weather and the pandemic now seem to be clawing us back into the winter of our discontent. The hopes of summer, of restarting Live Jazz at Hedsor, or anywhere else indoors, are now fading into a winter with not only no live music, but it looks like no live Christmas either.

It has made me realise how important some of our fairly casual friendships are. Seeing people at Hedsor Jazz every week meant a variety of contact. No, not close friendships, but a steady companionship. Most of us don’t know where the people we always chatted to on a Thursday actually live, and certainly we hadn’t shared visits in homes with many of the “Hedsor faithful” as our treasurer likes to calls us. But I’m sure we are all missing that light friendship between us all engendered by our liking for a certain kind of music. One day we will all meet up again, and wont that be fun!

Well we can still share what we can find of that jazz music that is accessible, do check out the links I put up later down the blog.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed by some of you that Ronnie Scott’s was open again last week. I’m going to quote from an email I had from one of my friends who had to be there for his job!!

The Ronnie Scott’s gig on Friday was fun, but I was a bit surprised no one in the audience - or the staff - had to wear a mask. It was a bit busier than I’d expected as well - they’re allowing 110 people in, which is 50 per cent capacity.  The streets outside were packed - restaurant tables everywhere.

Here’s the Ahmad Jamal TV clip that I mentioned. I think it’s from the same show you saw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oA9GhIyP_zI&feature=youtu.be

It really is no surprise that with crowded London night life as he experienced, the virus is on the increase.

So his link to Ahmad Jamal, dated as 1959, does seem to be from the same broadcast as in one of last weeks blog links. Some of the bystanders are in the same places!

I have discovered this week on YouTube an in depth series of recordings by an American pianist and a British clarinet player of the works of Jelly Roll Morton. As you may recall, Mr Jelly claimed to have invented Jazz (which he didn’t) but one way or another he did record or write a lot of Jazz tunes before his death in 1941. (I was 3!!). He was certainly in “on the ground floor” listening when very young in places he shouldn’t have been in to some of the early jazz creators, and eventually playing piano himself in some of those same naughty places!


He became one of the names that jazz history is founded on. So, to find on YouTube a collection calling itself the “Complete Morton Project” was an irresistible click! The pianist is Andrew Oliver, and the reedman David Horniblow. The videos were recorded in London in 2018.The sound is pretty good, and it is always interesting to see the inside of someone’s home. Everyone tends to forget the bits visible behind the person being filmed. It has become one  2020’s covid joys to see the interviews for what there is in the background, and here and there in this series of duets, you can see the odd box of , is it “Laithwaites”, visible, and of course a quick scan can be made of the bookcase.


Seriously though, it is a pretty special attempt to play through the Morton repertoire, and I do believe it looks like it was all being done from memory. Ether that or they hid the scores very well.

So go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4NF-ejj1Y434jiGQ5q5z8A and select a few at a time to finish off your evening of TV repeats.

Now it is time for afternoon tea, so TTFN

Geoff C

Don’t forget comment on the blog and jazz in general can be made to 

octogeoff@gmail.com

Go one, you know you want too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

 

It’s that Blog again!

 Following on from last week, where I “cogitated” about the restart of live jazz music at Hedsor Club, I must say that I couldn’t have timed it any worse! The next day the government cast the spell of 6 for meeting people.

BUT to increase ones dilemma, Norden Farm IS still seemingly going ahead with its program, including Alan Barnes for September 25th.

I have also been informed that there is a rather nice, all be it, out door gig, at The Four Horseshoes pub at Sherfield on Lodden, RG27 0EX, with Peter Bingham on tenor sax., John Clarke on guitar and Marianne Windham as his  guest bass player. This is on Sunday September 27th and seems to run from 12 until 4pm, and you can book in for food by ringing 01256 882296

THEN I read in The London Jazz News the following article:- 

https://londonjazznews.com/2020/06/30/reflections-on-unlocking-live-music-by-tony-dudley-evans/

I can see that with tightly controlled virus measures, some small gigs can take place. Again for me there is a BUT. The virus IS gaining ground again, not being inhibited by schools and universities back in action.

Neither does there seem to be any swift enough measures in place at the moment to control or identify anyone carrying the disease. Without those measures its multiplication could have been foreseen!  So with hand on heart (yes, even MY heart) I couldn’t encourage others to gather indoors in a group bigger than six. My own GP surgery is struggling to keep pace with anyone wanting any sort of GP contact. I would like to have a conversation with a GP who has actually met me before, but even a telephoned appointment made yesterday is still a month away!!

SO, on to perhaps brighter things.

It is a great thing that we can have entertainment brought in to our homes via PC and TV. Recent advances in technology even mean that we can have both on the same screen, and YouTube can carry live music, and long since past music from the jazz greats. Just take a look at this from 1958

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DmtPvFa_W8

 

Pity it is only about 8 minutes long. But do watch it, even if you can’t identify all the players. It’s a great capsule from, well, my past anyway. OK, you tried the identity check? In fact they were

Charlie Shavers, trumpet; J C Higginbotham, trombone; Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, tenor sax; Pee Wee Russell, clarinet; Harry Sheppard, vibraphone; Willie "The Lion" Smith, piano; Dickie Thompson, guitar; Vinnie Burke, acoustic double bass; Sonny Greer, drums

On YouTube other great clips surround them. 

























But if you want a full hour of the same quality go to

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1Ok2Gjf1T4

 

This is a classic bit of early black and white television the music from which has also been issued on cd. The TV is more “real”, the CD was recorded back in a studio after the broadcast! Do watch out for the tenderness displayed by Billy Holiday to Lester Young

But for now (great song), I need to eat!!

If you would like to give me feedback (no pun intended, I'm having a sandwich!) please email via

octogeoff@outlook.com

 

TTFN

 

Geoff C

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

 

Jazz from Geoff

 

First of all, The Alan Barnes gig at Norden Farm that I mentioned last week. It was book able, and I have!

As far as I know 3 of the Hedsor faithful will be going, which includes ME. It is being held in the main theatre, not in the bar style of more recent years. Social distancing rules apply, and face masks must be worn. Do check out their website for more info.

https://norden.farm/events/alan-barnes-saxes-18

Alan Barnes and Greg Abate at The Swanage Jazz Festival 2017

Next, the Angels have had another meeting!

With our treasurer braving a return to Spain we thought we would gather for a quick coffee and an hour of discussing the possibilities of a return to live music at Hedsor Jazz before he went. I hasten to add that NO firm decisions have been or can yet be made, but we do think it is possible, but with a number of criteria in place. Social distancing of course, a maximum of 25 in the audience (at the moment this is all that will be allowed). The musicians will have to bring their own microphones and we would need to collect the contact details of all who are there for infection tracing purposes. From a building operators perspective I do think that Hedsor Club has covered as much of the safety criteria as is possible.

Yesterday we discussed the possibility of running some sort of Christmas event on the date we had set aside for it this year (17th December).

A Hedsor Jazz Christmas Audience 2015
A Hedsor Jazz Christmas Audience in 2015

It was felt that if the doors and windows still had to be left open (as Hedsor Club have to do at the moment) then it would probably be unacceptably cold by then, so that is something we will have to see. We would also need to run a trial (as described in previous blogs), possibly on October 29th, the nearest Thursday to Halloween! Many of the 25 of the audience have already signed up for this! I don’t think we can charge for this, but we can request a donation! We will pay the musicians who come to play!

There are a lot of uncertainties, but there are possibilities. We can check your temperature on entry (thank you Mr. Swaffield) and alcohol hand cleansers are in place at Hedsor. If we provide food at Christmas we would have to ensure orderly queuing! IF we can manage a well know star performer to come to our proposed Christmas gig, as has been our norm, then we may well have to pay more for our tickets than before. Tracy, our revenue collector, will take cash, but the Hedsor Bar will only accept contact less payment (touch card, smart phone).

Will it be worth it? Largely that all depends on YOU.

I know that the virus hasnt gone away. I know that most of our audience is of a certain age”. Therefore it all has a risk level. I think an evening of jazz at the Hedsor Club looks a lot safer than Brighton beach on a bank holiday.  As I write this approximately 2 people per day die from Covid 19. 50 people per day from Cancer. I have also recently experienced dining out in 3 different places, and my experience in the bar at Hedsor was equal to the best of my dining experiences, and a lot better than one up-market place in South Bucks that was NOT socially distancing seemingly AT ALL!

If it is felt by all of you that it is worth our while organising this ticketed event, we are happy to do so. Do PLEASE LET ME KNOW via Octogeoff@outlook.com what your view on this is.

I wont write more now, but do mull this all over, and perhaps later in the week I will point you all at more jazz that is online or available via electronic means, to be enjoyed in the rich environment of your own home!

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Almost Jazz from Geoff!!

Another August Bank Holiday gone bye and it was the last bank holiday before Christmas too!!

Yes, it’s that dreaded C word again. But sadly this year has been so altered by Coronavirus 19 that bank holidays don’t seem to be so important this year as so many people have been “distancing” for most of it. Christmas may be the next bright spot on the calendar.

This year most live musical events have just not happened. My usual break for Swanage hasn’t happened as there was no jazz festival, and therefore no visit to friends on Portland, which was always a pleasant bye product of a trip to Dorset.

So perhaps the next thing to look forward to IS Christmas. However I feel Christmas 2020 may not be such a joyous meeting of friends and family as it was in 2019. A Christmas Party? How big is your bubble? Christmas Shopping? Thanks be for Amazon! 

But I do need some more shoes; daily exercise does have side effects!

This week I don’t think there are a lot of jazz items to talk about. There is still plenty of music to catch up with via the internet one way or another (check back on previous blogs for links to what I have already recommended), but the camaraderie of actually meeting people and watching performance, knowing you can go and tell the performer how good they were at the end of the evening just cannot be there at the moment. “Project Fear” was well sown, and with good reason. Now we are all caught in the dilemma of staying free from a virus we can’t see and encouraging our economy back into some form of plus for effects we CAN see! So “rock” and “hard place” come to mind.

It is an irony that most jazz fans now seem to be of pensionable age, and most musicians are of working age and do need to earn a living.

Ian Wallis emailed last week to advise that Maidenheads Norden Farm ARE running a live jazz evening, BUT it may just be a streamed event. DO take a look at

https://norden.farm/events/alan-barnes-saxes-18

and let me know how you get on if you try to book. Again do so by emailing via the octogeoff@outlook.com link please.

Those of you who have read past blogs know that I suffered a flood in my garage a few weeks ago. Sadly I had 2 boxes of jazz LP’s stored waiting delivery to charitable outlets. One box was plastic, the other cardboard. Guess which one was on the floor, yes your right, the cardboard one. I have now spent a number of days separating out the very damp box of LP’s into drying cardboard and drying vinyl. Obviously all of the cardboard sleeves are damaged, but mostly they are still readable but no longer works of art. BUT the LP’s themselves are all OK. They are now dry and clean and flat. So if anyone would like to have them, then they are yours if you come and collect. Contact via octogeoff@outlook.com They are all modern jazz, and there is some wonderful stuff within. Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughn, Weather Report (which could have shouted louder to warn of the impending flood), Stan Kenton etc etc.

There are also some to play along with to enable you to practice your instrument in different keys!

Most jazz album recording dates spread from 1950 to 1980. If you have the turntable, I have the plastic (OK Vinyl). Sample of the damaged artwork below.


Finally!!

I have managed a listen to a couple of CD’s as well as some of the recently washed LP’s this week and one of them has a commonality with the great washed! Having a recording vintage the same as some of the LP’s anyway, one of my earliest Scott Hamilton CD’s (purchased when I attended The Brecon Jazz Festival) is “Tenorshoes”. With Scott on this one, recorded in 1979 with Dave McKenna on piano, Phil Flanigan bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. It is an excellent reminder of the kind of music we took for granted in the days of old!! Yes, you could talk to these very talented American jazz musicians there too and they in their turn were very pleased to talk to us British jazz fans. The tune list is probably also from days of old too. “The Shadow of Your Smile”, “The Nearness of You”, “My Foolish Heart” all have a fresh sounding Scott playing melodic yet swinging jazz, ably supported by his trio.

Scott was at the 2019 Swanage Jazz Festival, but sadly wasn’t enabled to play at his best by being coupled with a lady pianist/singer who really thought SHE was the star. Back in the day when Swanage Jazz used the Victoria Club, he was able to shine, alongside a lady who has shone for us many times at Hedsor Jazz, Tina May!


Just to prove that Hedsor Jazz has run some wonderful memorable sessions, this one from my collection has Tina May alongside the late Duncan Lamont at our Christmas party in 2017. 

And below is a general view of the band and some of the audience

We WILL RETURN, but until then, STAY SAFE. 




Wednesday, August 26, 2020

 Sad News


One of Britain's Jazz Greats, saxophonist Peter King, has just passed away. 

See more via

https://londonjazznews.com/2020/08/24/rip-peter-king-1940-2020/



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

 Just an addendum.

In case the names of Sundays performers have slipped your mind or you couldn't identify them from the photos!

On Reeds Mike Wills

On Keyboard Ken McCarthy 

On Bass, Roger Davis

On Drums and announcements as ever Martin Hart

It was a real treat to see, hear and talk with them again. 

 

Jazz from Geoff...THE BLOG 

I have to tell you, that in the last 2 days, I have actually seen and heard some LIVE JAZZ!

Great Hampton Cricket Club isn’t a well know jazz venue, and it IS seemingly in the middle of nowhere, so it IS socially distant! But on Sunday afternoon it missed all the showers and hosted some live jazz performed by what looked like one of the versions of “The Clive Burton Celebration Quartet”.

It was so refreshing to hear the Hedsor style of jazz again, and to meet a few of the Hedsor Jazz faithful once again. It was organised by The Speen Committee for the support of local Hospices. I guess around 100 people came, and as we were asked to donate £10 each for our afternoon, I guess they have raised a good sum of money for these charitable causes.




 Photos from  Mrs Wilkins, Mr Swaffield, and myself .


There is still very little more to say about live jazz at Hedsor. We still wait and see if and when the government think it can be allowed, and if a yes is heard, then we will run a trial as required by the government to test our ability to meet all the rules.

It will of course still need an audience who are prepared to come INDOORS to listen to live jazz.

Now on to “other things”.

My garage is, as of today, back in operation as a workshop following from the flood. Hooray! When working in there, I have the ability to listen to all kinds of music on all kinds of media, and today I rediscovered a tape with some Roy Williams on it. 

My collection of tapes, and some LP’s were some of the items affected by the water, and I have been going through the driest bits of the tapes out there, and the Roy Williams is a gem. Recorded in 1980 with The Eddie Thompson Trio it was first issued (in the form I have it on tape) as an LP. 

I have now researched my CD collection and discovered that it was reissued on CD (with some missing tracks) alongside another with those missing tracks and a few more. It/they are a wonderful exploration of Roy’s trombone ability. I have lost count of the number of times I have listened to Roy live. He has played Hedsor a number of times, and it is very sad that a stroke has curtailed his playing. But these 1980 recordings are well worth seeking out to remind you of the great player he was, with Alex Welsh, Humphrey Lyttleton and John Barnes to name just some of the musicians I saw him with, as well as of course Clive Burton and The Quintet.. Artwork for each below. They are HEP CD 2007 and HEP CD 2015.


 

Prior to my listen to Roy Williams I played a compilation of music that I made initially for the late Harriet Wilson from her collection of 45’s. No, not of jazz, but of the sort of music she liked as a teenager. “Right Said Fred”, “Hole in the Ground”, Je T’aime,..Moi Non Plus” (which I think was band from the BBC as someone was getting breathless!!), and “Lady Godiva” are all included, plus some Beatles tracks. A wide variety that excluded jazz completely. Yet, I remembered them, and the Bernard Cribbins ones are classics of their type. So a bit of nostalgia, which WAS then followed by the Roy Williams from the first CD above.

For those of you who have downloaded recordings via my DropBox account in the past please be aware that I have had to change my password as someone has started sending out a link to a PDF file that isn’t open able that purports to come form me. This isn’t associated with me, and to be safe (from maybe a different sort of virus) if you have received a message like that please delete it and do an antivirus scan.

Again, if you do wish to comment or communicate with me over this blog or Hedsor Jazz please use the email address below.

 

Octogeoff@outlook.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

 

Jazz from Geoff, THE Blog

 Is a small effort today as I haven’t had a lot of time to catch up on my jazz listening this week.

In the storm we had here on Thursday night a lot of water went in to my garage, which as I use it as a workshop, was carpeted. 2 inches of water didn’t do that any good and some of the Ghana project items were also dampened by my enthusiasm! So for the past 3 days I have been in salvage mode.


the carpet is shinning with the water it had soaked up from the 2 inches that got in!

However, last night I did settle in and watch some more “Tuba Skinny” on YouTube, and have come to the conclusion that they are a wonderful band playing in a very free traditional spirit. Everyone knows what to do and when to do it. No one has a star ego and they play regularly in the streets of New Orleans. Here they are unperturbed by wandering arse scratching dogs, produce tables knocked over, and various guest sitters in. They always seem to be well able to cope and never seem to miss a beat. I know I have pointed you at their YouTube offerings before, but THIS time do look at their own web page.

http://tubaskinny.com/

This will also lead you to their many live steams, now available to watch and enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/user/tubaskinny

 

They definitely don’t play in the British Trad Band style of the 50’s and 60’s. They  with a very flexible view of the rhythm section, often with guitar and banjo, washboard and brass bass. Their singer sits on a bass drum, and keeps time with both hands! However the 3 part front line is well conceived, with a great lady cornet leader, ably rounded out by a trombonist who can really play tailgate style. Add in a clarinetist who does know why he is in the band and the ensemble sound and the solos all seem to be effortless.  The hour or so that I watched of their work on YouTube last night was an excellent antidote to the shambles of my garage workshop.

To other things.

We are all still waiting and wondering when, if, and how we will be able to run live jazz indoors at the Hedsor Club again. We now realise that after the academic algorithmic mess that government have got themselves into (even maybe now out of) that they are obviously a bit unrehearsed on live music. We still play a waiting game. BUT some live jazz is now being played in the open air.

Martin Hart has phoned me to let me know of a charitable event being held on Sunday 23rd from 4pm ‘till 6pm at The Great Hampden Cricket Ground, Memorial Road, Great Hampden, Bucks.  HP16 9RF. 

With Martin will be Mike Wills on reeds, and Ken McCarthy on piano. Entry will be £10 per person, bring your own seating and sandwiches, but there will be a beer tent on site.

 

Jazz in Reading has also emailed to tell of a number of similar open air gigs, so you might like to look at

https://www.jazzinreading.com/jazz/jazz-gig-calendar/?future=true

For those of you like me who also like to have evenings with a CD player nearby, I have played recently (i.e. before Thursdays torrent) a couple of CD’s by Spike Robinson.


Spike was an American saxophonist and I saw him play a couple of times, memorably so at The Swanage Jazz Festival in the basement of “The Victoria Club”, one of the great early Swanage Festival venues. Spike moved to England in 1989 and died in WrittleEssex on 2001 and whilst in the UK made a number of very good recordings. The recording I listened to this past week was one he made with Derek Nash and was released in 2000. “Young Lions Old Tigers” shows them having a great deal of fun, some of it on ballads, something Spike got to be very good at, and also some home grown tunes plus 3 by Al Cohn.

You may remember from my July 2019’s blog about The Swanage Jazz Festival that the gig that was probably the most fun did have Derek Nash guesting alongside Sarah Boulter and her band “Sax Appeal”

 

For 30 years Spike was an engineer working for Boeing. At the time I chatted with him I too was working as an engineer, and Spike told me that “I mustn’t led the buggers get me down!” He was clearly rejoicing in 2000 that he hadn’t, and was now free!      

That’s it for now folks, keep in touch via

 

Octogeoff@outlook.com


PS One day I will know why blogger does its own thing!!Graphically it is very difficult to keep under control. The actual words used are all my own fault!