Sunday, December 30, 2007

I am delighted to be able to tell you that our first guest at Hedsor in 2008 will be wonderful young saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos. Clive Burton will be, as usual, in charge of the ensemble (and his trombone), and we launch 2008's Jazz at Hedsor season at 8.30 pm on Thursday January 3rd. Usual door and raffle charges apply.

Please tell as many people as you can, the notice is short, and it would be great to see as many people there as we had for our Christmas Party.

Lets keep live jazz alive at Hedsor (in the Social Club).

Happy New Year to you all,

Geoff C

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's almost here. That day in December that we have waited for with baited breath (even "Good Bait"ed breath), the day we have saved that last ounce of energy for from the rush of present buying,.

Yes I do mean that The Hedsor Jazz Christmas Party will at last be with us on Thursday!!

So, do come, bring friends, and enjoy the music of the Clive Burton Quartet, plus special Guests Mike Wills on reeds and John Coverdale on guitar. £5 entry, and your ticket will gain you half time light nosh, and a strip of raffle tickets!! With some excellent prizes on offer!! It all kicks off at 8.30 pm.

BUT still on the journey to Hedsor, you could take in another special night at The Harrow in Hughenden Valley, because on Wednesday 19th, singer Lynn Garner has "snared" (her word) that wonderful pianist Ray Poole, and that legendary bass player Harvey Weston!! The evening starts at 8.30 pm, food is available beforehand, and even better, the music is FREE.

After that what can I say... well, Lynn is also back at The Harrow on Saturday 22nd December with one of her Comedy Nights, accompanied by Zane Cronje on keyboard and Brad Lang on bass. And that's all before the turkey is trotted out on December 25th! (He might not be too trotting by then perhaps).

On December 27th There will be a stragglers convention at Hedsor for those who are able to make it, and as that includes the band, I don't know who will be playing, but if your at a loose (tube) end, do come along.

Joking aside (if I was?) don't forget that to keep live music alive, we need to have people turn out to create that most elusive of all things, an audience. So do please try and support the live music venues that are around. Next year we will need them even more than this.

And one of the events that will perhaps encourage you to brave the January weather is Cookham's fabulous Shirtlifters evening of Winter Ineluctability at Pinder Hall on January 26th. Knobble Charles Benson for a ticket before he flogs them all, he usually does!

So, through the dark and cold of this last winter week, what have I discovered to listen to?

I was staggered as I tidied my workshop (OK, some of you have seen my garage, so no rude comments please). I put on a CD called "Maria Juanez", thinking it was going to be another world music CD (we know they make ideal raffle prizes), but NO. It is a big band CD, with an ensemble led by Brad Leali (whom I'm sad to say I had never heard of) on Alto, with a trumpet section led by Jon Faddis. Its truly amazing. Slightly anarchic in a carnival sort of way, but with a band that swings without caution. Its on a Swiss label "TOB The Montreux Jazz Label" and has lots of original compositions, and some familiar ones (Pink Panther for one). It really should be yours if you like big band jazz. As usual, the cover art will be on the blogg, the number is TOB 26902

Its time for a short rest now between drinks, so that's it for now, except to wish all of you a Very Special Christmas and health and wealth for 2008.

Geoff C

Monday, December 10, 2007

Todays Nag will be short!! I'm behind with my Christmas letters!!

BUT it has been decided that The Guitar Jazz night, scheduled for MONDAY 17th, will be CANCELLED, due to the band (James Fenn etc) getting better paid work over Christmas!! The nerve of it I ask you.

They will however come to play for us next on Monday 21st January. AND, they have promised to rehearse for that too. Their guest artist will be announced later, but put it in your diary, as these evenings have certainly been full of quality music.

A reminder for you too that This Thursday at Hedsor we have again that very melodious saxophone player John Rolls. Wasn't he good last week.

Don't forget to buy your tickets for our Christmas Party on December 20th. £5 will get you in, feed you with mince pies, and give you a raffle ticket. The music will be provided by Clive Burton and his merry (by then) men, with guests Mike Wills and John Coverdale (Sax and Guitar respectively). Don't wait too long, as the room doesn't hold too many people! I would hate to turn you out into the snow. You may even have to seek refuge in a stable and go home via Egypt!

For the somnambulant amongst you after Christmas, there will be a session at Hedsor on December 27th. WE NEVER CLOSE!

AND if that wasn't enough, Cookhams Fabulous Shirtlifters are, even as I write, practicing for their Evening of Winter Ineluctability (January 26th). You have GOT to be there (Pinder Hall,tickets from Mr Charles Benson!).


Geoff C

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Just a little reminder, and an alteration to my list of last week.

Al Nicholls has email to say that the King & Castle gigs for December are as follows:

5th & 12th - Al Nicholls Trio with the venerable Rex Bennett and Bob Haddrell.
19th - Jeff Williams Trio
and the King & Castle is at Thames St. Windsor, it takes place from 6.30 - 9.30pm, and admission is free.

Unfortunately, Al has found better paid employment for this Thursday (Yes, some clubs do pay musicians more than 2/6d!), and his place at Hedsor will be taken by sax man John Rolls.

On December 20th, at Hedsor, it has been decided that we will only charge £5 for the Christmas Party tickets (which will be on sale this coming Thursday), and our Guests will be John Coverdale on guitar and Mike Wills on all the saxophones!! Do come yourself, and try and bring a friend. (No, its not a bring and buy sale). It will be a great opportunity to let others who haven't experienced our friendly club atmosphere and wonderful music to see and hear it at its festive best. The ticket price will include a Festive Feast, AND a strip of raffle tickets!! The prizes will also be of a present quality!


Geoff C

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If you read this from the email nag, you will see that I have attached the program for December. If you can print it out (best from the PDF file) and give it to someone not on our email list whom you think would be interested it would help us "spread the word" about our local jazz events. Please read it yourself, put the dates in your diary, and do everyone a favour, and come out to some of the best live music in the Bucks and Berks area. I wont waste the space by repeating what's on this week, you can read it from the attachments

I have done some CD listening this week too.

The first is a knockout CD, in more than one sense. Many of you know that I get CD's in to recycle, and sometimes, they don't get new owners. From time to time, I go through the boxes of orphaned CD's and have a listen to those that are left behind ( I can hear your tears already)! Harry Connick jr isn't everyone's idea of a great jazz singer, and some of you can only remember him as a member of the crew of Memphis Belle (in the film!). He does originate from New Orleans and when you see an album titled "Chanson du Vieux Carre" with a lot of trad tunes on it like Panama, Petite Fleur and That's a Plenty, you think it will be, perhaps, not to your task. YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Its a terrific big band album that sounds like Stan Kenton meets Dr John. The musicianship is breathtaking, and the recording will definitely try (out) your Hi Fi. Go and buy it and make yourself happy Marsalis Music 0874946000628. I'm sure they make those CD Numbers that long as a punishment and as an excuse for getting you in the latest Mrs Mills album by mistake!

Another new release (Yes, the Connick album was released this year), is much closer to home. We have probably all seen Alan Barnes at some time or another (especially those who go to the annual Swanage Jazz Festival), and many of you will have seen trumpet virtuoso Bruce Adams. A few will even have seen them both on the same stage. So for those who have happy memories of that last on that list, and for those of you who have missed them altogether (where have you been?), "Spontaneous Combustion" is especially for you. Not just high notes, not just lots of notes, but wonderfully controlled playing that will leave you with a silly grin on your face when you've played it. S C is a tune by Cannonball Adderly, as is the closing track"Cannonball". In between are 8 other tracks that show just how well British musicians can play. Oh there is also one of those Hercule Poirot Frenchmen (A Belgian!), playing piano as well. Very well in fact! His name is Pascal Michaux. Go out and order it, its on Alan's own Woodville label, so you can be assured that you will be feeding his children with its purchase. It came to me without a cover, so I don't have a (telephone) number for it at all!!

Cover art on the blog (is anyone still on dial up?). I'll write again after my trip to Kings Lynn to see The Humph Band!!


Geoff C

PS if you would like to see one of the images shown above in a larger format, right mouse click on the image and open it in a new window.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hi Folks,

Don't forget we have a special Monday presentation for you tonight at The Hedsor Social Club. None other than Dave O'Higgins (saxophone) is coming and joining up with some of his old friends, James Fenn on guitar, and Lisa Amato on bass, together with Nick Marangoni on drums.Entry £5, NO RAFFLE! Start time around 8.30 pm

Come and support, not local jazz, but Jazz locally!!

Geoff C

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just a short reminder that we have guitarist Max Brittain with us at Hedsor on Thursday (15th November).
For those who don't know anything about Max, he studied guitar at Leeds College of Music and has appeared at all the worlds major concert venues. He has played with such divers people as Georgie Fame, Terry Lightfoot and Charlie Byrd.

We also have a special rhythm section for the event. All our regular band, together with Clive, are playing at a better paid gig this week, but we have put together something rather special:-

On Keyboard will be Jeff Clark
On Drums will be Malcome Potter,
and on bass "hop along" Ken Rankine! Yes, Ken will be doing a full stint for us, complete with Zimmer frame.

Something else rather special is happening at Hedsor next MONDAY (19th November).

We have Dave O'Higgins coming to play his tenor sax for us with James Fenn, Lisa Amato, with another guest drummer (who will it be I wonder?).

All in all an amazing night in prospect, whether its the Thursday or the Monday, at Hedsor, the social club next to the Garden Centre! Both gigs start at 8.30 pm. Thursday will cost you a minimum of £3, Monday £5.

You can find out a lot more about Dave O'Higgins by looking at his website:-

Sandwiched between the two gigs above, is another chance to see our very own, and now in good repair, multi instrumentalist, Mike Wills, with Century Jazz at The Fifield Inn on Sunday night 25th November.

So, there is no reason to stay home!!

A copy of the poster for the O'Higgins event is included above, if you have access to a place to display it, perhaps you would print it off, put it up and encourage others to come, many thanks.( if you double click on the image, it will be shown larger than in the blog, wherupon, you can copy and print!!).


Geoff C

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Some of you have pointed out that the link for the warren vache performance on You Tube doesn't work.

If you go to

and search for warren vache, Limehouse Blues, the track in question, is the first on the list.

It's well worth the effort, do take a look. Then spend some time looking at some of the other great clips listed nearby.

And "thank you" Al.

Geoff C

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Last night the Bourne End Community Centre Jazz evening put on a magnificent evening of jazz led by saxophonist Al Nicholls.

We have all experienced the format before, one soloist before an 3 part rhythm section. Last night however we had one of those magical experiences that only happen in live jazz. An amalgam of rich chords, swinging rhythm and great tunes. The whole lot made great by the catalyst of a large appreciative and friendly audience.
Well done to all. And all were amazed by the drummer Rex Bennett. At an unbelievable 83 years he really did swing the clappers!

Al mention as his introduction to Limehouse Blues that there was a great video to be had on You Tube of this tune played by Warren Vache. I've just watched it, and it is well worth a look and listen. The link below should get you there.

Its over 7 minutes long, so settle down to appreciate it properly.

Also worth mentioning are 2 CD's recently re issued by Verve of the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival.

The first is from the Friday evening with Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Pete Brown (wonderful!), Ray Bryant on piano, Al McKibbon bass and Jo Jones Drums. Its all atmospheric stuff, reasonably well recorded, and contains a 13 minute version of Sweet Georgia Brown. The CD Number is 0602517416086. Yes, its a bit like a Microsoft key number isn't it. However, once purchased, the CD will play on ordinary CD players!

The Second Disk is from the Sunday evening session, with the Oscar Peterson Trio on there own for 4 titles, and then joined by Sony Stitt, Roy Eldridge and Jo Jones for another 4!! The sleeve note uses the word "breathtaking" and I can only agree. CD Number 0602517416093

These albums have been issued to celebrate 50 years of the Newport Jazz Festival, and I hope more material is on the way.

that's it for now folk, don't forget to continue to turn out to support the live jazz near you.

Geoff C

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A couple of Corrections!!

I think Max Britain will be with us at Hedsor on Nov 15th, not 8th as indicated. My diary says that this Thursday is "TBA", but it might be John Coverdale.

Geoff Hiscott has also emailed me to say that the Farnham Maltings Otis B Driftwood event starts at 7.30pm, not 8.30 pm as mentioned. You must either get more music for your money, or they go to bed earlier in Farnham!


Geoff C
Time seems to have been flying by recently, and so far I haven't found enough of it to remind you of forthcoming jazz events. So a very brief reminder:-

Tonight, Saxophonist Simon Spillett is at The Fifield Inn with Clive Burton and Century Jazz. 8pm start. I'm sure there will be some fireworks!

Tuesday at The Bourne End Community Centre, Its the turn of another saxophonist, Al Nichols wrote:-
"The line up finally confirmed as Rex Bennett - drums, Bob Haddrell - keyboard (horrible term!), George Oag - guitar + myself."

On the Wednesday 7th November, at the King & Castle, Windsor (6.30 - 9.30pm): Al Nicholls trio, with Neil Casey - piano & Rob Rickenberg - double bass.

ALSO on Wednesday the Otis B Driftwood band play the Farnham Maltings from 8.30pm. Fun, frolics AND music!! (OK, music is also fun without the frolics, but you know what I mean!).

Thursday at Hedsor, guitarist Max Britain is on my list as the guest. 8.30 pm start. It WAS nice to see a number of you there last week, it helps us keep solvent (or is that solvent abuse?).

That's it for now folks, more later, some decent CD's to talk about, but not right now.


Geoff C

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I've had the following update from that wonderful swinging saxophonist Al Nicholls:-

I am at the King & Castle, Windsor this Wednesday, along with Rex Bennett and Bob Haddrell, details as per usual ( 6.30 - 9.30pm, free).
And as per usual, the King & Castle gig, if it continues, will be arranged around the 30th of this month.

However, we are at Mo's club on the 6th November (Bourne End Community Centre), myself, Rex, Bob and hopefully Nils Solberg.

Best wishes,
Al Nicholls

I hope some of you can make some of them!! And as a certain saxophonist recently found out, it helps to keep a diary!!

Geoff C

Saturday, October 20, 2007

First this week, news of Ken Rankine.

He had an operation to pin his hip on Thursday,and is currently recovering in Hillingdon Hospital. His doctors say he will be unable to walk on it again for at least 6 weeks, but other than that(!) he is as comfortable as can be expected, and fairly resigned to the fact that he didn't lift his foot high enough to avoid the step he tripped over!


Sunday at Fifield, Al Nichols and John Coverdale will be the guests, with Clive's Rhythm section backing them. (Clive himself is on holiday in the U.S.A.). 8 pm start, raffle funded.

Wednesday at The Harrow, Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy resume their interrupted residency, with Brad Lang on bass added for good measure. This is a free event and starts at 8.30 pm. Food is available for the hungry.

Thursday at Hedsor, the guest is saxophonist John Rolls. 8.30 pm start £3 to get in, raffle ticket to get out!

Sunday 28th Oct, at Fifield, you can see again John Rolls, no not a filmed repeat, a real repeat! After all, this isn't the BBC!! (Fancy selling of the Wood Lane TV Centre).


I understand that "our" gigs are not alone in being poorly attended of late. Simon Spillett told me on Thursday that the previous evening he had played the 606 Club in Chelsea, to an audience of 3!!

We have sustained a few months of very low audience attendance, and I would stress that one cannot assume that live local jazz will carry on indefinitely without more people actually coming to listen. As the supermarkets of the world say "when its gone, its gone"! A mortgage can go on forever!

Geoff C

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last nights Hedsor guitar jazz evening was just wonderful!

Those (few) who were there will all assure you who weren't how marvellous it was. And they will begin to bore you, and rant on about how good it was!! AND they will be feeling smug, because THEY turned out and enjoyed one of the best evenings of "modern" modern jazz that Hedsor has seen so far.

We will try to maintain that standard, but not the standard of exclusivity that last nights audience enjoyed!

I did take my camera (see blog), Vasil WAS there, and I captured the entire evening on my MiniDisk recorder as well. I have yet to check it out properly , but an initial check when I got home last night revealed a pretty decent recording! A souvenir for all who were present if the want it, when I have tidied it up.

Next month we will have Dave O'Higgins with James and Lisa, so put the date in your diary NOW, and bring some friends as well, because it will me tremendous! November 19th.

There is another chance for you all to capture some of the jazz magic that is being created these days at The Hedsor Social Club by coming THIS THURSDAY to hear Simon Spillett!

Talking with Vasilis last night, he hasn't ever met, or played with Simon. I think we will have to rearrange that!! What at sax night THAT would be.

Geoff C

Monday, October 15, 2007

Above is a miniture list of gigs for Hedsor and Fifield. If you come TONIGHT for our guitar night at The Hedsor Social Club, you can pick up a printed copy!! AND you will hear James Fenn and Vasilis Xenopoulos doing a jazz funky thing!! 8.30 pm and £5 will see you in for a good time!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I have JUST HAD the following in a text from Lisa Amato.

All I can say is, turn out, it should be marvelous!!

Geoff C

Hi Geoff,

Re Monday 15th

Thanks for the poster. You'll be pleased to know that Vassilis Xenopoulos will turn up this time - he's promised to stay in a local hotel the night before and I've threatened him with leg-irons. Either way, we will have the pleasure of his blowing this time round (and slightly lower blood pressure for me, hopefully).November 19th is Dave O'Higgins - he confirmed it yesterday. So two London heavyweights coming to darkest Bucks; I can't wait (although your momentary change of it to Tuesday caused a bit of minor confusion here!).

Lisa A

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Advert for the next guitar jazz night was INCORRECT!

It should have been MONDAY October 15th, not the Tuesday I mentioned.

My only excuse is that I did have my flu jab yesterday!

Geoff C

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thursday will be a special day at Hedsor this week. Mike Wills, our one man reed section, will be paying his first return visit after his illness last December. Do please make sure you are there to show him how much he has been missed. As usual, the evening starts at 8.30pm, it will cost you £3 to get in, and a raffle ticket to get out. AND just a little extra plug from me, second hand jazz CD's are always for sale at Hedsor at ridiculously low prices, so do bring some pocket money and pick up a bargain or three.

Sunday has Al Nicholls playing at The Fifield Inn, 8pm start, hot food available, but no CD's! Its raffle funded by the landlord, so don't forget to buy a few tickets.

Tuesday 16th (Yep, NEXT TUESDAY) we have another guitar night at Hedsor. I have asked Lisa Amato to organise the musical content for these evenings, and she assures me that a great selection of musicians WILL TURN UP!! each and every third Tuesday of the month! The guitar might become sometimes less evident, but she has promised us a very well known British saxophonist for the November session. So, do come along, pay your £5 into the black box, and a treat will be yours every third Tuesday.

CD's Listened to:-

First and foremost, the listening please this week has been brought to me by 2 giants of British jazz.
Possibly two of the most controversial pianist you could ever listen to are Thelonious Monk and Stan Tracey. And I know for some of you, having Stan playing Monk tunes would have you buying a ticket to a place for mental health cures! But team up Stan with the other legend, Bobby Wellins on tenor sax, and you have to my ears a spine tingling delight.

Stan Tracey has given me great pleasure and insight into the adventure of music ever since I first heard him back in the late 1950's. Monks tunes always have had an edge, that indefinable quirkiness that you suddenly find yourself whistling along with, improbable though it may seem. This album, with Andrew Cleydert on bass and Clark Tracey on drums has it all. And it is spine tingling. Recorded before an audience at the Bulls Head at Barnes last December I can only say, go out and buy it. It can be found on reSteamed records RSJ104.You will also get a bonus with this album, the sleeve notes are by Simon Spillett, and add greatly to your enjoyment of the music.

In the days before I listened to people playing saxophones, I used to go every week on a 607 trolley bus and listen to a band that had (if my memory is correct) an Irish/Estonian school teacher singing in with the it. The banjo player became pretty well know too, and the band leader is still leading a band. Chris Barber, already a popular bandleader, with skiffle supremo Lonnie Donegan on banjo (still then known as Tony until a confused announcer at a Festival Hall Concert called him Lonnie), had discovered Ottille Patterson, and everyone's view of British lady blues singers changed forever. Now, we can all relive our memories as Lake records has released 23 tracks from this classic early period. Here you can hear her not only sing, but play the piano. Not all the takes have been released before, although all the songs have. The time span is 1955 to 1963. It has some very informative sleeve notes by Paul Adams, and will add greatly to your old Chris barber collection. LACD244

If you didn't look at the blog last week, there is a 2 minute video extract of Simon Spillett playing at Hedsor. Go on, have a look at last weeks entry but don't stay looking too long, we want you out supporting Live Jazz!

Geoff C

Saturday, September 29, 2007


This Thursday, October 4th, not only will we have the joy of John Coverdale on guitar, a crowd puller in his own right, but joining him at The Hedsor Social Club this week, will be Britain's rising jazz star SIMON SPILLETT on tenor sax!

Tell your friends, come early! Dont forget that Hedsor now has new carpeting, and very comfortable new seating. Its now an even greater place to listen to the best in British Jazz.

For your inconvenience (!) I've added the poster listing of the latest gig listing for Hedsor and Fifield. READ it, there are other "wonderful things" there. (Yes it does come out small on Blogger, if you would like a more legible file sent to you, just email me).

Geoff C
Jazz from Geoff, you know it makes sense!
The video clip below of Simon at Hedsor comes courtesy of Derek Skinner:-

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Geoff's Persistant Reminders for Jazz Gigs for the next few days are:

TONIGHT our guest at Hedsor will be guitarist John Coverdale. Those who have seen him before will already be planning to come, because he IS worth turning out for. Those who have yet to experience his superb jazz guitar playing, well, he IS worth turning out for!! 8.30 pm start at The Hedsor Social Club, £3 to get in, exit only by raffle ticket !

SUNDAY at Fifield the guest is Simon Spillett, BBC Rising Jazz Star 2007, your chance to catch him whilst you can, and moreover, the event is FREE to get in, but again, a raffle ticket to get out! 8pm start, hot food available.

MONDAY, a gig at HEDSOR that I have been really looking forward to, (Yes, I DO mean Monday, it one of the guitar jazz gigs), a return visit by guitarist James Fenn and saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos, with Lisa Amato on bass and shape (!!) and I am assured a young drummer who will really drive the jazz fusion sound along. DON'T MISS IT, it will only cost you £5 to get in, and you wont be asked to buy a raffle ticket. 8.30 pm start, come early and try out the revised Hedsor seating!

WEDNESDAY 19th at The Harrow up in the Hughenden Valley, Lynn Garner, Brad Lang and Zane Cronje will be bring you an evening of fun and frolics, music and jokes, which, if enough people show support, could become a regular monthly event. Anyone who has seen Lynn do comedy at The Farnham Maltings will need no further encouragement to turn out for this (I think free) event.8.30pm start.


I didn't mention last nights jazz event at The Speen Festival in advance, because it was a sell-out many weeks ago. And how often can you say that about a jazz event? But in a Marquee in the village of Speen in Buckinghamshire a packed house listened and stormed for more! Drummer, and Speen resident, Martin Hart presented , what I can only describe, as an illustrated lecture, on the lives and music of Rogers and Hart. He had gathered around him some of England's best performers. Mike Wills, back from his recent illness was the reed section, Brad Lang was on bass, Ken McCarthy was at the keyboard, Oxford lecturer on percussion Alan Graham was on vibraphone, and the lyrics were sung by Lynn Garner, with Martin of course playing the drums, and doing the narration. A well rehearsed, well thought out program, where not only was great jazz music performed, but the excellent research by Martin resulted in our knowledge of the lives of both Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart being greatly increased in a most entertaining way. Well done all. It would be wrong to single out any one of the performers before another, they were a great assembly of talent. But (there are always "buts" aren't there) Martin must be congratulated on putting together a superb show.

Well that's it for now folks, see you all soon?

Geoff C

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Al Nicholls has confirmed his attendance at Windsor this Wednesday:-

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the nag.
I am back at the King & Castle this Wednesday, with Rex Bennett (drums) & Bob Haddrell (piano).
Sorry for the late notice, the nature of the contract means it is only renewed on a monthly basis, that means we only find out at the beginning of the month who is booked. That, coupled with an extremely busy weekend!!
I am happy to say , I will also be at the King & Castle on the 19th September with a trio, yet to be confirmed.

Cheers, Al Nicholls

I hope some of you can make it.

Geoff C

Geoff's Nag this week will be like a game of two haves, except it may be three!

First Half, The Weeks Gigs.

TONIGHT (4.9.07)

At Bourne End Community Centre from 8.30 pm, singer Tricia Bassett will be there to entertain you, ably supported by Zane Cronje on keyboards, and a fully sustaining rhythm section. Entry is £4, and includes a raffle ticket AND a light supper.


I'm not sure if there is Jazz at The King and Castle in Windsor, but if it is on (Al Nichols was there last week) it starts at 6.30 pm. I'm told its a very comfortable gig, and you can get food there to.


Is also now more comfortable than ever before, because the bar at The Hedsor Social Club has had a replacement for its bench seating!! There is now a very snazzy selection of red soft seating, which should be even more of an encouragement for you to come and try it out. AND this Thursday you could take in the mellifluous sounds, and musical experience of John Rolls. Now somewhere in his 80's, John still manages to sound remarkably like Stan Getz. Not as fast a fingerer as Simon Spillett (arthritic fingers slow him down these days) but he has great understanding of the ballad and a lifetime in the music business. It all starts at 8.30 pm, it will cost you a minimum of £3 each to get in, (pay at the Red Box) and the event is also supported by a raffle (which is so good, many only come for the that!).


At The Fifield Inn another wonderful saxophonist joins with Clive Burton, Peter Cook. Those who have already heard him will need no further encouragement to turn out, those who haven't...WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? The gig starts at 8pm, food is available, and the event is totally supported by a raffle.

The Second Half ...Comment

I haven't had the opportunity this last week to comment about the wonderful evening we had at Hedsor with the young Greek saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos. Already becoming well known on the UK jazz circuit, I think he will become a major player in the jazz world. He has all the technical ability any musician could need, he has the knack of feeling out the groove notes in any piece, and then milking them for all their worth, and he has a sense of humour as well. Yes, we were packed out, but the new seating at Hedsor managed to help us listen in comfort, and yes HE WILL BE BACK. Perhaps sooner than you think, because on MONDAY 17th September he will be performing alongside guitarist James Fenn in the opening Guitar Jazz night of the Autumn series. PUT IT IN YOUR DIARY NOW. And put the £5 to one side to get you in!

I want to reassure all who support the jazz events that I do, that we are dedicated to keeping the musical standards high, and coming in the next few weeks you will see again Simon Spillett, Peter Cook, John Coverdale and many more. One or two of you have mentioned how good the product is at Hedsor and Fifield. One person said "I could pay £15 in London and get worse music". We intend to keep to that ethic.

The Third Half ....Home Listening

I had the joy of sharing a listening session with musician and artist Keith Wilkins last week. Two cds from his bag gave me great joy.

The Howard Alden Trio with Ken Peplowski and Warren Vache is a fairly early Concord Jazz album (1989) and shows Howard's ability very well, on tunes Duke Ellington's "Purple Gazelle" and Charlie Parker's "Back Home Blues". With the afore mentioned are Mel Lewis on drums and Lynn Seaton on bass. Do look out for it, Concord CCD 4378

Another of Keith's choice sharings was "HARRY CONNICK jr. OCCASION". With Harry is another New Orleans veteran, Branford Marsalis on various saxophones. Recorded in 2005, all of the songs were written either by Branford, or Harry themselves. As a set of duets, they are excellent. Its on marsalis music/rounder 11661-3313-2. I can only wonder at the filing system that needs that number of digits to find the item!

My "riposte" to Keith's selection was an album that I don't think is available any more. I only ever had it on Vinyl, and it was only ever issued in mono, but back in 1962 Tony Coe and John Picard had a super group with Colin Purbrook piano, Spike Heatley bass and Derek Hogg drums. They made a number of Jazz Club Broadcasts and eventually they recorded a 12" LP on the Phillips label called "Swingin' till the girls come home". "Sunday Morning", Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams", "Blue Lou" are just three from an extremely good British Jazz LP. Why did we ever think we weren't good enough, and why, Oh why, have we never given Tony Coe the place in Jazz that he deserves.

Well, there you have it, as I said, a game of two halves, just like the telly!


Geoff C

Monday, August 20, 2007

A short reminder of some of this weeks jazz events.

First two for Wednesday.

Lynn Garner, Ken McCarthy and Brad Lang are making a nostalgic return to The Harrow in the Hughenden Valley. You may remember my regular nags about their regular gig there every Wednesday, and how the local authority caused it to cease. Well, from time to time, they do still get back to sing and play there, and this Wednesday is one of those times. Do get along if you can, its free, thanks to the generosity of the pub landlord.

If you go to the next gig, you have time to catch the Harrow gig too, because Al Nichols, that lovely rich toned tenor sax man, is doing 2 successive gigs in Windsor:-

"I will be at the King & Castle, Windsor the following 2 Wednesdays, as follows:
King & Castle, Thames St. Windsor - 6.30 -9.30pm
22nd - Al Nicholls trio with Bob Haddrell, piano and Rex Bennett, drums
29th - Al Nicholls trio with Paul Eldridge, piano and Dominic Howles, double bass

Many thanks, Al"

So you could do both! Either on the same night, or one week after another!

My BIG reminder this week is that we have rising tenor sax star Vasils Xenopoulos playing for us alongside Clive Burton on Thursday this week. This is one gig you don't want to miss! More accurately, this is one gig I don't want you to miss! A wonderfully melodic yet creative musician, with a degree from Berklee Ca, this young man will go a long way (well, actually he already has, he is Greek!). As usual, the entry price is £3 and the exit price is a raffle ticket.

This coming Sunday Fifield has clarinet and sax player Pete Davis alongside Clive with Century Jazz. 8pm start.

Record revues later in the week, but for now,


Geoff C

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Back Cover of the 1938 Carnegie Hall Paul Whiteman Concert

The Front Cover of the Keith Nichols tribute to Paul Whiteman

Just a short Blog this week.

On Thursday at Hedsor we have John Rolls on saxophones (one at a time, but still a muliread player). He has a wonderful way with ballads, so come and pay your £3 and have a listen from 8.30pm onwards.

Sunday at Fifield, another great sax player (and wasn't John Barnes wonderful there last Sunday? But where was the jazz loving audience?), Al Nichols will be swinging along, mostly on tenor sax. This is a free event, but I'm sure the landlord would like to recover some of the costs of his new carpet, so do buy a decent number of raffle tickets.

Coming soon to Hedsor (23rd August) another rising star in the jazz firmament, Vasils Xenopoulos. Miss that gig and you will really miss something very special. He is a regular with "The Sound of 17" big band, and so knows Ken Rankine very well, and I was talking with Ken McCarthy about him on Sunday too, and he is truly a star coming over our horizon.

Thinking of stars, John Barnes played a truly stunning solo on Stardust last Sunday. He started out the number on baritone, but switched to clarinet for his solo, which came as a fitting finale to an evening where meteorites could really be seen outside!

CD Listening

This week I have listened to a recreation of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra by Keith Nichols with the Northern Sinfonia recorded at a concert in The Sage in Gateshead. Initially one would think that the music was passed it's sell by date, but after a few minutes one is captivated by the arrangement and orchestration. Its another success for Lake Records. Its recorded in very good quality sound, and makes you realise what the original must have sounded like. Yes, we do have recordings of the Original Whiteman sound, so I dug them out to listen to.

On Nostalgia Arts ( a division of storyville records ) you can find all of he Christmas Day Carnegie Hall Concert of 1938. I was 4 moths old at the time and don't remember it well! But if you really want to hear the original band (in less Fi than Keith Nichols) then try for 303 3025.Its a double CD, and the last piece is Rhapsody in Blue. Originally written for, and performed by, The Whiteman Orchestra for his first Carnegie Hall concert in 1928.

The album is a must for serious jazz musicologists, the sleeve notes are extensive, and the whole thing very worth having.

One final thought, we could put together a very useful trio, of just Nichols!! Chris Nichols on Drums, Keith Nichols on Piano, and Al Nichols on Tenor. Now there's a thought!


Geoff C

Monday, August 06, 2007

So, what is up and coming in the next few days? Well, just because its my birthday tomorrow, August 7th, Cookhams fabulous Shirtlifters are playing The Bourne End Community Centre for Centre Jazz. 8.30 start, entry by raffle ticket (£4?), which will also get you a light supper.

Wednesday 8th August at Thame Snooker Hall, in a concert jazz performance you will find that great modern jazz saxophonist Peter King, entry price £10. For more details visit

Thursday, at Hedsors now famous Social Club (did you see the wonderful spread we got last week in the Maidenhead Advertiser) is another great jazz saxophonist, and educator, Peter Cook, alongside the ever regular Clive Burton Quintet. Entry £3, exit only by raffle ticket! Start time 8.30pm.

It was indeed very rewarding to see so many people turn out for last weeks session at Hedsor with rising star Simon Spillett, and all who came will know the tremendous session that we had (with Tim Best replacing our regular Zane Cronje who was brave enough to take a holiday in Scotland!). Simon was in storming form, and unbelievably, IS improving all the time. I don't know how he can be improved, but he seems too!

Sunday, at the Fifield Inn (with a start time of 8pm) the guest is one of Britain's legends. John Barnes, on saxophones, reeds, vocals and jokes. He has played with everyone of note (from The Zenith Six to Humph) and beyond. A great night out for all is assured, come early if you want a seat. Entry is free, but the landlord would like you more if you purchased some raffle tickets!

In line with the more traditional aspect of this weeks music (the Shirtlifters are a trad band if you were in any doubt), I have listened to two new albums from Lake records this week.

The First a CD entitle "featuring Archie Semple" has 9 of the 21 tracks were recorded in 1958 with a band that was really the Alex Welsh band, but with Colin Smith on trumpet instead. So you also have the joy of hearing Fred Hunt and Roy Crimmins again. All of the tracks that came out in some form or other on the 77 Records label organised by Doug Dobell. They really swing along, and have made me realise that when Alex changed over to a line up that included Roy Williams and John Barnes, he was already used to playing in a more mainstream style. Some of the remaining tracks include Beryl Bryden, Britain's popular female jazz singer of the time, and almost forgotten now, there are some tracks that feature the trumpet and voice of Nat Gonella. Archie is of course well to the for, with his breathy Pee Wee sounding clarinet. It was a real shame that we lost him to alcohol so soon in his life.

The Second CD really took me back (and my breath away!). "That Patterson Girl" has most of the tracks Ottile Patterson performed with the Chris Barber Band between 1955 and 1963. Various line ups, but all of the tracks from the first issue on the Nixa Jazz Today label are included. I couldn't bring myself to realise that I had first heard her over 50 years ago. The band in the photos all look so young (they were) and thin (they were, and in those days so was I!). It bought time travel to my front room as I was swept back to those early days of British Traditional Jazz. There are included with this compilation one or two previously unissued takes of previously issued songs, and it is well worth you going out and buying the thing!!

Both are Lake Records releases, Archie Semple is LACD240, and Ottilie is LACD224. If you would like more information about Lake Records look at

Well that's it from me folks,


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Another of Geoff’s Gentle Reminders

To let you all know that Max Britain is our guest at Hedsor tonight, alongside intrepid mariner (and trombone player) Clive Burton and his landlubber friends. As usual proceedings start at 8.30pm; we will ask £3 of you to get in and probably a raffle ticket purchase for you to get out.

Sunday at Fifield the guest will be Pete Towndrow on trumpet and flugelhorn.

BBC Rising Star, Simon Spillett

A little advanced warning for all you modern jazz sax fans, on August 2nd we have BBC Rising Star award winner Simon Spillett with us at Hedsor, and on August 8th at The Thame Snooker Hall Peter King will be playing. See the attached file for more info.
"Wed 8th August 07 Concert Jazz Presents – The Peter King Trio – Concert Jazz Club, - Excellent Venue and BarsSt Andrews Court,Wellington St.
Thame, OX9 3WTUK World Class Sax Supremo - Featuring:-Peter - Alto Saxophone - Keith Michael - Drums Nick Kacal - Bass." For even more detailed info go to :-
I think it would be dangerous to my health to attend any jazz on that night, as it will be my 48th wedding anniversary!!

And as I know the rain is wetting all bar your musical appetites, on August 23rd, that wonderful young Greek saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulis is joining Clive’s team at Hedsor for an evenings.

I hope to see many of you there tonight, remember that the Hedsor Road is only accessible from the Cliveden side, diversion signs are in place, but careful navigation is still required. The River by the way hasn’t yet burst its banks, so you should be able to get there without any trouble.


Geoff Cronin

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Swanage Jazz festival Part 4

So, we have survived the shipwreck (in my case by going no where near the ship!), been disappointed occasionally with music and food (but not the beer!), and we eventually come to SUNDAY MORNING (another good tune).

And for me the best session of the weekend. Bruce Adams-Alan Barnes Quintet in Marquee 2. Never was an hour and 20 minutes lost so quickly! How do they do it so well after a night before (they both did appear to be on pints of water!). Wonderful ensemble playing, tied together by an invisible umbilical cord, the music and the common understanding was as one. Again, at this distance I think it was Dave Newton on piano, not John Donaldson as in the program, but the overall effect was just stunning, and my memory isn’t!

After that it just had to be sausages and chips!! Followed by a short listen to Robert Fowler, Karen Sharp and Lennart Anderson. Good, but anticlimactic after the morning session.

I then trekked to Marquee 3, and was rewarded by a lovely set from Anita Wardell, who was definitely accompanied by Robin Aspland. I am very pleased to see that she is getting a little more appreciation from the critics (and the punters), because she is a fine singer, creating a good rapport with her audience, and with her accompanying musicians. I first saw her at Swanage about 10 years ago, and she was desperately trying to sell her CD outside the Victoria Club in the dark, during an Alan Barnes Set. I didn’t take pity, but I did by her cd, and have never regretted it. A class act.

Another lovely dinner with my friends from Staffordshire was a fitting interlude before the closing session with Lianne Carrol. A great singer and entertainer, summoning up magic with voice and piano. Also on her bill was BBC Award winner singer Ian Shaw. I personally find his style a bit difficult to swallow, but there you go, we cant all like the same things.

Which is what makes The Swanage Jazz Festival a great event. A mix of musical styles, set in a wonderful landscape, with alternative things to do if you get tired of the jazz (like going on a steam train!).

One last memory of this years festival. As always, it is a great place to meet (and drink) with friends from different parts of the country. One friend, listening with me during the Lianne Carrol set, become aware of his thirst at about the same time as the bar ran out of beer!! BUT, the trad tent next door still had some, so this brave soul offered to buy me, another friend, and himself, a drink from next door. So, out into the dark the intrepid jazz fan went, retuning a few minutes later with 2 pints of the brown foaming stuff. “Where’s yours” we both ask. “I’ve got to go back for mine, I didn’t want to risk carrying 3 pints in the dark!” What a hero.

One last last thought. On Monday I took another stroll along the pier. Many of you will know that this Victorian pier has been refurbished and restored in the last few years and funds have been raised by people sponsoring a plank on the pier itself. Complete with brass plaque, it’s offered for a donation of £40. On Monday a mature gentleman was busy putting new plaques into place. I told him that he appeared to have a job for life, and he agreed that the task would see him out. He not only puts them into place, he engraves them all himself, AND he has routed out the recesses for the plates to go in. In all so far he has done 60,000!! Think about that the next time you walk his planks!


Don’t forget to support live jazz locally, because we all need to keep the music alive.

Geoff Cronin


Friday, July 20, 2007

The Swanage Jazz Festival Part 3

Having eventually digested lunch my next musical experience was to hear an hour of Andy Coopers Top Eight. Some of you will remember that Andy was the clarinet player with Kenny Ball’s Jazzmen, and is famous for his rendition of “I wanna be like you” otherwise known as “I’m the King of the Jungle”. The Top Eight were really some very good mainstream musicians, including John Barnes (soon to be a guest of ours again at Fifield) with Ian Bateman on trombone, and Enrico Tomasso on trumpet. An excellent band. My only disappointment with this set was that I only got an hour of it!

Next was a quick look at Carol Sudhalter again, this time with Greg Abate on alto.
Then it was time for proper food!! One of the wonderful things about this years jazz festival for me was that the nurse who looked after me when I collapsed at the festival 6 years ago, came down from Staffordshire with her husband to be with me again this year, and I had a couple of very enjoyable meals with them both. This one was the steak!!

That evening I saw singer Liz Fletcher with Dave Newton on piano (I think, it might have been Robin Aspland, my memory isn’t up to scratch on that, because I did see both pianists over the weekend), but again, I felt disappointed by the event. I thought she wasn’t at her best.

The main event of my evening was to add moral support to Mike Wills, who was playing in a 2 reed led band, with guitarist Dave Moorwood called “Dave Moorwood’s Rascals of Rhythm”. The initial set was ruined by disastrous sound balance, the middle set was better, and the audience reappeared (they had voted with their feet!), and the final set was very entertaining. In amongst the rascals was a large American lady singer named Susan Valliant Spear (surely a name made up from out of a war game). Said lady was definitely a hit. She made three appearances, and each time in a different glam dress. Definitely one cast in a Sophie Tucker mould, she really did add a large dollop of glamour to the evening. My favourite comment about her came from her own lips. Just appearing in a glittering red dress, with all the trimming brought a great cheer from the crowd, whereupon she said, “Well if you cant hide it, flaunt it!” And so she did! Mike, as usual, was the star player, and I am really looking forward to getting him back with us towards the end of August.

And so to bed, to be refreshed for another day of wall to wall JAZZ. And you dear readers can get ready for part 4.


Geoff C

The Swanage Jazz Festival, Part 2

I put out the photos as part 1 of my blog, and as part 2 will also go as an email I have not added them here, so do go to

for the pictures.

The Music I Heard

My music started on Friday evening, but some of our number went on a boat ride round the bay in the afternoon, accompanied by Tim Eyles and His Gentlemen of Jazz, which included a well know trombone player (Clive Burton).

During this voyage, I stayed on dry land, BUT a friend sent me a text message, which I took to be a leg pull. It said, and I quote, “Big fright, the boat grounded on rocks near the needles (in fact Old Harry, Ed). Were off it now but very frightening and people panicked. We stayed near the lifeboats. Horrid for a while. Band playing again now.”

When next I met with my correspondent, I asked if the band then went on to play “The devil will drag you under by the silk lapels of your chequered coat, sit down, sit down……………..your rocking the boat”. Apparently they didn’t, but I now know what request to ask for next at Hedsor!

My first musical contact on Friday was at The Conservative Club, just to check for ½ hour that the Gentlemen of Jazz were safe, (if somewhat tired!) and then I went on to Marquee 3 for Rob Koral on guitar, with both Sue Hawker and Zoe Schwarz as vocalists. This was somewhat disappointing. Rob is a fine guitarist, and Zoe a good singer, but as a combo it didn’t work.

Next up in Marque 3 was The Alan Barnes Quartet with an American Tenor player Carol Sudhalter. This was an interesting set, as Alan was a far superior player, and although Carol was good, she didn’t really rise to the challenge. Someone staying in the same hotel as Carol has told me she did wonder why her agent had booked her to play with such amazing players. And Alan and his quartet are pretty amazing (John Donaldson on piano especially so). So a pretty good start to the festival, but not ground breaking (except for that boat!).


Cooked breakfast and conversation (“who did you see last night”!) over, and we have a traditional New Orleans parade around the town, led by Dave Brennan’s Heritage Jazz Band led by marshal Jeff Gilpin, complete with whistle and umbrella. A colourful and lively event, somewhat alien I feel for the UK, but everyone was having fun. Dave’s Drummer (Terry Kennedy) had been a founding member of Dave’s Jubilee Jazz Band (who played at various venues throughout the weekend) shone through (because he was by far the biggest bloke there, and he has the most amazing bald head). This weekend was his last appearance with Dave, as after 51 years of continuous service with the band he has called it a day, leaving his brother Mick still playing bass for them.

Then some more traditional jazz in Marquee 1 from The Budapest Ragtime Band. Initially impressive, playing straight off 2 rag tunes in very original pre jazz style, complete with violin. Musically they were very accomplished, and we all thought we were in for a treat. Then unfortunately they descended into vaudeville, putting on silly hats, and playing various operatic titles (including the William Tell Overture). All very slick, with great musicianship, but it wasn’t jazz. Even die hard trad fans were complaining!

I then jumped tent, and moved to a committee room (True, but a big one) in the Mowlem Centre and heard ½ hour of wonderful modern jazz that swung like mad and had us all clapping, from a young lady called Charlotte Glasson and her Quintet. She played reeds, and was accompanied by a young trombonist (very Gary Valente) a less young tuba player, and a guitarist, and a drummer. Look out for this young lady, I think she will go far. A great sound.

Following on at the same venue was Steve Kaldestad on tenor, with Colin Oxley on guitar, and with the added saxophone of Swedish tenor man Lennart Anderson. Again, a session full of promise, but somehow it didn’t gel for me. I am beginning to realise that we are very spoilt locally. The jazz we put on at Hedsor and Fifield is of a VERY high standard, and we have tended to take it all for granted.

After all the mornings exertion on my part, I took a break for fish and chips, and there for now I will leave you, digesting the fat. Another instalment will come your way very soon (as I found after the fish and chips)!


Geoff C

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What you can do with a broken building
Alan BArnes and Dave Newton
Anita Wardell
Susan Valliant Spear
Bruce Adams
Carol Sudhalter and Greg Abate
Our Very Own Mike Wills!
Andy Coopers Top Eight
A Rather Dejected Looking Carol Sudhalter
The Budapest Ragtime Band
Colin Oxley and Lennart Anderson
Zoe Schwarz
The Parade
The 2007 Swanage Jazz Festival

I intend to write 2 blog bits about the Swanage Jazz Festival, but this first one is really there to get the pictures up. I will write my appreciation of the music at a later time. But for now (as Lynn Garner will sing), I hope you enjoy the photos. Due to some quirk of the blog software, although they are nearly in time order, the oldest ones are at the bottom!!


Geoff C

Who must add to this initial revue my congratulations to Simon Spillet, who over the weekend gained the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards Rising Star award. Well done! At least the BBC got that right!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I have taken the unusual step of attaching a document of all the gigs run by Clive Burton for Hedsor and Fifield for all of July and most of August, together with potted (or even potty) thumbnails of the guest musicians involved.

I have done this for 2 reasons. The first is that you may like to print it off and pin it up to visibly remind you of the events so you can encourage yourselves to turn out! We do need your support! (If you would like to be sent a pdf file of the document for better/larger printing, contact me by

The Second reason is that you might like to print it off and show it to some of your friends. It will help you to prove to them that we are putting on class acts at these gigs, and you could persuad THEM to turn out! Hedsor is in fact a bit of a phenomena, it is one of the smallest clubs in the UK, but with a fan base of Musicians who want to come and play there.

Especially exciting is the fact that we have persuaded Vasilis Xenopoulos to become one of them! Anyone who heard him on my first Monday guitar jazz night will need no second prompting to come on August 23rd, and you will be encouraged to know that he will also be turning out again on Monday September 17th with James Fenn, and a band that might well now be called after their CD "The Bureau of Missing Persons".

So, I wont rabbit on anymore this week. I'll see you at a gig near me soon!


Geoff C

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hi everybody,

I've just recieved the email, reproduced below, from Simon Spillett. I just thought we all might like to know of his good news.

And of course its good news for us, because this star will be appearing for us again very soon.


Geoff C

Hi Geoff,

I will be the guest at HSC on July 5th and Fifield on July 8th.

Further news:

The BBC Jazz Awards concert will take place at the Mermaid Theatre in London on Thursday July 12th.

I will be playing an arrangement (from the repertoire of the Tubby Hayes big band) with the BBC Big Band.

The concert will be broadcast in its entirety on BBC Radio 2 on Monday July 16th.

I have a busy July coming up, with the Wigan Jazz Festival, the Birmingham International Jazz Festival and the Woodville Records Festival at the Pizza Express in Dean Street, Soho.

I will also be working with one of my heroes, Danny Moss, on Danny's forthcoming UK tour.

My CD ("Introducing Simon Spillett") has now sold out! We're planning a limited run repress and I am recording a new album shortly featuring previously unrecorded music by Tubby Hayes.

Finally, I have some autumn concerts with my new band, featuring Vic Ash, Tommy Whittle and/or Bobby Wellins.



P.S. I've just finished two nights at Ronnie Scott's too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hi Fans,

Not a lot I can say about who's playing this week, as I haven't caught up with Maestro Clive to find out who he has booked for our delectation on either this coming Thursday at Hedsor, or this coming Sunday at Fifield. You will see that I have included an attachment giving details of local jazz events that are regular venues, and if you find yourself in dire need of the lovely live music, just scan the page and choose where and when to go out. ALL of the music verges on the great, non is dross, so do yourselves a favour, and get some live jazz in your ears whilst you may.


Yes, it may surprise you, but I do occasionally find time to read a BOOK. And this week I have been reading John Chilterns latest book, "Hot Jazz, Warm Feet", which was published in April this year. Eminently readable, it charts his own history through the world of jazz, from before Melly to After! It is a very good read, informative and amusing and somewhat nostalgic for me, as he was born in London, evacuated during the war, returned to London during the war, and went to many of the London Jazz venues at about the same time as I did!

CD Listen

This week has a distinct link to the aforesaid book, in as much as John Chiltern played trumpet with Wally Fawkes both before and after his long years with George Melly and the Feetwarmers. "The Wally Fawkes Collection" is an excellent compilation of 3 of Wally's albums recorded in the 1980's on the Stomp Off label, and now gloriously reissued on the Lake label onto 2 CD's.

It has Wally as all who heard him in the Humph band of the 50's will remember him. Richly reedy! And I had forgotten how good a clarinet player Ian Christie was as well (he appears on some of the tracks). Ian also played with Humph in the early 50's, and from these 1980 recordings you would never think he had given up professional clarinting for film reviewing (for the Daily Express). Wally and Ian hadn't played together for 25 years when these recordings were made, and they come up fresher than paint. Also on the collection are some sides made with trumpeter Ben Cohen, and I hadn't heard him since some very early Chris Barber recordings. His tone and style surprised me, and I had to look up who he was. Excellent stuff. So to update your recollections of British Jazz of the 1950's (and 80's if you heard these tracks first time around) you must go out and buy the double album. Lake LACD 207

That's it from me folks, don't forget you can always get the CD (and in this case the book) artwork from the blog!


Geoff C

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Our evening of guitar jazz yesterday was a wonderful example of the variety, the different aspects, of the jazz guitar that I was aiming at presenting. Chris Flegg is a great entertainer. His jokes with and links to a too thin audience were just right, and he played a number of different guitar styles from Wes Montgomery to Django, via the blues and a bit of Les Paul thrown in. He also sang very well, including "Buddy Can You Spare a Dime" and "Route 66". He also enjoyed it enough to want to come back.

We also had a keen "sitter in" during the interval, another Ken, who was also very entertaining.

We have the venue. We have quality musicians who love to play there, BUT WE DO NEED MORE AUDIENCE! Live jazz is in your hands, don't let it fall. That goes for Thursdays at Hedsor just as much as my new Monday venture. This Thursday the guest will be saxophonist Pete Cook, who was one of Vasilis Xenopoulos's tutors!

One final guitar note!

Do read the attachment, don't skip it, and do try and support the event.

OK, so it was another nag after all!!

Geoff C

tell your friends.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A JPEG image of the PDF file refered to below

The Wes Montgomery Album refered to in "CD"

Some Jazz Reminders from Geoff!

I've rather been out of the running this last 3 weeks, so I really don't know who our guests will be on either Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club OR Sunday at The Fifield Inn, but the quality is always high, and the value great.

Next Monday at The Hedsor Social Club we have another super evening of guitar led jazz, this time its from guitarist Chris Flegg, who will be accompanied by Ken Rankine on Bass, and Terry Parsons on Drums. This is chamber jazz at its very best, do come along and enjoy it, for the VERY reasonable sum of £5. All of the money collected at the door goes to the musicians, and they wont get rich from it, but you will enjoy a really rich musical experience. Monday 18th June, 8.30 pm.


On Monday September 17th we are having a return visit by guitarist James Fenn, and again he will be accompanied by Vasilis Xenopoulos on sax, Lisa Amato on bass guitar and Chris Nicholls on drums.Those who came last time were truly knocked out by the music. I have never seen so many Cheshire Cat smiles on punters faces as that night.So, if you WERE there, you know you wont want to miss it, and if you weren't there, you really don't want to miss it again. I've attached a poster about this gig (in .PDF format), so if you can put it up somewhere where others can see it, please print it off and pin it up.


Whilst on guitarists, my memorable CD listen this week has been the reissue of Wes Montgomery's album "Full House". It's been reissued and remastered in 24 bit stereo by the original producer Orin Keepnews. Its on Riverside 0888072301290 (yes, I know it looks like a Microsoft encryption key), and Riverside are part of the Concord Music Group. Recorded and issued originally in 1962, it still sounds fresh and hasn't dated in any way. With Wes were Johnny Griffin on tenor sax, Wynton Kelly piano, Paul Chambers bass and Jimmy Cobb on Drums. Some of the tracks have alternative takes that haven't been issued before, and it was all recorded live (as the saying goes, but otherwise it would be a very quiet CD) at a coffee house called Tsubo in Berkeley, California, (which incidentally is where Vasilis Xenopoulos gained his MMus). Its about 80 minutes of superb guitar led bop, and should be in everyone's collection, so there!

Well, its so there from me for a bit, I hope to be at Hedsor this week to catch up with the live stuff, so I hopefully will see you there!!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This time, not a jazz nag extra, but a jazz nag reduction!!

Sorry to say chaps, but guitarist Peter O'Brian is really too busy to come and see us on Thursday.

I'm sure our lucky dip selection will still be a prize-winner!

Geoff C

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NOT the house I was staying in!

Guitarist Peter O'Brian "in concert"

All that Jazz from Geoff, back again after a week in tropical Gloucestershire (well the rain was tropical!).

And briefly to remind you of two Jazz gigs, connected by a guitar.

Firstly comes our regular weekly meeting at The Hedsor Social Club, and this weeks guest alongside trombone maestro Clive Burton, is a wonderful guitarist whom we haven't had the privilege of hearing for some time. Peter O'Brian earns his living from the world of rock guitar, but he is a supreme exponent of jazz guitar as well, and we featured him as our guest at a concert some 3 years ago. He has been very busy, and we are really lucky to get him back to play for us this week. Don't miss it, he really is very, very, good. A year or so ago, at Hedsor he played alongside Simon Spillett. Neither had come across the other before, and I remember Simon saying that he had "played with many guitarists who thought they were Eric Clapton, well, this man really could be!!" So, that's THIS THURSDAY 7th June (D DAY plus One) at 8.30 pm. Usual restrictions apply, pay at the door to get in (£3) buy a raffle ticket to get out.

The other guitarist we are looking forward to listening to at Hedsor is Chris Flegg. He hasn't been seen at Hedsor before, but will be there as part of my little series on the different aspects of the jazz guitar. Chris himself can play a number of those aspects all by himself. I was most impressed with him alongside some of the Gypsy Jazz fraternity from Club Django at the Cookham Festival's jazz concert, and he will be with us on June 18th from 8.30pm. With him will be the familiar face of Ken Rankine. Ken, as we all know, plays an upright bass, but in the past he has played the electric sort, and in a boy pop band too. Ask him about it. He was often on the "Radio" when it was called that! Entry fee for this extravaganza is £5, with all of the take going to the musicians, so do come along and give them your support. Its an intimate room, the bar at Hedsor, and ideal for this small group, almost chamber, form of jazz.

Sunday this week I shall probably be back in Glouctershire, but back at Fifield will be saxophonist John Rolls. Free entry, but please buy some raffle tickets.

Coming back to us at Hedsor on September 17th as part of my guitar jazz adventure, will be James Fenn, with the same group of musicians who thrilled all who came to see them on my first jazz guitar night. These are Vasilis Xenopoulis on saxophones, a really outstanding young player with a MMus from Berklee College of Music in California, Chris Nickolls on drums, and Lisa Amato on bass guitar. Don't miss it, they were jaw droppingly good last time, and they hadn't played together before!! This will be the second time, do come and persuade them that they need to make it a regular band.

Whilst on all things Hedsor, Jeff, the barman does sometimes prepare some filled bread rolls for consumption. If you think you could use one or more on any given jazz night, it might be a good idea to let him know in advance (tel:01628 521921).

I haven't listened to any new commercial recordings this past week, but I have heard 2 that James Fenn has been involved in. First was the one he sold on his first guitar night gig with us, doing some of the music he performed with Vasilis X. Its called "The Bureau of Missing Persons", and includes Lisa on bass, and David O'Higgins in place of said Xenopoulis. Do come and ask him for a copy in September.

The other CD, was definitely a non commercial venture. Recorded before an audience, therefore live!! in May 2006, its a kind of updated trad ramble, that the leader of the ensemble, saxophonist and singer Johhny Boston, called an Evening Odyssey. The cast does include Alan Barnes, so it isn't too traditional, but it is fun, and if you plead with James, he may copy one for you. It will of course come in a plain brown envelope to protect the innocent.

That is it from me for now. I have rambled, and I've gambled, but I'm sure it will be the whiskey that cuts me down!

Geoff C