Friday, December 23, 2005
To make both more probable, can I give you a link to a bit of jazz reading, that Dr. Jazz (Michael Weinblatt) has passed on to me. It should give you an excuse to find your PC and have a quiet 10 minutes during the feature length episode of Neighbours that I'm sure must be on on Christmas day!!
Will take you to a long article by Simon Spillet about Tubby Hayes. Well written and informative, it may even encourage you to go out and buy a British Jazz CD with your record token gift from Ma-in-Law.
A final note before eating begins, there WILL be a post Christmas, pre New Year session with The Clive Burton Quintet on THURSDAY December 29th at The Hedsor Social Club from
8.30 pm on. Tell (bring?) your inert friends!!
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Blue Planet Orchestra
I am sure that , like me, you are all beginning to wonder about the "advisability" of Christmas. The time before it becomes shorter, the tasks to be performed grow ever larger, and panic creeps in!!
SO, I will be brief, but of excellent quality!!
Wednesday, at The Harrow, from 8.30pm, it the last but one Wednesday to see and hear Lynn Garner (thank you Wycombe District Council!), this time with John Pearce on piano.Wednesday 21st December will be the last jazz you will be able to hear at The Harrow. I must express my thanks to the Harrows management for providing the opportunity over the last 2 years to hear Lynn, usually accompanied by Ken McCarthy on piano. It has always been a free venue, and it is very sad to see it have to give in to bully politics. Thanks also to Lynn and Ken for turning out week after week to give such excellent entertainment, and the ability to get to know you as friends.
Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30pm with the regular Clive Burton rhythm section we have SIMON SPILLETT on tenor sax giving more of his incite into bop al la Tubby Hayes, entry by raffle ticket.
Sunday, Century Jazz at The Fifield, 8pm, food available, but book a table.
Next Tuesday (20th) its my Christmas Party at The Old Bell. Do come along, and make it an unforgettable jazz night. Tickets are £10 each including a buffet supper, The Usual Suspects are the band. Start Christmas proper 4 days early and come along.
And so to the CD player! This week I have been knocked out by a CD that appears to have been rejected by the buying public, and I only put it on last week out of curiosity. But what a lovely surprise "Roland Perrin's Blue Planet Orchestra" turned out to be!! 2 trombones, percussion, electric bass and keyboards, all original tunes (but not chords!), and a marvellous mellifluous sound they all make. I noticed that the cd was manufactured by "Sounds Good", the Theale based company a number of local musicians have used. It seems to be a private venture (number BPR001!), but if you want one (and it would be well worth your effort to try and get one) you could try emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com The CD was issued in 1999. A copy of the cover will appear on my blog.
That's it for now folks. I may not have time next week to email you a Happy Christmas, so I will wish you it now!!
Monday, December 05, 2005
Bruce Adams and Greg Abate at Swanage 2005
Lets get the bad news over first.
After a number of traumas over noise, and their music licence, The Harrow have had, in the end, to capitulate to Wycombe District Council. The new licensing laws (you know, the ones that were supposed to make it easier for musicians to work in pubs) have meant that it is too costly for The Harrow to have a new style music license. Therefore, the gigs up until December 23rd, will be the last ones.
They are as follows:-
Wednesdays : -
Dec 7 Ken McCarthy + John Dunsterville (gtr / voc.)
Dec 14 Lynn Garner + John Pearce
Dec 21 Lynn Garner + Ken McCarthy
Ken, in his email to me, said the following:
"The Harrow, Hughenden Valley will cease live music after this month, unfortunately. Wycombe Licensing has done it's worst and priced the pub out of the market. The old "2 in a bar" rule which protected us has now gone."
I'm sure this wont be the last jazz venue to disappear in our area. PLEASE continue to support those that are still going, and make some noise yourselves about closures!
One venue that is still be going at the moment on THURSDAY's is The Hedsor Social Club.
The Clive Burton Quintet will be playing there on Thursday 8th, 15th, and 29th December. The saxophonist on the 15th will be Tubby Hayes expert SIMON SPILLET. On all other occasions it will be Mike Wills.
Sundays at The Fifield will have Century Jazz on December 11th, 18th, and Jan 1st
My Jazz from Geoff Christmas Party at The Old Bell will be on Tuesday December 20th, with "The Usual Suspects" providing the music, and Peter the food. Yes, its buffet time folks. £10 each is your ticket entry fee. Please let me know if you intend to come.
I have listened to some CDs this week, however, they are not commercially available. They are 2 bootleg recordings made by a friend from Birmingham. They are good enough for commercial release, and the music is outstanding, as all who were at the sessions involved could testify (me for one). The first is the Saturday session with Alan Barnes and Greg Abate. The second is the Sunday session with Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams. The recordings ably demonstrate the high musical ability of all involved in the sessions (John Donaldson I remember was the pianist). If someone wants one of these illicit recordings for private use, do contact me, and I'm sure we can barter our way out of the situation! I really just want to let other people hear what The Swanage Jazz Festival has to offer.
And its down to you to stop live music disappearing from your locality.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Good Wednesday Morning everyone.
Yes, the nag's a day late, but this little persistent reminder is still with you. Why? Because we do need to support the local jazz events that are available, such as
Tonight, Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy at The Harrow up the Hughenden Valley north of High Wycombe. An intimate jazz venue, wonderful singing and first class accompaniment and its all FREE. 8.30 till about 11pm.
I have known both for some years, but talking to Ken last week, we discovered that for a short period of time we both worked (he as a BT wireman, and me as an RAF mechanic) under what is now the Ministry of Defence. It was the Air Ministry when we were there in 1962! We had even both worked in the same room on occasions, and that was a long way underneath I can tell you. But no more than that, because it is probably all still covered under the official secrets act, which is STILL on my office wall!!
Thursday I don't think has the same connections, but The Clive Burton Quintet will be playing The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30 pm. Entry by raffle ticket, and yes, we need the money!
Sunday, Century Jazz play The Fifield from 8pm, food available, again payment for the music is by raffle ticket.
This last week I had the pleasure of speaking at Cores End Church (where we recently held a jazz concert), and gave a brief introduction to jazz, and gospel music. I was ably supported by a lady that I haven't had the pleasure of hearing for some years, Melrose Coe. Mel has always had a great voice, and feel for Jazz and Gospel music, but for various reasons had to put her musical career on hold. Now she is back and in tremendous form, and I hope will travel out from her London home some more in the future. An Arts Council sponsored UK tour is in the offing! She was wonderfully accompanied on the day by Zane, who else!
On the CD front this week 2 recordings of more traditional style jazz (you will notice that I didn't use the word Trad!).
The first is another of those Lake record re issues, this time by clarinet cult figure of the 50's, Cy Laurie. Cy really did have a dedicated following for his Johnny Dodd's style of clarinet. He had his own club (Mac's in Great Windmill Street) which presented his style of jazz 6 nights a week. In the end (well, middle really) he "Disappeared" and took himself off to India for spiritual reflection (long before the Beatles did the same). He did re appear, but kept his head down.
The Lake release features a 1992 recording of him, with almost his original line up, playing what, in effect, is the Louis Armstrong song book (Oriental Strut, King of the Zulus, Dippermouth Blues et al), The band play tight ensemble stuff, a little freer than Colyer would have done, but with Cy sounding very like Johnny Dodd's.
If you are a fan of 1920,30's jazz, this is for you. LACD156.
The other recording (available again on CD) is by that amazing non player of the guitar, Eddie Condon. "Jammin at Condon's" has some of his buddies (including Bud Freeman, Wild Bill Davison, Cutty Cutshall) playing traditional tunes, but in that laid back relaxed style that was typically "Chicago". So laid back at the end of "How Come You Do Me Like You Do", (a 12 minute investigation!), that Condon shouts out,"not bad for a bunch of strolling players"! Not bad indeed. They are all so on top of their craft that it sound completely effortless. Recorded in 1954, the sound quality is really very good mono!! A 2 CD version of this and other wonderful music can be ordered from HMV for £18.99 try CCL7526.2
Well, that's it for this week. Don't forget that I'm running a Jazz Christmas Party at The Old Bell on Tuesday December 20th, tickets from me at £10 include a buffet at half time.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The Norma Winstone Album I rave about today!!
Another Tuesday, another nag, but hey, you know it brightens the week!!
And THIS particular Tuesday its a Jazz from Geoff night. Thats right, it not a third Tuesday, but it IS my night at The Old Bell TONIGHT!! You will be able to listen to CD's, and buy some at silly money, AND have the enormous pleasure of listening to Live Jazz Music from "The Usual Suspects". And just so that people know that I am in some way associated with this splendid band of fellows ( OK, I'm NOT blind, Lisa IS a girl!), my new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and yes, I am back on Broadband!!
So DO come along. We don't charge money, but we do ask for a generous donation. SO if your a pensioner, or on some other life support system, it wont break your bank to come out and keep live jazz live!
And neither will the gig on Wednesday at The Harrow in the Hughenden Valley. Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy sing and play for your pleasure (if your there!), and its FREE!! 8.30 pm start, and a great night out.
Thursday we get ugly if you don't pay us. The Hedsor Social Club has the Clive Burton Quintet playing from 8.30 pm. It really is some of the best jazz you will be able to get to from where you live!! Last week, a number of new arrangements, which were played publicly for the first time, had most of us with our mouths wide open; they are just such an accomplished band of musicians. You really will kick yourselves if you never come and see them.
Sunday, Century Jazz at The Fifield. I noticed yesterday (I Lunched there) that they no longer call it The Fifield Inn. Presumably its because its the only pub left in Fifield!
CD of the week for me MUST be Norma Winstone and Tony Coe Singing and playing about "Manhattan in the Rain". One of the best vocal jazz albums I've ever heard! I have long been a fan of Tony Coe, right from the age of about 20 (he would have been about 18!). His lovely dribbling sound gets right under your skin. Norma Winstone I have always understood to be the singers singer, but she does sometimes sing some very advanced stuff, which is very difficult to get hold of. However, this album, recorded in 1997, has her singing mostly standard material ("People will Say Were in Love", "Shall We Dance", When The World Was Young"), with an understanding of the words and a musical ability that takes your breath away. The way she manages to stick to the tune and the tempo, when all around her are doing their best to alter both, is remarkable. And as an entity, it really does work. I first heard it on Humphs Monday night program a week ago, and just had to order it then and there. A repro of the cover is on the Blogg, it’s on the ENODOC Records label, number ENOCD 001. Her fellow collaborators on it are Steve Gray on Keyboards and Chris Laurence bass.
Well, that's it for now folks, the cartoons follow............a long way behind!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Here is the cover of the Liz Fletcher CD "Mellow Mania" I was writing about last week.
The text you can probably read is what I have added!! The size of the original font used on the album can be assessed by looking at the text above the naked back! It is like that right through the album.
From the fact that the picture is now there for you to look at gives you the clue that I am back on Broadband. My new email address IS
Do watch out over the next few days, as I will be writing up soon the 1997 Norma Winstone album "Manhattan in the Rain" and adding that cover to the collection.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I suppose I’m getting used to being without my broadband connection (I am moving to a different, and cheaper, provider), and finding ways round not having an always on connection, but I’ll be delighted when I get back on again (I am promised around November 27th). You will then get the album artwork back!!
Yesterdays clitch was NOTHING to do with not having a fast connection, but solely to do with 2/3rds of the Usual Suspects assuming that November 15th was a SECOND Tuesday, and getting a booking elsewhere for tonight!! So, we have postponed it for a week! Firmly place into your diaries November 22nd as my next extravaganza at The Old Bell in Wooburn.
So what can you do this week?
Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th, you can proceed to The Harrow up the Hughenden Valley to hear Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy. I gather that these evenings are becoming a bit of a master class, and are also great fun. It’s Free! And starts about 8.30pm.
Thursday 17th has us all back at The Hedsor Social Club for another enlightening evening with The Clive Burton Quintet. The evening starts at 8.30, its NOT free, but you might win a raffle prize.
Sunday 20th, Century Jazz are at The Fifield Inn, start time 8pm, food available (book a table!), and you again will be asked to buy a raffle ticket. You don’t have to, but the nearest hospital is Heatherwood in Ascot!
This week on CD I’ve been listening to Liz Fletcher. I heard her first on a CD of Alan Barnes called “Unsung Heroes” and thought what an enjoyable singer she was, but she was singing a complete set of previously unrecorded material, which makes comparisons difficult. On “Mellow Mania” she’s singing mainly standards, with a superb band including Matt Wates and Tony Coe on saxophones (on separate tracks, not together).
Matt Wates must be one of our best unsung heroes for sure. I have always enjoyed his playing, and The Clive Burton Band also play some of his material, which must be good!
Coe produces his usual fine, dribbling sound, which always makes him instantly identifiable. This helped, because the sleeve notes for the album have the smallest text on the least contrasting background I have ever seen. However, with the aid of a microscope, you can also discover that Martin Shaw plays trumpet on some tracks, and Robin Aspland plays the piano on all of them.
It really is a delightful album, and I look forward to seeing her again somewhere soon (I managed to get the last part of her set at this years Swanage Jazz festival, and kicked myself for not having got there earlier, well It was a Sunday Morning!!).
Black Box Music 5 031033 970225 will get you to the CD!
So for now, with muddles over, I’ll get back to listening to some more to my CD collection. BUT I’ll also go out to the live jazz that is all around us, and so much better than a lot of the CD’s.
Do go out and see if I’m right!
Lets keep live jazz alive!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
This week sees us all settling down to a Winterish normality! Dark nights, but the same regular live JAZZ. Something for you to go out too, now its too late to garden when you get home!!
Tomorrow Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy are back at The Harrow up the Hughenden Valley. Last week Lynn had leave of absence whilst she played a gig with Century Jazz at the Farnham Maltings. This time I did actually go along. Its a very nice venue, spoilt only by bad signposting. Certainly bad for those of us travelling in the pouring rain who didn't know where to go!! The real positive side to this event was the reaction of the audience!! Used to a more traditional jazz music than Century Jazz's modernist sounds, it was a pleasure to see them melt as they realised what a pleasant noise they were hearing. By the end I was very sad that I hadn't taken Century Jazz's Concert CD to sell, but I did pick up one mail order!!
So, those of you who have not yet ventured forth to The Harrow (to hear Lynn sing), or to Hedsor on a Thursday to hear the Clive Burton Quintet play, or to Fifield on a Sunday to hear Century Jazz play, have been missing great opportunities. Please rectify that this week!!
To recap, Wednesday, Lynn and Ken at The Harrow start at 8.30 pm, and its FREE!
Thursday The Clive Burton Quintet at The Hedsor Social Club start at 8.30 pm and you will be asked for money, but you may win a raffle prize!
Sunday at The Fifield Inn starts at 8 pm, food is available, and again you will be asked to buy a raffle ticket or 5.
My listening pleasure at home has been enhanced by 2 cd's this week:-
The first is a Blue Note CD issued in 2003 by Cassandra Wilson, called "Glamoured". I find her slightly male sounding voice most attractive and a bit different from the normal jazz singer, and she sings some interesting songs with a mostly acoustic accompaniment (a variety of guitar, bass and drums with even an added banjo on "Honey Bee"). The first track will have you wondering "where have I heard this before". "Fragile" is a Sting song!! Also included are Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay". Well worth seeking out. There are a lot of numbers on the sleeve, but 7087 6 17932 2 2 may get a result!
The second CD is a brand new issue on the Arbours Records label. Mostly of the people I don't know, but they are playing wonderful swing music that I do! John Sheridan's Dream Band, "Easy as it Gets" contains some wonderful tunes (Devil May Care, Morning Glory, Me, Myself and I, and I'm Sitting on Top of The World to mention just 4!) played by people who know what they are doing, and are right on top of it! Mr Sheridan leads from the piano, and is ably supported by Randy Reinhart on cornet, Russ Phillips trombone, Ron Hockett clarinet. Scott Robinson on tenor sax I have actually heard and met!! Phil Flanigan bass, Bob Leary guitar, Joe Ascione drums and there are some vocals by Rebecca Kilgore. Its effortless music and leaves you with a smile on your face. That's Jazz!!
Dont forget (no, not the diver), the live jazz, go and support to keep it alive.
But for now, let me say .....
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
This weeks nag is much later than I anticipated today, but still in time I hope for you to enjoy:-
Al Nichols and his band at Bourne End Community Centre. Yes, its time for Mo's gig again as its the first Tuesday of the month (of November) and you have put your clock back haven't you!
8.30 pm start, nibbles at half time, raffle ticket entry.
Wednesday, Lynn Garner AND Century Jazz are at The Farnham Maltings in Surrey, a gig normally occupied by The Otis B Driftwood Band. But, the music and hilarity will this month be led by Clive and his Merry Men. 8pm start £7 (I think) to get in, food and bar available.
I guess Ken McCarthy will be playing at The Harrow in Hughenden Valley, and I'm sure he knows who with. 8.30 start, always a free gig.
Thursday, Clive again plays The Hedsor Social Club with his Quintet, 8.30 pm start, raffle to fund the band. Please pay as much as you can afford!! You know it makes sense!
Sunday, Century Jazz at Fifield 8 pm start, food available, raffle funding.
I haven't actually had time to listen to new CDs this last week, as I was away in Ipswich. The weather was wonderful, so I took full advantage and roamed to the heights of Lowestoft and Sutton Hoo.
I'll try and write some more critiques for the blog tomorrow.
ps. Some of you out there haven’t been to any of our gigs yet. We know who you are!!
Monday, October 24, 2005
Geoff’s Jazz Nag
Takes a slightly unusual form this week. I am away, and am attempting to Nag you from a strange PC using only web mail, nasty!!
You will recall, that last week you only got my panic nag about coming to the concert at Cores End Church. Well, I’m glad to say, that for some of you at least, it worked!! Saturdays concert was a great success, both socially and musically. Even a small profit was achieved. I think all who came enjoyed it, and those of you who didn’t must now kick yourselves. OK, Yes I know it hurts, just come along next time!!
The music was excellent, and the first half, with its mix of mainstream and fusion music, with Lisa Amato stepping forward on 3 occasion to take the base chair, was very well received. In our audience was Wendy Craig, and one of her friends, Mike Dawkes, of saxophone manufacturing fame. This half was finished off with Lynn Garner singing an absolutely blistering version of “Spain”, much to the delight of Josu De La Fuenta (a cancer specialist from Great Ormand Street), who is Spanish! The second half was dedicated to the music of Duke Ellington, and had Martin Hart telling anecdotes about the Duke, which I’m sure educated and amused all.
So this week, what is there for you to do?
Tomorrow, Century Jazz’s rhythm section play for Singers Night at The Old Bell in Wooburn, 8.30pm start, book ahead for a table for dinner.
Wednesday Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy entertain at The Harrow up Hughenden Valley, 8.30pm start. Both the above are free venues, unless you eat of course!
Thursday, the Clive Burton Quintet are back at The Hedsor Social Club, maybe even with Clive this week!!
Sunday, Century Jazz is at Fifield as usual (Well its been usual for 10 years now anyway).
This weeks CD MUST be another Lake Records reissue. One doesn’t normally associate Stan Tracey, his big band (with Tony Coe on board) with Acker Bilk, but back in the 1960’s they made a superb album together called “Blue Acker”. This has now been re released by Lake with a few additional tracks of the band recorded a few months later. It’s been one of my favourite albums since day one of its LP release, and I can only say that it is WELL worth an investment to get this CD. The arrangement Stan has achieved on “Stranger on the Shore” is worth the CD price alone. Throw in “Royal Garden Blues”, “Festival Junction”, “Mood Indigo” and another little known Ellington tune called “Lay-by” and you have a musical bargain. If I can get it all to work from Ipswich, I’ll put the cover up on my Blogg.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
In ripping some of my CD's so that I can listen to them on my Creative Labs Zen MP3 player just reminds me of some of the superb jazz that has been recorded for posterity, and is still around to be listened to. Two in particular bring back to me memories of the distant past, but with the wonders of modern technology, still sounding fresh and vibrant.
One of the first lady singers I fell in love with (yep, "I Fall In Love Too Easily"!) was Peggy Lee. I suppose I was about 17 when I first sat in the lounge of the Britannia Arms in Hammersmith and listened to a 10" LP of "Black Coffee" being played on a Radiogram. A really rich sound that was NOT Hi Fi! But the music was! "I've Got You Under My Skin", "It Ain't Necessarily So", "Love Me or Leave Me" all accompanied by wonderful musicians that I didn't know. At the time I was still trying to play that Pure music of New Orleans (Trad!) on a trumpet, and I began to have grave misgivings about my ability after this 10" of black magic! Why, Pete Condoli accompanied Peggy on the trumpet. My mate who played piano and trombone just wasn't as good as the piano player on that 10" either, well it was Jimmy Rowles!!
The best thing about it all is that you can still hear them just like then ( better in fact ) on Verve 060249831935.
Another of the nostalgia that has recently been ripped I first heard in about 1964, here at Cookham, long before we moved here. A friend lived here and played me a tape (reel to reel) of an LP his friend had (yes, illegal even then) of Bobby Hacket and his band " Coast to Coast". Recorded in 1955 (a year before the Peggy Lee), this had Jack Teagarden AND Abe Lincoln on trombones, with Nappy Lamare on guitar and Nick Fatool on drums. Effortless, timeless music set in that old tradition, but a million miles away from Traditional Jazz!! I borrowed his tape, and did another tape to tape copy (very difficult in those days). Back in 1990, I was able to purchase a CD from Dormouse Records. They are unfortunately not around anymore, but I believe you can still get the CD. On the Dormouse CD it was coupled with "Jazz Ultimate" a slightly different assemblage of musicians, but still with Bobby Hacket on cornet, and Jack Teagarden on trombone. Just in case it helps you trace the album, its Dormouse label number was DMI CDX02. Cover art of both albums will be on my blogg later today.
So there it is. Great jazz on CD, but better jazz still if you come and support the musicians who play it for you night by night, week by week
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Oh, it's Tuesday again, and it's that dratted nag about jazz AGAIN.
Yes, it is lucky Tuesday!! And TONIGHT at The Bourne End Community Centre Bar from 8.30pm, you can listen to Denny Islett, Clive Burton, Mike Wills, Derrick Mills and a couple of names I haven't got in a wonderful evening of mainstream, swinging jazz. Looking at those names, you just know you've got to come!! Because its CENTRE JAZZ with interval snacks, the only jazz event that gives you FOOD. Entry by raffle ticket £3, and you cant even get the popcorn at the Cinema for that, little own watch a film!
Wednesday, a choice! Jazz with Ken McCarthy and a singer of his choice at The Harrow up Hughenden Avenue,
Calling all Maltings Jazzers and Otis lovers, past,present and future!!JAZZ CLUB AT FARNHAM MALTINGS Thanks to all you regulars, and to those who haven'tyet been - come on in - and do bring some friends ifyou possibly can!!Our next bash is:WED 5th OCTOBER 2005 7.30 - 11.00pm ADMISSION £7.00 (CONCESSIONS £5)With the amazing 6 piece OTIS B. DRIFTWOOD BAND andthis month featuring the return of LYNN GARNER withher great jazz vocals and comedy talents - one or twonew special surprises in store!. Great music, friendly atmosphere, and of course theusual dose of larking about.. FOOD & BAR AVAILABLEDO COME AND ENJOY THE FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE, A TUNEFULMIX OF VARIOUS JAZZ STYLES INCLUDING VOCALS, SOMELIGHT-HEARTED COMEDY AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TODANCE... RESIDENT 6 PIECE BAND 'OTIS B. DRIFTWOOD' WITH A DIFFERENT GUEST STAR EACH MONTHIT'S BEST IF YOU CAN BOOK IN ADVANCE (MALTINGS 01252 7 2 6 2 3 4 - BOX OFFICE)TO GET BEST SEATS, BUT YOU CAN JUST TURN UP ON THE NIGHT - YOU'LL ALWAYS GET IN AND THERE ARE NO BAD SEATS!!FRIENDLY CLUB ATMOSPHERE - WHETHER YOU'RE ALONE OR INA GROUP YOU WILL FIND A WARM WELCOME - SO DO COME ANDJOIN US!!FOR ANY MORE DETAILS PLEASE PHONE ME GEOFF HISCOTT 01252 715558 OR BOOK ON 01252 726234 HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON..BEST WISHES GEOFF
The Geoff this time being HISCOTT!! Do all good jazz things come with a Geoff? We will have to syndicate "Jazz from Geoff" soon!
THURSDAY back at The Hedsor Social Club, Clive Burton and his merry men (No I don't know who and Clive isn't on email! so I haven't got his new list of guests yet!) will be back at The Hedsor Social Club. 8.30pm start, good jazz, and as a newcomer pointed out last week, a great friendly atmosphere. We do talk to strangers!
Sunday, Jazz and Food with Century Jazz at Fifield 8pm start.
CD's to look out for.
A young lady new to me, is singer Brigitte Beraha, with her first CD now out. Recorded in Hackney and mixed in Chingford this is definitely a UK production, and very good it is too. Accompanied by a quartet of piano bass drums and saxophone (all names I don't know) you would be the first to by pass this cd if you saw it in the racks, but you would have made a mistake, because she has a refreshingly cool voice, sings some wonderful songs, with a twist on the ones you've heard before, and the accompaniment is just great.Cleo Lane writes of her "If sheer talent were the only ingredient needed for success in music, Brigitte would already be there with the stars. She has a tremendous future to explore, one which we'll be watching with great expectations"
FMR Records (Ultimate Groove) UGCD13-0604
The other CD listened too this week is one from the past. Its a reissue of the Clarke Boland Big Band CD "All Smiles" from 1968. And its still as exciting as it was on the original LP!! Some of Europe's best jazz musicians combined with some of America's best were assembled occasionally and recorded under the direction of Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland. Some of jazz's great names, Jimmy Deucher, Tony Coe, Johnny Griffin, Benny Bailey, and Kenny Clare as well as Kenny Clarke on drums.I can only agree with a line form the sleeve notes, "All Smiles is a first rate powerhouse session".
MPS 06024 9814790
Buy it for the cover alone!!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
This update is to let you know that Simon Spillet will be at The Hedsor Social Club tomorrow night 29.9.05.
It is well known that Simon is a great fan of the late Tubby Hayes, but did you know that Simon has just put together the notes for a recent Tubby Hayes CD? "On The Air" is a very recent release on the Harkit Records label containing 50 minutes of Tubby recorded around 1965 with Gordon Beck piano, Jeff Clyne bass and Johnny Butts drums. Well worth the purchase, I'll put the cover on my blog for you to look at. It is issued on CD and also on 12" vinyl for all you LP12 fans.
cd number is HRKCD 8156, and the LP version is KRKLP 8156 !!
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
This week the nag will be relatively boring, as all the regular venues are being regular, and I don't have a list of guests!!
But in true nagging fashion, this little detail wont stop me from saying that:
Tonight, being the last Tuesday in the month, its Singers Night at The Old Bell in Wooburn, courtesy of Peter. Fine vocal jazz, with elements of Century Jazz plus a singer!! Dine on The Old Bells oriental cuisine, and listen to the music. telephone 01628 520406 to book your ticket.The music starts at 8.30pm.
Wednesday, Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy will entertain you at The Harrow in Hughenden Valley, and again, the music starts at 8.30pm.
Thursday, there will be Jazz at The Hedsor Social Club. I believe Clive is on Holiday ( I may be wrong, I often am, but 2 months ago he did say that he would be!), but I'm sure the jazz will be surprisingly good! Why surprising? Because people who come to listen for the first time are amazed at the quality and professionalism of the jazz we put on there. If YOU haven't yet been, surprise us all, yourself included, by coming along this week! The music starts at 8.30pm.Raffle ticket entry £5.
Sunday, Century Jazz are as usual at The Fifield Inn, from 8pm.
Tickets are now on sale for the next Jazz Concert at Cores End Church on October 22nd. It will be an excellent concert, with excellent musicians playing in a building which last year surprised us all with its great acoustics. You can get your ticket (£10) from "Crocks and Crystals" on the Parade at Bourne End, or from "Delizioso" in Cookham Rise.Any profit made from this concert will be donated to charity.
And so we come to my recorded listen of the week.
Lianne Carroll is a young lady singer (not too sure how ladylike mind you!), who I have seen a number of times. She isn't your usual image of a jazz singer, doesn't dress in party frocks, or stand behind a microphone. She sits at a keyboard, usually with a cigarette going all the time, and belts out a kind of urban blues with a lower register voice. Often her tunes, many of her own composition, are a bit gritty. That is, until now. For this, her third album, she is singing far more standards than I've heard her do before ("Eleanor Rigby", "At Seventeen", "I Only Have Eyes For You" for example), but still with that remarkably flexible bluesy dark voice. And her piano playing is more than up to the standard too. Its a kind of barrelhouse sound. On this new album, she is accompanied on one track by fellow Sussex based saxophonist Bobby Wellins, and on another by singer Ian Shaw. Its a brilliant CD. If you have never heard her before go straight out and buy it.I just don't think you will be disappointed. If you have heard her before, then I wont keep you any longer! Splash Point Records SPR003. It's called "Standard Issue " and you can find out more about it on http://www.splashpointrecords.com/
So there you have it, another week for you to spend in Jazzland.
You know it makes sense!
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
CD's I have enjoyed this week include yet another from those lovely Lake people.
Al Fairweather didn't stop playing trumpet when his long time collaborator Sandy Brown died. One of the bands he played with was the Bristol based "Groove Juice Special" who were playing the sort of swing music associate with Louis Jordan long before it became a West End Show. In 1987, sponsored by "Southern Comfort" (a real hot lick!), they recorded an LP (big black round thing with a 2 grooves and a hole in the middle) called "Groove Juice Coming To Town", which sold an amazing 30,000 copies. Most of it is now on the Lake CD "Groove Juice Special & Sweet Substitute". plus other swing and fun harmony vocals by the Sweet Subs. Tunes like Fat and Greasy, 5 Guys Named Moe, Rockabye Basie, together with a couple of originals by Al himself. Its a great listen, swings like mad, is pretty well recorded, and you should order it as LACD83. The band are really wonderful, and it just goes to show that not all good jazz is confined to London.
The Second CD worth a mention was triggered by Martin Harts excellent concert and life story of Duke Ellington at last weeks Speen Festival.
Duke rarely featured himself playing, but in 1961 an album was issued that had Duke with his "Piano in the Foreground". This has now been reissued with additional tracks (including that lovely "Lotus Blossom" recording that he made, almost by mistake, at the conclusion of the recording of "And His Mother Called Him Bill" tribute to Billy Strayhorn). Its on Columbia Legacy 512920 2 "Piano in the Foreground". With him on the 61 recordings , are Aaron Bell or Jimmy Woode bass and Sam Woodyard drums. Well worth adding to your Ellington Collection.
Dont forget folks , that even though there is a great legacy of music on CD, you still need to go out and support the live music just to keep it alive!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The Alex Welsh CD Reviewed Below
Summer is still with us it seams, and we have just won back the Ashes, so its not a bad 13th September!!
Mo's Gig last Tuesday, with Tim Saunders and his guests was very enjoyable. And what about the singer? Wow wasnt she lovely?
And so we proceed to another week of LIVE JAZZ .
Wednesday at The Harrow up Hughenden Avenue Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy are still singing and playing for you, so it really is about time you went to hear them!! 8.30pm start, free event!!
Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club Clive has an almost regular member of the band as guest, Mike Wills on reeds. 8.30pm till 11pm, entry buy raffle ticket, and I do mean "buy". Last week was slightly strange in as much as traffic and other unforeseen events kept a large chunk of the band away until gone 9pm, but then (even though Mike Wills never did manage to beat the traffic jam) we did have a super evening, with Tim Best on keyboard. It was a bit like the buses, we were waiting for an instrument to turn up (bass and drums becomes very limited after half an hour), when 3 turn up at once!! Never mind, the regulars enjoyed talking to each other!!
Sunday Century Jazz's guest at Fifield has still to be arranged, but you will be able to dine, and enjoy great jazz from 8pm onwards. Dinning isn't mandatory, buying a raffle ticket IS.
And so to bed! but not without reminding you all that there will be another Jazz Concert at Cores End United Reformed Church (very near The Old Bell) on Saturday October 22nd, tickets now on sale £10 each, will include cheese and wine at half time. You can get them from me, or Crocks and Crystals on The Parade at Bourne End.
Music Listened to at Home this week included two that you Trad fans will appreciate (as I do!).
The first was the Lonnie Donegan story as told by himself for the BBC and recorded and broadcast "live" at the 100 club on 15th June 1994. I must admit to having taped it "off air" at the time, as I have always had a great deal of respect for Lonnie. When I first heard him, he was "just" the banjo player in the Chris Barber Band, and I would go along every Wednesday night to "The White Heart" Southall and listen to the band, and always in the second half, Lonnie's "Skiffle" band would play. The CD has Lonnie telling his own story of how he got into jazz and American Folk Music. He had a wonderful sense of humour, and I can heartily recommend this Upbeat Jazz CD (URCD200) to you. Great fun and rocking music.
The Second CD is another wonderful Lake Records re issue. One of the earlier Alex Welsh ones, not of the full band of the time, but of his "Big Four". Alex, Archie Semple, Fred Hunt, and Jack Fallon, recorded in 1960. Timeless music, not the banjo trad of the time, but music from that earlier tradition, played with grace and style. Music perhaps for a late night, which is why the original LP (of which I have a copy AND its in a cardboard sleeve!), was called "Night People". This reissue has some additional tracks by Archie Semple (the most Pee Wee Russell sound alike I know off) and his trio as above. Archie died too soon. He was basically a shy man, and as the bands fame grew, he found it more and more difficult to face the audience without alcoholic reinforcement. In the end, the alcohol killed him. A story that I'm sure all jazz lovers are familiar with.
So, go out, and enjoy the live stuff whilst you can, there will be times aplenty to listen to the recorded stuff later, but you can of course buy some of that future listening at The Old Bell next Tuesday when Jazz from Geoff brings you "The Usual Suspects", one of whom has just blown up his car engine!!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
TONIGHT, at the Bourne End Community Centre guitarist Tim Saunders will bring his team of strolling players (well, they came down the M4 by car from Hammersmith actually) to entertain us at Centre Jazz, the community centre's monthly jazz event organised by Mo. Raffle ticket entry, snacks at half time.
WEDNESDAY, Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy are at The Harrow from 8.30pm. AND its still free!
AND from 7.30 - 11.00pm at The Maltings, Farnham, Surrey, Geoff Hiscott has the amazing 6 piece OTIS B. DRIFTWOOD BAND and this month they are featuring "the return of young, lovely and talented LOUISA REVOLTA with her smooth jazz vocals and great alto sax playing! This young lady is a big star for the future" (it says here)..ADMISSION £7.00 (CONCESSIONS £5)
THURSDAY 8.30pm at The Hedsor Social Club we have the return of Mike Wills with The Clive Burton Quartet. Mike always adds great musical sensitivity to any ensemble he plays with, from Brecon to Bude via Littlewick Green, many different musical formats, but Mike always enhances the sounds and adds the right notes on the right instruments at the right time.
SUNDAY The Fifield Inn will see Century Jazz back for the beginning of their 11th year at Fifield. Not many venues stay open that long, little own with the same band. Expect to buy a raffle ticket, and the gig starts at 8pm.
TICKETS are now on sale for the Cores End Church's Second Jazz Concert on October 22nd from Me, or Crocks and Crystals in Bourne End, 01628 528712.
And then looking Backwards!
Which gives me space to say how enjoyable the 10th birthday event was at Fifield last Sunday. OK, so Duncan Lamont was a trifle late, but other visitors also found Fifield a difficult place to locate!! I thought the band played there socks off, and sitting, as I was, with a bunch of musicians who had come to listen, well appreciated by their audience. Go tell the World!
CD wise this week, 2 of note (no, not meant as a B# pun):
First, hands up all those who thought The Alex Welsh Band one of this country's best? Me for one, and Upbeat Jazz have reissued a collection of the bands broadcasts for Auntie BBC."Bones for the King" has them accompanying first Bud Freeman, and then Dicky Wells in 1966, 74 and then 76. The recording quality isn't wonderful (it was television sound for Jazz 625), but the music was, and of course, still is. It was that great line-up of John Barnes, Roy Williams, Fred Hunt and Jim Douglas for most of that period, with Lennie Hastings being replace by Roger Nobes latterly. A very worthwhile addition to your Welsh collection. Upbeat Jazz URCD193
Second CD this week is also a reissue, but I had the LP before!! (strictly the Welsh CD is not a reissue as I don't think apart from the TV transmission it has ever been available before). "Benny Carter, A Gentleman and His Music" Concord Jazz 4285 (one of 140 Benny Carter albums available from Amazon!), has superb playing, in that insolent relaxed "we are so on top of our craft" sense. But then, look at the line-up! with Benny (on alto) is Joe Wilder trumpet, Scott Hamilton, tenor, Ed Bickert guitar, Gene Harris piano, John Clayton bass and Jimmie Smith on drums. "Things Aint What They Used To Be", "Lover Man", "Idaho", "Sometimes I'm Happy", and the sound is wonderful. Its a 1985 recording and still available. Mainstream at its very best.
Benny died in 2003 at the age of 93, and the BBC web site has a great obituary of him at
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Calling all Maltings Jazzers and Otis lovers, past,present and future!!JAZZ CLUB AT FARNHAM MALTINGS Thanks to all you regulars, and to those who haven'tyet been - come on in - and do bring some friends ifyou possibly can!!Our next bash is:WED 7th SEPTEMBER 2005 7.30 - 11.00pm ADMISSION £7.00 (CONCESSIONS £5)With the amazing 6 piece OTIS B. DRIFTWOOD BAND andthis month featuring the return of young, lovely andtalented LOUISA REVOLTA with her smooth jazz vocalsand great alto sax playing! This young lady is a bigstar for the future. Great music, friendly atmosphere, and of course theusual dose of larking about.. FOOD & BAR AVAILABLEDO COME AND ENJOY THE FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE, A TUNEFULMIX OF VARIOUS JAZZ STYLES INCLUDING VOCALS, SOMELIGHT-HEARTED COMEDY AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TODANCE... RESIDENT 6 PIECE BAND 'OTIS B. DRIFTWOOD' WITH A DIFFERENT GUEST STAR EACH MONTHIT'S BEST IF YOU CAN BOOK IN ADVANCE (MALTINGS 01252 7 2 6 2 3 4 - BOX OFFICE)TO GET BEST SEATS, BUT YOU CAN JUST TURN UP ON THENIGHT - YOU'LL ALWAYS GET IN AND THERE ARE NO BAD SEATS!!FRIENDLY CLUB ATMOSPHERE - WHETHER YOU'RE ALONE OR INA GROUP YOU WILL FIND A WARM WELCOME - SO DO COME ANDJOIN US!!FOR ANY MORE DETAILS PLEASE PHONE ME GEOFF HISCOTT 01252 715558 OR REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL..OR BOOK ON 01252 726234 HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON..BEST WISHESGEOFF
Friday, September 02, 2005
A slightly earlier than usual “Nag”, but I wanted to give time for the first gig of the week to be properly assimilated!!
Tuesday, Centre Jazz at The Bourne End Community Centre has
Wednesday, Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy sing and play at The Harrow up the
Thursday, at The Bourne End Social Club Clive Burton’s Quartet have as their guest this week Mike Wills, almost our regular saxophonist, and very nice too. Back from Brecon, Bude, and Littlewick Green!!
Just as a passing comment, but wasn’t yesterdays set at Hedsor terrific? The combination of Simon Spillet and Peter O’Brian was really something to excite even the most difficult to please jazz fan. The amazing thing is, they have only played together ONCE before (and that was for us!). I hope they make it a regular arrangement, as they are able to feed off of each other, and compliment each other wonderfully. They were fast (as hard bop can be sometimes) but magical. Not a duff tune played all night. The ballads were also ballads, with thoughtful exploration of the tune. Credit must also be given to the regular rhythm section (Zane, Martin and Ken), in keeping pace, and melody with them.
Sunday 11th September, has Century Jazz at Fifield, again with Mike Wills on sax. Don’t forget that this Sunday (4th September) is their 10th anniversary at The Fifield Inn and should be a great night, with Duncan Lamont as special guest.
I will write some more next week, just to enthuse you, “but for now” (a smashing song when sung by the great Lynn Garner, and is on at least 2 CD’s), its
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Still some heat in the sun it seems, and hopefully in the jazz week ahead as well!!
Tuesday, an unusual event in August, which caused me an advertising problem last week!! (I got the day wrong!) Century Jazz are playing at The Old Bell, Wooburn for Dinner Jazz, 8.30 pm onwards, ring Peter (01628 520406) to reserve your table for that excellent oriental cuisine. Its unusual, because we don't usually get jazz at The Old Bell in August, but this year we have!
Wednesday, at The Harrow in the Hughenden Valley, Lynn Garner and Ken McCarthy sing and play (well, Ken may not actually sing!) for your enjoyment. Don't forget to pick up a copy of Lynn's new CD whilst you are there.
Both of the above gigs are FREE.
Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club, we are adding to the heat of the day. Clive Burtons Quartet will be without Clive, BUT with Simon Spillet AND Peter O'Brian. Last time they both played Hedsor was the first time they had met, and it was absolutely outstanding. Do come and see what the second edition brings out in both of them!! 8.30 pm start, entry by raffle ticket.
Sunday see's Century Jazz at Fifield, which will be an incredibly special event, as they will be celebrating 10 years there. There will be a special guest (I was told Duncan Lamont, but I am not sure). Do come along, it is a landmark night.
It's especially significant when we consider the governments plans on licensing and music. You will find that even venues that previously were allowed 2 in a bar will now require a licence to do so, and the minimum cost is around £300, plus more if an authority (any one of at least 3) want some kind of building alteration!! So I think we will find less jazz in the future. Enjoy it whilst you can, and those of us that try and organise it are not in prison!
We may be reduced to listening to things on disc (or even MP3 players)!! And this week I have spun a new box set by those wonderful people at Proper Records. A Proper Box 4 cd set of Artie Shaw and his orchestra with recordings from 1934 to 1954, all beautifully remastered and with a 52 page booklet detailing his life story and all the personnel. It is a real must for any big band enthusiast. Mind you, it does also include some of his Gramercy Five Recordings from all 3 periods of there existence. Proper Box 85
Just to balance the books so to speak, I have also listened to an old cd I have had for over 15 years! The Benny Goodman Quartet re recorded there original material in Hi Fi sound in 1963 under the title "Together Again". For me it is a "must have" recording, ( I originally had it on LP) loosing nothing in the reunion of their original vigour and precision. Just take a listen to Seven Come Eleven, or Runnin' Wild and you will get some idea of how good they still were. And in good quality recorded stereo, you can appreciate the exciting sound they made even more than with the original 78's.
2 last things!! Did anyone else catch "Razzaamajazz" at Yesterdays Littlewick Green Show?? A truly bizarre event. Excellent music (Clive Burton, Mike Wills, Denny Islet, Peter O'Brian, Martin Hart and the leader Derek Mills) all played really well, but just next door, in the arena, were a bagpipe marching band!! AND at about half way through Razz's allotted time slot, the generator ran out of petrol, whereupon the audience, thinking it was the end, left!! After a short intermission, the band played on, but were almost taken away by the lorry that had come to pick up the travelling stage they were playing on!!
The last last thing this week. Has anyone out there got any use for a mint collection of classical 78's? Do let me know if your interested, they will be free to the interested party.
Jazz from Geoff
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
For around 2 years now, I have been sending out to a number of jazz fans in the Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire area a weekly "Nag" about local jazz events together with short "revues" of Jazz CD's that I have recently listened to, and could recommend. I think it is now about time that I collated some of these weekly emailings, and placed them for access by a potentially bigger audience.
So, over the next few weeks, I shall be placing here old reviews (but of still current music), and event listings that I have an interest in.
First Some Local Jazz Events
Jazz Angels Jazz Gigs
Thursday 18th Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm Clive Burton Quintet plus Mike Wills Sax
Sunday 21st Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz plus Mike Wills Sax
Thursday 25th Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm Clive Burton Quintet plus Simon Spillet Sax
Sunday 28th Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz plus Al Nichols Sax
Thursday 1st Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm Clive Burton Quintet plus Peter O'Brian guitar
Sunday 4th Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz Celebrate 10 years at Fifield. They will be joined by special guest Duncan Lamont
Thursday 8th Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm Clive Burton Quintet plus Mike Wills Sax
Sunday 11th Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz plus Mike Wills Sax
Thursday 15th Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm Clive Burton Quintet plus Mike Wills Sax
Sunday 18th Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz plus guest TBA
Thursday 22nd Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm Clive Burton Quintet plus Mike Wills Sax
Sunday 25th Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz plus Mike Wills Sax
Thursday 29th Hedsor Social Club 8.30pm TBA, Clive is on Holiday!
Sunday 2nd Fifield Inn 8pm Century Jazz plus Pete Towndrow tpt
Next some CD Reviews
CD Review 24.5.05
Its been guitars to the fore. Whilst staying with my daughter I managed to watch 1 and 1/2 hours of a concert by Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings (who include Georgie Fame), which was a treat in itself, but it also reminded me that they have recently released a new album called "Just for a Thrill". A great jazz influenced album if you like a bit of rock mixed in with it. Please don't confuse this sort of music with pop! These chaps are superb musicians! RandomPlay RAMCD007 will guide it to your cd player.
Another new release is by Dave Cliff and pianist Phil DeGreg recorded before an invited audience in Mr DeGreg's lounge. Wonderful interplay between guitar and piano, with nothing else to cloud the sound. Its called "Tranzatlantic Interplay" Its on "Strugglebaby 2402". No, I didn't make it up!!
Finally there is a Kenny Burrell compilation out on the Concord label (Concord Jazz CCD-2278-2), called Ballad Essentials, which is a very wide 12 track view over the years 1958 to 2003. Truly excellent. You will find alongside Mr Burrell, names like John Coltrane, Tommy Flanagan, Coleman Hawkins and Jimmy Smith. You should be able to get that one fairly easily!!
CD Review 7.6.05
On an obscure label (Beebass Records), is an album called "Cake and Consequences" by Julian Costello. This sax led jazz funk band play some wonderful original music all titled around the idea that they all love cake! The album is far better than the cover would have you imagine, even including the fact that one of the tunes is called "Sticky Toffee Pudding". It really is a mix of musicians baked in a hot studio!
The other album is another of Lake Records wonderful re-issues of British Tradition jazz material. Its called "The Wally Fawkes Collection", and is a double album of some of the things Wally was doing after he left Humphrey Lyttelton, mostly recorded in the 1980's. Different small groups, but with first class multi national support. Well worth ordering from your local friendly record store and LACD207 should help the order on its way.
First, from the wonderful Lake Record Company again, Terry Lightfoot's Jazzmen "Tradition in Colour", a re issue of a 1959 album. This one is notable for a couple of reasons. On 4 tracks, local man Billy Loch plays the drums. Also on the same tracks is Kenny Ball, and in those days he could really play the trumpet, not just sing over it! Also on the same reissue is a drummer who later became far more famous than the bandleader, and I would think vastly richer, one Ginger Baker!! Recorded in 1957, he had yet to find his way to "Cream" and fame! LAKE RECORDS LACD212
The other CD re issue is from Proper Records. One of my favourite and now little represented in the record catalogues, tenor player, Lucky Thompson. This one is entitle "A Proper Introduction to..." and contains little know material from 1945 up to 1953. A real founder member of Bop, he gave up playing in the early 1980's. What a pity, as his playing is truly wonderful, and he should be rated up there with Parker and Gillespie. Last heard of 5 years ago, he was living in Seattle. Just to make your mouth water, there are 4 tracks by Lucky Thompson and his Lucky Seven. Who were Neal Hefti, Benny Carter, Bob Lawson, Dodo Marmarosa, Barney Kessel, Red Callender and Lee Young. WOW
Its INTRO CD 2072, budget priced, and has a very in depth booklet.
CD Review 21.6.05
This week, not only have I listened, but watched too. Out on DVD is The Bob Wilber Big Band, recorded in the Royal Festival Hall in 1989 performing Duke Ellington's "The Queen's Suite", and other pieces by Ellington. The Suite is little know, mainly because Ellington Recorded it, and gave the recording to the Queen as his tribute to her. At the time of this performance, you couldn't hear the original, and for many years, only this version was available. Now, you can watch it too. There is a wonderful collection of musicians, including one of my all time favourites, Tony Coe. Its all beautifully played, the tunes are wonderful, and with other Ellington material from the concert, including a guest appearance by Adelaide Hall! If you have a DVD player, go and buy this! Warner Sound Vision 5050467-5542-2-1. Ellington's original (recorded in 1959) is now available on CD, Pablo OJCCD 446-2. Mine came from Germany!
My review of theMarlboroughh Jazz Festival 18.7.05
Marlborough was a surprise. The Music that I heard was excellent, but the organisation could have been slicker. They appeared tobelievev that everyone who came knew where all the venues were, and signposts weredistinctlyy missing. The first band I listened to were the Pete Allen Jazz Band (the program called it a parade, but itwasn'tt!). They were slick, show biz, and VERY GOOD! Traditional jazz, but no bum notes, and good riffs and harmonies. OK, so playing yourclarinett whilstdisassemblingg it down to the reed is a bit circus, but I've seen really cool modern jazz saxophonists pull similar stunts ( 2 saxes at once!!).
Next up, and in one of those big tents that they all thought everyone would find without asignpostt, was a band called Mbawula. AMAZING. A South African Townshipstylee band, with a number of real African Players and singers, led by saxophonist Paul Bartholomew from Jools Holands Rhythm and Blues Band. The leadAfricann lady singer was Sonti Mdebele, plus The Township Sisters. The first set introduced us to therhythmss of Africa (the guitar player was from Ghana), and was wonderful, involving stuff. Cast away inhibition if you ever get to see themyourselvess. I thought it a really joyful experience. But the second half had further surprises. PaulBartholomeww had been busy in theprecedingg weeks, and had trained 40 local singers to sing African songs. OK, so its not jazz as we currently define it, but it is root music, and by heck its fun.
After a refreshing pint, and burger, it was time for Clare Teal. I have heard her a number of times before, and thought her a variable performer, but this time she really rocked. She had the sax player who leads The Echoes of Ellington Orchestra with her (Pete Long??). They rocked, riffed and belted out there 2 hours in a totally involving way, Obviously a changed pattern has emerged for her, and its much more fun. No lethargy, and properly rehearsed!
And so to bed (20 miles away as the town was fully booked. That place is a novel in its own right. Lets say it was a country house experience, it was in the country, it was an experience, but I shall ensure I don't repeat it!).
Sunday was the 3rd anniversary of my sons death, and I wanted to find a church to be in. Back in Marlborough St Mary's had imported Paul Bartholomew and some of his team, and the 2 hour service was amazing, involving, and over in 1/2 hour. It was just what I needed to help me through a difficult day, great.
Lunch, then another walk of discovery (how the hell was I to know where The Marlborough College Memorial Hall was?). But in the end, I found the beautifull grounds of the college, and the hall, and listened to one ofBritain's better known names.Georgie Fame, with Alan Skidmore, plus a couple of kids from Ireland on Bass and drums. Georgie only played piano for 1 tune (Hey Hey), Alan Horler (unprogrammed, so I think I,m right) was on the piano most of the time. Georgie was very much a jazz singer. He has a distinctive voice, and sang mostly new repertoir not associated with his pop career. Totally acceptable to me, as he was a great performance.
All the guys I've mentioned seemed to fit this festival gig in as just part of their day. Pete Allen's band finished at 2pm, and then traveled on to Plymouth for the Saturday evening. Clare Teal went on to Bath, Paul Bartholomew left before the end of Sundays service to get back to Lewisham!! Georgie Fame also returned for a London gig that night.
All in all, a very enjoyable event, only slightly soured by un numbered tickets, the curse of queuing in the sun and the lack of clear directions! I think the organisers had missed a point too. They had closed off the town center on Saturday but not for jazz, there was the usual market going on! You could literally stand in the centre of town ond not here a note!
My Review of the Swanage Jazz Festival 20.7.05
I spent last weekend at the Swanage Jazz Festival, something I have done through every thick and thin for the last 14 years. I thought I would write it up for you, just to encourage those who haven't been to come next time!
One cannot of course rely on the weather, but this year it was better than Mediterranean, and it more than added to the overall enjoyment. Wonderful sun in Swanage gives wonderful views, so at any time you are slightly bored with the music, you can always look at the bay, and pinch yourself that, yes, it is real, and you ARE their.
Music for me started on Friday afternoon. I booked one of the boat trips round the bay, in company with the Gentlemen of Jazz, which happens to include one Clive Burton! Complete with captains hat!
Back on dry land after 2 hours fun and sun, time for a meal (In Beavers cafe) and a bit more of the G of J, then on to a wonderful evening in Marquee 2 for Alan Barnes tribute to Horace Silver. Steve Waterman trumpet, John Donaldson piano, Dave Green Bass and Steve Brown drums along with Alan on reeds make up the band, which was awesome. Such musicianship left us punters breathless, let alone the players.
For those who don't know, the festival is run in a number of venues round the town, but right on the front are 2 marquees, one for modern jazz and one for more traditional stuff. All this is supported by indoor venues round the town. Each venue has of course got a bar!!
Saturday I listened to The Christian Brewer Quintet, a young band with CB on alto, Jim Hart on Vibes, Leon Greening piano, Phil Donkin bass and Tristan Maillot on drums. An excellent band, smooth and interesting, and as marquees have thin walls, it was great sitting in the sun outside, pushing your full English through with a pint of bitter! We had Tristan at The Old Bell last year with Dave O'Higgins, and although he is very clever, I still think he is too busy a drummer. At least in this environment he wasn't too loud as well!
Throughout the weekend we were able to hear Alan Barnes in a variety of settings. This year he did 13 gigs during the weekend. He was joined on a number of occasions by Bruce Adams ,and American alto player Greg Abate. Also by singer Liz Fletcher, who is well worth a look and listen!!
Strolling between venues, for a change of music or food! one came across Dave Brennans Jubilee Jazz band, a fine New Orleans style band from Sheffield, which always brings ones ears down to earth so to speak. Jeff Gilpin, the march marshal, is associated with them.
Sunday, as well as seeing all the above again in some form or other, I also saw The Swanage Festival All Stars. Led by Campbell Burnap they were a great mainstream cum swing band.
Another band which included a musician sometime seen at some of "our" gigs (bass player Tomas Pederson) was Tad Newton's Jazz Friends. A fine band which I saw with Greg Abate playing with them. Swing, yes, refreshing, yes, interesting names in the band (try Zoltan Sagi on reeds!), yes. And did I feel moved to buy their CD, well, yes!!
The last gig of the weekend was indoors, and had the fine Bristol based Andy Hague Sextet. Awesome technique and fine harmonies. They too are doing Horace Silver numbers, and you should really try to go and see them.
And so to bed and breakfast.
There is always 3 times more music going on at any one time in Swanage, and I'm sure that you could go the whole weekend through and not see any of the above named groups. Equally, I did see 10 minutes here and there of other bands and sounds, too numerous to mention. It is a great festival, and it IS worth trying to get to it. Best in Britain, well I think so!
CD Review 26.7.05
Listening at Home, well, the above mentioned Lynn Garner CD is very well worth the purchase price, and contains songs like "I Don't Know Where I Stand" and "Lazy Afternoon" (one of my favourites), has a fine cast of supporting musicians, including Ken McCarthy and Zane Cronje on keyboards, Brad Lang on Bass and Geoff Haves on guitar.
Another listen this week came out of a meeting with some old friends at Swanage who have been Sandy Brown fans all their adult lives. I got out some of my newly released Lake Record CD's of Sandy Browns 1956 band. They were really very good, Sandy had a unique sound on the clarinet, and with Al Fairweather on Trumpet and John R T Davies on trombone, they playedmarvelouss contrapuntal music, full of crisp foot taping rhythms. Sandy was very fond of African music, and was one of the earliest people to introduce it to British ears. "Go Ghana", "Africa Queen", "Everybody Loves Saturday Night" all have a Township Rhythm associated with them. Do look out for them. Lake have now released 3 of the Sandy Brown Jazzmen now, including the famous "McJazz" (Lake LACD58), and another of my favourites "Sandy's Sidemen" which has some of the 1956 Festival Hall Concert on it (LACD133).Try "Blues Stampede" out of that and see how breathless you get. Then remember they were doing it live on stage at the Festival Hall!
CD Review 2.8.05
So, what is the repetitive stuff I have listened to on my CD player this week? Did I mention before The Alan Barnes recording of Horace Silver tunes? I probably did, but it is well worth mentioning again. It's titled "Yeah". It is an all star group, all playing like stars with nanosecond accuracy. Wonderful stuff. On the "specific jazz" label (SPEC 002) it has Steve Waterman on trumpet, John Donaldson piano, Dave Green bass and Steve Brown on drums. Now you know they all need the money, so go out and buy it!
CD Review 9.8.05
What have I listened too?
Well, for 2 reasons, rather a lot recently. I have had a birthday recently, and my family bought for me a total surprise, an MP3 Player (Creative Zen 20GB!), so I have been busy pouring in much music!! Also, I decided that my 20 year old Mission Cyrus II amp needed a rest, and have bought a new amp (Rotel RA-02). I can tell you that The Stan Tracey Trio with Peter King is amarvelouss test album, very well recorded, and has some lovely tracks on it to boot."Come Sunday" always one of my favourite Ellington Tunes, comes across very well, and "Chega De Saudade by Jobim makes a startling starter track. With Stacy and King are Clark Tracey on Drums and Andrew Cleyndert on Bass. Trio Records TR566 "The Last Time I Saw You" is its title.
Also revisited this week has been the Sony Jazz Judy Neimack album "About Time". A very innovative album with all the songs being a reflection of some aspect of time itself.The New York Post said of Ms Neimack "A Jazz Singer with a perfectly glorious voice!", which is true, but the accompaniment is stunning too, with guitar, vibes bass, and "percussion" and, on a couple of tracks, Lee Konitz on sax. Again a recording to test your system! Sony Jazz 509824 2
Brecon Jazz Festival Review 15.8.05
Brecon was very enjoyable this year, despite the weather doing its best to dampen spirits on Saturday (it didn't manage it though!).
Friday had Scott Hamilton (on my stroller ticket) with John Pearce on piano, Dave Green on bass, and Steve Brown on drums. Lovely melodic and swinging like mad. They made it all look so easy. A great start to the Weekend. Saturday was very wet, as only Brecon knows how to be! However the organisers have as one of the venues, a very large marquee and it's enclosure had within its boundary all the necessities for survival. Food, beer and toilets! So from 10.30am we were able to watch Pendulum (which used to be called "The Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra) first of all rehearse, along with anyone who wanted to sit in, and then perform, with Don Weller as guest artist. They had beentravelingg since 5am to be there, and they blew you away. Forget their youth, they are a first rate modern jazz orchestra. Pat Kelly has led andorganizedd them for dozens of years, and they really cannot be faulted. The soloists would brighten any jazz club in the world.
They were followed by Danny Moss, accompanied by the same rhythm section as Scott Hamilton had. Only 6 weeks in from hospitalisation with pneumonia, Danny has not lost his ballad ability, or his warm tone. And that rhythm section is the best. He did look older, but then , when I look in the mirror (not often!!), so do I! A great set. I don't understand why he left the UK to live in Australia, but his annual visits are always a joy.
I felt I had to "stroll" with my stroller after that, and took in the various free music that litters the Brecon Streets, but as it was still a very damp experience doing so, I retreated back to The Watton Marquee, stopping only a few minutes to listen to The Vortex All Girl Big Band, who really were not as good as Pendulum!
Back at Watton we had one of those musical experiences that really makes Brecon the place to hear music you don't know, and would probably never go out of your way to hear. Molten Metal, with trombonist Dennis Rollins. A 20 piece steel band!! Young musicians whose average age looked to be about 16. What a sound. And they were playing jazz standards. Danceable beat, great enthusiasm, and a memorable experience that had the audience demanding much more. Dennis was with "The Jazz Warriors" and the combination of trombone and steel drum music was really unique.
Next, was an open air venue (yes, it had just about stopped raining, to listen to Mike Wills, and some friends called "The Kaminsky Connection", doing a sort of Eddie Condon accompaniment to a Lee Wiley style singer. Not bad, but they were a late entry to the show, and didn't quite show the polish as a band that the individual talents deserved from their abilities. The "Connection" was that the leader Tony Davis was actually playing Max Kaminsky's cornet!!
Sunday was a much better one weather wise, and yet again I made my way to hear Pendulum, this time featuring Steve Waterman, Mark Lockhart and Clark Tracey (who also played for them on Saturday). Noapologizee for their youth, they were just wonderful!
In the afternoon, indoors, and with very poor acoustics, Simon Spillet and his Quartet turned in a very good session, reminding us of the Tubby Hayes Quartet of the 60's. Apart from the acoustics, it was the best I have heard Simon, accompanied by John Crichinson on piano, Andy Cleyndert on bass and Martin Drew on drums. Simon will soon become very well known in the jazz world I'm sure. And YOU can say "we heard him at Hedsor first"!!
The day finished off, with my only concert ticket performance. The Georgie Fame Birthday Big Band just showed what a great performer with a great big band can sound like. This has been recorded for BBC TV Wales, and I can only hope we all get the chance to see it again.
CD Review 23.8.05
What free time I've had this last week (not a lot) I grabbed a listen on my new amplifier set-up to another release by Lake Records."Doctor McJazz was recorded in 1960, with the addition of a couple of tracks from 62, and has Al Fairweather and Sandy Brown's All Stars playing in the mainstream way that they carried with them to the end. With them were Tony Milliner on trombone, Colin Purbrook on piano, Brian Prudence on bass and Stan Greig on drums. Yes, I know, Stan spent a long time with Humph on piano, but such was the competition at the time that to work in London, he had to resort to his second instrument. And very good he was too! Most of the music on the CD are original tunes by Sandy Brown, but that is a positive. Some have become standard jazz fair since (Portrait of Willie Best and for example), and Blues March by Benny Golson has never been played better. As I have said many times before, Sandy Brown, especially when teamed with Al Fairweather, was a unique sound in British Jazz, which had an identity of its own (yes unique!). By the time of this recording they had absorbed some of the influences of the freshly visited American Musicians (Webster, Edison etc) that followed the repeal of the Musicians Union ban on visiting Americans. Its a truly wonderful and swinging mainstream jazz CD. Go and buy it!
LACD211 Doctor McJazz on Lake Records