Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I do hope that not too many of you turned up at The Old Bell last night expecting to hear live jazz, if you did I am sorry, but that one has gone. However, if you wanted an evening of quiet conversation, you were probably delighted.

We can perhaps meet your need for harmonious jazz tomorrow night at The Hedsor Social Club (surely a venture now demanding its own tune!). The Clive Burton Quintet even play requests!

Tomorrow we have a press photographer coming at about 8.15 to take some shots for a forthcoming article, so if a few of you could get there before 8.30, just to populate the place and make us look successful, we would be most obliged! I'm told the photographer goes off watch at 9pm, which is about the time most of you get there!! so a few early bodies would be appreciated.

And what did you all think of last week? Simon Spillett was the guest, and with Clive on trombone as usual, I think we had an absolutely splendid evening. Our opportunities for this live stuff are dwindling, so please ensure we can keep it going by coming out! (shades of closet jazz fans there!).

Simon has asked me to mention his web site, which gives his future engagements, so please take a look and click on the

I revisited 2 CDs this week, that both have something of the unusual.

The first is by the Empire Brass, who are really Canada's premier classical orchestra brass players having an evening or two off! To demonstrate there ability, they have recorded a cd (in November 1990) of tunes by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton and similar. Stylistically set in the 1930's, it is stunningly recorded on the Telarc label. For the sessions they added a rhythm section, and the mixture is great entertainment. "Black and Blue" by Fats Waller, played by a tuba and banjo will stress your HI Fi to perfection. If you like a sort of upmarket Midnight Follies Orchestra, then go and see if you can still get it. Its called "Braggin in Brass" (they can brag alright, their technique is phenomenal), and it was on Telarc CD 80249.

The other cd was less esoteric. The Howard Alden-Dan Barrett Quintet are again those wonderful musicians who can play brilliantly and well inside themselves. Recorded live in 95 they show just how close harmonies can be between a guitar and a trombone. For added measure you get Chuck Wilson on Alto, Frank Tate on Bass and Jackie Williams on drums. They are doing a kind of swing style and applying it in some cases to some more traditional jazz material. "Savoy Blues", Oriental Strut" are included alongside "9.20 Special" and "Perdido". Well worth a listen from Arbours ARCD 19280.

That's it for now folks, see you at a gig near me soon!

Geoff C

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Its time for another ramble through Geoff's jazz countryside, which unfortunately this year has seen a certain amount of cutting back!!

However there are still goodies for you to exercise your ears with, and your toes if your a taper!!

TOMORROW, 16th February at The Hedsor Social Club we have SIMON SPILLETT with the Clive Burton Quintet. This is a raffle supported gig, we hope you will "donate" at least a £5, but at least the drinks are at club prices! It starts at 8.30pm, and if you haven't been (and I know some of you haven't!), the friendly atmosphere and wonderful music will give you a warm welcome.

On SATURDAY 18th, Toby Cruse and his Manhattan Swing Orchestra invite you to a function at Ballinger Village Hall, do look at his poster (jpg attached), and get along if you can. NB For blogg lookers, I cant get the poster to paste, if you wish to purchase tickets contact 01628 530068. Its a dinner dance and they are £25 each.

Talking of local musicians, I met saxophonist Peter Ripper in the gym this morning, and he is doing remarkably well following on from last years accident. As he said himself, "I can do things again now that I couldn't do last year". Well, one of those things is playing for "Manhattan Swing" and he will be there on Saturday. He also told me that The "Echoes of Ellington" Orchestra, of which he is also a member, are playing next week at Ronnie Scott's club. If you have never seen that orchestra, its one of the things you MUST do before you die, honest. They are just great.

Talking of great, leads me on to my CD listens of the week:-

Not new issues, but still available are a couple of late period Stan Getz albums that I rate as his best work (alongside the Glasgow Concert). Issued with 2 years between them, but recorded on the same night at The Montmartre Club in Copenhagen, "Anniversary" and "Serenity" have all of the nights work of July 6th 1987. And what work it is! With Stan Getz are Kenny Barron on piano, Rufus Reid on bass and Victor Lewis on drums. Tunes include "I Cant Get started", Stella by Starlight", "On Green Dolphin Street", "Falling in Love", and Strayhorn "Blood Count". They were both released on the EmArcy label, with the above mentioned titles, and numbered 838 769-2 and 838 770-2. I'm sure the numbering system makes sense to someone, but the music will certainly make sense to YOU!

Another listen this week to another Scottish musician, trumpeter Colin Steel. He is together here with Julian Arguelles on sax, Dave Milligan piano, Brian Shiels bass and John Rae drums. Its good modern post bop bop if you see what I mean. Its not too avant guard, and it IS wonderfully played, and OK all the tunes are their own, but you may think you've heard the chords before! It was recorded in September 2000 and is available on the Scottish label Caber as number 024.

Well that's it for this week, but if anyone knows of some accommodation available for the Swanage Jazz Festival (preferably IN Swanage!), do let me know, as I have so far been unable to find a single room for July 7th, 8th and 9th! What price success, when the best jazz festival in the uk sells out all the accommodation 4 months before the event!!


Geoff C

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I suppose all nagging could be considered interminable, but we do try hard to ensure that you are not unaware of the lovely music that is available to you! OK, a number of gigs have gone under this year, but there are still some regularities in life!


At The Bourne End Community Centre Bar, from 8.30 pm Mo is presenting that up and coming young saxophonist Simon Spillett. Simon has a great love for the music of Tubby Hayes, is a great live performer, and if you haven't heard him before then tonight's the night for you. Go along, pay your £3 at the door, and you not only get great jazz, but cheap booze (club prices), and you may even win a raffle prize! All for £3 (OK the booze is extra!).


At The Hedsor Social Club, we have The Clive Burton Quintet, from 8.30 pm onwards. They are playing some great stuff at the moment, with new arrangements coming from saxophonist Mike Wills (now a regular attendee), as well as there more improvised repertoir. Mainstream jazz at its very best. So if you like the music of Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers or the like, come and spend about £5 on raffle tickets, and again enjoy the benefits cheap club bar prices.

In March, we will be making some changes to things at Hedsor. We will not be doing away with the famous raffle, but we will be introducing a small charge (£3) at the door. We really are expecting too much too often without paying the band in an adequate way, and we hope that by charging the price of a drink to come in will help stabilise our finances.

Toby Cruse has asked me to remind people of his next big band gig on:-

"18th February 2006 at
Ballinger Village Hall, Ballinger (near Amersham)
in "dinner dance" format with a licensed bar and a buffet prepared by my own dear mother. 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, all this for £25 per head (Box Office - 01628 530068)."

There, so I have!! He tells me there will be a BBC recording van outside! Must be difficult finding places to park in London now if they have to leave it in Ballinger!!

Another future event, the next Cancer Research Jazz Concert at The Bourne End Community Centre will be on Friday evening May 12th, do please keep it free.

Even further into the future, The Swanage Jazz Festival (if you only do one jazz festival a year, this should be it!) is on July 7th, 8th and 9th. Box office 01929 422215. This year has, as usual, some wonderful talent lines up for all jazz music tastes from traditional jazz to the avant guard. Names include Alan Barnes, Danny Moss, Simon Spillett (yes him), Liane Carroll, Tina May, Phil Masons New Orleans All Stars etc etc. You can see there web site for more detail

The fabulous Shirtlifters have a busy year ahead of them, and many of their gigs will be public events this year. Attached for all who know how to read excel spreadsheets is a very good resume of what of theirs you can see. Do open the attachment!! (For Bloggers only readership, see graphic above!)

I have 3 cd's to recommend for your listening pleasure this week.

I've already just mentioned Liane Carroll, but I have just got hold of her CD "Billy No Mates", which is just her. She plays a very enjoyable piano, and sings songs of distinction and emotion. I found it a moving experience to listen to, and eventually was literally in tears to the beauty of the lyrics of "Picture in A Frame". Its on Splash Point Records SPR001CD. It was first released in 2003, but well worth searching out.

Another combination of talents, but increasing the personnel by one! We have a wonderful album on Spartacus Records by 2 Scottish musicians Tommy Smith on tenor sax, and Brian Kellock on piano. Recorded in 2004, they are playing the sort of tune you could call standards (Cherokee, Don't Blame Me, Bernie's Tune) that are often heard, but with an imagination and technique that is jaw dropping. I was very impressed by Brian when I saw him at Swanage a year or so ago. He is an amazing and imaginative player. Tommy Smith is more often regarded as a bit on the avant guard side of comfortable, but it just goes to show how melodic he can be. Check it out for yourself on Spartacus Records STS010

Lastly I've listened some more to one of last weeks favourites, and so should you. Gerry Mulligans "Dream a Little Dream, is a concoction of pure delight Telarc CD 83364. Go on, spend money!!


Geoff C
will let you read old nags, well its better than shooting them

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The 2 CD's Reviewed below

With the demise of a few gigs already this year, there is less to actually nag about, but what we still have has excellent quality, so don't let it all disappear!!

Thursday, The Hedsor Social Club and the Clive Burton Quintet. This is a unique jazz venue, the music is wonderful, and the ability to make new friends from the audience is also special! All this for about £5 plus a few drinks. What more do you want? 8.30 start, cheap club drink prices.

Sunday, Century Jazz at The Fifield, 8 pm start, great food available.

I thought I would report briefly on the fabulous Shirtlifters evening of Ineluctability, last Saturday at Pinder Hall in Cookham. This was,a usual, a sell out gig, the place was packed. From the Shirtlifters previous earnings, they gave away on the night around £1000 to various local charities, and still managed to entertain us to a mix of traditional jazz tunes, and comedy. There were a number of guest appearances, including one form a very talented monkey (son of Kong?), a welcome return performance by John Brooks, as singer, teller of jokes, and female impersonator (The Sister of Kate no less?), and we even had a guest appearance of Derek Mills on the bones!! The band are still improving, and soon will even have to be taken seriously!! If you haven't already done so, go and buy there CD, as it contains the essence of an Ineluctable experience! A great fun evening, book early for next year.

CD wise, a great item from a little know British label. J&M Records, of Taunton, Somerset, have a release by Marty Grosz and His Collectors Item Cats!! Marty is a pretty good guitar player, a good if slightly comedic singer, and a wonderful raconteur of the American Jazz scene. On this CD he is accompanied by Dan Barrett on trombone, Scott Robinson on various reed instruments, including baritone sax, and Peter Eckland on cornet (OK, there is also a piano,bass and drum selection too) They really do sound like a modern day Eddie Condon band, and the tunes fit the genre to a tee. "You Hit The Spot", "Love Is The Thing", "Bei Mir Bist du Shoen" to mention just a few. Do try and buy it, its called "Thanks", its on J&M CD502, and writing to them (P.O.Box 276) might get it to you!!

The other CD I have listened too a lot this week is another Gerry Mulligan Quartet one titled "Dream a Little Dream". It has some wonderful tunes on it (Try "Noblesse"), "Walking Shoes", "My Shining Hour", and of course the title tune of the album. With him are Ted Rosenthal on piano, Dean Johnson bass, and Ron Vincent drums.It was recorded in 1994, and is on the Telarc label (always renowned for there superb recorded sound quality) as Telarc Jazz CD 83364

Almost all for now, but 2 advanced dates for your diary. The next Give and Take 5 Again concert for Cancer Research UK will be on May 12th, a Friday evening, and there will be another Jazz from Geoff concert at Cores End Church on Saturday October 14th. Please do try and come to both, after all, you know that keeping live jazz alive makes sense!!


Geoff C