Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First, just a few lines 

to assure you that Hedsor Jazz WILL be, as usual, on Thursday, at the Hedsor Social Club, with the Clive Burton Quintet.

This week is as usual, but coming in the next 2 weeks we have some blistering sessions!

Next Thursday, October 23rd , we have Britain’s Top Tenor player, Simon Spillett as our guest. He has again been nominated in the 2014 British Jazz Awards, so to vote please visit

AND for your HALLOWEEN experience on October 30th (OK a day early) we have tenor saxophonist Tracey Mendham. She is a wonderful tenor player, and for such a date, a real HOOT!!

Enough frivolity. Both sessions will start at 8.30pm and will only cost you £6 to get in. Free car parking, Rebellion beer, what more could you want? Well, WE want YOUR COMPANY!!

CD’s heard this week.

First up one that fitted in well to a more quiet evenings listening is one called “The London Sessions” by The Tony Barnard Trio. Tony is one of the legendary Australian Jazz Barnards, a third generation Australian musician (his grandfather ran a dance band in the 1920’s, his father Bob is a renowned jazz trumpeter still going strong in his 80’s). This CD is NOT a new relaease (recorded in 1997), but you can probably still find it online (Wave Recordings WAVE 33). It is a very enjoyable listen. Tony is not the only famous name in the trio, as the bass player is Peter Ind and the “other” guitarist is none other than Jim Mullen. Dare I say they “mull” their way through some great tunes (with Jim Mullen on your left!), including “Ornithology”, “St. Thomas” and Charlie Shaver’s “Undecided”. Well worth looking out for if you like guitar jazz.

The second one found this week is a quartet led by Tim Whitehead recorded in 2005 also in London. Tim on tenor sax leads a group of guys I don’t know, and looking at their names I guess they are from the continent. Giovanni Mirabassi on piano, Milo Fell on drums and Oli Hayhurst on bass. It’s great modern bop. Nothing too outlandish or disjointed. Together they swing and individually they solo very nicely.
Tunes include “They Don’t Know What Love Is”, John Lenon’s “Imagine” and my favourite “Ladies in Mercedies”, 9 tunes in all. It’s on the HomeMade Record label HMR 050 and is entitled “Lucky Boys”!

That’s it from me for now, don’t forget to cast your votes in The British Jazz Awards, and even more importantly for the future of jazz COME OUT AND SEE IT SOMETIMES!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

It’s THAT time of week again when I start to think of my blog, and what to write.

This week at Hedsor we will have the normal sized Clive Burton Quintet, with no additions or subtractions in numbers. Normal except that we will have a guest bass player as Ken Rankine is still in Malta and I don't know who has been booked!

It was good to hear one of the Quintet’s old book played for me last week. It is some time since Matt Wates “Stargazer” was played, and although a little rusty (Nigel Fox wasn’t a member of the band when I think it was last played and our guest bass player Steve Pickings hadn’t heard of it) I think the band coped admirably, it was very nice to hear it again. Perhaps we can prevail upon Clive for some more of the older arrangements to be dragged out again.

For those of you who haven't been to Hedsor since it was last played, it is now just £6 to get in, (which includes a raffle ticket) and our music still starts at 8.30pm. All of the music is now played in the Big Room, and we could do with you all coming back to see what that's like!!

Having got the weekly need to say we are still at The Hedsor Social Club, this week I am going to concentrate on my review of Gill Cook’s new CD.

“Morning with You”

After a gap of 7 years since her CD “Something Cool”, it is a delight to be able to write up her latest CD. And, yes, even this release is slightly later than expected (perhaps a ploy to heighten ones expectations?).

Those of you who have listened to her “live” over the intervening years, either at the Ealing Jazz Festival or in a club like Hedsor, will know that she is an accomplished performer, and this is instantly recognisable in her new CD.

The choice of material is a little less “Song Book” than many singers would choose. The songs are from a much wider musical path than many would have risked. Those titles that you have heard other singers perform are given a Gill twist. The openers “Sunday in New York” and “Black Coffee” are performed in such a way as to make you hear the words as though for the first time, you are made to think about their meaning all over again.

The musicians she has chosen to collaborate with on this release (Nick Tomalin Piano, Dominic Howles Bass, and Matt Fishwick Drums) provide a very easy light and lilting accompaniment, and they are enhanced on alternate tracks by trumpet star Steve Waterman who was, like Nick, also on the earlier CD. Steve plays some excellent licks at all the right times! You can see why he is so highly rated.

The first non-standard jazz tune to be sung is Carol King’s “Stand Behind Me”. OK you might have found this one before but I wonder how many jazz fans or singers would find material like Prefab Sprout’s “When Love Breaks Down”.

So a mixture of the unusual and the usual all performed with swing, skill and insight. It leads the listener into the unexpected and into finding music they might never have listened to before. The CD, our vehicle for the journey, has also been very well recorded at London’s “Red Gables Studio”.

Is there a negative side? Yes. It’s a shame that the last track (“If I Were a Bell”) ends in a fade. It had been tapping my feet nicely!

To start your 52 minute journey go find Mainstem Productions MSTCD0058.

Finally I’m just glad I have already booked Gill for Hedsor’s Christmas Party!

Geoff C

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

First Blog of a New Month. Oct 1st 2014

For the first Thursday of a new month we don’t have an extra guest or a front line replacement. But we DO have a fist class deputy as our bass player this week. Ken Rankine, our usual bassist (!?) is on his second away holiday of the season (Malta, where he has an advantage over most of us who have ever gone there in as much as he speaks Maltese) and in his place we have:-

STEVE PICKINGS. A fine bass player and overall hoot!!

who probably speaks Vout!

Last weeks Hedsor Virgin, guitarist Kevin Armstrong, was a fine addition to our “friends of” list. It took a few numbers for him to feel comfortable with “our” regular team, but he played some fine jazz guitar, especially in the last set after the raffle interval. 

Hedsor Jazz is blest in having such a wide choice of guest musicians that are pleased to come and play for us, and we appear to be particularly strong with guitarists. 

In the days of closing venues for jazz music to be played in, I am very proud that Hedsor has been able to provide a quality jazz venue every week for over 13 years. If YOU haven’t yet been there, either as a musician or as a fan, it is only £6 to get in, it is every  Thursday from 8.30 pm and it can be found at The Hedsor Social Club, SL8 5ES.