Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Well, here we are, coming to terms with a very much shorter gig list than last year!!

No regular gig at The Harrow on a Wednesday, and NO monthly Jazz from Geoff's sessions at The Old Bell following on from last weeks cabaret act by Peter Lim!

SO Thursday, we have The Clive Burton Quintet at The Hedsor Social Club, and THIS WEEK we have Simon Spillet as guest saxophonist. Entry (for the time being) is still free, but can I take this opportunity of saying that although the raffle IS voluntary, unless we get a AN AVERAGE of £4 a head on an average attendance evening, we will not be able to carry that on indefinitely. Doors are open from about 8 pm, and the music starts around 8.30pm.

SATURDAY, its Cookhams fabulous Shirtlifters evening of Winter Ineluctability at Pinder Hall, contact charles.benson@ntlworld.com for more information.

Sunday, Century jazz can still be heard at The Fifield from 8pm onwards, and food is available at this event, which is again raffle funded.

My listening pleasure has been enhance this week by a Humphrey Lyttelton CD (see top of page) of an LP I never knew existed!! On the Vocalion label, a session recorded in 1959 has the HL Band playing dedications to some of the top names of the Big Band era (Ellington, Basie, Goodman, Shaw, you get the picture), and to do this he got together a 15 piece big band, based around the rhythm section of his regular 8 piece band of the period. SO, there is Humph, together with Eddie Blair, Bert Courtney and Bobby Pratt on Trumpets, joined by Tony Coe, Kathy Stobart and Jimmy Skidmore on reeds, together with Redvers Reedworker, who turns out to be Ronnie Ross in disguise!! What a wonderful sound! A Train, Swingtime in the Rockies, Blue and Sentimental, all great swing tunes, but none of the tunes are played in their original arrangements. And we thought British Jazz of the 50's was rubbish!! Go check out Vocalion CDLF 8127 "Humph Dedicates".

See you at a gig near me

Monday, January 16, 2006

And a Happy New Year to you all.

For me, for a while at least, the decorating is over, and new carpet will be installed tomorrow!! So, it is time to concentrate on the jazz and to get you marking things up in your diaries.

TOMORROW, Tuesday 17th, is the first Jazz from Geoff of 2006, and is at The Old Bell, Wooburn, from around 8pm. We meet to listen to Jazz CD's, purchase very bargain priced Jazz CD's, and listen to live jazz from "The Usual Suspects", who, if you don't know yet, are Zane Cronje on keyboards, James Fenn on guitar, Lisa Amato on electric bass guitar, and James Davis on drums. Jazz Fusion al la Weather Report, and very, very well performed. Its a free gig, but we will ask for a donation to cover the bands expensive lifestyle (they want to eat food, would you believe!).

THURSDAY, 19th at The Hedsor Social Club, the Clive Burton Quintet, this week without Mike Wills, but hopefully with Peter O'Brian, on guitar, if he is well enough to play, because a couple of weeks ago he fell at a gig and damaged his rib cage, and has been incapacitated. So we do hope he has recovered.

Looking forward into the year, The fabulous Shirtlifters will sell you a ticket for their evening of Winter Ineluctability, which I believe is January 28th. Its usually a smashing evening of Trad Jazz, and is held annually in Cookhams Pinder Hall.

On Thursday 26th Jan, Simon Spillet will again join Clive at Hedsor, and we have him booked for Feb. 16th as well.

On Saturday 11th March, Martin Hart will be presenting an evening of Gerry Mulligan music at Speen Village Hall, see him early to get a ticket if any are left.

Also early in the year look out for some gigs with Howard Alden in the area, as some people we know will be playing with him!! More news when I get it.

During the decorating process, one of the saving graces whilst painting the wall (which stopped me going up it some more) was the ability to listen to jazz CD's.

Some of my listening Highlights were:-

Colin Steele "The Journey Home". Scottish born Colin on trumpet is joined by Julian Arguelles on soprano and tenor sax, Dave Milligan on piano, Aiden O'Donnell bass and John Rae drums. Beautifully recorded modern jazz. Caber Music caber 029.

Bob Wilber "What Swing is All About" is with an international mix, recorded live at the Amerika Haus in Hamburg in 1996, he is joined by Antti Sarpila tenor and clarinet, Mark Shane piano, Phil Flanagan bass, Joe Ascione drums and Pug Horton vocals on some tracks. And swing it really does. Its hard to find swing like this in the shops, and its on a German label, Nagel Heyer 5007.

John Sheridan's Dream Band I have written about before, but it is good, smooth, and worth playing again and again. Arbours Records ARCD 19309.

Keith Smith's "Swing is Here Again" is a compendium of tracks he has recorded over the years more in the mainstream idiom than as an Armstrong clone. But what a collective class. Bruce Turner, Stan Gregg, Mike Pyne, Vic Dickenson, Johnny Guarnieri, with dates spread from 1978 to 1983. Its happy music, with tunes like "Chicken Aint Nothin But A Bird", "Caldonia", "Gee Baby, Aint I Good to You" and "Struttin With Some Barbecue". From Lake Records LACD 80.

So there you go, if you cant get to one of our quality live gigs, you can always support the music by buying the CDs. Go on, you know it makes sense.


Geoff C

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm just about back after a Christmas and New Year of festivities, family, and a bad cold. So it must be time for a brief nag.

I hope you have all had a wonderful and rewarding winter break, and that the new year will give us all joy and prosperity. I'm sure our politicians will see to that! Leaving us with the small task of enjoying the local jazz scene.

For me, that will start on Thursday, with the Clive Burton Quintet at The Hedsor Social Club. 8.30 start, we do take money from you for that, but often give you a raffle prize in exchange!

Sunday, at another venue that I understand is another shaky one, Century Jazz perform for dinners and beer drinkers alike from 8pm onwards at The Fifield. Like most events, if you don't go it wont be there when you feel like going next time if you don't go more than once a year!!!

We are planning a lot more jazz events over the year. Coming soon to a hall in Cookham, the fabulous Shirtlifters will be having an evening of Winter Ineluctability, so watch out for the date, (and Charles Benson with the tickets!).

We plan to do another Cancer Research UK fundraiser in April, and another Cores End Church Jazz Concert on October.

The monthly Jazz from Geoff nights at The Old Bell are hopefully still going to happen, and in June and July I'll be taking part in two jazz orientated radio programs on Cookhams Summer FM.

So we are doing our bit in line with the addage of keeping live jazz alive, but we do need an audience!!

So does young local pianist Toby Cruse. He has two events rushing towards us.

In his own words:-

"Just thought I'd let you know that my Big Band is playing locally on two forthcoming occasions.

7th January 2006
Lancaster Arts Centre, High Wycombe
An evening of swing music featuring a host of singers including Jennie Morton, Paul Holgate (one of the leading Frank Sinatra tribute acts in the UK) and a vocal trio. The 14-piece Big Band will include such names as Andy Panayi, Pete Hurt and Martin Shaw.

18th February 2006
Ballinger Village Hall, Ballinger (near Amersham)
As above but in "dinner dance" format with a licensed bar and a buffet prepared by my own dear mother.

I'm afraid there is a cost involved, but it will be well worth it! 7th January is £12 (Box Office - 01494 812458) and 18th February is £25 (Box Office - 01628 530068).


I really haven't had a chance to listen to any new Jazz CD's this past 2 weeks, having survived the touring by listening to MP3's on my Creative Labs Zen player!! I'll try and do better next time, till then, its


Geoff C