Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Some come early, and some come late!

THIS blog is a day late!! AND it may well be a bit shorter than some of my recent others, but it is no less colourful!!

Do look at last week’s blog for all the info on the next few weeks jazz at “The Hedsor Social Club” (this could almost be sung!). Also note the note about the raffle.

This week (January 31st) we have most of The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet, the guest being that multi reed player Kelvin Christiane.

Last weeks session at Hedsor Jazz with Vasilis Xenopoulos as our guest was well attended, (my photos are below) and it was an excellent evening.

Stuart Barker

Nigel Fox

Hedsor is so fortunate in having players of Vasilis’s ability coming to play as a friend of Hedsor Jazz. He has been coming to Hedsor ever since he made his home in Ealing in 2002. This was a specialist evening concentrating on the music of Jerome Kern and it was his idea, as was the concept of having it just as a quartet evening. We all know the tunes, but it was enlightening to hear some of the stories behind them. One of our regular attendees said to me, “and he is playing it all just in front of us!” I know what they meant. At Hedsor you can see and hear musicians of international quality, not via large video screen, but close enough to touch and I know some of did!!

One added bonus from last week was the addition of a “sit in” by a young drummer who happens to be known by Vasilis and who lives in Burnham -  Jason Reed (bottom two pictures above). I hope we can persuade him to come and visit us at Hedsor again, as he is not only a very good drummer, but he is also a teacher, with access to Borlaise Grammar School and Wycombe High School. Jazz needs young people!

We were very fortunate with the weather last Thursday, I must commiserate with Marlow Jazz Club and Michael Eagleton on there snow disrupted Tuesday evening event where over half the audience couldn’t get there. The weather caused a huge traffic jam around the Marlow Bisham bye-pass causing many people to get home 3 hours late!

As a side note to Marlow’s spoilt evening, critic Clive Davis has sent me a very interesting article on Karen Sharp, culled from no better international source than the USA magazine “Downbeat”. A link to their website and the article is below:-

Her new CD is out now.

That's it from me this Wednesday, keep listening!

Geoff C 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Hedsor Jazz is certainly back with a vengeance

Last weeks gig was another where wonderful music was played. Almost every week now it seems to me to be a bit like looking into Tutankhamun's tomb. Every week, we “hear” wonderful things!

With Lester Brown and Duncan Lamont jnr. last week and with a surprise appearance of Ken McCarthy on keyboard we had a very good session, again where the Hedsor faithful were introduced to some new tunes. There were a lot of interesting harmonies played, especially during Ken McCarthy's feature number, a piece by drummer Victor Lewis which had a lot of similar harmonies to a Pat Metheny style composition. I must mention the superb solo during this tune by our bass player Peter Hughes. As he had not seen or heard the tune before, his constructive solo was brave and well executed. I know that the usual time for a chat is during a bass solo, but do listen out more, sometimes they do surprise us!

Another joy from having Duncan with us is the enormous amount of information he can give us about the tunes being played. AND when, outside of a cinema, did you last hear some of the music from a Laurel and Hardy film!

Some of my photos from the night are below.

I cannot stress often enough how lucky we are to have such quality music being played for us at Hedsor Jazz.

Below you will find our program for the next few weeks, together with a message about the raffle from our treasurer.

Forthcoming Hedsor Jazz Gigs

All our featured guests are backed by the Rhythm Section of The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet led by Martin Hart on Drums.

All of the evenings on this list start at 8.30 pm and have an entry fee of £7

January 2019

31st Lester Brown trumpet with Kelvin Christiane on reeds


7th Martin Nichless clarinet with Alan Grahame on vibes

14th Stuart Henderson trumpet with Simon Spillett on tenor sax

21st Terry Hutchins guitar with Alan Grahame on vibes

28th Lester Brown trumpet with Kelvin Christiane on reeds


7th Sue Greenway reeds with Mike Wills on reeds
(once upon a time we called this 2 tenors for a Fiver, but our entry fee went up!).

14th Andy Gibson trumpet with Duncan Lamont jnr on reeds

All these gigs are performed at The Hedsor Social Club, Hedsor Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5ES

The Raffle
A Message from our Treasurer                                                   John Dutton

For a trial period of approximately one month we are not going to run a raffle at Hedsor Jazz.
The reasons for this are:-
Our room rent at Hedsor Club has risen for 2019 by £500 and we still think we get very good value from The Hedsor Club. Their costs have gone up too! However despite this increase we do want to retain our current entry fee of £7 as well maintaining the high quality of our jazz. During 2018 the raffle has cost us over £100. Although an integral part of our evenings for so many years the raffle is a fun thing, not a fund raiser. If enough jazz evening people would like to retain it, we will do so, possibly by only using donated prizes (Even Poundland prizes are going up in price!).

We do want to retain the fun factor for our evenings as well as the high quality of the music. Many of our costs are fixed, but if more jazz lovers could be persuaded to come regularly, then all will be very well!

If you could email me with your thoughts on the raffle, then in March we will make a final decision on this, perhaps using the raffle only for our fund raising evenings.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

OK, this is the second blog of 2019.

So lets for a moment look back on the first Hedsor Jazz session of this New Year.

Last week brought us a reunion with “our” regular sax section in the shape and sound of Mike Wills. He had managed to get to Hedsor because our guest last week was guitarist Jezz Cook who lives near in enough to Mike in Oxford to give him a lift.

It was a joyous first session. Jezz and Mike’s interpretations of some Pat Metheny tunes produced some wonderful chords and harmonies on tunes that Hedsor Jazz isn’t used to hearing. Really good stuff for a brand new year’s start!
My Pictures are below

For a first gig of a new year the audience was good too. Thank you for turning out! I can promise you however that the quality of the music we have planned so far for 2019 wont disappoint or diminish either.

This week (January 17th) we have a soon to be wed Lester Brown on trumpet together with Duncan Lamont Jnr. on tenor sax all backed up by our usual selection of rhythm!

Most weeks in our rhythm section we can rely on having Martin Hart on drums. Martin has taken on the roll of band leader and musician booker. He does however occasionally take a break, and then we usually see Mike Jeffries step in as his regular dep.

On keyboard the usual fingers belong to Nigel Fox, but when he takes a break we often see Ken McCarthy.

On bass we have a choice of 3 who take it in turns. Mostly that means Peter Hughes (as last week) or Steve Riddle, but occasionally we have an even more local man, Stuart Barker, who lives in Maidenhead but works more often in London at a certain well know jazz club that has been running longer than Hedsor Jazz!

On January 24th we do have another rather special evening, and you can see, and hopefully replicate and place amongst your community my poster for it below.

Yes, Vasilis Xenopoulos is coming to lead us into the musical land of Jerome Kern. He has specifically asked for Stuart Barker as his bass player of choice, and that together with keyboard and drums is your lot! For the £7 entry fee your lot will be amazing! Do try and come yourselves, and come early, because it is a pay on the door only event.

Talking of personnel we do have another change. For 10 years the Red Box at the door has been guarded by Dee. She has decided to hand that task on, so watch out for that Red Box, no matter who its guardian may be, and put money into it!

Joking aside, 10 years is a long time for voluntary service, and I’m sure you will want to thank her for all her sterling works. She is now going to be able to sit slightly further away from the draft of the door!

Next week I will publish our guest list for February, but I do have it. Our room rental (which we pay in advance) has gone up this year, but we still hope to keep the regular door fee at £7.

CD Review
One from my collection this.

In my much younger days I used to go and listen to the Chris Barber Jazz Band at the White Hart in Southall. Yes, I played trad jazz on my turntable as well in those days, even though I did discover via early LP’s the delights of Buck Clayton and Duke Ellington. And I did eventually get to like and listen to the likes of Dick Morrisey and Terry Smith at the Bell in Maidenhead as well.

However not only did my tastes grow, but so did the Barber Bands type of music change. You could say that we have all been on a musical journey of discovery. In 2011 Proper Records brought out a two disk set of Chris Barber entitled “Memories of My Trip”. It contains mostly previously unreleased material from all of the Barber Bands journey, from blues through gospel to mainstream. If you think you know what Chris Barber represents, go out and get this revision course! It is very enjoyable, and includes music from Ottille Patterson (who used to mark homework beside the bandstand in Southall before going on to sing), Van Morrison, Paul Jones, Mark Knofler, Edmond Hall, and probably a dozen others. Its on Proper PRPCD073

Don’t forget though that to keep live jazz alive, we need the audience.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Welcome to 2019, and a Happy New Year to everyone. My first jazz blog of 2019 (!), but just to get back into practice I will make it fairly short.

Hedsor Jazz’s first event of 2019 on Thursday the 10th is a welcome back for our very own saxophone section in the shape and sound of Mike Wills. Mike has yet to be passed fit to drive by himself from his home in Oxford BUT our extra special guest this week, guitarist Jezz Cook, is going to bring him with him as he too lives in Oxford. It will be good to see and hear them both again, and it will also be good to see our regular trio again who will be backing them.

If you have forgotten, we start on Thursdays at 8.30pm, and yes, we are still at the Hedsor Social Club every week. The entrance fee remains unchanged at £7, but the consolation is that you get a free raffle ticket with a chance to win a wonderful prize. Sometimes the prize is even jazz orientated!

Looking back (via the photos below) at our last gig of 2018, I thought everyone did amazingly well. The musicians (which in my view ALWAYS includes the drummer, no matter what he himself might say) were terrific, and our Christmas guests on the night will be back again at some time in 2019. They themselves all said how much they enjoyed playing at Hedsor Jazz. Thanks again for all who helped put the evening together. The food and overall fun was great.

Looking forward into January we have a rather special evening coming on January 24th. That talented master of Music, Vasilis Xenopoulos, is coming, and together with his choice of bass player (Stuart Barker) as part of the rhythm section he will examine with us the music of Jerome Kern. Our usual entrance fee of £7 will apply so tell your friends, this will be a bargain night of superb music. This will be an un-ticketed event, so make sure you get to Hedsor on time that night!

Over the Christmas Break I played some of my collection of jazz CD’s. Two stand out. One I played more than once during the holiday because it was good humoured music with a terrific swing.

The CD is by Bob Wilber and Friends and is indeed called “What Swing is all about”. It was a live performance recording, made in Hamburg in 1996 but not released until 2003. With Bob (who is a saxophonist and in his earlier years was trained by Sydney Bechet) who on this cd playes both soprano sax and clarinet is accompanied by musicians of various nationalities, including Antti Sarpila on tenor sax and clarinet, Mark Shane on piano, Phil Flanigan bass, Joe Ascione on drums and there are some vocals by Bob’s wife Pug Horton. 17 tracks in all of sheer joy. If you can “track” it down, its on Nagel Heyer 5007

One of the other CD’s played during this festive break took me right back to when I used to play. I was in awe of the expertise of Alex Welsh, and Lake Records have produced a CD (LACD8) of some of the earliest Welsh around. Recorded live at The Festival Hall in 1954 (the hall was only opened in 1951!) and again in 1955 here are those first amazing tunes with Roy Crimmins on trombone and Ian Christie on clarinet. I didn’t make the 54 concert but I was there in 55! OK its history, but so am I, and its also great fun too.
Early George Melly is on it (you wont get away with “Mississippi Mud now) and I do remember how much thinner he was then (but so was I)!

So, let us all go bravely forth into 2019, hold your breath……but not for too long eh!