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.


Geoff C

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 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

Hi Folks,

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!

Geoff C

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Morning All,

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 .....


Geoff C

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Below is a photo of Mike Wills playing at this years Brecon Jazz Festival. Mike is a regular member of The Clive Burton Quintet and Century Jazz.

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.


Geoff C

ps. Some of you out there haven’t been to any of our gigs yet. We know who you are!!