Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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!!

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.

Acrobat 4395

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.

Mark Gardner

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........................

Geoff C

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Jazz, Hedsor, and THINGS!

Having had a stuttering of last posts last year, welcome to the first post of 2018.

Our first gig last week was an excellent start. Our guests, saxophonist Duncan Lamont Jnr and guitarist Max Brittain combined with deputy drummer Mike Jeffries, John Monney on bass and Nigel Fox on keyboard to give an evening that could have been advertised in a number of different ways. Sadly I didn’t record it, and kick myself for not doing so. Duncan’s concept of using tunes requested by famous “Desert Island Disks” guests in the first set, and then canvassing the audience for their essential recording/tune for the second was a great idea, and he linked it all together with what I can only think of as a cabaret act, brilliant! One of two tunes did stretch the musicians a bit, but the bands rendition of the requested “Stolen Moments” was very well done. It had been requested by Jan, as she was sitting next to me I could read her request. Well done all.

Looking back even further our Christmas gathering was brilliant and very well attended. Tina May struck just the right approach, using a number of Christmas orientated tunes to engage us in the festive spirit, and the Duncan Lamont Duo adding just the right instrumental approach.

Photo's courtesy of Geoff Swaffield 

You may think that I have been ignoring the elephant in the room.

Hedsor Jazz has suffered significant loss during the last couple of years, and with our beloved Clive Burton passing away in October after 9 months of illness and Glenn’s tragic and sudden death in December adding to our loss of Ken Rankine in 2016 has had a significant impact on me, and I am sure many of you as well.

Jan Burton wants Hedsor Jazz to carry on, and so does Martin, who had already taken up a leading role in the band immediately after Clive’s passing. I think this is something we all want. Our friendships are as important as the music we promote.

It will not be the same, and we might find the inevitable changes forced upon us may not always be what we would have chosen. It will be different, but it will be to the same high standard. Hedsor Jazz will carry on. Jazz Angels (the underwriters of Hedsor Jazz) have already paid for the room rent for all of 2018 as a sign of our desire to do just that. Please be patient as we transition. It will become a butterfly in the end!

Glenn’s funeral last Friday was a lovely event. Martin and Miles with their different spoken tributes were both very brave and very eloquent and as a jazz family we at Hedsor Jazz will continue to hold them in thoughts and prayers.

The funeral reception (wake?) was held in an old Baptist Church that I hadn’t been inside for over 50 years. A youth club I used to help run would come out of London to Woodrow High House near Amersham, (then run by the London Association of Boys Clubs), for an Easter Retreat every year, and would travel en mass for Easter Sunday in what was an original Baptist Chapel in the same building. The minister at the time was always very inventive in his presentations. At one time bringing in a live cockerel, another time leading in a live donkey, all to illustrate his points! Coming in the back door for a sad social gathering it was all quite a shock! Another shock was finding in that gathering my old dentist!! It is a small world really.

This Thursday “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet” with guests, vocalist Alison Bentley and her partner guitarist Kevin Armstrong will provide our Jazz Content at Hedsor. Usual entry of £7 and usual start time of 8.30pm.

It is after all the beginning of another year at Hedsor Jazz. It would be good to see you all again.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I'm NOT sure how many last last posts one can have, but I have details of 2 funerals to pass on to everyone, sadly somewhat appropriate for a another last post. 

In order of event

John Slater

A funeral service for will be held for John at 11:30 on 28 December, at 

The Chiltern Woodland Burial Park. 

Anyone who knew John is welcome. 

Details of the venue can be found at https://www.greenacrescelebrate.co.uk/park/chiltern/

Glenn Hart

Martin has asked me to let you all know that Glenn's funeral will take place on Friday 5th January at 1pm at 

The Milton Chapel of Amersham Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham, Bucks HP7 0ND and afterwards at

The King's Chapel Function Room of the Kings Arms Hotel, 30 High Street, Old Amersham HP7 0DJ

Geoff C

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Last Last Post of 2017


To ALL who came and made our Hedsor Jazz Christmas Party such a success. 

Thank you to all the regular musicians in The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet, to Duncan Lamont senior and junior, to Alan Grahame, and of course to TINA MAY.

It was a Stella success with a capacity crowd. Many new faces, some faces not seen for a while, and of course, the regular friends and helpers who come on many of the Thursdays of each week of the year. 

If YOU were one of the new faces, do come again, and please, don't wait until next Christmas to do so.

Until our next Hedsor Jazz on January 4th I wish you a very merry Christmas and leave you with a few of my photos from last night.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I have just had it pointed out to me that my last "last" entry had a Freudian slip. 

As Duke Ellington said "We Love You MADLY" so we would like you to keep coming and supporting live jazz, so that entry that said:-

"We cannot keep jazz alive with you".

SHOULD HAVE READ "We cannot keep jazz alive without you"!

BUT I'm sure you knew that really!!

Happy error hunting!


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Last Jazz Blog of the Year

So, to all my readers, do have a very Happy Christmas time. May all your presents be playable!

At Hedsor we aim to finish our year with a festive party. It has been a difficult and challenging year, but through it all we have had some tremendous jazz, and have supported one another through some sad times. Thank you to all who have helped, either as musicians, organisers, or most importantly as audience. We cannot keep jazz alive with you.

At Hedsor Jazz we have a full plan for January, and we are already working on February. Keep your eye on this blog. I cannot promise one every week (which is my aim), but I will always try and tell you who is coming to play. AND sometimes, I will let you know of recorded music that will sustain your enjoyment of jazz at home.

For now though just a reminder that December 21st is our jazz party. Our regular band (minus Mike Wills who is off to Australia) plus special guests Tina May, Duncan Lamont (maybe even a pair of Lamont’s) and that absolute stalwart (who will ever forget the 3 hour celebration of his life in music back in July) Alan Grahame. 8pm start for the music, get there early to make sure you get in. £10 including a light buffet.

There will be NO Hedsor Jazz on December 28th.

Our next Hedsor Jazz will be on January 4th 2018 and will have that wonderful combination of saxophone and guitar, Duncan Lamont (he will have been home since his last visit!) and Max Brittain.

So Christmas cheer to you all, see you in 2018.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Its time to write again

This week I will keep it fairly concise.

As most of you will know, tragedy struck Hedsor Jazz again last Thursday when Glenn, Martin Harts wife, was struck down with a stroke from which she died on Friday night.

Like all troopers, and although obviously tinged with sadness, the music carried on, and was in fact very good. Thank you to ALL the musicians who played through the evening.

Above are three of the photos taken by Geoff Swaffield , Sue Greenway, Mike Wills and Rory McEnroy

Our Thursdays WILL also carry on, as detailed in the program I put out in last weeks blog.
Alvin Roy
So this week we will have clarinet star Alvin Roy, and together with Mike Wills they will play some old tunes and some new, with perhaps a taste of the traditional too!

Mike Jeffries, who took over the drum chair at such short notice last week (THANK YOU), will again be our drummer this week.

There is a possibility that Martin may come with his son Miles to just be with us. 

I spoke with Martin a couple of times last weekend, and I am not ashamed to say, was unable to do so without tears. I’m sure that Martin will find it difficult to be back at Hedsor, but equally sure that he will at some stage be back. I am equally sure that we will all treat him with all the love and sympathy we can offer. I can remember the reception I got when I first came back to the jazz fraternity after my own son died in 2002. Friendly normality, with unspoken understanding. Things change, but life travels on.

Everything must change,
Nothing stays the same.
Everyone must change
Nothing stays the same.

The young become the old,
Mysteries do unfold.
'Cause that's the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged.

There are not many things
In life you can be sure of.

Rain comes from the clouds,
And sun lights up the sky,

Just some of the lyrics from “Everything Must change” by Benard Ighner
December 21st, our Christmas Party. Don’t forget to get your tickets. £10 each from Dee on Thursday.