Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Few Lines of Blog.

to make sure you know that our next Hedsor Jazz is January 5th 2017. I think this will be at our normal start time of 8.30pm and will probably have what passes for our normal resident band!! It WONT have food!

January 5th gives you enough time to walk off the Christmas filling (!) and perhaps the New Year hangover as well!!

I do hope you all enjoyed our Christmas party on December 22nd. I thought it was all absolutely splendid, AND the room was wonderfully full of all you people supporting live jazz. If you want to see all the pictures I took of the evening, and maybe listen again to the music, click on the link below to my DropBox folder.

It was a real delight to hear Roy Williams again. Back in the day of jazz at Maidenheads “The Bell” pub, (the 1970’s) he was a frequent visitor with the great Alex Welsh band. He then went on to join the Humphrey Lyttleton’s band, and again played alongside John Barnes. John was a bit like our own Mike Wills, a player of many reed instruments including baritone sax. Mike used to live within walking distance of John’s home and they were friends. It was John Barnes playing that inspired “our Mike” to start on the saxophone. To see Roy and Mike recreating some of Roy and John’s duet moments was very poignant. But that’s jazz!


Until 2017 I wish you all a happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Now and again life doesn't seem fair! 

I know we all have had this experience. So, what do you want just after a bad health year? Well, a bad head cold week of course!! Add to that a bloggers PC that throws a hard drive wobbly, and you really are down Moan Street! 

That has been my experience since last Friday. So, just a short blog today to remind you all that despite myriad problems, jazz is ALWAYS every Thursday at the Hedsor Social Club!!

This week we have another chance to hear Ken McCarthy on keyboard. He was with us last week for an excellent session with Duncan Lamont jnr, and he will be back to play with a returning Mike Wills, our regular reed section, together with Martin Hart, John Monney and of course Clive Burton!

So good was last week in fact that I wiped out my old mobile phone (well it was "smart" in 2011!) and recorded a lot of the excellent music that was reaching my ears. YOU can have a listen too by going to my DropBox link:-


(Copy and past this into your browser).

Both music and a CD sleeve should be available for you to download.

Tomorrow, Thursday 15th, will be your last chance to pre-purchase a ticket for our Christmas Party on December 22nd. Our guests include trombone master Roy Williams, and Barbadian singer Judy Vaughn. Some tickets will be available on the night, but why leave it to chance? Previous special evenings HAVE sold out, and we have had to turn people away at the door.

I hope to see you all at Hedsor tomorrow,


Geoff C

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Hedsor Jazz

Sometimes it is easy to write about jazz, and Hedsor Jazz in particular. I still believe that it is a unique place, especially for a local jazz club. Every month, every Thursday, we have the ability to come and listen, in reasonable comfort, despite the chairs, to jazz of a very high quality.

We can come by car, and park for free, or by train, as we are only a short walk from Bourne End Station. We can hear good jazz played by good musicians. And for this we pay the very good price of only £7.

We get excellent guests to bring us a variety of sound. They very often come and play for less than their fare home. They come because they want to come. The quality of our regular band, the warmth of our membership, your warmth and welcome, encourage them to want to be with us at Hedsor Jazz.

I have been writing about who is on, and encouraging you to keep live jazz alive, for a dozen years. And yet sometimes it is difficult to do. This year has been a difficult one for me. I know I am not alone, but sometimes life plays you a bad hand, and this year for me has been one of those years. My own health issues, and the passing of friends, has become a darker issue than sometimes can be shrugged way. Last night, just as I was about to sit down and write this blog I had a phone call from a mobile phone number I didn’t recognise. My immediate reaction was that I didn’t want to talk to another double glazing salesman, especially as I was just starting on my eggs and bacon.

The phone call was to tell me that another close friend had died that morning of a heart attack.

And so this mornings writing is more reflective than usual.

The objective of my evening was now changed. I had others to tell. When I had done this I sat and listened to one of my favourite CDs.

A wonderful recording, a wonderful reflective and contemplative use of words. The singer Catherine Legardh with the pianist Brian Kellock and the CD “Love Still Wears a Smile”. I have mentioned it in this blog before, it was issued by Storyville Records in 2013. It was just right for me.

I followed it for a partial listen to another CD with Brian Kellock, this time with saxophonist Tommy Smith, called "Whispering of the Stars”. If you look at the sleeve reproduction you may see that there is a ballad medley. In 8 minutes they play 11 tunes, and the changes are very cleverly conceived. Some of the tunes would have been better presented in a more complete fashion, but one has to admire the concept!

On the cover of this album are the words to the opening tune “You Must Believe in Spring”. Sometime we don’t take on board the lyrics to popular songs. In jazz, we often don’t get to hear the words at all. But I though the words did just sum up by contemplation, and so I am going to reproduce them below

When lonely feelings chill
The meadows of your mind
Just think if winter comes
Can spring be far behind?

Beneath the deepest snows
The secret of a rose
Is merely that it knows
You must believe in spring

Just as a tree is sure
Its leaves will reappear
It knows its emptiness
Is just the time of year

The frozen mountain dreams
Of April's melting streams
How crystal clear it seems
You must believe in spring

You must believe in love
And trust it's on its way
Just as the sleeping rose
Awaits the kiss of May

So in a world of snow
Of things that come and go
Where what you think you know
You can't be certain of
You must believe in spring and love.

There is hope, life goes on, not always in the same way, but Spring does always follow Winter.

Tomorrow night at Hedsor music will be played, we will chat with friends and be taken away from our day of good or bad, into toe tapping and good company.

To help us on our way tomorrow we have some of our regular Quintet. Clive will play the trombone, Martin will play the drums, John Monney will play the stick (sorry) bass!! But to help it all along we will have Ken McCarthy on keyboard, and Duncan Lamont junior on tenor sax.

So, if your feeling ever so slightly down, come along tomorrow for some Hedsor Jazz therapy!!

Geoff C

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another short blog today

Always trying to fit life around the writing does mean that just sometimes what I write does sometimes become "compact"!

This week at Hedsor Jazz I understand that we welcome back from the far East, our wonderful sax section Mike Wills. 

Over the past 3 weeks during Mike absence we have been entertained by 3 wonderful guests, sadly sometimes without the quintet leader himself, who has suffered a nasty cold/flu like bug. However this week, he will be back!

Also this week, I too will be back! I'm very sorry to have been forced to miss Max Brittain, but unfortunately an infection of a different kind kept me away.

So this week will be something to savour!

Last Sunday many of us payed tribute to Ken Rankine at Cores End Church. The event, sad though its cause, was well attended, and was filled with, as promised, words and music, and also with laughter. If any of you would like to hear the content of the event, I have posted my recording of it on my DropBox account:-

The sound does go up and down a bit, but it is ALL there. Do feel free to download and listen.

Hopefully we can all now put sadness and illness behind us and look forward to Christmas (well I still do, but I may still be that small child inside really). Our Christmas Party at Hedsor is on December 22nd, with at least 2 special gusts so far, trombone star Roy Williams, and Barbadian singer Judy Vaughn.

For now then it's TTFN.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sorry for this late posting, but life does sometimes get in the way of Hedsor Jazz!

BUT Hedsor Jazz this week will again be without our regular sax section, Mike Wills still being away. However we do have the services of trumpet and flugel horn player Lester Brown.

Clive is still having a problem getting over his cold flu-like bug but is still hoping to be with us tomorrow for a double brass front line!

I must praise last weeks guest Simon Spillett. He performed an excellent job for us, especially as he had to occupy the front line all on his own, Clive being unwell. It gave us an opportunity to fully appreciate his big sound, no PA being available without Clive or Mike. But it was a memorable set, thank you Simon. In a room the size of Hedsor, and a sax sound like Simon’s, no PA made no difference!! It did of course make announcements slightly more difficult and shorter, and the raffle certainly got speeded up!!

I have spent some time this week putting together the program for our Tribute to Ken Rankine in Words and Music to be performed at Cores End Church (post code SL8 5HZ) on Sunday 27th November at 3pm.

The music will be provided by Clive on trombone, with Robert Goodhew on tenor sax, Ken McCarthy on keyboard, John Monney on bass and Martin Hart on drums, with Gill Cook singing a couple of songs as well. 
Do come along. No charge will be made for entry, and light refreshments will be provided afterwards. We will however take up a retiring collection for The British Heart Foundation, an organisation that Ken actively supported.

Next week we have a welcome return of guitarist Max Brittain. He hasn't been able to get to Hedsor for a time, but he will be back with us next week.
Max at Hedsor in 2010
Don’t forget our Christmas Party on December 22nd. Tickets (£12 each including buffet) will be available tomorrow at Hedsor.

Yes Hedsor Jazz, at the Hedsor Social Club, is regular, and weekly, even in winter. So do keep supporting live jazz, and keep coming yourselves. Tell your friends, and we will be able to  carry on for another year!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Hedsor and All That Jazz

There are advantages and disadvantages when regular members of Clive Burton’s Quintet decide to take a holiday (even those done at the Queens expense) and for the next few weeks whilst our regular reed section Mike Wills tries to restart the Vietnam War we have 3 guests to keep you entertained.

This Thursday, November 10th , that wonderful friend of Hedsor Jazz Simon Spillett is bringing his tenor saxophone to keep Clive in his place.

On Thursday November 17th we have trumpet and flugel horn player Lester Brown coming. He was last at Hedsor on May 30th 2015, and sadly on that occasion I missed him. (Yes, the railings eventually caught up with me, but that’s community service for you). I hope you will join me in listening to him, this time alongside Clive instead of in place of him.

Then on Thursday November 24th we have guitarist Max Brittain. It is a while since he was at Hedsor, but this will be a night not to be missed. Just take a look at his website and you will see what we have all been missing :-


Last Friday a number of us travelled to Portland to say Goodbye to Ken Rankine. It was a sad day, sweetened as all similar events are, by the social contact with friends and family after the internment. 

A more local event is taking place on November 27th for all who would like to remember Ken. At Cores End Church a Tribute in Words and Music will be performed from 3pm. All are welcome. There will be no charge for entry, but we will give you the opportunity of donating to one of Ken’s supported charities (The British Heart Foundation). Please do come along. The words and the music will all be live and you will recognise many of the performers. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

This week at Hedsor Jazz will be slightly different. 

A number of us are going to Portland on Thursday for Ken Rankine’s Funeral on Friday, details of which are further down the page.

So, the unusual line-up for this Thursday at Hedsor will be :-

Our stalwart reed section Mike Wills, our ever so stalwart drummer (back from a short stay in a destination of his choice) Martin Hart, our regular keyboard player Nigel Fox.

But with them will be a bass player of fame, Andy Crowdey 

PLUS another great string player, guitarist John Coverdale

Andy has not played for us before at Hedsor, I do hope we can all get to hear him at some time in the not too distant future, John of course is a regular guest at Hedsor Jazz.

It should be a different and interesting sound. Sadly, I will be one of those not there, but I do hope many of you go along to make up the missing numbers.

For those who are going to travel to Portland, details of Ken’s funeral are:-

Friday 4th November 2016

11am  service at All Saint’s Church,  1 Straits, Easton, Portland, Dorset, DRT5 1HG

There is a small car park or you can park at Tesco’s car park off Easton Square – permission is granted

12pm   burial    Portland Cemetery, Weston Road, Portland, which is next to St. George’s Church  (church address, at top of Reforne and on Wide Street, DT5 2JP . If preferred not to go to the burial, you can go directly to the blues club:-

after,  Portland Blues Football Club, New Grove Corner, Grove Road, Portland, DT5 1DP

there is plenty of parking in football club car park

Any donations to the British Heart Foundation which Ken helped with. Donations can be given on the day to the funeral director, or sent to their office  Rose Funeral Service, 23 Shrubbery Lane, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9LY  tel 01305 785832 or donations can be made on line to the head office of the British Heart Foundation. If preferred donations can be made to any cancer charity.

For those who are unable to go to Portland there will be 2 other events to enable you to pay tribute to Ken.

The first will be at Cores End Church
The second will be at The Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, Ealing, London, W13 8PH and will be organised by Dick Esmond, organiser of the Sound of Seventeen Big Band that Ken was the bass player for since it started. It will be on the evening of Wednesday November 30th

If travelling take care, and until we meet again


Geoff C

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hedsor Jazz meets again this week, but with no extra guests like last week. Only our regular deputy drummer Mike Jeffries appearing in place of Martin Hart.

Our new entry fee of £7 lets you in at our old start time of 8.30pm. Good music and good company will then follow, as is usual for a Hedsor Thursday.

Last weeks session with guests, saxophonist Robert Goodhew and singer Judy Vaughn, was one of our really special nights at Hedsor, something a Hedsor evening can sometimes spring upon you. So don’t stay at home thinking you have heard the band before. Come and hear them again (and again and again) as you never know when the magic will take place.

Judy I had not heard before, and an accomplished singer she really is, singing songs of a slightly 1940’s vain, whilst Robert is improving all the time. In my view he is someone who needs to be kept an eye on. (As probably does his new young 2-month-old addition to the family! Congratulations to Robert and Anna).

I have done a bit more copying of tapes to CD this month in order to make them more accessible here in Cronin Towers, (yes I had to go into the loft to find some of them), but the CD that has delighted me most this week has been one that I had had half of before!!

Duke Ellington was the author of the remark and the tune “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Aint Got That Swing”, and he knew how to make a big band swing, and of the musical elements you need to make the big band in the first place. He had a number of key musicians in his orchestra that helped to give that Ellington sound and one of those was alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges.

I was a dedicated trad jazz man in the late 40’s early 50’s, and Johnny Hodges was the man and sound that won me over to liking and “tolerating” the saxophone, followed closely nearer to home by Bruce Turner.

I have had the LP of “everybody knows JOHNNY HODGES” since 1965. It is a wonderful album of Ellingtonian musicians, but NOT under the leadership of the Duke! Slightly different arrangements are played of “The Jeep is Jumpin’”, “Main Stem” and “Open Mike”, but the CD that came my way this week (first released as such in 1992) has added to it music from another LP that was recorded under the leadership of Laurence Brown, Dukes trombonist. Recorded a year later (as “Inspired Abandon”) it does have mostly the same Ellington musicians, but with a few variations, and again the tunes are slightly rearranged Ellington standards. Its just as good as the first LP, and as I didn’t have the original LP, so what a bonus! This excellent combination of music and musicians was issued still as “everybody knows JOHNNY HODGES” on the GRP label  GRP11162. The artwork on the front is as the first LP, so you may well have passed it over if you had seen the reissued CD in a shop (obviously I am talking of the past, there are very few shops selling CD’s any more). Don’t let it escape now!


Geoff C

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This coming week at Hedsor Jazz has a very exciting prospect indeed

Yes, our regular band (now with John Monney as our bass player) is good, and last week (my first for weeks) they were exceptionally good (or does absence make the heart grow fonder?). But on the Thursdays where painting railings (a good community service thing to do) takes one of our regular players away, something a bit different can titillate the ear buds!! And this week it will excite!

Barbadian singer Judy Vaughn will be singing for us.

I managed to miss her last time she was at Hedsor (Yes, I was in hospital), but I know from a number of you how much you enjoyed her singing. 

We also have, just to keep Clive company at the front, and to add to the harmonies, that wonderfully toned young saxophonist Robert Goodhew (http://www.robertgoodhew.com).

One final personnel change this week (for another painter of railings and photographer, Martin Hart), is Mike Jeffries who will be our drummer this week.

We had a good crowd last week, and I didn’t get the chance to meet the new ones, so I do hope you all come again this Thursday for our new entry fee of only £7. 8.30pm start, bar open from 7pm

This week on my home stereo I have been busy listening to some old cassette tapes, and dubbing them into MP3 format to make it easier to listen again in the future. It made me realise what a rich musical heritage we have. Music created years ago can be played at home almost as though the performers were with you now.

I have checked on line, and I don’t think Tommy Smith playing “STANDARDS” is available new now. It comes from 1991, and was recorded by him in Oslo. I have had it on cassette tape from a about 1991, and it is timeless playing. With him are Neils Lan Doky on piano, Mick Hutton on bass and Ian Froman on drums. It is clean, melodic, modern jazz. I am delighted to have liberated the tape. The tunes include “Star Eyes”, “Speak Low”, “Night and Day”, “You’ve Changed” and 10 others. Do search it out, try the charity shops, but watch what you pay for it. I did notice one online shop asking over £40 for it!

The next buried treasure released from my cassette archives goes back slightly further to 1966/7. Benny Goodman recorded at a set of live performances in The Rainbow Room, part, according to my cassette, of Yale University’s Music Library. As well as BG it has some remarkable musicians alongside him. Zoot Sims, Joe Newman, George Duvivier in 1967, and Herbie Hancock and Less Span from 1966. The earlier tracks also have a singer, Annette Saunders, who is “OK”, which probably dams her with faint praise! The 67 tracks are however a great listen.

My last listen from off tape came to me very recently already on CD! Our regular drummer, Martin Hart, as a young man in the mid 1960’s played with a band called “John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and although not on this recording, he is listed as a member of that band on their web site. The band evolved in the 60’s to become Fleetwood Mac. This CD is from tapes that were kind of bootlegged, being recorded very much live in various clubs in 1967 on a punters reel to reel machine. The band as recorded includes guitarist Peter Green, with John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. John Mayel sings and plays an Organ.

Yes, I did hear them in the 1960’s, and was only talking with Martin about that band a week before I went into hospital. The CD landed on my mat for me to hear when I came out. It has a really snappy title of “John Mayell’s Bluesbreakers Live in 1967” and can be found on Forty Below Records FBR 013

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Ken at Hedsor in 2012

I have just received details of Ken Rankine's funeral from his sister Linda. They are as follows:-









However you remember him, I'm sure he will not be forgotten.

Geoff C

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


is still operating (to everyone's joy) every Thursday even at the slightly increased price of £7. This week will be another week with the regular band and if you have never heard this band (shame on you) why not take the opportunity on Thursday to visit and enjoy tuneful swinging jazz, with a sprinkling of humour and, dare I say, virtuosity!

During my enforced period of home based relaxation (!) I have listened again to a CD I listened to first a month or so ago, and it is so good, and such fun, that I thought I would nag on about it again!

"Down in the Deep Deep Blue" by The Man Overboard Quintet is brilliantly recorded, and will give your Hi Fi a good massage, the musicians are incredibly together and clean sounding, the enthusiasm for their music is obvious, and yet again, I had to smile. On the three counts they are good, good, and good!!

Manouche in style they may well be, but their choice of material goes way past Django's! "Please Don't talk About Me When I'm Gone" introduces the CD, and the voice of Louisa Jones, a lady I have not met, but maybe I will seek her out. She has a very attractive "cold" pure presentation, which suites the songs beautifully. The CD is available on the Champs Hill Records label as CHRCD089

One final plug for live music. I was email yesterday by Mike Jeffires:-

Evening Everybody,

I would just like to remind you all that tomorrow Tuesday 4th Oct we have the 2nd airing of the band "In The Pocket" at Bourne End Community Centre in Bourne End starting at 8.00 - 10 .30, We will be playing a mix of music from some standards but mostly more funky stuff from the likes of Stevie Wonder , Paul Simon, Billy Joel and others.

The musicians are ; Martin Pickett on Organ and vocals, Jez Cooke - guitar, John Monney- Bass guitar, Mike Wills Sax and myself on the Four Skins and a mike. It is only £5 .00 on the door including raffle and nibbles so please come and support live music because when it's gone you will be left with discos and rapp and what could be worse than that ( well perhaps Punk) even if it is live, well only just.

Hope to see you all.

Sadly I wont be able to be there, but perhaps you could take my place!! It's a bargain price, especially to hear Jez Cook again.

Until I see you all,


Geoff C

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


It is with great sadness and regret that I have to tell you that Ken died peacefully this morning at about 4am at his new home in Weymouth. He was with the nursing staff who had looked after him for the past week or so.

I am sure we will all miss him, and want to remember him both as a friend and as a wonderful bass player. More details of a time when we can all share our memories of him will come later. In the meantime we must remember in our thoughts and prayers his long term partner Sue, and his sister Linda who are both currently in Portland.

Please let others know of his passing, and of any further information that may come via blog or email from me.

Geoff Cronin
Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Only a few words of blog from me this week.

I am still basically house bound, with the prospect of another hospital visit to be looked forward to (yes, I do mean looked forward to, as a resolution of my current problems would be very welcome)!
I gather that last Thursdays evening with Al Nicholls was a big success. One of the nurses who dealt with me last Thursday in A&E knew of “Blue Harlem” a band that Al runs! It’s a small world, as she was also involved in Motor Car Racing (another activity I used to be involved with).
As mentioned a few blogs ago, our Christmas Special this year is on December 22nd. I am delighted to announce that we will have a very special guest with us for this party. Trombonist Roy Williams, ex Alex Welsh, Ex Humphrey Lyttelton is coming to keep Clive Company. A few other surprise guest may well also appear, so do please ensure you put this date in your diary NOW so that you don’t forget to come!

By now, you will be aware that we have had to increase our usual weekly entry fee. Hedsor Jazz is available to you now for the still very manageable sum of £7.

Roy Williams at Swanage this year
OK, keep the live jazz flag flying whilst I’m away.
Geoff C

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hedsor Jazz and All That

This week we have our usual quintet at Hedsor, and I must say that last week they were very good with tight ensembles and good tunes played! I'm sure this week will be of similar quality so do yourselves a favour etc etc!

Al Nicholls
Next week (September 22nd) Hedsor Jazz will have a very special guest. Saxophonist Al Nichols of Blue Harlem fame (http://www.alnicholls.co.uk) is coming to join Clive and the band. Al has been a featured guest of the band since Century Jazz days, and it will be a super evening I’m sure. Sadly, I wont be able to see him as I have an appointment with a surgeon on Monday 19th September!!

As you heard last week, the rent we pay for the room has been increased. After discussions with Jazz Angels treasurer John Dutton it has been decided that from the beginning of October (Thursday 7th) after many years of a £6 entry fee, we are going to have to increase our entrance charge to £7. To somewhat offset this, we will no longer be passing the pot round for voluntary room rent contributions.

Hedsor Jazz sessions are still incredibly good value, the entry fee includes our wonderful raffle, free car parking and candlelight as well as quality live modern jazz.

Sarah Moule
John Coverdale and Nigel Fox
Cores End Church. An Engraving circa 1982
Away from Hedsor, but not that far away, coming up this Saturday September 17th Cores End Church in Bourne End is hosting a jazz concert featuring singer Sarah Moule. Also taking part will be Mark Aston on saxophone, John Coverdale on guitar, Nigel Fox on keyboard, John Monney on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums. Originally this had been planed with Ken Rankine and the line up chosen by him but sadly he wont be able to be with us. 

Ken Rankine
Ken is still in Dorchester General Hospital and may soon be transferred to a hospice.
Since the stroke he had 3 week ago he has lost a lot of his ability to communicate, being unable to use his phone, read, or enjoy his Walkman. I hope to record the concert at Cores End and eventually get it to him so that he can hear the concert that he helped to set up.
Tickets for this concert are still available. If you come to Hedsor this week, I still have a few, but sales will continue at the Bourne End Gifts and Card Shop and also on the door on the night. The £10 ticket also includes a glass of wine at half time, and some nibbles to go with it.

So, whilst the music is still available and you can still hear it, why not keep supporting live jazz.

See you next time.

Geoff C

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

After some summer weeks of jazz excitement, we are back to our “normal” quartet this week. No, it wont be an anticlimax, but this week we will have the added comfort of Mike Wills familiar face, and multi reed musicianship!!

Tracey and Mike in August this year

The past few of week have included Tracey Mendham, Stuart Henderson with “Tolly”, and then, last week, Simon Spillett.

Stuart and Tolly with Clive and Tina May, Christmas 2013
Simon Spillett with Clive at Christmas 2008
It just goes to show that our “little” jazz enterprise at Hedsor does attract some pretty wonderful musicians. We know how good The Clive Burton Quintet is, the world knows how good Simon Spillett is and they are beginning to discover Stuart and Tolly, but all the above enjoy the atmosphere of Hedsor Jazz, and come and play for a very small amount of money.

Coming soon is another saxophonist who has been associated with the band in all its forms for a long time. I first saw him at The Cookham Tavern (now a Costa Coffee Shop) back in the 1990’s and I saw Al Nicholls last at The Swanage Jazz Festival, where he had the fabulous trombone player (from the Alex Welsh and Humphrey Lyttleton Bands) Roy Williams alongside him.

He will be coming to join Clive Burton and the rest of our band on September 22nd. Al was featured on the double CD album that was recorded at Norden Farm Arts Centre in a concert that was a tribute to the late Keith Vitty.

Before Al’s reunion with the band on the 22nd, but not at Hedsor, we have some familiar faces playing and supporting the wonderful singer Sarah Moule. On Saturday September 17th a very special concert will be played at Cores End United Reformed Church, Bourne End, from 8pm, see advert below.

For me and for most of those taking part, it will be bitter sweet. It was originally arranged with Ken Rankine, who as most of you now know, is terminally ill and in hospital in Dorchester General Hospital in Dorset. He chose the band and the singer. I would like as many of you who can come to come and enjoy the evening and silently pay tribute to Ken by enjoying the music he enjoyed being part of. 

Tickets (£10 each) are available from me at Hedsor on a Thursday, or from The Bourne End Gifts and Cards Shop. Do let people know about this event and help us fill this Georgian church. The acoustics are pretty good, and Mark Aston, the leader of the band on the night, has arranged a great program.

TTFN (look it up!),

Geoff C

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I have been remise,

for the past 2 weeks I have not written a blog!! Things other than jazz have rather taken over!!

Some very good jazz has been listened to at Hedsor in that time of course, last week with Stuart Henderson and Tolly being “just one of those things”.

And without doubt this week will be NO exception. For at Hedsor Jazz on Thursday we have as a special guest that award-winning saxophonist Simon Spillett. He will be joining Clive and the band just to be part of our Hedsor Jazz Scene. No special build up, no posters, no advanced ticket sales, and no bumped up price either. Just one of those nice events that Hedsor Jazz is becoming renowned for.

Simon on an earlier visit to Hedsor
 I was asked last week if we were going to have a Christmas Special this year. Yes, and it will be on December 22nd. I’m sure that there will be food, and tickets, and special guests, so make sure you have it in your diary, and if you plan to be away for Christmas, go the following day!!

Sadly, someone who has always been at our Christmas events every year in the past as a member of the band, Ken Rankine, will not be able to be with us this year. Some of you are by now aware that Ken’s illness has taken a turn for the worst, and he is back in Dorchester General Hospital in the Stroke Ward. After a period of confusion initially thought to be caused by his need for morphine, he had another scan and blood clots were discovered in his brain. Sue will be returning to Portland on Friday to be near to him again.

CD’s Listened to.

I have had great enjoyment this past couple of weeks in listening to two young British bands.

A Quartet called “Echoes of Swing” generated a broad smile to my face. They are great players with a crisp sound and they do swing. Colin T. Dawson trumpet and vocals, Chris Hopkins alto sax, Bernd Lhozky keyboard and Olive Mewes drums bring a refreshing change to those great old (traditional?) tunes. They have definitely taken a good look at the repertoire. My favourite from this disk is Bechet’s “Premier Bal”, but equally well they bring dancing steps to “Moonlight Serenade”  and the “Original Dixieland One Step”. All in all they are great fun. ACT 9103-2 is the disk number.

The other British jazz group has one more member than “Echoes of Swing”. It is by “The Man Overboard Quintet” and they follow in the manouche tradition, with Thomas Gould violin, Jean-Marie Fagon guitar, Louisa Jones vocals, Ewan Bleach clarinet and Dave O’Brien double bass. They swing, and again generated in me a broad smile. They say of their material on this album that it “..ranges from early 1920’s (New Orleans Wiggle) to the mid-1950’s (Sister Sadie). Hot swing, torch songs, raw blues, and a little ragtime….and all can be found Down in the Deep, Deep Blue”. And “Down in the Deep Deep Blue” is the title of the album available on Champs Hill Records CHRCD089

So there you have it (or not, as the case may be). Live jazz, unpredictable exciting and “never the same way once”, or recorded music you can listen to at home, where you get to know every note. You can of course have it all. Come and be sociable and support live jazz, especially at THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


At Hedsor Jazz, we are going to try and bring some joy into this years summer. So, as a celebration, we will have some buffet food PLUS in addition to our regular Clive Burton Quintet TWO very special guest musicians:-

The Lady Saxophonist with the Big Sound, and even bigger heart TRACEY MENDHAM

And playing with her for the very first time, that amazing young at heart vibraphone player ALAN GRAHAME.

To make sure we have enough time for all this we are starting at 8 PM but we are only charging our regular entry fee of £6, which of course includes a raffle ticket for our renowned raffle.

Advanced Notice

On August 25th by very special request we have a return visit of trumpeter Stuart Henderson and with him will be his saxophonist friend TOLLY. This will be another night of not to be missed exciting jazz music. And again, another night that will only cost you £6 to get in. Tell your friends, NO, bring your friends. These two will be again augmenting our regular Clive Burton Quintet, so it will be a big sound in Hedsor's big room.

Advanced Notice

I have been asked to organise another jazz concert at Cores End Church, and as well as many familiar faces from Hedsor Jazz my special guest is singer Sarah Moule. Tickets are £10 each (and I do have some to sell you) and will include interval refreshments. The musical director will be saxophonist Mark Aston. This concert has no hidden agenda, we just need to break even, so do come and support local live jazz. Sarah Moule is a really great singer, if you haven’t heard her before please don’t miss this opportunity.

Ken Rankine

Ken has been able to take on food this week, and is fast approaching getting to 9 stone in weight., Although still on morphine, he has been able to have a couple of outings during this warm weather which has cheered him up no end. 

The concert at Cores End Church would have had him playing, as the flyers states, but just in case he isn't able to make it, we have booked John Monney as a dep. for the gig.

Private Listening

At home this week I have listened to a tribute CD to that great saxophonist Benny Carter. All the tunes played are songs written by him, but played by a quintet led by Warren Vache. It’s on the Arbors Jazz label and therefore very well recorded. With Warren are Houston Person on tenor sax, that lovely lady bass player Nicki Parrott, Tardo Hammer on piano and Leroy Williams on drums. On the album you will recognise at least 2 tunes that are played by our own regular Hedsor Jazz Quintet. “A Walking Thing” and “Doozy”. It’s a very enjoyable album, ARCD 19446

Those of you who are unfamiliar with Benny Carter's jazz standing, go and have a listen to what I have as an LP (that's a round lump of vinyl about 12" diameter) called "Further Definitions", an album he released in 1966. Basically a saxophone quartet with a rhythm section, absolutely great.

OK so I know that you don’t actually have to own a CD to listen to the music any more, but I for one like looking at the booklet notes, something you don’t get with a Spotify stream!!

These days you not only have to campaign to keep live jazz alive, you have to prod to get jazz CD’s!!

See you soon.