Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hi Fans,

A Brief addition to the nagging you have received for the Christmas Season (of goodwill of course!).

There will be a gig on the Thursday between Christmas and New Year at The Hedsor Social Club.

We will be having a session there with Simon Spillett. For those of you who will be unable to count by then, that will be December 28th!!

Many of you will be aware of the campaign against cruel music licensing, and some of you will have already received the following piece of information, but it is well worthy of repeat, and if you have yet to sign the partition, what are you waiting for? Surely not a juggling, poll dancing, politician!!

David Cronin's online licensing/live music petition has about 1,840 signatures and currently stands at no. 21 in the list of 1,182 petitions on the Number 10 website. Not bad for just under a week. However it still lags behind a petition calling on the prime minister to stand on his head and juggle ice cream. Of course, if the prime minister were talented enough to stand on his head and juggle ice cream, and if his performance took place indoors, this would be potentially licensable under the new Licensing Act. The activity would fall within the meaning an 'indoor sporting event' as defined in Schedule 1, para 16(2): '..."Sporting event" means any contest, exhibition or display of any sport, and "sport" includes... (b) any form of physical recreation which is also engaged in for purposes of competition or display'.

The above is courtesy of Hamish Birchall.

Dont forget, this Thursday it will be nosh at Hedsor as well as Jazz, and that Tonight you can join the carol singers in breaking rules with Lynn, Ken and Brad at The Harrow. Now are they performing sport or art? What section should we look up?

If all else fails, I do hope you all have a merry Christmas and a fun new year.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Greetings Jazz Lovers.

Before letting you know more about the (almost) illegal live music, let me bring you my latest info on Mike Wills. By now, he should have had a pace maker fitted, which will keep him ticking over Christmas, and then sometime next year he will be returning to hospital for some further surgery. It is great news that he is now in the comfort of his own home, with friends and family making sure he does as he is told!! And if he's actually reading this, its great to have you back Mike.



The King and Castle in Thames Street, Windsor.
Al Nicholls trio alternates with trombonist Jeff Williams trio on Wednesdays. It’s a free gig, with a slightly odd start time. They play there from 6.30 pm ‘till 9.30 pm.


This Wednesday at The Harrow, Hughenden Valley, from 8.30pm onwards, you can join Lynn Garner, Ken McCarthy and Brad Lang in a selection of seasonal songs, usually accompanied by the local church choir. So, for a bit of seasonal festive fun, just turn up, because its FREE!!


At The Hedsor Social Club, The Clive Burton Quintet, but THIS WEEK, we will be having a few nibbles as a celebration of the season. If anyone feels like donating a few mince pies, sausage rolls etc, just bring and share. As usual, it will be £3 to get in, and a raffle ticket to get out!

Whilst on the subject of The Hedsor club, I have been asked to ask all jazz fans who come, and who have yet to kick the tobacco habit, that it would be appreciated if they could smoke outside of the music area, as many of our fans are put off coming because of the smoky atmosphere that can develop on some occasions. We need every jazz lover to come out to keep this wonderful and unique live venue open, so your understanding in this would be greatly appreciated.

Recorded Music

This week I have both listened and watched! Courtesy of that media DVD I have now experienced some modern Dutch jazz musicians. There are 4 DVD's out of music performed "Live in Amsterdam" ( OK, I know its hard to see a dead performance, but I have come close to it!). I have now watched 2.

The first one is from a young lady saxophonist called Tineke Postma, with a superb quintet of keyboard, bass, drums, guitar, with a couple of track enhanced with the trombone of Iija Reingoud. Its post bop modern, well performed, well filmed and the sound is gorgeous. So if you want something that is a bit different from "Pirates of the Caribbean" in your DVD player this holiday, you could do a lot worse than look for it (I wouldn't bother Smiths though!). Munich Records BMDVD 5001.

The other DVD from the same stable is by a young singer who has gained a PhD in tropical forestry! But she is now sharing the stage with some great jazz musicians. Her name is Heleen van den Hambergh, and no I don't recognise any of the other names, so I wont bother you with them. But they are all very good jazz musicians (piano, bass, drums), and if for no other reason than extending your understanding of continental jazz music I can recommend the two DVD's to anyone. My favourite track of Heleen's is "The Jaguar", all about the cat not the car. Excellent. Again its on Munich Records as BMDDVD 5003.

One thing to amend in your diary, the Jazz Concert for Cancer research schedule for February 10th. This has been amended into a rock style gig, but still in aid of cancer research. So do still go along if you are free. Its all in a good cause.

Artwork of the DVD's will be on the blogg.

Do, all of you, have a splendid Christmas, and I'll look out for you at future gigs. If we struggle, we will keep

Live Jazz Alive

Geoff C
Jazz from Geoff

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New E- Petition re the Music Licencing Regulation Problems

I know some of you will be well aware of the new restrictions on live music following on from last years change of law, and some of you will be aware of this petition. I can only urge all who love live entertainment, especially music and dance, to sign up to the petition by following the link.

This petition has been started by a folk musician, Domonic Cronin!! I have no known connection with this gentleman, but he is obviously an activator. Good luck to him, and please sign up.

Geoff C

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An abbreviated nag at the moment (Christmas is coming and I haven't done my Christmas Cards yet!) to let you know that the guest for this Thursdays Session at The Hedsor Social Club will be Simon Spillett.

8.30 pm till 11 pm, £3 to get in, a raffle ticket to get out.

I will also bring some very reasonably priced CD's for you to buy as Christmas presents for your Aunty!

Simon will of course be bringing his new CD for you to purchase as well.

News of Mike Wills is encouraging. He is recovering slowly but still has a long way to go. Some form of heart surgery is on the cards, so please continue to keep him and Sam in your thoughts.

More later but for now,


Geoff C

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good December to all our readers. Definitely getting my priorities in the correct order,

News of Mike Wills

Mike has continued to make progress, and is out of intensive care and in to the coronary unit of St. Peters Hospital, Chertsey. He will be having an Angiogram today to establish how damaged his heart is, and what further action needs to be taken. BUT, he is sitting up in bed. At the moment the beverage he desires most is a glass of red wine, but he might have to wait a bit longer before nurse allows it! His tongue still hasn't healed from last Wednesday, and he is struggling to drink high protean drinks at the moment.

Both he and Sam have been overwhelmed by your kindness and supportive response. He has never had so many grown men telling him how much he is loved. Now he knows the level of support he has from all of you guys out there and its blown him away! He will still need your prayers and positive thoughts, as he enters on the next stages of his journey to recovery. So from Mike and Sam a BIG THANK YOU.


Tonight at The Bourne End Community Centre from 8.30 pm onwards Mo and her Centre Jazz are putting on The Dixieland Swing Kings. £4 to get in, which includes a raffle ticket. Don't forget it also includes half time refreshments. A good night out in a comfortable bar with club priced booze.

Wednesday There is now live jazz at The King and Castle in Thames Street, Windsor, with Al Nicholls trio alternating with the trombonist Jeff Williams trio. It starts at the slightly unusual time of 6.30 pm, but it would get you home in time for your bedtime coco as it finishes at 9.30 pm.
6th - Al Nicholls Trio
13th - Al Nicholls Trio
20th Jeff Williams Trio

Thursday, the Hedsor Social Club will have The Clive Burton Quintet, but as yet I don't know who the front line will be. 8.30 pm start. £3 to get in, raffle to get out!

Last weeks session with John Coverdale started off slightly uncertainly due to everyone's distress over Mike, but it developed into a very melodic, and carefully crafted session. Well done chaps.

Sunday The Fifiled Inn still offers food and Jazz on a Sunday night, with Century Jazz, again, due to Mike's absence, I am uncertain of the line-up. 8 pm start, free entry, but please buy a raffle ticket.

Listening at Home

Following on from my mention of Al Nicholls and Jeff Williams above, I've had a listen to there joint CD "Uptown Swing". Those of us who have followed Century Jazz or the Clive Burton Quintet for any length of time will be used to the front line sound of Trombone and Tenor Sax, and this is a good CD of similar sounding music. Slightly more based on the musical repertoire of the Swing Era than Century Jazz's Mulligan modern jazz style, you can hear the sound of trombone and saxophone on tunes like Ellington's "Battle Royal", and the Basie Bands "Blue and Sentimental" or "Corner Pocket" as well as a couple of Al's own compositions. Accompanying the front pairing are Hilary Cameron, a young British pianist who has trained in the Manhattan Music School, bass player with some years of practice John Rees-Jones, and veteran drummer Rex Bennett. Its well worth an audition, so why not contact Al for a copy. Harlem Records HARLCD 006.

I don't want to infer that Al isn't well known , but the other CD I want to refer you too this week is by Louis Armstrong! It comes from the AVID label and is entitled "Blues for Yesterday". In many ways this is an odd coupling together of tracks from the mid to late 40's, mainly with the small group that developed into The Louis Armstrong All-stars. The graphics on the cover would have you believe that its a cheep budged reissue, done to cash in on some old tracks and a name. However it is worthy of much closer scrutiny.It's fully documented for one, and musically wonderful. It contains no less than six tracks from the 1947 "This is Jazz" Broadcast. The line up for that alone is worth the purchase price (as well as Louis there is Wild Bill Davision, George Brunis, Albert Nicholas, Art Hodes, Danny Barker, Pops Foster and Baby Dodds. So overall, the jazz is wonderful. But there is also a great bonus track, which my grandson really enjoyed (he acted it out as a floor show!). From the 1949 Eddie Condon Show we have Louis telling the story of "The Three Little Bears" (Goldilocks to you and me!). Over 12 minutes of pure joy! AVID AMSC 670

Well that's it from me folks, see the blog for the CD artwork

Geoff C

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I have had some unpleasant news this morning, that I feel we ought to share with as many who know him.

Mike Wills, saxophonist with Century Jazz and The Clive Burton Quintet, had a heart attack last night whilst on a gig in Sheperton. He is now in intensive care in St Peters Hospital, Chertsey. I am told he is stable, although at one time last night his heart stopped.

I'm sure all of you will wish to keep him, and his partner Sam, in your thoughts. I will keep you informed of more news as soon as I have it myself. Please tell others who are not reachable by email.

Geoff Cronin

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Geoff’s Jazz Nag

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

With a reasonable number of jazz things to write about his week!

First the gigs:-

Tomorrow, at The Harrow, up the Hughenden Valley towards Speen, from 8.30 pm onwards that lovely lady singer Lynn Garner will be appearing with Ken McCarthy on piano and Brad Lang on bass. A bit of a reunion gig, as this was one of our regular local gigs until the new music licensing laws put a stop to our fun. Do come out and hear what we all miss, its free, friendly, with good beer and good food to boot.

Thursday, at The Hedsor Social Club The Clive Burton Quintet continue to bring us quality jazz at ridiculously low prices! 8.30. ‘till 11pm, £3 in, raffle out. You know you are going to kick yourself one day because you never came. And where did Simon Spillet choose to launch his new CD? Yep, Hedsor! More on the CD later.

I have been in contact with Al Nicholls this week. He has been telling me of another local gig. Every Wednesday at The King and Castle in Thames Street, Windsor, Al’s trio alternates with trombonist Jeff Williams trio. It’s another free gig, with a slightly odd start time. They play there from 6.30 pm ‘till 9.30 pm. If enough enthusiasts get along, it could become another permanent feature on the jazz calendar. One thing is to be sure, if you don’t go, even occasionally, the jazz there will not carry on!

On the subject of Al Nicholls, it should be noted that Blue Harlem are playing at Norden Farm on Friday March 16th 2007, so get that diary out. (£10.50 to get in, ring 01628 788997 for tickets).

Sunday, at Fifield, Century Jazz will be performing from 8 pm. Late lunches are available!

A further advanced date for your diary, I have been asked to organise a jazz fundraiser for Cancer Research UK at The British Legion Hall, Loudwater on February 10th. Book it now, more details will follow. BUT, it will be in the usual CafĂ© style, where you can bring your own picnic, but buy your drinks from the bar, and tickets will probably be £10 each. Were looking to sell 150 tickets, and I’m assured the raffle prizes will be wonderful!

Did I say “Simon Spillett” somewhere? Didn’t his gig with Clive go well last Thursday? I know those who were there will already have his new CD but I’m going to mention it anyway. Those of us who have been coming out to jazz at Hedsor and Fifield relatively frequently have rather got used too, and been spoilt by, the fairly frequent opportunities to hear Simon. We know how good he is, and we have seen him improve over the past few years. Make no mistake; he is an ascending jazz star. His new CD, on the Woodville Label (Alan Barnes’s own) has him with his usual trio backing him, and who could want for a better backing, John Critchinson on piano, Andrew Cleyndert bass, and Martin Drew on drums. Well recorded, I think this album does justice to the Simon we know, and should surely bring him additional fans. I really love his version of “Off The Wagon”, with good solos from John and Andrew as well as Simon of course, and the ballad “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” is another of my favourites from the album.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Simon on Cookham Summer FM this past summer, and I think that over the last few years he has gained in maturity and self assurance. Yes, sometimes his playing does sound like Tubby Hayes, whom he was able to talk about with great authority and with some wonderful musical illustrations on that broadcast occasion. But he is now his own man, and “Spring..” demonstrates that to the full. I well remember how we thought Scott Hamilton sounded like Ben Webster when he first arrived on the American jazz Scene (yes, I do still have his first CD, and yes, I did buy it from his own hands too!) but look what has happened to him!

By the way the broadcast interview has been heard by quite a few people now, and I have had a number of phone calls from musicians (saxophone players et al) telling me what a service the talk was to jazz!!

So, go out and buy that CD! Woodville WVCD116. Go and see him when he’s playing near you, and then you can tell your kids (OK grandchildren then), “I saw him play!”

Well, that’s enough for one week. The blog will have Simons CD cover artwork, or you can look at for more info on where to catch him in 2007.

But for now……(where have I heard that before),


Geoff Cronin

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Just a quick blog update, to remind you that TOMORROW NIGHT at The Hedsor Social Club, not only do we have as our Guest SIMON SPILLETT, but he will be launching there his new CD "Introducing Simon Spillett" released yesterday on the Woodville Label (WVCD 116).
This will be at a special price to all Hedsor Social Club-ites, of £10.00!
With him are John Critchinson, Andrew Cleyndert and Martin Drew, and Alan Barnes has written the sleeve notes.
So, what better time to turn out on a wet and windy winterish evening than Tomorrow at 8.30 pm. He will on this occasion be accompanied by The Clive Burton Quintet.
AND as a further piece of exercise for your diary, do add in for Saturday April 28th 2007; at the
Woodley Theatre, The Oakwood Centre, Woodley, Reading, Berks, Tel; 0118 969 0827 - a guest appearance by Simon with the Martin Hart Trio (8-10.30 pm).
Its a great little theatre, good tiered seating, with a bar and small cafe in the vestibule. So exercise the writing hand!!
See you all tomorrow, because you ARE remembering that its YOU who needs to keep live jazz alive!!
Geoff C

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Geoff’s Jazz Nag : Wednesday November 15th 2006

OK, so it’s a day late, but you are going to get a bit of a nagging today after all. I know you all thought you’d got away with it, but no, it’s here for you again, just to remind you of the good jazz things that are happening locally for you.


Thursday, at the Hedsor Social Club, Clive Burtons Quintet, (with or without Mr Burton sometimes) will play tuneful, swinging modern jazz. We need you as much as you need this event, so do come along and find out personally what a friendly and intimate setting for jazz this evening realises. Its only £3 to get in, we would like you to get an exit ticket (raffle) to get out with and it all starts at 8.30 pm. Club Bar prices. TV is never this good!

Saturday, 18th November at The Woodley Theatre, Martin Hart, Mike Wills, Ken McCarthy, Ian Scott Taylor and Alan Grahame recreate The Benny Goodman Quintet from 7.45 pm. Tickets are priced at £8.50 and at the time of writing this there were only 17 tickets left!! (I’ve got mine!). Ring 0118 969 0827 NOW!!

Thursday 23rd November at Hedsor we have Simon Spillett guesting, so do book your baby sitter early.

November 29th (a Wednesday) The Harrow reunion meeting for Lynn Garner, Ken McCarthy and Brad Lang takes place, so do take out a double booking for that sitter!!

Home Listening?

Yes, I have managed to fit in some this week!

First, a name almost from the past, Jay McShann. AND it’s a new album! Released in 2006, but OK, it was recorded in 2001! But yet again, it was a live club recording. Why is this so surprising I hear some of you ask? Well he is in his 90’s! It was his orchestra that first used 2 young boppers, Charley Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Yes that was in the 1940’s. He also had a great influence on Count Basie. Year in 2001 he was in Canada performing at the Montreal Bistro. Now many of jazz’s old performers who continue to perform are often well past their best. And obviously at 90, a piano player may not be able to finger the keys as well as he used to in his 20’s. But Jay can still play stride piano, and you wouldn’t know it was an older man playing. Its only when he sings that you realise that the voice has seen a lot of action! Alongside Jay is Canadian reedman Jim Galloway, and excellent tenor and soprano sax player, with Rosemary Galloway on bass and Don Vickery on drums. Altogether not a disappointment as a performance at all. As a bonus is a 20 minute interview with the main man, that is really a piece of history, and I think the album well worthy of your interest. It’s on a Canadian label, STONYPLAIN SPCD1315. You can read more at

As usual, if you want to see this nag in glorious Technicolor, go to

It’s no better written, but it does look pretty!

Ok, well for now, it’s Goodbye, but do try to get to a live gig near you soon. Jazz needs its audience, and its audience needs to keep jazz alive!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Geoff’s Jazz Nag Returns

After a break caused by some very unusual, and in some part, unpleasant circumstances, like General Macarthur, “I have returned”. If anyone has the odd day to spare, and is interested enough to want to know the details, do stop me, and buy (me) one, and I’ll tell you!

There would have been a nag last week, but my broadband connection died for 3 days!!

So to the grist of a Jazz nag!

TOMORROW, Tuesday 7th November, as an anniversary celebration of my national Service call up (I travelled to RAF Cardington to begin my 2 years on that day in 1960!!) at The Bourne End Community Centre Bar, Centre Jazz presents “Zane Cronje and Friends”. OK, so I’m a friend of said Zane, but rest assured, I won’t be playing, as I will be “resting” after a short sojourn in Wexham Park’s Lady Sobell unit. BUT, Lynn Garner will be singing, Brad Lang will be playing the bass and maybe singing and Terry Parsons will be playing the drums. I don’t know if he sings, I’ve not heard him. I have heard Zane sing, but don’t ask!! For all this talent all you need to do is turn up at 8.30 pm or before if you want a seat, and pay the man at the door £4. He will give you a raffle ticket, and you can sit and listen until half time, when they even give you a light supper. ALL this for the £4! Amazing. DO take more money than that with you, as there is an excellent bar at club prices, and Lynn has one or two CD’s to sell you.

After a period of recovery, on THURSDAY 9th November you can come out again to The Hedsor Social Club for Clive Burtons Quintet. 8.30 pm start, £3 to get in, £5 in raffle tickets to get you out, a bar at club prices, and some extraordinary great jazz. This year we have had some wonderful sessions at this venue, last weeks with Mike Wills and John Rolls being no exception. The ensemble of musicians are so able to pull out that magic that is jazz, the unexpected rapport of talented players, that you never know what will happen. Don’t miss out. “Nothing Stays The Same” remember!

SUNDAY jazz from Century Jazz at The Fifield Inn, totally free, but you can buy a raffle ticket to ensure you get out without disfigurement! 8 pm start, as some people have to go to work next day!

Into the future….

Saturday 18th of November, at the Woodley Theatre, near Reading, Martin Hart is responsible for an evening of “The Benny Goodman Story” staring Martin on drums and voice, Mike Wills reeds, Ken McCarthy piano, Ian Scott Taylor bass and Alan Grahame on vibes. A real recreation of the Benny Goodman Quartet will take you to there website. Tickets are £8.50. It starts at 8.45 pm.

On WEDNESDAY November 29th at 8.30 pm, Lynn Garner, Brad Lang and Ken McCarthy return to The Harrow, up the Hughenden Valley. Those of you who have been regular readers will remember that this used to be a regular weekly event, until spoilt by local authoritarianism. It’s a wonderfully intimate setting to hear, and get to know these extremely talented musicians. AND IT’S FREE. Totally, not even a raffle!!

CD’s I’ve Listened too.
A little light listening has taken place this week. Two items I think worth writing about.

ASV has released an album in their Living Era collection by Kid Ory from 1922 to 1944. The transfers, especially of the earlier recordings, are excellent, and the 1944 recordings are from the historically important Orson Wells Mercury Wonder Show Broadcasts that did so much to put traditional jazz back in front of the population. What struck me more about this release however, was the number of different groupings that Ory played with in 1926. King Oliver and His Dixie Syncopators, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, The New Orleans Wanderers, The New Orleans Bootblacks, and Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers. All in the same year, and all with only very slight changes in personnel. For Louis Hot Five, and The NO Wanderers, you only need to swap the trumpet player (George Mitchell for Armstrong) the rest are the same. The Bootblacks and the Wanderers, add Joe Clarke on Alto Sax. In all of this, you only have to listen to hear what a pivotal roll Ory had in these great recordings. ASVCD AJA 5148 is the number; it was released in 1994, but should still be around.

The other album was released in 2004 and is by the relatively young tenor player from New York, Harry Allen. He played at the time of the recording at a regular Monday night session with a regular group at Zuni, an eatery in Manhattan. With him, not just in support, but in true rapport, is Joe Cohn on guitar, Joel Forbes on bass and Chuck Riggs on Drums. The recording is fine, the music is in that old mainstream tradition, but with some great contrapuntal “occasions“. It’s been released on the Arbors Jazz label, and my only gripe is the sleeve notes. I don’t think even I could write so many words that basically say “I think their great”. Yes, there are bits that give actual facts, but mostly it really says “Us Americans, especially those of us in New York, are wonderful”. If you like small group swing, with a “very nice” saxophone sound, you wont go far wrong in listening to “Hey, Look Me Over, The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet” on Arbours ARCD 19333. Its good music and a pity in my mind that the music was put second to the sleeve notes.

That’s it for now folks, cover art is on the blog page.

Geoff Cronin

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another week, and if you buy from the company store, another week deeper in debt! Also, another week nearer Christmas, and further away from your summer holidays!

So, is there any hope for the future?

Well, YES!

Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club we have another convivial evening of JAZZ from The Clive Burton Quintet.

A small bird told me that Clive is just about to acquire a computer, then I will have to ensure that all I write about him is always nice! But, as I always have written honestly about his orchestra, I have nothing to fear! So DO come along on Thursday from 8.30 pm, enjoy a drink from the club bar, enjoy the company of other jazz friends, and enjoy the superb music put on every week by the Quintet. £3 to get in, a raffle ticket will get you out again!!

On the downside this week, I must STRESS that the jazz concert at Cores End Church, billed for this coming Saturday HAS BEEN CANCELLED. So please tell anyone who may have thought of coming, that they can now watch TV all night instead!

Due to one or two "events" I have largely been away from live jazz this past week, and have caught up with some Hi Fi jazz instead.

And so to a (for some) surprising link.

British read player, eccentric and lover of cream cakes, the late Bruce Turner is one of my favourite electric listens. You may consider him to be "just" the alto player with Humphrey Lyttelton who got "Bannered" as a "Dirty Bopper", but in fact he was very firmly a player for all seasons. I have listened this week to an LP (large round black plastic about 12" diameter) of Bruce and his Jump Band, formed after he left Humph in 1959, and before he rejoined him again a few years later. Here we have him and the band playing a la Artie Shaw and his Gramercy Five, performing titles like "Accent on Swing", and, yes "Cream Puff". It's a long gone LP on the International Jazz label (AJZ/4/LP), and well worth looking out for in Oxfam type shops. With him in the band were Johnny Chiltern (later to keep George Melly company for many years), Johnny Mumford on trombone, Stan Greig on piano (in between stints with Humph on drums, and Humph on piano for many years), Tony Goffe bass and Johnny Armatage on drums.

The surprising link is that the other album I listened to in the past week has been by Lee Konitz. Called "The Real Lee Konitz" this album on the Atlantic label has tune titles like "Pennies in Minor", "My Melancholy Baby" "and Easy Livin'" which you might have considered more suited to Bruce Turner. Well, Bruce did study under Lee Konitz!! Honest, I kid you not.In the 1950's, as part of Geraldo's Navy (dance band musicians on Atlantic liners) Bruce travelled back and forth to New York, and took lessons from, and had a good friendship, with Lee. If you listen to early Bruce (with Freddy Randel for example) you can hear his style develope into the superb, instantly recognisable, British musician he became.

OK, so keep trawling the charity shops, you never know what gold you can reveal.

But don't keep it up so long that you're too tired to turn out for the live stuff. Its only by helping musicians to keep playing that you lay down any opportunity for future music that isn't all electric!


Geoff C

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

First let me say again how sad I feel at having to cancel the concert that was planed at Cores End Church for October 14th. I really hope that we will have the opportunity of putting on further music at that venue. In the meantime do let people know that it has been cancelled.

We still have some excellent music to look forward to this week. Tonight Al (yes "Al") Nicholls and his quintet will be playing at The Bourne End (Bucks) Community Centre bar, as one of Mo's "Centre Jazz" nights. The entry fee of £3 includes not only a raffle ticket, but also a light snack at half time. This event is underwritten by The Bourne End Community Association. Wouldn't it be great if other associations did the same!

Wednesday night, if you fancy a trip to Farnham in Surrey, you can catch Century Jazz with that wonderful singer Lynn Garner.

Thursday night at the, now famous, Hedsor Social Club, we have a regular Clive Burton Quintet from 8.30pm, £3 entry, raffle exit!

One future event to look forward to, on Eddie Fowler's promo list (Eddie was with us last week at Hedsor) is an evening of contemporary jazz on Thursday 26th October at the British Legion Hall in Princes Risborough. Some more details of this are above in the pictures section!

What have I listened too this week?

Well, as well as my usual crop of singers (one reviewed below!) was a CD by a trio with a slightly unusual combination of instruments.

As a long defunct trumpet blower myself, I am fully aware that it is not an easy instrument to hide with!! So when someone does a whole CD with trumpet, bass and guitar, you are putting yourself at high risk. I was delighted to hear Chris Hodgkins was very well practiced, and has produced a beautiful, light, set of music on a CD called "Present Continuous". For the last 20 years Chris has been the director of Jazz Services Ltd, but he has obviously kept up the practice. The guitarist is Max Brittain (often to be seen locally) and together with lady bass player Alison Rayner, they make an excellent job of some light, slightly "late night", music. Tunes include "Let's get Lost", "Mainstem", "Stalking", "Look for a Silver Lining" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", a really wide program choice that really comes off. It can be found (if searched for, Smith's wont have it !), on Bell CDs BELLCD 511 (you could try

The other CD is more mature (By 7 years) from Colin Towns' Mask Quintet with Maria Pia De Vito. Its called "Still Life" and its on Provocateur Records. This is a "modern" modern jazz record that I found quite breathtaking in its scope. It has some marvellous musicians taking part (see picture above again for more details), and on 2 tracks has a full orchestral setting as well. With people like Julian Arguelles, and John Parricelli on board with Maria's clear soprano voice, the overall effect is stunning. If you are prepared to get towards the edge of your known musical box, give this one a try!

That's it for now,


Geoff C

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mornings are beginning to feel Autumnish, with condensation to clear off the car, aren't they? Evenings darken up sooner than one would wish, but there is a consoling thought in all of this. Its easier to go out to the Jazz of an evening, because you cant really do the garden in the dark!!

So, for the darkness of the next few days, here are a number of alternatives to cutting the grass!

Thursday 28th September, at The Hedsor Social Club, The Clive Burton Quintet, with guest!

Saturday 30th September at The Curzon Centre, Maxwell Road, Beaconsfield, BOTH Liane Carroll and Dave Newton as part of the Wooburn Festival, from 7.30 pm, tickets I think are £20, but will include a supper, do book with the Festival Box Office.

Sunday 1st October at The Fifield, Century Jazz 8 pm start, hot food available.

October 14th Cores End Church's Third Jazz Concert, with Mike Wills, Zane Cronje, singer Alison Bentley and guitarist Kevin Armstrong who will all entertain us for a ticket price of £10, which includes interval refreshments. You can get a ticket from me, or from Crocks and Crystals in Bourne End (01628 528712). The previous two concerts have been very well received, the acoustics in the building are wonderful, and the pews are padded!

So there is a selection of the live stuff for you to go and listen too, but if you really get snowed in, what should you play on your wind up CD player?

Following on from my mention of Liane Carroll at Beaconsfield, I'm sure some of you watched the BBC4 TV broadcast (1 hour long, well done BBC) from this years Brecon Jazz Festival that was broadcast last Friday. I did, and it did more than remind me of some of the wonderful CD releases she has had over recent years. One of the songs she sings that always hits me is her own composition "Dublin Morning". This is one of the songs on her 2003 album "Billy No Mates". Its also on the "live" album recorded at Ronnie Scott's in 2001.

Another song she sang (as opener) on the TV show was "That Old Black Magic". That is available on "Standard Issue" from 2005.

Liane isn't black, but to me she is magic. so, follow the numbers:-
"Son of Dolly Bird (Live at Ronnie Scott's) Ronnie Scott's Jazz House JHCD 068 recorded 2001
"Billy No Mates" Splash Point Records SPR001CD recorded 2003
"Standard Issue" Splash Point Records SPR003CD recorded 2005

If you haven't heard her before she really is a great singer, a great personality, a very natural down to earth person and a grandmother to boot! It's not just me who thinks she's good, she did win BBC Jazz Singer of the Year this year too!!

That's it for now folks, next week I really must write about some instrumentalists!

What I haven't mentioned in the above (or in the text only email version of this blog) is that Liane is also a very accomplished piano player as well. She can sing, play, and smoke a cigarette all at the same time!!

Geoff C
Jazz from Geoff

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Geoff’s Jazz Nag

So, in the guise of trying to get back to some normality, I will start this week’s jazz ramble by going ever so slightly backwards.

What a great evening Century Jazz’s 11th birthday at The Fifield was last Sunday. Mark Nightingale was the guest, and what a superb trombone player he is. I have seen him many times, but always in an ensemble of his choosing, usually with some careful head arrangements in front of them in dot form. (Swanage Jazz Festivals performance of “Bootleg Eric” for example). On Sunday he was of course just jamming with the regular band, and it was marvellous stuff. But I HAVE to say, that in no way did I feel that anyone needed to apologise for the shear quality of “Century Jazz”. They were more than able to keep pace in quality terms with the star guest. As I said when some of my American friends listened to “The Band” at Hedsor back in August, we have just got USED to such quality, so regularly given to us at such a ridiculous low cost.

Which is a good way of leading in to “nagging on” about The Hedsor Social Club and Thursday nights. As usual, The Clive Burton Quintet (AKA Century Jazz, plus and minus 1) will be playing there this Thursday, laughing with us, and flogging us raffle tickets from 8.30 pm onwards. Just because we can, don’t assume we always will be able to hear such wonderful music for so little money, so do turn out. £3 to get in, raffle ticket to get out!

So that’s just about got your Thursdays and Sundays sorted out (after all you are going to go to Fifield on Sundays aren’t you!), but don’t forget too, that on many Thursdays you can buy jazz CD’s only at Hedsor at ridiculously low prices.

On about a month and I’m pleased to be able to tell you that tickets for the next Jazz Concert at Cores End Church are now on sale at £10, which includes a glass of wine and a light nibble of cheese etc at half time. The music will be provided by Mike Wills, with Zane Cronje plus other guests which include the lovely singer Alison Bentley, and her guitar accompanist Kevin Armstrong. Other guests could possibly be included in this up market jazz night out. Those of you who have been before will testify to the great sound quality to be had from the Georgian building (1804 I think). The pews are very comfortably padded, and it has always been a well received event. Any profit made will go to charity, so do get your tickets either direct from me, or from Crocks and Crystals in The Parade at Bourne End (01628 528712).

Coming shortly after the Cores End Concert, in November we have another of Martin Harts excellent tours through the career of a notable jazz musician. On November 18th, and the Woodley Theatre you can listen to his take on the Benny Goodman Story, with Mike Wills playing Mr Goodman. With them both are Alan Grahame on Vibs, Ken McCarthy on Piano, and Ian Scott Taylor Bass.
The Woodley Theater :- The Oakwood Centre, Headley Road, Woodley. Box Office: 0118 969 0827
In the odd moments that I have had time to listen this month, I have tried to hear some new releases. Two stand out, and as we have just mention a jazz concert in a church (not such a unique event these days, Pinner Church run regular jazz monthly concerts, given the right support we could possibly do the same?) I’m going to start with Ramsey Lewis and his new CD (2005) “With One Voice”. Like many jazz pianists he learnt his craft as a church organist (black African churches being a little freer in their music than my experience of church music!). In 1965 he won a Grammy Award for his small group recording “The In Crowd”, (it sold a million copies!) and in 2005 he returned to his old church in Maywood IL for a live concert with full choir and a great band of supporting singers and musicians. The resulting record is obviously very Gospel in feel, but it sounds just great. The choir alone massed 57 voices (more than most UK Church congregations!), with up to a dozen supporting musicians. The quality is superb, I really recommend that you give it a spin. Its on Narada Jazz (part of Virgin Records), and you can look on their web site for more info on them. The CD number is a handy 009463-38471-2-5!

The other new release is a double CD/DVD of a band celebrating 25 years of fusion music. “Yellowjackets” is a 4 piece band that has seen very few personnel changes in 25 years, no mean feat. Keyboard player Russell Ferrante and bass guitarist Jimmy Haslip are original members, and currently they play with Bob Mintzer on Tenor sax and Marcus Baylor on drums. Most of the tunes they play are their own compositions, and it is an interesting and exciting rerun of some of their more famous past “hits” It’s a very good live recording from a concert performed in Paris in October 2005, the DVD is of a concert performed in Italy also in October 2005. The double album is called “YELLOWJACKETS TWENTY FIVE”, their web site is, and the cd/dvd album number is Heads Up HUCD 3112

That’s it for now folks, keep playting the music, and of course, do ensure it can be kept live by TURNING OUT now and again!!

Geoff Cronin

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Geoff's Jazz nag is again a little late, and probably less compete than I would like it to be, but a few family matters have rather taken precedence on my time at the keyboard and turntable this last few weeks.

Suffice it to say that TONIGHT (September 7th) we have the Clive Burton Quintet (complete) at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30 pm onwards. I hope to bring along a few CD’s for sale at silly money prices. Of course the jazz will be fantastic, the measly charge for his great night out is still only £3, with of course an exit fee of a raffle ticket for your added excitement!

I will draw to you attention yet again that Century Jazz play every Sunday evening at The Fifield from 8pm onwards. Coming soon is the chance to celebrate their 11th year there, with special guest Mark Nightingale joining Clive on trombone, with of course, Mike Wills remaining as the reed section. Don’t miss this purely raffle funded event. I have attached a word document poster for you to display in an advantageous position to further spread the news.

Another event looming soon on the horizon is the Third Cores End Church Jazz Concert. Always a wonderful musical evening, watch this space for further details, but I can tell you that tickets will be on sale very soon at £10, which includes light half time refreshments (a bit better than 1/2 a lemon!!) and if we are lucky enough to make any profit, it will go to charity. The date is Saturday October 14th from 8 pm onwards.

I hope fervently to write more next week, in the meantime, help keep live jazz alive but turning up to at least one or two events a year!

Geoff Cronin

Jazz from Geoff

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I thought I would bring to your attention today that we have a super guest for this weeks Hedsor Social Club Gig on Thursday.

Guitarist John Coverdale will be with the Clive Burton Quartet (Mike Wills being away this week, we did have a note from his mum). John is a tutor at Eton Collage, and played the guitar for the film "Evita".

I think the quality of our regular team is a big asset in bringing in pedigree artists from outside the local level. Hence our ability to see and hear such people as John this week, Simon Spillett and Don Wright last week. All this for your £3 entry fee, and the fun of a raffle. So, if you truly love jazz, don't miss out, it all starts at 8.30 pm. every Thursday at THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB!

There may not be a film made about the venue, but shortly there may be a new CD to buy of the band!! Watch out for further announcements.

My commercial CD revues later again in the week, or early next week, but I need to get THIS message to your eyes asap!


Geoff C

Jazz from Geoff
Helping to keep live jazz alive.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Geoff’s Jazz Nag

With the bank holiday looming, I thought “now’s the time” to give you all a short reminder of local jazz events, but starting with a brief revue of last nights Hedsor gig.

For 2 weeks running now we have been subjected to ridiculously marvellous music at The Hedsor Social Club. Last week I was not alone in thinking that Simon Spillett and Mike Wills had produced a miraculous evening of top quality live jazz. Last night was surely going to be an anticlimax wasn’t it? No two weeks could be on such a high could they? Wrong! Last night, not only Simon Spillett, this time with our regular answer to Vic Dickenson (Clive Burton), but a special surprise visit by another great tenor player, Don Wright. Don runs a 10 piece band called “The Wright Stuff”, has a great CD out with the band, and plays with a great big sound. Two tenors, a trombone, and our usual rhythm section again produced cheering crowds. So you weren’t there!! Gosh!! How sad.

Next Thursday, who knows, but we should be back to the normal line up, which is too good to miss anyway! 8.30 pm start £3 to get in, raffle to get out!

We also had with us last night a number of Cancer Research UK representatives, who came along for a photo opportunity (!!) to enable me to be photographed giving them the cheque for the May Concert proceeds, (which of course they already really had). Look out for it in a coming edition of your local paper!!

Sunday, Fifield offers similar quality music from almost the same quintet, plus a very late Sunday lunch. 8 pm start. Raffle funded by the management!!

CD’s to listen out for:-

This week I have been captivated by a totally different form of jazz music to that which I usually write about. In the very early 1940’s on America’s West coast, some of the dance band musicians were getting bored with playing the same tunes night after night, and got together to research some of the earlier jazz that had become unfashionable. Lu Watters formed his first Yerba Buena Jazz Band to play a form of what we called “traditional jazz”. WW II” came along, and put a temporary stop to their fun, but in 1945 they again reformed and started playing regularly in public. The recording to which I refer comes from a late period series of recordings (1949/50), made at a club called “Hambone Kelly’s”. An all white band playing trad on the West coast inspired many British bands in that period (including The Yorkshire Jazz Band), and that inspiration can be heard on a Jasmine CD called “Doing the Hambone at Kelly’s”. I had often wondered where the early Lyttelton Band had got “Ace in a Hole” from, now I know. There is some wonderful liquid clarinet playing from Bob Helm, some terrific piano from Wally Rose, and Clancy Hayes both sings and plays the banjo. This is not just a fun record, it’s a great jazz listen. Tunes include “Emperor Norton’s Hunch”, “Alcoholic Blues”, “Roll, Jordon Roll” and 17 other trad tunes, some of which are very rarely played today.

The other CD spun up this week is by Monty Alexander (piano), with N.H.Orsted Pedersen (bass) and Grady Tate (drums). Called “Threesome” (!) it’s a lovely light combination, with an excellent “All Blues” sung by Grady Tate. Well worth a listen.

TTFN, keep it live!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Following on from my nag/blog today, one of the fans who WAS at the Hedsor Social Club last Thursday wrote back to me with the following:-

"Hi Geoff, Thanks for the JazzNag, and what a blast Thursday night's sessionturned out to be. Magnificent, - Simon with his more dynamic attack and Mike'slyricism complement each other beautifully.Zane as usual played brilliantlyand Ken (I think) played out of his skin. I can't seem to impress on myguests (who like the jazz very much) just how fantasticly lucky we are towitness such talent in such an informal setting at such a reasonable price!"

So, if you missed it you only have yourselves to blame!!


Geoff C

Geoff’s Jazz Nag

Just a little reminder of the guest list for the next week.

On Thursday 24th August Clive will be joined by Simon Spillett. At The Hedsor Social Club

and on Sunday 27th August at Fifield the band will have Mike Wills as reedman.

Anyone who was at Hedsor Last Thursday will be aware that we had a remarkable session with Simon and Mike fronting the rhythm section, and it was some of the best off the cuff jazz I had heard for years. It was absolutely the right night for me to invite along two visiting American friends who normally get there live music from Boston’s Symphony Hall, and they were on their feet at the end. It seems that most of the rest of the audience thought such excellence was just routine, and didn’t join in in giving the musicians a standing ovation, but they really had earned one.

For those of you who weren’t there (fortunately we did have a bigger than usual crowd), I can only feel sorrow that you missed out. And you really did.

Jazz being what it is, a live art, I can’t promise such an extreme high for next Thursday, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again. So if you value your jazz health, come and see!!

Simon Spillett is becoming more and more at home and relaxed with us at Hedsor, and it shows in his playing. I said to Clive a month ago, Simon is now a member of the band, he fits in so seamlessly. He has the skill and opportunity of playing with some of the UK’s best players, and yet we have the great good fortune to see and hear him in Hedsor’s small bar room. At just £3 entry, it must be the biggest bargain in British jazz.

On the CD front, I haven’t had the opportunity of a steady listen as I have had another of those time spans when I have been dotting about the country.

But I did get the chance to listen to a CD by a lady singer I didn’t know. Nicki Leighton-Thomas has recorded an album called “Forbidden Games” (I nearly typed in “Mind Games” in error, but that’s the great new CD by Martin Hart). The lyrics are nearly all by Fran Landesman, and the music by Simon Wallace, who does the accompanying piano parts. Taking solos at various times and tunes are Dave O’Higgins, Paul Stacey, and Steve Waterman. Very good music, and very,very thought provoking lyrics as you would expect from such a poet as Landesman. This is out on Candid Records CCD 79778

Another album much enjoyed (to the chagrin of all those out there who hate singers) was from Dianne Reeves. An album that most jazz fans probably won’t find, as it’s the sound track from the film “good night, and good luck”. All of these tunes are well known from the 40’s and 50’s, and include “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, “You’re Driving Me Crazy”, “Too Close For Comfort” and a number equally well known tunes. Very well recorded, and being a film score, lots of musicians are involved, but the core muso’s are Matt Catlingub tenor and alto sax (very good), Peter Martin Piano, Jeff Hamilton Drums and Robert Hurst Bass. As usually, if you are reading the blog, the artwork for these albums is visible!! Concord Jazz 0013431230724 is the number, but God knows why!

But for now, it probably is “good night and good luck”,

See you soon,

Geoff Cronin
Jazz from Geoff

Monday, July 31, 2006

A few lines of chat, and some reminders of what's on where.

Its been hot, and in some places very wet (Ealing Jazz Festival found out about rain! One of the Marquee roofs split open under a torrent of rainwater), now we have "showers". But through thick and thin, WE HAVE JAZZ!

Tonight, Monday 31st July at The Jolly Woodman in Burnham there is Swing 42.
AND ALSO tonight Monday 31st July at The Cricketers. Horsell, near Woking from 8.30pm Century Jazz plus Simon Spillett

Tomorrow night August 1st at Bourne End Community Centre, Jazz presents Cookhams fabulous Shirtlifters. Traditional jazz at its British best, from 8.30 'till 11, £4 to get in with free raffle, AND nibbles at half time. You know it makes sense to leave the telly behind and see some very live jazz.

Wednesday 2nd August at The Farnham Maltings, The Otis B Driftwood Band extravaganza.
Thursday 3rd August at Hedsor, The Clive Burton Quintet with Mike Wills
Sunday 6th August at Fifield Century Jazz with Mike Wills

For those of you who cant get out to live jazz, and rely on the recorded variety there are a couple of excellent recent releases on offer.

First on my preference list this week is another release by the wonderful Lake Records. Titled "Al Fairweather & Sandy Brown's All Stars" it contains the last of the aboves recordings made for Denis Preston. This shows the Fairweather/Brown ensemble firmly in the mainstream mould, in the company of people such as Tony Coe (on tenor sax) and pianist Brian Lemon.
The music is superb, lightly swinging, with innovative voicings (going blindfold, you can always tell that it is Coe or Brown or Al from any other read or trumpet players by their very own sound). Quality produce from 1962. The other truly amazing thing is that the master tapes for this session, recorded in stereo, were lost, and the reissue has been made from a pristine copy of the LP, which, as sods law would have it, was only ever issued in mono!! The highlight for me of an excellent cd is "Willow Weep For Me" as a Brown solo. (LACD229)

The other easily overlooked release that caught my attention this week is by The Dutch Jazz Orchestra entitled "Rediscovered Music of Mary Lou Williams, The Lady Who Swings The Band" Catchy eh?Recorded in 2005, this is an 19 piece big band that really sound marvellous. All the material is by Mary Lou, much of it originally written in the 1930's. The arrangements were redone in the 40's, 50's and early 60's, and the net result for largely little know material and a little known continental band is magic. Its available on Challenge Records CR73251 and the record companies web site is

Whatever you do, enjoy the jazz, and don't forget to support the live stuff personally before its too late.

Pictures from the cover art of both cd's, and from a recent concert by Alan Barnes with The Martin Hart trio are on the blog

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Music Licensing Law

Music Licensing Law

I’m adding in to my blog this message from pianist Ken McCarthy. You may recall that I for one have referred recently and in the past to the problems associated with the new licensing laws. Ken will keep me informed of news on this “war” front, and I will publish the info via this blog site.

Do agitate to get a better solution to whatever the problem is perceived to be. The current solution is killing live music and making criminals of us all for listening and playing.

Geoff Cronin
NB “Mike” refers to Mike Weinblatt

Hamisch Burchall was at the spearhead of the MU campaign, campaigning tirelessly on TV and in the press, to have the old licensing law changed. For those not in the know:-Till Nov 2005, two musicians could work free in any establishment without the need for an annual council licence, which was an arm and a leg for the landlord - who could then employ from a trio to the LSO for the same price. I recall an event with a trio of mine in South London where one member at a time sat out in the front row to conform with this!So - commonsense dictates that all this was a loss to the arts, employment, the pub industry, etc... Thru 2003 - 2005, the Musicians Union campaigned heavily to parliament for total abolition of the need for a music licence. Remember, a disco with 1000 people in the room needed nothing, yet a piano trio, with all the crowds this would draw in, could present a huge fire (more extinguishers, escapes) and damage risk to the building and neighbouring properties - hence the licence tax. This is the English madness which we've lived with as long as I can remember.Parliament promised to do something in their new licensing act of 2005 which is for all businesses - not just music. Kim Howells is the villain of the piece, being Environment Minister at the time. In spite of all the evidence and sweat by the Hamisch and the MU, Howells lobbied for the abolition of the "two in a bar" exemption so that even a cocktail piano player now needs an entertainment licence, and the new bill came into force last year. This is exactly the opposite of everything that was asked. Many small venues closed for live music overnight. There is supposedly a feedback on the effects of this lasting 12 months which will be reviewed in Nov 06 but don't hold your breath.Hamisch was so distraught he resigned from the MU and is campaigning in a private way, hoping that music audiences will be so outraged they will bombard local MPs demanding action. This could be our last way forward in my opinion.He is collecting all press fragments in order to build his case afresh and welcomes any info back to him about venues and gigs in trouble over this. and it's good to receive his update emails.You say, Mike, that there is an underground campaign to destroy live music in this country. I must say that the longer I play, the more I believe this to be happening. Look at "A Beneficial Impact" dated 25 July (a title that twists the gut!) where no live music in bars equals no trouble, no noise, no neighbour complaints - - - problem solved. Stay at home - watch TV.I will forward my emails received to date and future ones. Ken.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A List of Gigs from

A List of Gigs from Clive Burton, including future details for Fifield and Hedsor

Tomorrow   23rd July     At the Fifield with Century Jazz      Lynn Garner

Thursday July 27th With the Clive Burton Quintet at Hedsor    Simon Spillett

Sunday 30th July at Fifield, there will be a couple of surprise guests, well worth turning out for!

Monday 31st July at The Cricketers. Horsell, near Woking from 8.30pm Century Jazz plus Simon Spillett

Wednesday 2nd August at The Farnham Maltings, The Otis B Driftwood Band extravaganza.

Thursday 3rd August at Hedsor, The Clive Burton Quintet with Mike Wills

Sunday 6th August at Fifield Century Jazz with Mike Wills

Thursday 10th  August at Hedsor The Clive Burton Quintet with Simon Spillett

Sunday 13th August at Fifield Century Jazz plus Al Nichols and Harriet Coleman

On 17th, 20th and 27th  August the band will have Mike Wills as reedman.
(Sundays at Fifield, Thursdays at Hedsor).

On Sunday 24th August the guest will be Simon Spillett

Geoff Cronin
Jazz from Geoff

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oh yes, this is a blast from the past! It’s a Geoff’s Jazz nag!!

Back from Swanage (See the Festival report at and now sweltering in this summers heat (we are British, we WILL complain about the weather!), I thought it appropriate to nag a bit about events on the live jazz front.

Tomorrow night we have The Clive Burton Quintet at The Hedsor Social Club, 8.30 ‘till 11 ish. The last few weeks have seen a thin on the ground audience and with it being very hot, some discussion is taking place about continuing with this event. I will reiterate, If you don’t come out to support live jazz, it will disappear. The government has already done its best with music prohibition, so just think of yourselves as gangsters and molls and come out discreetly tomorrow night. Knock 3 times on Hedsor Clubs door and pay £3 at the red tin and you will be let in to music and cheep booze!

Sunday, well you could go sailing in the serpentine, but better still go to The Fifield for a bit of Century Jazz. 8 pm ‘till 10.30 pm. This is an event actually paid for by the landlord, who recoups some of his outlay for the price of a raffle ticket. Help to keep it alive!!

Mondays you can catch some live jazz at Burnham’s Jolly Woodman, so if your bag is more traditional, go for it!

Review of the week.

Well, as is now my norm, I will try to fit in 2.

First, a CD that was sent to me because of my recent association with the jazz programs on Cookham Summer FM (now sadly at an end, did YOU listen?).

This is by a group of lady singers called “The Puppini Sisters”, who have recreated the sound of the 1940’s war time harmony groups. Not quite jazz, but a very creditable effort, wonderfully well produced, and definitely in the fun category. They are also very pretty, and dress in period style. How do I know this from the CD? Simple, they have an excellent web site as well. Go and have a look at and you to can see and hear them. There is even a downloadable video of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” which is very pro. You can also sample a few seconds of every one of the tracks from the CD. These tracks include “Mr Sandman”, Bei Mir Bist Du Schon” “Jeepers Creepers” as well as more modern songs like Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” all performed ah la Boswell Sisters or Andrew Sisters. You will soon see where they are coming from. My only criticism is that I’m not sure you will want to listen to a whole CD of very similar materiel, but, as its free to look, do try out there web site and see if you like it.CD No. is UCJ 9857592, again written in print on the sleeve so small you will need a magnifying glass to read it!

The other CD to bring to your attention is one I picked up at Swanage (OK, I did pay for it!), by Steve Waterman called “Stablemates”. This is the music of Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter, and has a different line up for each. The Golson Sessions are by a quintet with Ben Castle tenor sax, Mark Nightingale trombone, Nick Weldon on piano, Andy Cleyndart bass and Clark Tracey drums. A super sound and somewhat reminisant of our own Clive Burton Quintet. The Wayne Shorter tracks are by a quartet with Anthiny Kerr on vibs, Mike Outram gtr, Laurence Cottle bass gtr, and Ian Thomas on drums. This group reminded me of “The Usual Suspects” who used to play for me at The Old Bell. A great CD, available on Mainstream Records as MSTCD 0035 (in print size I can read!).

That’s it for now, the text of this nag, together with cover art will be found later in the day over on my blog.

Have a nice hot day now!!

Geoff C

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Alan Barnes and Tina May

Alan Barnes and Dave Newton

Geoff’s Visit to the Swanage Jazz Festival Part 2

We have reached Sunday Morning (although I don’t think anyone played it!), another bright breezy day. First up was a duo by Dave Newton and Alan Barnes. They have dueted many times before, and although not regular associates, they still have the ability to know what the other person is going to do (They first met when both studied at Leeds). Alan was looking very tired, and was suffering from gout, but he still managed one of his better solos of the weekend during this set.

I had a good ½ hour chat with Dave before the session, whilst we both took the air on the little banjo shaped pier in the middle of the bay. We talked about the difficulties of live jazz and licences these days, and he told me a story from prohibition days told to him by Buddy Tate. When Buddy was playing in, I think Lucky Millender’s Orchestra, they had a residency in a Chicago nightclub. This was owned and frequented by Al Capone. On one occasion he went up to Lucky, asked him to play a request, stuffed a $20 note in his top pocket, and went off with his girlfriend of the time for a “dance” around the club floor. On one of his trips around, towards the end of the tune, he sidled up to Lucky and said “do you know who I am?” to which Lucky replied,
”No Sir, I’ve never seen you before”. “That’s the right answer” said Capone, and stuffed another $20 dollar bill in his top pocket! Try doing that with a local authority music licence vetter!!

After lunch I went down to The Kings Bar, an airless venue, but graced that afternoon by a solo spot from Liane Carroll. Most fans know now what a wonderful singer and piano player she is, but if you still have preconceptions about lady jazz singers, go and hear Liane to have them re-organised!! She is alternately funny, sad, and easy to take on board. A true character and her music can bring me to near tears with its majesty.

After afternoon tea, we had a set by one of my all time favourite lady Jazz Singers, Tina May. Together with Alan Barnes (yes him again), and a rhythm section that just wasn’t in line with their way of playing jazz, we had an edgy set. Still good by anyone’s standards, but it didn’t really work. Matt Skelton is without doubt an excellent drummer, but it sounded like he was backing a riveter! It was also unfortunate that the pianist Liam Noble, who had never worked with Tina before, had the piano setup so that his back was to her the whole time and he couldn’t see her “conducting”.

Finally, all those who had any stamina left went back to the Kings Bar, and saw a set by Liane Carroll and her trio. Not bad, but I thought the afternoon solo set better, and the room was now very hot.

Never mind, if Swanage runs again next year, I’ll be there, because it is the best British Jazz Festival going, and what a setting!



Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Bootleg Eric Band of Dave Newton and Clarke Tracey

Laura Zakian

Simon Spillett

OK, so it’s been a long time since I updated the blog, but all for a very good reason.

First there was the Cookham Summer FM Radio Shows that I was involved in. All great fun. I wonder did any of you listened to ANY of them? Don’t worry if you didnt, all my efforts were recorded, and I will ensure that you will hear them somehow or other!!

The Second reason is that I have been to The Swanage Jazz Festival. And again I thought that it was a real festival of British Jazz. I will admit that this year there was SO much wonderful modern jazz to be heard that I didn’t hear ANY traditional jazz except Dave Brennan’s Marching Band, which did its usual New Orleans style street parade on Saturday Morning.

This year the choices of what to hear were very difficult to make indeed, but the Friday night set one would have thought could not have been bettered. In Marquee 2 (the first one most people came to!) had as a starter the Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra, who were good in parts (mostly brass parts!), with a good young lady singer and a couple of fun young gentlemen singing together a la Frank Sinatra.

They were followed by some superb musicianship from Steve Waterman’s sextet plus Dave O’Higgins playing Benny Golsen/Wayne Shorter tunes. The interplay between the two aforementioned, plus Anthony Kerr on vibes, Mike Outram guitar, Laurence Cottle elec. bass and Ian Thomas drums was so tingling, you had to pinch yourself to prove it was live!!

Friday night it rained and blew a bit, but Saturday dawned warm and bright, and the superlative jazz carried on with the Spike Wells trio, with phenomenal young piano player Gwilym Simcock astounding everyone. They had the assistance of bass player Malcome Crease.
You may recall that Spike Wells was Tubby Hayes drummer for about 5 years, so it won’t surprise anyone to learn that Simon Spillett joined them in the second set for about an hour of assured playing. He made a real impact on an audience that hadn’t had the advantage of hearing him at The Hedsor Social Club. One of the Swanage Club Members was heard to mention his name as late as Sunday evening as being a really good listening experience!

Saturday also had a set from Laura Zakian, a young lady singer who is beginning to make a name for herself. She seemed a bit nervous, and perhaps wasn’t performing at her best. The Kings Bar (her venue) was always very hot, which didn’t help the pleasurable experience!

She did have great accompaniment with Alan Barnes, Gwilym Simcock, Andrew Cleyndert and Clark Tracey.

Without doubt though, the highlight of the day, and for me of the weekend was the Dave Newton/Clark Tracy Band performing for the first time in public the music from their CD “Bootleg Eric”. It is a real band of British Stars, 90% of whom are now younger than the average audience!! Everyone was blown away by the sheer musical ability of the band, the millisecond timing, the inventive solos and the tremendous swing developed by the rhythm section.

The line up is Guy Barker tpt, Mark Nightingale tmb, Alan Barnes reeds, Don Weller tnr, Julian Segal tnr, Dave Newton pno, Andrew Cleyndert bass and Clark Tracy drums.

That concluded Saturday (what a High to go out on). I didn’t buy the CD (they had run out).

Later in the week I will tell you about the Sunday sessions, and what is on locally in the next few days.

Sad to say Cookham Summer FM is over, thank you to all who took part.


Geoff C

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Ellington Birthday Concerts and the Jimmy Witherspoon Album

"Good Lord, its one of those nag things again!". You are right!! They have become a bit sporadic of late, but all with good reason. I trust at least SOME of you have been listening to the 2 jazz programs on Cookham Summer FM (87.90 or via and can appreciate that talking some rubbish on a microphone does take a little preparation! Honest.

But, at least this week, you can read about the local jazz events, and not just listen to them. If you do want to listen, then Mondays at 9 pm brings you "Mama Africa" followed by "The African Influence in Jazz" taking you to 10 pm. On Fridays "Never the Same Way Once" brings you 3 hours of jazz music and comment from 8 pm 'till 11 pm.

So now about live jazz:-

On the First Tuesday of each month, in Marlow's Liston Hall you can go and see Club Django.
ALSO on the first Tuesday of every month, you can go to The Bourne End Community Centre and see Mo's selection of living musicians for around £4, but this does include nibbles at half time. Start time 8.30 pm.

Every Thursday you can catch The Clive Burton Quintet at The Hedsor Social Club, 8.30 till 11 pm £3 to get in, raffle to get out (some never make it out!!).

Sundays at lunch time you can listen to Zane Cronje on piano at The Christopher Wren in Eton, and in the evening from 8 pm you can go to The Fifield and hear Century Jazz for free, but you will get raffled to get out.

It's not so much of "what have I been listening to this week", but what have I been playing on the radio.

One cd set that I played from last Monday has been in my collection for many years.A double album of Duke Ellington recorded during his English tour over the period of his 70th birthday in 1969. Its the Ellington Orchestra at its best, well recorded before a living audience. All the top names were in the band, Hodges, Gonsalves, Carney, Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Lawrence Brown. All playing at their collective best. My copy from 1991 was on Sequel Records, part of the Castle Communications group. Numbered by them as NED CD 183.

One cd already selected for a future broadcast is Jimmy Witherspoon with Jay McShann and His Band recorded in 1957. This album has the legendary J.C.Higginbottom on trombone (He wrote "Give Me Your Telephone Number"), and on some of the tracks Emmett Berry on trumpet. You will also find Kenny Burrell on guitar. Listen out for that, because its a cracking good blues album.

BUT, I must keep digging at the CD face, or we wont get Fridays 3 hours put together. DO listen out on Friday, because I will be taking to Zane Cronje about his life in music, and he will be playing live on air. AND Simon Spillett is coming in to give a talk about the late great Tubby Hayes.



Geoff C

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Perhaps why the French love the farm subsidy?!!
The Conserertoire's own "Little Band

The fabulous John Brooks Paris walkabout!!

Well, here it is again!!

Its Tuesday (not Wednesday Night In Cairo) and I'm actually starting a Nag! The last few weeks it has been sporadic, but even I take a few days off now and again!

First an advance notice. Do look at the following web link, and you will see mention of Jazz in Thame. As this is not a million miles from your area, and jazzeddie is a really nice chap, you could think of supporting his events.

Tonight, and nearer to home, it being the first Tuesday in the month, The Bourne End Community Centre will be providing you with Harry Pitch and Jack Emblow plus friends to entertain you, 8.30pm onwards in the bar. £3 to get in and you get free interval refreshments (actually I have a vague recollection that the price is being increased by £1, but its still amazing entertainment value).

Thursday (it could be half-past two in Khartoum) The Clive Burton Quintet play the Hedsor Social Club, 8.30 till 11 pm, £3 to get in, raffle on top to get out, and wonderful music in between. Audiences have been a bit thin these last few weeks (OK I wasn't there, but I do have spies) and there is a genuine concern that we cannot continue on its present basis. It is unfair on the musicians to expect them to come and play to half a dozen people. So during the next few weeks, record the football, we wont tell you the result and you can watch it when you get home!!

Sunday, Jazz at Fifield from Century Jazz 8 pm onward, raffle funded. The Fifield will still do you a cooked evening meal, which is unusual for a pub on a Sunday. The food is excellent by the way.

Also on Sunday at Lunchtimes you can catch Zane Cronje and Lynn Garner at The Christopher Wren on Eton Bridge. So if you fancy treating yourself to good food and good music at Sunday lunchtime, do give it a try.

One last thing. Commencing on Monday 12th June Cookham Summer FM will start broadcasting 24/7 on 87.9 FM. and Jazz will feature at least twice a week. I'm doing a 1/2 hour slot on Monday evenings about the African influence in Jazz, and together with Charles Benson and Richard Kellaway we will be presenting "Never The Same Way Once" An eclectic program of jazz music and interviews from 8pm to 11pm every Friday evening. Do tune in. If you are outside the range of this local radio station, it will be available as a web cast on you computer. Just go to and follow the link. Do that, and you will be able to listen to some of the recorded jazz that I have been nagging on about these last few months (and years!!).

So listen up!

See you soon at a gig near me!

Geoff C

Friday, June 02, 2006

Some of the pictures (in reduced size format) taken on Cookham's fabulous Shirtlifters triumphal tour of Paris. You will notice the enthralled audience, and the band bar pastimes, as well as the actual musicians in full flow. I would point out that ALL the photos were taken without flash, using available light only in order not to disturb either the audience or the performers.

More info on local jazz comes again next week. And a full jazz nag for all the lucky recipients

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Some of the concert pictures.

First, a big thank you, to all who supported the Concert on Friday to raise money for Cancer Research UK. As a jazz evening it was superb, and in one respect, historic! I personally predict a great future in modern jazz tenor saxophone playing for Simon Spillett, so to have the evidence on camera of him playing the clarinet, alongside 2 other clarinet players will be one of those "I was there when..." memories!!

Financially it wasn't as successful an evening as last year, but we did still manage to raise over £420 for CR UK. More photos are available, so do get in touch if you want a copy.

All in all it was a great evening, that gave The Clive Burton Quintet the respect they are due by putting them up on stage for all to see and hear.

Locally, more casually, they can be seen TONIGHT as Century Jazz (only the bass player changes) at The Fifield 8 pm till 10.30 pm. Raffle funded.

Tuesday both Scott Hamilton and Lynn Garner are at High Wycombe Town Hall as part of Wycombe Arts Festival, it starts at 8 pm, its unreserved seating (like our concert, cafe style around tables) and tickets (if still available) are priced £8. Box office number is 01494 512000

Thursday Clive Burton Quintet play Hedsor Social Club. 8.30 pm till 11 pm. Entry £3, also a raffle to help costs out, do please support this local regular live jazz event. Its not as though the music is bad!! so it isn't a hardship to listen!

Next weekend I shall be accompanying Cookham's fabulous Shirtlifters in a return to Paris. A conservatoire has asked them back to help out in there music festival. Fame Eh!

So, to enable me to get the time to put the pictures on the Blogg, I shall, for the time being, say no more! But SOON, you will be able to listen to me on the Radio!! Cookham Summer FM is back. Watch this space to get tuned in!!