Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday 31st May 2011

Good Morning,

That was a bank holiday that was! And here we are back to our normal day time week time activities!

And I do hope that ONE of those activities will be listening to live jazz. Not only live jazz, but live jazz at The Hedsor Social Club (sing together in unison now!).

This coming Thursday at Hedsor Clive rejoins the band. He will be alongside singer Lynn Garner. It will be so nice to have her back in the small room atmosphere of the Hedsor Bar.

Now that much of the Quintet is fixed. Who else will be there, I am as yet unsure! Well, even poorly paid musicians do sometimes take a holiday!

I do hope however that YOU are back from your holiday break. Last week we were a bit thin on the ground, and, like I keep saying, unless we get bodies on chairs, we wont get bodies playing jazz!

That doesn’t only apply to Hedsor Jazz, but all musicians need support, and as jazz gets little support from the Media (mentioning no national broadcasting organisation in particular) most need to advertise as economically as possible.

You may have caught up with Vasilis Xenopoulos’s new web site, but if you havent bookmarked it yet, its www.vasilisx.com

It is a very good value site, with lots of links and music for you to listen to, so do go and have a look. It tells you where he is playing next, and contains a link to the recent Cookham Festival Concert. You can watch a 10 minute video clip of that concert if you dig into the site. Well worth doing. Not that I’m biased, I only booked him for it!

Last week we took a trip to The Thames valley Hospice in Windsor and handed over a cheque for £635, the proceeds from our tribute to Zane concert.

Many thanks to all who came and contributed to that sum. They were very grateful, and the picture above is of Margaret and Dee with a representative of the Hospice at the handover.

That’s it for now folks, see you all Thursday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It is nice to see that John Balsom of The Maidenhead Advertiser has picked up on Zane's SA TV tribute at the SAMA .

We were very fortunate in having Zane play for us for 10 years. As Lisa Amato said when Zane first played with Lisa and guitarist James Fenn, "We must keep a track of this guy, he knows all the cords"!

And as "The Usual Suspects" they did for some years play together at "The Old Bell" in Wooburn, until the landlord decided that conversation was better than the music!!

I remember James saying as we left the last gig at The Old Bell, "He doesn't know what he is turning away"!

Geoff C

A slight rearrangement of guests tonight at The Hedsor Social Club.

Lynn Garner is unable to be with us tonight, still being in France.

She will now be with us NEXT WEEK together with Clive Burton.

In her place, to keep John Coverdale company at the front, will be saxophonist Mark Aston.

Usual start time of 8.30 pm, usual entry fee of £5. I hope to see you there.

Geoff C

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another Tribute to Zane

Zane’s sister Lisa has just emailed me with the news that Zane was paid tribute to recently on SA TV. The following is from one of Zane’s cousins, still resident in SA

“I watched the SAMA awards on TV tonight and they had a roll of honor with the names of SA music greats who have passed on and there was ZANE CRONJE!! Well my tears flowed and Carol phoned me crying as well. It was just so wonderful to see and know that Zane is definitely honored and remembered for his amazing talent and contribution to South African music.”

Lynn Garner at the Tribute to Zane Night

Whilst blogging, let me remind you that this Thursday at Hedsor, we have that wonderful singer Lynn Garner, with the added bonus of guitarist John Coverdale. Clive is still “in service” so it will be a very intimate jazz evening this week. Tell your friends, no, just bring them!!

Nigel Fox and John Coverdale at the Tribute to Zane night

Geoff C

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Cookham Festival Jazz Night 20th May 2011

I listen to a lot of live jazz, I often write about it on “my” blog. I often seem to use words like “superb”, tremendous”, “great”. Most times, I feel these words to be true of the performance I have listened to. Last night, somehow none of these adjectives seemed at all appropriate. The quality of the music, and of the musicianship was totally superb and outstanding.

So, what, and who, did we hear?

Under the heading of “Vasilis Xenopoulos and His Xtet” I had been asked “What is an Xtet”?

Last night we found out.

From the back to the front all the musicians were world class players, who happen to try and make a living by playing jazz.

Drummer Matt Home is a regular with the house band at Ronnie Scott’s, and also with Matt Wates Sextet and the Nigel Price Trio.

Nigel Price was on guitar. His trio won the Parliamentary Award for Best Jazz Group in 2010.

Mark Rose on bass is a regular with both Vasilis and with singer Michael L Roberts bands.

Leon Greening was on keyboard. He is also a regular member of the prestigious Matt Wates Sextet.

Michael L Roberts, jazz tutor at Trinity Collage, is one of those unique people, a male jazz singer, who really does sing jazz.

And Vasilis. He is a master of music from Berkley Collage in Boston, the premier “university” for jazz musicians.

Individually they are remarkably talented. They came together as a group last night, and became one. An Xtet!

The music was modern jazz, today’s modern, with homage to past modern jazz tunes, but with a whole new perspective. It was Rocky, driving, with the complete band showing exceptional musicianship and cohesion. At times you honestly couldn’t tell which of the instruments were making the notes that others were including in their solo. And they were all equally great. Every solo was awe inspiring. Collectively, they were one of life’s “WOW” experiences.

It is a tribute to the appreciation that jazz now has in “The Cookhams” that the night was a sell-out. Matt Homes was surprised at how many people were there. He just didn’t expect that level of support. All the band enjoyed the evening, but did the audience?

All those great adjectives came back to me at the end of the evening from various members of the audience. “Extraordinary” was also added in to the collection. One lady was so full of joy at the end, that as the perceived organizer of the event she said I deserved a hug, which I dully got! Another of the audience said it was the best jazz gig they had ever been to. Someone said to me that the saxophone seemed to be an integral part of Vasilis, and not just an instrument to pick up or put down. He seemed permanently attached!

So, in my view it was a successful evening. People were smiling, which is the best tribute an evening of music can generate. Someone even said they would come again!

So Thank you Cookham Festival for letting me book the Xtet.

Geoff Cronin © 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simon Spillett with Clive Burton
Michael L Roberts with Vasilis
Stuart Henderson with Mike Jeffries on drums

Just a quick nag this morning (where does the time go to?), to say that TONIGHT (May 19th) at Hedsor we have a VERY special night of jazz.

There are 3 guests with the band tonight. Clive is still doing community service, so in his place we have that superb trumpet and flugel horn player Stuart Henderson. Accompanying him is saxophonist who star has truly risen(!!), Simon Spillett.

As Martin Hart is helping Clive with his service to the community, drummer Mike Jeffries will be in the middle of it all. On Keyboard Nigel Fox, on bass Ken Rankin. 8.30 pm start £5 entry.

Then tomorrow another superb night of jazz. For the Cookham Festival Jazz evening at Pinder Hall, we have Vasilis Xenopoulos, and his Xtet. That means, if you have yet to get a ticket, hurry up, it will sell out, there are really only a few left. Try ringing 01628 531178 (The Stationery Depot in Cookham) to see if any are left. If you do have one, what a treat we have coming up. With Vasilis will be singer Michael L Roberts, Nigel Price on guitar, Leon Greening on piano, Mark Rose on bass, and Matt Home on drums.

I dont know how we do it!! But from 8 pm on Friday night, we do!



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Painful though it must seem, having dwelt on the passing of a master musician for the past few weeks and months, we must now look to the future. Not just at Hedsor, where this weeks guest will be BBC Big Band trumpet star Paul Eshelby, but to other jazz events too.

Coming very soon, on Friday May 20th we have a tremendous jazz night lined up as part of The Cookham Festival. Just to increase everyone's awareness of this event, I have produced a simple poster, a jpeg file of which is above. If you haven't already received a PDF file of this by email from me, and would like to have a copy to let you print from it, email me at


with your email address and I will send you one.

Although the official box office is The Stationery Depot, for anyone coming to Hedsor, I do now have a few tickets to sell myself.

That week we have a cup overflowing with great jazz, because at Hedsor on Thursday 19th, we have with us yet again that wonderful saxophonist Simon Spillett.

Then the following week at The Marlow Jazz Club on Tuesday 24th, there will be another mouth watering event. Saxophonist Bobby Wellins, with John Critchinson on keyboard and, Andy Cleyndert on bass.

Inflation is set to go up to and beyond 5% this year, but at Hedsor, we have decided, after much debate, to fix our entry fee at its current level of £5. This has been the same for nearly 3 years now, and we feel that it would be better to concentrate on getting more audience than getting more money from the existing one. I hope that YOU will become one of the new, if you are not already one of the existing. Hedsor Jazz meets in The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30pm every Thursday. The bar, which now stocks Rebellion Beer, is open at 7pm.

It was very nice to meet 2 guys who read my blog at the Woodley Jazz event last Saturday. Maybe I'll see you all soon at a jazz event wherever it may be.

Geoff C, helping to keep live jazz ALIVE!

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Morning After the Night Before

Last night we held a concert at The Hedsor Social Club in memory of Zane Cronje, and to raise money for the Thames Valley Hospice, which I think is now called Thames Hospicecare.

It was a very pleasurable affair, and I'm sure Zane would have been delighted with the mix of music and musicians. It was great fun, and I have put with the blog some of the photos I took last night. I'm sure more will follow; John Slater was also taking pictures, as well as playing (at different times!), trumpet and keyboard.

Our stated aim was also reached, we will soon be able to pay over to TVH £600 directly raised from last nights concert.

Can I take this opportunity of thanking all the musicians who came and took part and all the musicians who simply came to be in the audience, including the Estonian Ambassador (!) Also a big “thank you” to all the fans who came and supported in memory of Zane. It was wonderful to have Margie back at Hedsor again, with members of her family. It must have been very hard for her, she would have been missing a pianist. But she is a brave lady, and I did notice that she had a smile on her face by the end of the concert.

We have all lost friends and family to cancer. What you have all done by supporting last nights event is to add a little comfort and support to those who are going through the dreadful final process of the disease.

More later, but for now….Thank you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Hi Folks,

Just an update on tomorrow night's Tribute to Zane Cronje at The Hedsor Social Club.

In addition to the guest musicians I mentioned the other day, we have now 3 more who will be coming to pay tribute, and to entertain.

Saxophonists Mark Aston, and Stuart Henderson's Russian friend "Tolly" will be with us, and I am delighted to say that singer Lynn Garner will also be with us for tomorrow night.

Also coming to be in the audience for the first time since Zane's benefit Night will be Margaret, and one or two other members of Zane's family.

Dont forget we are in the big room, it will start at 8pm, and it will cost you £10 to get in. All our profit from the evening will be going to the Thames Valley Hospice in memory of Zane, who spent his last few weeks in the Windsor branch.

Let's make it an amazing turnout.

Geoff C

Monday, May 02, 2011


Another Monday, but this time, fortunately, a Bank Holiday. Not that bankers cant afford to take the odd holiday of course, but at least, the rest of us are given a holiday today by a grateful government!

More importantly perhaps is that this is a Monday that follows the Thursday where we said farewell to Zane Cronje.

I’m pleased to say that a lot of you did, which shows the respect so many of us had for Zane. In the days and weeks to come I’m sure we will all carry on sharing our recollections of Zane, and it will be a specially difficult time for his family. It was really nice to meet some of them at his funeral. The crematorium ceremony was a fitting tribute to such a renowned musician, and Don Wrights alto solo was particularly moving and must have been very difficult for him to perform. Emotion is an entirely understandable thing at times like this, and Don performed perfectly.

Don Wright Playing at Hedsor earlier this year

The gathering afterwards at The Fifield Inn was another point of nostalgia. Century Jazz played there for many years, Keith Vitty’s wake was carried out there, and Zane played with Century Jazz AKA The Clive Burton Quintet for around 10 years there too. However, it was a joyful experience, music was played, and many conversations took place. We really ought to be able to have funeral wakes without the funeral, to have a joyful excuse to gather on an afternoon, play music and chat, and share our very humanity with each other.

Sketch of Zane by Keith Wilkins

Maybe we will have an opportunity to do something like that on Thursday evening this week. May 5th, apart from giving you all the opportunity to say “yes” or “no” over AV, gives us all another opportunity to pay tribute to Zane. At Hedsor from 8 pm onwards (note the time, we are in the big room!), we are having a special gathering of musicians and friends to play a tribute for Zane. Please come along. The Clive Burton Quintet will provide the basis of the band, but all who played with Zane are welcome to come and have a blow.

We will be charging £10 to get you in. We do have to pay to rent the room, but more importantly, all the profit from the event will go to the Thames Valley Hospice. I don’t know who will be able to come and play. I do know that Simon Spillett (who played so well at the wake last Thursday) and Tracey Mendham are both playing at a charity concert to raise money for the Japanese Emergency, so will be unable to be there, but Stuart Henderson will, and so will John Coverdale and John Slater, but I anticipate many more.

Just a reminder and a notice. Vasilis will be playing at The Woodley Theatre this coming Saturday with the Martin Hart Quartet, and on Friday May 20th Vasilis and His Xtet together with guitarist Nigel Price and singer Michael L. Roberts are playing the jazz night for the Cookham Festival. Tickets for this are available from the Stationery Depot in Cookham 01628 531178

Next Thursday, May 12th at Hedsor we have as our guest BBC Big Band trumpet star Paul Eshelby. We will be back to our usual entry charge of £5 for this.

So, after a week of holidays and of sadness, we will all be getting back to a new norm. Life goes on, and evolves. I hope for Hedsor Jazz YOU will be part of its evolution.