News From Hedsor Jazz
This week we have perhaps the first outing of "The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet". After Clive's passing the rest of the band members wanted to keep Clive's name at the front of the band. They also want to invite trumpeter Lester Brown to become part of the band, and THIS THURSDAY he will be with us. So possibly some new tunes and some new arrangements for familiar ones. Do join us for our next step into 2018.
Last Thursday I was unable to get to Hedsor Jazz. I had to go to the funeral of a friend not associated by jazz at all. I did have a life before jazz (well, part of one, there has ALWAYS been jazz!), and this time it was someone from my past that I felt I needed to respect by being at his last ceremony.
Last ceremonies seem to be happening a lot recently and I have some more sad news to pass on. Many of you will remember Margaret Cape, Zane Cronje's partner. She passed away in Frimley Park Hospital on Friday 12th after a short illness. I'll pass on last ceremony detail when I get them.
Now for a proud boast!
I haven't reviewed a CD recently. I know that a few blogs back I mentioned one I was closely associated with. Simon Spillett finally got me to give him a copy of a recording I had made back in 1972 and that had lain unheard by many ever since. Now you can buy it!
"Dick Morrissey at The Bell" was issued last year, and now has a review in Jazz Journal. OK I risk being sued because I am going to reproduce all of the review now below. BUT remember, it was MY LOFT that had kept this gem safe for 40 years!!
LIVE AT THE BELL 1972
Speak Low; St Thomas; Whisper Not; Over The Rainbow; Unidentified Theme; Down Home (63.03)
Morrissey (ts); Lennie Best (vib); Alan Berry (p); Bill Larue (b); Ron Hetherington (d).
The Bell, Maidenhead, 8 August, 1972.
Although he flirted with jazz/rock and crossover music, saxophonist Dick Morrissey was at root a straight-ahead jazzer who would always return to his first love with alacrity if a blowing gig came up. On this hitherto unreleased and only recently discovered date, he guested in the congenial and entirely suitable company of vibist Lennie Best's quartet. The setting was the Bell, Maidenhead, an important watering hole on the suburban pub circuit which offered invaluable outlets for British jazz soloists even in the relatively dark and dire days of the 1970’s. Annotator Simon Spillett provides an insightful essay on the role of jazz pubs in nourishing the music over the decades. Morrissey was widely admired by patrons of those taverns, and his visit to Maidenhead ensured a packed house.
On the many times I heard him, Dick never stinted in his effort; he gave 100 per cent. Such was certainly the case on this gig which captures him in full cry, relishing the occasion and the support of a well-established, swinging group. The agreed agenda incorporates a brace of standards, three jazz originals and one "mystery" theme, yet to be identified, although someone must know its title and composer (Spillett speculates that it may be a Milt Jackson number). For the duration of his tragically curtailed career Morrissey retained a strong Sonny Rollins influence, and Sonny's tune St Thomas was an ever-present part of Dick's book. He recorded it on his first album, and a later version by him can be heard on a Birmingham date recorded by the late Tony Levin. Whisper Not finds the saxophonist in particularly fine form, and he delivers a vibrant version of Over The Rainbow, makes hay on Speak Low and has great fun with Phineas Newborn's Down Home, sadly incomplete but containing an ample outpouring by the ever inventive Morrissey - how the crowd loved it! An excellent musical memoir from one of our finest players.
NOT only has it received this very favourable review, but JJ's Critics Choice has placed it in the top 10 albums the critics most wanted to hear!!
What gems have you got hidden in your loft?
So that's it for now folks........................