Wednesday, December 04, 2019



Just when we all thought we had learnt what manouche meant, and were looking forward to an election night of "IT", I have had an email from one of the vital performers, and I reproduce it below:-

Thanks very much for this – but I’m afraid a bit of correction is needed to the blurb about next week!  We won’t be doing an evening of gypsy jazz (well, one or two Django tunes) but we’re doing a special guitar night devoted to tunes written and made famous by guitar players – so it’ll be almost a history of jazz guitar i.e. featuring tunes by Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Wes Montgomery and more!  A real treat for guitar fans (hopefully the Django fans won’t be too disappointed!)



So, even MORE reason to vote early (for Christmas?) and to come out to Hedsor Jazz.

If you want to start filling in your diary for January 2020, below are the first Thursday gigs of the New Year

January 2020

  9 th    Lester Brown + Mike Wills
16 th    Kelvin Christiane +   Nick Mills (tmb)
23 rd    Stuart Henderson + Tolly
30 th    Sue Greenway +   Mike Wills

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The excitement is building! We have navigated our way passed Black Friday and Cyber Monday but we still have a few things to anticipate. The quickening of the pulse CAN carry on, the slowly rising thrill of coming events is ever growing.
Do I mean the Election….NO.
But I do mean the last 3 weeks of Hedsor Jazz 2019.

And the first of the those 3?
This week on Thursday December 5th we have back with us at Hedsor Jazz trumpet player and raconteur Ian Smith together with saxophonist Ollie Wilby.

Last time at Hedsor they played some truly wonderful jazz for us. Those of you who saw Ian again with Martin Hart at Woodley will have also enjoyed the rapport Ian had with pianist Ken McCarthy, and I can reassure you that that will again be possible this Thursday at Hedsor, BECAUSE Ken is our pianist again for this week.

For the Thursday of 2019’s election night (December 12th)we have organised a suitable diversion. Yes, go and vote by all means, but DO come out to Hedsor Jazz whilst we all wait with eager……(now what is the word I’m looking for, I am tempted to say “dread”!!) for the result. December 10th could well be remembered for an amazing night of manouche!  Gypsy Jazz but played without a gypsy in sight! Guitarist Jezz Cook and our long established reed section Mike Wills will be entertaining us alongside our regular Hedsor Jazz Rhythm section.

And finally our last session before 2020 will be our Christmas Party. All you need to do is buy a ticket and all the info is on the poster! Tina May with Duncan Lamont Jnr plus our rhythm and possibly some other sitters in, so do join us for a fun night of jazz to prep the way to Christmas. One special addition to our party this year, a special paid for raffle has been arranged, and all takings from that will be going to Cancer Research UK.

Last week we were entertained by saxophonist Frank Griffith accompanied by Lester Brown. A solid session of modern jazz with a few, perhaps less than modern, jokes throw in. Also “thrown in” were quite a number of Christmas quotes (but we wont tell the copyright companies if you don’t! Otherwise 4 people may be in for a spot of bother!). I think everyone left with a smile on their face, it was great fun, and I think Frank had the longest commute for this gig ever, he came down from Liverpool especially for it!
My photos of the evening are below.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

It is now late afternoon on Tuesday, and I always try and write the blog before Wednesday, as it can then be picked up by London Jazz News. It is late today as I have just travelled back from Ipswich, and with accidents on the A12 and road works and wall to wall lorries on the M25, it took a long time!

BUT I am here now to remind you of this weeks Hedsor Jazz event, to show you the photos from last weeks, and to try and persuade you to by a ticket for our Christmas Jazz Party.

Coming to us this week, from the U.S of A, (via Liverpool) is saxophonist and arranger Frank Griffith. Frank does usually bring with him a few arrangements he hopes our men will play, and he also brings another book of….jokes!  They are well rehearsed, and you will know when to laugh! 

As you might gather from my flippancy, not only is he a great character, he is a great tenor player, and has been a good friend to Hedsor Jazz over many years. With him will be trumpeter Lester Brown. Last time Frank came he was able to bring trombonist Roy Williams, but sadly as many of you know, Roy has suffered a stroke, and is unlikely to be able to play again for a while. On Keyboard this week we have “our Nigel”, and on bass Terry Davis. 

Thinking of Nigel, last night I eat in an excellent old pub near Woodbridge called “The Fox Inn” at a place (which is accessed down a one track lane) called Newbourne. I would highly recommend it if you ever that way. Great food and very reasonable prices.

OK so I have whetted your appetite for food and this weeks Hedsor Jazz, now time to look back on last week with Al Nicholls and Simon Wyld, with Ken McCarthy on keyboard. 

Tuneful, well played and with for me some outstanding playing from the bass player of the evening, Peter Hughes. Another great Hedsor night out.

Best polished shoes seen at Hedsor!

Still to come (and before the general election), on 5th December (yes, that is next week, and not long to go before you all need to get  your Christmas shopping done) we have that very talented trumpet player (and wordsmith) Ian Smith! He will have with him saxophonist Ollie Wilby, with Ken McCarthy back on keyboard and Terry Davis on bass.

Picture from their last visit

I have in the previous couple of paragraphs omitted to name the drummer. It will of course be our leader, Martin Hart!

Party Poster below.  

No NOT an election poster but one for our Christmas party!

Tickets are now on sale at Hedsor on a Thursday and at the Stationery Depot during the week. Please buy a ticket, it helps us to cater knowing roughly how many crisp to put out! 

At only £10 each the tickets are a bargain, Black Friday or not!

Play the riff, it my tea time!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

It’s bloggy Tuesday (and Mondays just as bad!), and time for today’s read about most things Hedsor Jazz.

In EXACTLY 1 months time we will have our Christmas Party at Hedsor Jazz. Tickets will be on sale as from Thursday priced at £10 each which, as usual, includes a light buffet at half time. Start time is 8pm for this one.

Poster below.

Please feel free to print some off and place them in public view. 

Our guest his year is singer Tina May and she will be accompanied by Duncan Lamont Jnr. and of course the Clive Burton Celebration Quintet who will have Esther Ng on bass with us for the first time at a Christmas do.

Below you will find the complete list of Thursday gigs up ‘till Christmas. Feel free to copy and place before friends and family, you never know someone may discover jazz and even Hedsor Jazz and come and support this superb live jazz venture. There are VERY few jazz clubs still running on a regular weekly basis, and we have been doing that since 2002.


Meets every Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club (now called "The Hedsor Club")
2 Hedsor Rd, Bourne End SL8 5ES

Below is a list of our forthcoming gigs. All gigs are supported by a trio led by drummer Martin Hart

21st    Al Nicholls tenor sax with Simon Wyld trombone and Peter Hughes on bass
28th   American saxophonist Frank Griffith with Lester Brown on trumpet

5th      Ian Smith trumpet with Ollie Wilby reeds with Terry Davis on bass
12th    An Election Night Special! Mike Wills reeds with Jezz Cook guitar. A little Manouche!
19th    Our Christmas Party Special with special guest singer Tina May and saxophonist Duncan Lamont Jnr. Our bass player will be Ester Ng. Tickets (£10 each) include a light buffet. Start time 8pm. Tickets can be purchased NOW at Hedsor or from Cookham’s Stationery Depot, 23 Station Rd. tel 01628 531178

Our first Gig of 2020 will be January 9th

Entry fee for all the above will be £7 (except for our Christmas Party) and gigs have a start time of 8.30pm. Free car parking included in the entry fee.

Last week we had a really delightful session with Lester Brown and Mark Aston, pictures below.

Our bass player of the day, Terry Davis

Ken McCarthy guested in the second set

It was yet again another occasion where it showed an affinity between musicians and between musicians and audience. Something you don’t quite get in large concert halls!

Coming this week another really great session is in prospect with Saxophonist Al Nicholls together with trombonist Simon Wyld. We will have with them Martin Hart on drums, Peter Hughes on bass and Ken McCarthy on keyboard. Find that quality for £7 anywhere else!

Last week I mentioned the Stan Getz album “Getz at the Gate, and at that time I hadn’t had time to listen to it properly. Now I have, and  would recommend that you do too. I have discovered a superb writup of it on line, so do look at

Sample of the tracks can be had at

So, until I see you ALL on Thursday
That’s it for now folks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Hedsor Jazz is every week, as is this blog, and I never cease to be amazed at how quickly they come around.

Last week’s session with Mike Wills and Alan Graham was a bit like “old times”. Not I hasten to say about old timers! BUT it has been a real privilidge to have been able to listen to these guys for such a long period. I was looking up something in my blog for 2013, and I was certainly writing them up (and printing their photos) back then. I know the song says “Everything Must Change” but in some ways I’m glad to say some things have stayed the same. SO again, pictures of these two are below.

The music was excellent, and yet again those who were there were saying what a shame more were not there to enjoy such wonderful music (and musicians).

Hedsor Jazz’s standards are high. If last week had been presented in a theatre all the patrons would have been pleased to be there with such brilliant musicians to listen to. Martin Hart, who usually does the in and out announcements, was away last week, and Alan took it upon himself to do them, and we had some great stories from him about his past gigs, past bands, and the past jazz stars that he has played with.

But it wasn’t in a posh theatre, it was at the Hedsor Club, with free parking and ample access to the musicians to talk with before, during the interval, and after the show. Try that at The Royal Albert Hall!

This week we have Martin back with us, and our front liners will be Lester Brown and Mark Aston, trumpet and saxophone respectively. They regularly play together in another band, so we may hear some less than familiar tunes.

Our Christmas line-up is now almost complete. Alongside singer Tina May we will have Lester Brown and Duncan Lamont Jr. Other guest musicians may also come along and join the merry throng so do make sure the date is in your dairy. Tickets will be on sale VERY soon.

Two other things to mention.

One of our regulars (Bill Mullins) emailed me this during the week:

- remind folk to set up the betamax .....
last shown may 2015 :
now programmed for friday 15th november on bbc4 at 21:30 hrs
Blue Note Records - Beyond The Notes

My link to the BBC site is below:--

Radio Times

The other item of note that I have just come across is a recent CD release of The Stan Getz Quartet Live at the Village Gate, recorded in 1961. It’s a double album, and I haven’t had time to play it yet, BUT do look out for it, it can’t be bad!

It was recorded in the same year as the sessions with Bob Brookmeyer. 

A couple of Sundays ago Radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests also played a title from an early set with Getz and JJ Johnson, “Billie’s Bounce”. Are the Beeb really waking up to a potential audience?

That’s it for now folks

Geoff C

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, 


Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Mark Aston will be there on Thursday, not Mark Ashton. Yet another hedgehog error!

Is JAZZ the only sane system in an otherwise 21st century world? Discuss!

Well perhaps not!

Well maybe during bass solos! After all, talking has always been the answer to the question “What do you do during bass solos? 

BUT not at Hedsor Jazz please! We do have a variety of bass players now coming to play for us at Hedsor Jazz, and everyone of them brings something different and worth listening out for.

BUT this week we are going to concentrate of SAXOPHONES!

This Thursday (October 31st, the only day to find yourself in a ditch OR engaged with a broomstick) we will have 2 saxophonist, at least one of whom also plays the trombone! 

And we will have “our” usual trio of piano bass and drums behind them. 

BUT we will have the following instruments in front of the trio:-

Soparino, soprano, alto, C Melody, tenor and baritone saxophones plus Bb, alto and contra-alto clarinets.

And of course that trombone!

The two guys trying to make up their minds as to the tunes to play and the key to play them in will be Mark Ashton and Mike Wills.

This will be a unique event. Please don’t miss it. Bring your camera’s, it will be hard to find that collection of reed instruments anywhere again!

I bring my camera most weeks, and last week was no exception. Stuart Henderson and Kelvin Christiane and for 2 tunes in the second set Kelvin’s partner Lesley played and sang for us and photographic evidence of it is below. The room was nicely full, and the music was exciting and vibrant and sponsored!

I know I almost promised last blog to review recent cd’s added to my collection, but I really haven’t yet had time to do any serious listening. I’m old fashioned, I like to listen to music at home as an individual activity, not as a background one, and porch and other events have meant that I have had no real possibility of doing that, and I will listen and comment very soon on some recent acquisitions. 

I listen on adult sized Hi Fi equipment, some of it as old as you are, (probably) and at a volume level that could not be considered background. Due to the porch development at the front of our house I have had ample opportunity whilst chasing up orders to listen to the holding pattern music, and that is better heard when travelling in a lift! I know that my custom is of value, but so is my time, not just theirs! I really do want to listen to music in comfort and quality. So bear with me for future comments. 

If you want to listen to some music that has been played at Hedsor recently, then try this link from my DropBox folder:-

This is The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet recorded by me on October 17th.

Our sessions for the coming 5 weeks  are listed below. Tell you friends. For those who don't know the way, Hedsor Jazz is held at The Hedsor Club, 2 Hedsor Rd, Bourne End, SL8 5ES  and it is free to park there!

  7th      Alan Graham vibes + Mike Wills reeds with Roger Davis on bass
14th      Lester Brown trumpet  + Mark Aston reeds
21st      Al Nichols reeds + Simon Wilde trombone with Peter Hughes on bass
28th      Frank Griffith tenor sax + Lester Brown trumpet with Terry Davis on bass

5th        Ian Smith trumpet + Ollie Wilby reeds with Terry Davis on bass

19th will be our Christmas party with special guest Tina May

And that is all I have for you this blog day. I’ll see you all on Halloween at Hedsor Jazz!