Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Blog a week, helps you work, rest, and ??????? Well I hope it’s not sleep!

This weeks bit of light script is slightly later than usual, I have just come back from a funeral. I know it has been said before, even probably by me, but why is it you learn so much more about a friend when they have departed the friendship! Again it was true today, and what is even sadder is that we had so much more in common than I knew about! It just goes to prove yet again that we must all make the most of this life whilst we have it.

And for a jazz fan that is also true for this weeks gig. We have someone coming to play that I have known for many years, have listened to often, but maybe I should get to know even better.

Our saxophonist guest this week (Thursday 26th September) is Al Nicholls. I first met Al when he played the Cookham Tavern! OK you can still go to that building, but all you’ll get now is Costa Coffee ! Al is a real Jump Jive saxophonist, a really exciting payer, and Jan Burton will love him because he is also Welsh! He was also on the live tribute album to Keith Vitty recorded at Norden farm, and if you don’t have a copy of that, see me after class!

Next to him at the front will be trombone player Nick Mills, on his second visit to Hedsor Jazz. During the interval on his first visit he was amazed to see a flying stag beetle. He then realised that Hedsor was a bit different from Ealing!

If that wasn’t enough to get you to part with £7, we have Esther Ng on bass. Esther is a find for us Hedsor jazz fans, and this will only be her third visit. BUT don’t miss it, because she plays bass like a true percussionist!

As a reminder as to who is in the rest of the band, we have Nigel Fox on keyboards and Martin Hart on drums.

We will celebrate October (on the 3rd) by having “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet” in our midst again. Yes, Mike Wills will be joining us again on reeds, with Lester brown on trumpet and our bass player will be Peter Hughes (hot from his gig with Cookham’s Fabulous Shirtlifter’s…ask him about THE experience)!

Last weeks gig had Lester on Trumpet with Kelvin Christiane on reeds,and our bass player was Terry Davis. A good, free flowing jazz evening, where I thought we had some fine tunes and solos. Kelvin's partner Lesley also sang for us in the second set.

I am always in a quandary to know "should I record it", (usually for my own amusement , but I always pass on any recording I make to the those actually playing). Sadly this time I didn't.

All in all  it was a very pleasant way to pass the time until the next Brexit headline causes the anger to rise again! (No I didn't rush home and tune in to the news)!

Photos from last week are below.

Some weeks ago I pulled out of the collection of CD’s that get taken to (and very occasionally, sold, at Hedsor) a CD that had obviously been overlooked by the browsers. A very ordinary cover design, a bass player humping a bass over a bridge. The Cover told me that this was Gerald Cannon’s Combinations! So whilst I was working in my garage, I put it on! What a bass player he is. This is his first recording in 14 years and was released in 2017.

Until I became friends with the late Ken Rankine I didn’t pay much attention to bass players, well I played trumpet in the era of the tea chest bass. I will hasten to add however that I played in that era, but not in a band with one! But becoming a friend of Ken’s opened my ears a bit more as to what a bass player can do for a jazz ensemble. From then on, I listened more carefully to some of the recordings I had, and began to sort the wheat from the chaff. No it definitely isn’t polite to talk during a bass solo! And during everyone else’s playing, they (the bass player) is adding to the content all of the time. Key, emphasis, timing, there is a lot more to it than the space to talk to your beer mate!

So I was delighted to listen to the various ensembles, the combinations, made up from different musicians who had played with Gerald in the past. I would rate this CD now as one of the best of recent years. On 3 of the tracks the pianist is Kenny Barron. Oh, and if you really want to hear how entertaining a jazz bass can be, listen to the 5 minute solo (yes, 5 MINUTES) on “Darn that Dream”. No you cant now buy my copy of this CD, but you can seek out your own from Woodneck Records  8 88295 56035 7. Oh, the sleeve notes are by Ron Carter by the way.

Enough, I must go and lie down to get ready for dinner!

Monday, September 16, 2019

The blog is a little earlier than usual this week, as tomorrow I have the exciting prospect of being kitted out (wired up) with a 24 hour ECG monitor! One then has to “carry on as normal”, which may not be quite as “normal” as normal!

Wires were a little controversial at last weeks Hedsor Jazz session. The connection from Nigel’s keyboard to our PA came under threat from various feet, and in the end had to be protected by a chair!

Last week was a very melodic and joyful session (apart from Nigel’s concerns on his “connections”). Max Brittain and Alan Grahame produced a relaxed Modern sound (it was Modern in the 1950’s) which gained good applause.

Also getting her fair share of praise was bassist Esther Ng. A really wonderful find. I had not heard her before and the good reports of her visit in July were no exaggeration. She was a genuine part of the percussive effect during her solos, often matching Alan’s use of percussion as an accompaniment. I knew she has a medical background, but she is a genuine PhD, specialising in epigenetics. She also plays keyboard and violin! COOOOOR! I look forward to seeing her at Hedsor Jazz again on September 26th.

My pictures from the night are below:

One of our other “fav” bass players, Steve Riddle, has again had a bit more of a problem! Just as he thought he was going to be able to do gigs again now he has a car, he has found that his bass is damaged and in need of serious repair. Let’s hope he can manage to get it all done soon.

Next Thursday we have “our” Lester Brown on trumpet with saxophonist Kelvin Christiane on reeds, and our bass player will be Terry Davis. Nigel Fox will be on keys and Martin Hart will be on drums. So don’t miss out, come along, bring a few friends, and we can have a ball! All for just £7.

Last week I came across an unusual CD. Recently we have had Duke Ellington more in the foreground. In August we had Sarah Moule expounding “The Genius of Duke Ellington” and in one of the last weeks of the proms we had a performance of Ellington’s “Concert of Sacred Music”.

Then I found another cd of Ellington music, again a “Tribute to Ellington” (the cd title) BUT performed by one of classical music’s famed conductors. The man playing the piano, with his picture on the front cover is…Daniel Barenboim!

He is with a very competent bunch of musicians as you would expect, but Jazz Musician!

Dianne Reeves provides the vocals, and the clarinet solos are by Don Byron.

It was a shock to see it, and I listened with some apprehension, as I had never heard that Mr Barenboim was a jazz player at all. But he does very well, and even plays a solo piano piece at the end called “Fast and Furious”.

It was issued at the end of 1999, and has taken this long to reach my awareness, but it IS worth seeking out. It’s on the TelDec label as 3984-25252-2

See you all on Thursday, but which time I will be WIRELESS!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Good Tuesday to all who Jazz.

Coming to Hedsor Jazz this week we have 3 good reasons for you to come and spend your £7 on our entry fee.

1. On Vibes our dear friend Alan Grahame
2. On guitar our dear friend Max Brittain
3. On bass our new friend Esther Ng

They will have the support of Nigel Fox on keyboard and Martin Hart on drums. It should be a really tuneful and melodic evening. Both Alan and Max have spent a lifetime in the music industry and are both expert in their respective crafts.

Esther I missed on her first visit to Hedsor Jazz, but I am assured she is well worth the evening away from the TV. Apparently she is a worker in the Health Industry, and has been playing the bass for over 7 years. I heard the word “amazing” being used about her and her performance on her first visit to Hedsor in July.

Last week we had with us for the first time in a number of months what we call “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”. It was really good to have Lester Brown and Mike Wills back in front of our rhythm section again, which last week also had a bass player new to Hedsor. He will be back, as we enjoyed his playing, AND he enjoyed being with us. So look out for ROGER DAVIS in future blogs.

The band brought a number of quite tricky arrangements with them last week, and it looked challenging. However, talking with Nigel afterwards he relished this challenge, as sometimes  he gets bored with playing the same tunes repeatedly on the various gigs he plays in a week.

My photos from last week are below.

Last week I distributed round Hedsor Club our gig list for September and October. If you haven’t got one and would like to print one off, I will put it as a pdf file in my DropBox folder. Here is the link you will need.


Copy and paste this into your internet search engine and it should allow you to download the file.

OK, time for more stimulants! Well, coffee is isn’t it?



Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Doesn’t time fly by when your having fun? Blog day already, and I have nearly missed it.

However there are things one doesn’t want to miss, like the last post (GPO of course, not the one with epitaphs)! My eldest granddaughter started teaching at a school in Birmingham this week, so we have  had to catch a couple of posts in order to wish her well, and to send a “welcome to your new home” kind of thing. SO here is another, the tradition of writing my blog on a Tuesday, before Tuesday becomes Wednesday!

Last weeks session at Hedsor Jazz, with Stuart Henderson and Kelvin Christiane was another of Hedsor Jazz’s sessions that you could describe as “faultless”. I never cease to be amazed at the quality of the jazz that we now regularly get at Hedsor. Stuart is a star still climbing into the firmament, but he does shine brightly. Kelvin is another of those relatively local musicians who has a tremendous reputation, but not nearly enough fame.

Stuart remarked towards the end of last weeks session that the tune they were about to play had been written by a musician who left the business to become an accountant! Yes, I knew one too. He gave up being a concert pianist to do the accounts with Lord Stokes!! When I last saw him ten years ago I asked him what he was doing now. “Looking after the financial interests of certain African countries” was his reply. Must beat hell out of a Rachmaninov Piano Concerto!

Well Stuart and Kelvin worked wonders for us last week, accompanied by the Hedsor “usual suspects”. My pictures of them are below.

Coming to us this week (September 5th) we have “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”. Yes, Mike Wills is mobile again so we have our read section back, and alongside him our new(ish!) brass player, Lester Brown. Martin Hart will be on drums, Nigel Fox on keys, and a different Davis on the bass, this time Roger Davis.

Hedsor Jazz has been at The Hedsor Club since 2002. We have seen many changes, both of personnel, and of the premises themselves. We used to meet in the bar, which was very cosy, but had limited seating, some of it very orange, and last week Clive’s Jan gave me a 10 year old photo of me sitting in that bar. Behind me on the very mock Tudor bar can be seen the CD’s For Sale, something we still do. Now CD’s are not such a valuable asset as once they were. Nowadays many people like to stream their music. Personally I still love to actually own the material I want to listen to, whether it is LP, Cassette tape, or CD. I also like to listen to Jazz Record requests on Radio 3 on a Saturday afternoon. One gets to hear music one hasn’t heard before, as well as some you have in your own collection, and I think there is a feeling of community about it all.

Of course, none of the above mentioned means of listening beat hearing music live. Each session different from the last one or the next one. I can now report that we will be carrying on with Jazz at the Hedsor Club through the rest of 2019 and throughout 2020. Jazz Angels (who underwrite the jazz at Hedsor), met with Hedsor ’s management recently and agreed a forward plan. We are very much wanted at Hedsor. There are always “but’s”, and everyone’s costs do go up, but we do have an assurance that our presence at the Hedsor Club is very much wanted. So do support our efforts, no matter who is playing. If you want a special musician  to come and play at Hedsor, maybe someone we haven’t had before, and you are prepared to sponsor that musician, then please speak to either John Dutton, Martin Hart or myself, and we will see what we can do.

In the meantime just come and enjoy the music, the free car park, the club facilities and the ambience of our special Thursday nights. Oh, I haven’t mentioned the raffle. Yes we still have a fun free raffle, but only for as long as you bring the prizes yourselves!
Michael, keeper of the raffle