Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Hedsor Jazz

Hedsor Jazz, like most of us, is preparing for Christmas. BUT like most of us, although busy and preoccupied with “what the h*** do I get for h** and will what I have already ordered get to me on time", we are still looking forward to, and have planned for, more excellent jazz music. Not just for our Christmas party on December 20th (tickets are now available) but for this Thursday too.

Below I have put in our gig list, now complete up to the end of January. I have also added in the address of where the jazz takes place, something the last printing of the flyer missed off. NOW you can take and place our flyer anywhere and people will be able to find us! Thank you Gil for finding out the hard way that we were very shy about where we enjoyed the music!

Last week was another of those exceptional gigs where the sum of the parts far exceeded the individuals playing them! Al Nicholls had only played with Lester Brown once before, but last week they really played like a pair who were on the same page all the time. I will reproduce just one of the comments I had by email next day—

I just have to say how much I enjoyed the jazz last evening, it was exceptionally good and the performers played out of their skins - well almost! The interplay between Al Nicholls and Lester Brown was sublime, one might even say magical!

I know most of you there agreed. Really we have had some great music this past year. Thank you to all who help to make it happen. No, no names, but we have to advertise, sell tickets, man (?) the till, run the sound, put up the lights, book the players, produce food etc etc. Oh, and yes, there is a bar as well!

And last week we had unexpected food. I did a double take as I went in, seeing food on the table and thinking “have I been asleep for a fortnight? Is it December 20th already!!” No, Dee treated us to celebrate some sort of birthday!! Yet another thank you. It was really enjoyable.






Photos from Last Week

So, I wonder what this week will bring.

The music will be provided by Sue Greenway on tenor sax, Alan Grahame on vibraphone, Ken McCarthy on keyboard, Steve Riddle on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums.

The ability to keep the music alive will be provided by YOU.


For those looking to buy a CD for a loved one (or yourself) for Christmas, but don’t want “Your Best Christmas Tunes” again, why not try Tony Bennett and Diana Krall “Our Love is Here to Stay”. It sounds like an unlikely duo, but really they work well together despite the large difference in ages. They are both good singers, and the accompaniment by the Bill Charlap Trio excellent. The only down side is it is only of 36 minutes duration, but that was about what we were used to in the old days of LP’s. Mind you, those days are coming back, and I think you can buy this album in LP as well as CD format.

If you cant get to buy your ticket from Dee this week for Our Christmas Party ( and I need a sick note if you cant!), then you can do a Lonnie Donegan and Buy Your Ticket at The Station(ery) Depot on the Cookham Line!

TTFN, and enjoy your Christmas Shopping!

Monday, December 03, 2018


The Hedsor Jazz “Times”!

I have a relatively free day today, and as I missed a blog last week when I was in rural (cold) Suffolk I thought I would write this weeks a day early.

It gives me time to look not just forward, but back too.

Forward, well, there is still a lot to look forward to. Coming this Thursday our guest is that wonderful swing style saxophonist Al Nicholls.

Al has been guesting with “our” band since it was called “Century Jazz” and we often saw him in what used to be called “The Cookham Tavern”, now Costa’s Coffee. He was a regular guest with The Clive Burton Quintet in both “The Garibaldi” (until we moved to The Hedsor Social Club after we found the Gari had no music licence!) and has been many times since we have been at The Hedsor Social Club, but not so often recently. Sadly for him and gladly for us, his regular Thursday gig in London has finished, and we can welcome him back more often again.

He was a guest on that famous yellow cd double album with Clive’s band paying tribute to Keith Vitty (founder of Century Jazz) that was recorded at Maidenheads Norden Farm. If you still haven’t got a copy of this double album let me know, as I still have some! I know Al thought it was the best recording of HIS sound he had had up to that time.

The following week, and whilst Martin is away, we have a return visit of lady saxophonist Sue Greenway. Sadly Sue was our guest, almost exactly a year ago, on the night that Glenn collapsed at Hedsor. This time Sue will be paired with our vibs player Alan Graham. She is a lovely player and I’m sure this evening will be a really joyful one.

For the next two weeks, whilst Martin is away with his family in New York (where the weather is forecast as being sunny but cold) we will have two great guys acting as deps. On drums, Mike Jeffries, and on keyboard Ken McCarthy. There are very few jazz clubs that can summon up such quality deps and we are privileged indeed to have them often in our audience as well.

Looking back over the past couple of weeks, last weeks gig was a special. To have Roy Williams twice in a year is wonderful, even if, in the dark, he found Hedsor hard to find! To pair him with Frank Griffith was extremely nostalgia making, with strong echoes of Clive and “our” quintet. I know that Frank wanted to bring that trombone sound to us again to Hedsor and indeed it was nice to hear the combination of saxophone and trombone again. It was unfortunately a memory that Jan Burton just could not face last week.



Jan has faced a complete house refurbishment in these last few months, which hasn’t made home life easy for her, but the net result will make her home much more comfortable in the future. It has been so good to have her with us at Hedsor as often as she has been able to, and a special thanks to all who have given her a lift to and from West Reading this past year.

The week before last we had the combination of vibraphone player Alan Grahame with guitarist Max Brittain. This gave us the opportunity of hearing some less familiar tunes AND kept Nigel Fox off of his keyboard vibraphone button. I’m still trying to remember how Frank Griffith referred to him after Nigel hit that button half way though a solo. Was it Nigel Feldman Fox or Victor Foxman?


With Mike Wills unable to come to us during half the year it has enabled us to have some interesting front line combinations, which I feel has been entertaining for us punters and sometimes challenging for the players. I for one have enjoyed this variety. Do let Martin know who you have particularly enjoyed so that we can book them again, and don’t forget that if you want a particular musician to come and play for us at Hedsor jazz, you yourself could sponsor the cost of that player. When you are next at Hedsor do pick up our gig list, now showing all our gigs until the end of January.

So, Hedsor Jazz is soon going to be celebrating another Christmas Party. I know I don’t need to tell you that it will be with Tina May, Karen Sharp and Stuart Henderson as guest (but I have!). Tickets will be for sale this coming Thursday at Hedsor for £10 each. I will have a few posters (like those below) with me on Thursday this week for you to place before the public, please do your best to make our party and Hedsor Jazz better know.

Hedsor Jazz has survived another year.

                     It has often been a difficult year.

                                                  We still need to fill the empty seats.

We have ideas for the future and I think you can assume the music will always be jazz of a very high quality. So perhaps for 2019 YOU could help spread the word about Hedsor Jazz, thus keeping live jazz ALIVE in South Bucks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


What’s on at Hedsor Jazz this week?

Do you really need to ask? It is ALWAYS good!!

But as you did asked (!) this week our guests are guitarist Max Brittain, and vibraphone player extraordinaire Alan Grahame. Backing the front line, as always, the Clive Burton Celebration Rhythm section.

Last weeks jazz with Lester Brown and Robert Goodhew produced some wonderful music. My photos of it are below. Robert likes these sessions recorded for his benefit, BUT when I have processed the recording I will put it out via DropBox.






Our sound engineer in residence (Geoff S) will be back in residence after his holiday, so next week the photos may be his not mine!

There is some exciting news to fill in the gaps in our program up to Christmas. On November 29th American tenor man Frank Griffith has confirmed that he is bringing with him that legendary trombonist Roy Williams. Do tell others. It will be a regular session at our regular entry fee of £7. I hope to do a poster before the week is out, but I may not have the time. So it is important (for the greater good you understand) that as many people know about this gig the better.

The other missing person in our list up to Christmas was a partner for saxophonist Sue Greenway on December 13th. That person will be Alan Grahame. Now THAT will be an interesting session. The drummer for this will be Mike Jeffries as Martin is taking a look at New York!

CD Listened to this week.


Last Thursday Nigel played a tune by pianist Charles Thompson, often referred to, like our own Michael Weinblatt (king of the raffle) as “Sir”.

Sir Charles Thompson was the pianist associated with a set of recordings made in 1953 and 54 referred to at the time as being “in the mainstream of jazz”, and the style became know as “Mainstream” ever after. Those recordings were made with trombonist Vic Dickenson as leader, and in my loft I still have one of the 10” LP’s from those sessions. My loft LP has on it the tunes “Jeepers Creepers” and “Russian Lullaby” and they are the last 2 titles of the CD which I played for myself on Sunday. “Vic Dickenson Nice Work” is a cd on the Vanguard label (79610-2), and has 7 other tracks of similar quality. It’s a great listen, light, swinging, and with thoughtful solos.

The players were the cream of the swing era, with each having loads of experience with all the swing bands of the 30’s and 40’s. After the war, big band were in decline, but the players who had settled in New York’s clubs playing in small groups found that their work didn’t disappear. So on this 50’s set we have with Vic D, Edmund Hall on clarinet, Shad Collins and Ruby Braff on trumpet, Walter Page bass, Steve Jordan guitar, and either Jo Jones or Les Erskine on drums. Many of the tunes played come from the age before Be Bop. Tunes Like “Everybody Loves My Baby”, “Nice Work if you can Get It”, and “You Brought a New Kind of Love”.

The cd was a really refreshing listen. How they generate a lot of swing without a lot of notes is a joy to wonder at. The recording isn’t bad for 1953/4 and I think you would enjoy it. Spend money, its (nearly) Christmas!

For an entire listing of our gigs at Hedsor up to and including Christmas please see last weeks blog. You can always cut and past and produce your own diary size print for further reference. Whatever, DON’T MISS A GIG!

POSTSCRIPT

Last Tuesday many of Hedsor’s regulars went to see a jazz event in Marlow’s Christ Church. Greg Abate, Alan Barnes, Phil DeGreg, Steve Brown and Andy Cleyndert brought a bit of the quality of Swanage Jazz to Marlow. It was a sell out at £10 a head. With the very sad death of the Swanage Jazz Festival, maybe a few more gigs of that quality put on locally might be a great idea.

A link to Martin Ashfords photos from the night is below

http://www.musicinmarlow.org.uk/greg-abate-nov-18/4594471724





Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Good Morning England. Here is the Hedsor Jazz News!

We had another splendid evening of jazz last Thursday. My pictures of it are below, our usual photographer and sound man is still taking in the delights of Paphos so my car boot camera shots will have to do!

The combination of Duncan Lamont Jr and Stuart Henderson was obviously a very good one, and the evening also gave us some different tunes to hear being given the jazz treatment. If you follow the link below you will be able listen again to the entire evening. I will leave the files in DropBox for about a month.









To Infinity and Beyond!

This week (Thursday 15th Nov) we have “our” Lester brown on trumpet again coupled with that wonderful up and coming young tenor player Robert Goodhew. If you have not hear him (or them) before I urge you to come this week. Robert is a player very rapidly becoming one of the finest explorers of tune and tone on the saxophone around in the UK today. DO grab a listen whilst you can park for free and get bargain club price drinks. Yes I do mean at THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB.

Finally I will leave below our complete gig list up to Christmas.

November 15th “our” trumpeter Lester Brown and rising star saxophonist Robert Goodhew

November 22nd a change to our previously advertised program but we have a return visit of guitarist Max Brittain to play alongside vibraphone player Alan Grahame.

November 29th American saxophonist Frank Griffith will be joined by a guest that has yet to accept our invitation. Watch the blog!
(http://jazzfromgeoff.blogspot.com)
December 6th  “Our” Lester Brown on trumpet and flugel horn will be joined by that superb swing style saxophone player Al Nicholls.

December 13th Lady saxophonist Sue Greenway is paying a return visit. We have yet to find her a partner. Watch the blog for updates

December 20th our Christmas Concert. We are delighted that award winning singer Tina May has again promised to be with us and we have also managed to book an accomplice of Tina’s, on saxophone Karen Sharp. BUT we have also secured trumpeter Stuart Henderson to join us as well. This will round off our year with a real party, jazz style.

2019
We are already working on our guest list for next year, and it we will probably start again on Thursday January 10th 2019. Be aware, and put this in your new diaries NOW, that on January 24th we have that wonderful Greek master of
music Vasilis Xenopoulos coming. He will be alone in front of our rhythm
section and he will be investigating the music of Jerome Kern




Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Hedsor Jazz this week has another mouth watering combination for us. A return of that fabulous trumpeter Stuart Henderson who gave us such a wonderful evening when coupled with saxophonist Simon Spillett is returning  to be teamed up with another saxophonist.  Duncan Lamont jnr has served us well at Hedsor Jazz over the past few years and it will be a delight to have him back with us again. What magic will this pairing bring to us I wonder. You can find out by coming out on Thursday (8th November).

Last week Kelvin Christiane didn’t disappoint us. He did do his Roland Kirk impersonation. Geoff Swafflied’s photos (below) will show that he did play both his alto and his tenor sax at the same time. He was kept company at the front by guitarist Terry Hutchins. Wonderful stuff. 





BUT THE highlight of the evening was more conventional. Towards the end of evening the quintet played “All Blue”, and one of those magical moments that can be had in jazz happened. Five musicians all playing in mental harmony with each other, mesmerizing! Steve Riddle has a major role to play in this piece as the bass notes repeat all the way through, but his solo was, as the saying goes, “something else”. You really don’t get too many bass solos that actually make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! This time, his DID. At the end of the piece Martin Hart was moved to come to the front and say that this sort of empathy amongst 5 musicians doesn’t happen very often. A truly “WOW” moment. In Martins words "What about that"!

Don’t forget to look back on previous blog issues to see who is coming over the next couple of months, and don’t forget to put January 24th in your diary now. Vasilis Xenopoulos is coming to play with our rhythm section, which on that night will include the bass of Stuart Barker.

CD listened too his week.

When I moved to Cookham in 1969 I bought an LP in a very local shop of Lionel Hampton and his orchestra playing at the Newport Jazz Festival (“Newport Uproar“). I became aware through that LP of saxophonist Illinois Jacquet, who guested in that festival concert. 

Illinois had been associated with Hampton since his debut at the age of 19 on a tune that became synonymous with Lionel Hampton, “Flying Home”. He did his first recording with the band on that tune in 1942, and came back as a guest on the “Newport Uproar” concert. 

A great compilation of his early work was released last year and is well worth your investment. It’s a great tribute, not just to Mr Jacquet, but to the music and musicians of an earlier era. “The Illinois Jacquet Collection 1942-56” Acrobat ADDCD3203 2 CD set. it’s a great listen.

And so is jazz performed live..especially at THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB!



Monday, October 29, 2018

Hedsor Jazz

Yet again last Thursday Hedsor Jazz provided a superb night of innovative and exciting jazz. 

Once upon a time you would have heard Clive chime in with “but this wasn’t it”, but last Thursdays session was really IT. The combination of Simon Spillett and Stuart Henderson, with great assistance from our rhythm section, produced an evening of pure magic. Excitement, innovation, bravura playing, yes, they were all in the mix, but jazz magic dust was sprinkled in there too. I know all who were there (and many were) felt that special buzz. 

It just goes to prove yet again, that it pays to come out to live jazz. I have a very large collection of recorded music, collected over many lifetimes, but what may have been exciting when it was recorded, is very good to listen to again, but no longer has that same shiver of excitement that must have been in the room when it was played. It happens live and it happened at Hedsor last Thursday. It cannot always be foretold, we do try our best to put on jazz at very reasonably cost that has at least a chance of offering up that opportunity.

So, how can we follow that. Well, Kelvin Christiane had a dame good try last time he was with us, and he is with us again this week. 

I’m going to put out our list for the rest of the year, both here in the blog, and in printed form on the tables at Hedsor. 

This week again, the photos from last week are all from my car boot camera. Yes, Geoff Swaffield was there, but he forgot his phone! So all the shots are from my static position!









So, here’s the forthcoming attractions. Do let people know.

Hedsor Jazz Gig List to December 20th  

Most weeks whoever occupies the “front line” is backed by our rhythm section who are usually made up of Nigel Fox on keyboard, Steve Riddle or Peter Hughes on bass and Martin Hart on drums. Sometimes these regulars arrange for other guest deps. to take their place.

November 1st is now not as previously advertised. Tonight we will enjoy the combined talents of Kelvin Christiane on reeds and perhaps flute and guitarist Terry Hutchins.

November 8th two jazz stars for just £7, saxophonist Duncan Lamont jr and trumpeter Stuart Henderson

November 15th “our” trumpeter Lester Brown and rising star saxophonist Robert Goodhew

November 22nd a change to our previously advertised program. We have a return visit of guitarist Max Brittain to play alongside vibraphone player Alan Grahame.

November 29th American saxophonist Frank Griffith will be joined by a guest that has yet to accept our invitation. Watch the blog! 

December 6th  “Our” Lester Brown on trumpet and flugel horn will be joined by that superb swing style saxophone player Al Nicholls.

December 13th Lady saxophonist Sue Greenway is paying a return visit. We have yet to find her a partner. Watch the blog for updates

December 20th  our Christmas Concert. We are delighted that award winning singer Tina May has again promised to be with us and we have also managed to book an accomplice of Tina’s, on saxophone Karen Sharp. BUT  we have also secured trumpeter Stuart Henderson to join us as well. This will round off our year with a real party, jazz style. Buffet food, 8pm start and a £10 entry

2019
We are already working on our guest list for next year, and it we will probably start again on Thursday January 10th 2019. Be aware, and put this in your new diaries NOW, that on January 24th we have that wonderful Greek master of 
music Vasilis Xenopoulos coming. He will be alone in front of our rhythm 
section and he will be investigating the music of Jerome Kern 


Monday, October 22, 2018

Hedsor Jazz last week was a bit better populated than of recent weeks thank goodness. And so it should be. The evening was vibrant, innovative, swinging, and after the announcements they played wonderful jazz as well!! 

No, joking aside, our session last week with Lester Brown and Kelvin Christiane was, to use a well worn phrase "great"! If you missed it LOOK OUT, we have them back in two weeks time!!

But, oh my, what a session we have coming up for you this week. Our old friend and supporter, that award winning saxophonist Simon Spillett is teamed up, I think for the first time at Hedsor, with another Hedsor favourite, trumpeter Stuart Henderson. With our Celebration Quintet rhythm section led by drummer Martin Hart this is going to be a session to remember. 

BUT you can only remember a session if you were actually AT IT! 
So be at Hedsor from 8.30pm on Thursday October 25th. £7 entry and you wont find a more exciting session at that price anywhere.

Well you might, because on November 1st we do have Kelvin and Lester back.

In my view this weeks session is rather special for another reason altogether. It is almost exactly a year since our dear Clive Burton passed away. I know we have all missed him. The stories and the false teeth, the hosting of the raffle, the phrases like “he's no athlete", and "is English your first language sir?”. 

But also the very sound of his trombone. The way he could harmonize with whoever was in the front with him and also the way he encouraged all the players who stood beside him. He had that ability of enabling them to play at their very best.

Yes the jazz we have had in the past year has changed. Hedsor Jazz has evolved and out of necessity has come some excitement, innovation, and a wider view of the jazz talent that is around. Since Martin has taken over the organisation of the musicians, we also now know in advance who is coming not only next week, but next month too. 

Like all of you I miss Clive. His deep knowledge of the music educated us all and I can still clearly hear his voice in my head of his way of answering the phone. 

But we must look forward and not back, someone who once did that got turned into a pillar of salt! 

Yes I do sometimes think (in crusty salt fashion) that everything was always better in the old days (my car insurance definitely was!). But we must forge the new, we must make more memories for ourselves and hopefully for the new “others” who will come in one day and find out just how good live jazz music IS.

Only by supporting the live jazz that is put on locally, be it at Hedsor, Bourne End, Marlow, Reading,  or anywhere brave enough to do so can we create more memories. 

But in this first anniversary period of Clive’s passing I am so glad I had him as a friend and will lament him.

Last week our regular sound engineer was away, and Geoff S usually takes the photos of each session that I put in this blog. This week the photos from last week (below) are all my own work!! I do hope he’s back on Thursday!!





Not only did I take some photos on the old camera I had in the boot of my car, but when I realized what a remarkable session it looked like we were going to have last week I whipped out my phone, and recorded most of it (in mono). Check it out from my DropBox files:-

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qvlqy6k74oce1f0/AAAzr5NbGTJIPPwv1XjrHstYa?dl=0