Monday, February 26, 2007


The Next date for jazz at The Red Lion is March 11th, not 4th. It's an error from me!!

So, March 11th, Red Lion, Bradenham.

Hi all,

Just thought I'd report on the event at Bradenham last night. Those who got my late breakinge news flash will be aware that a new Sunday night jazz venue has just started up in Bradenham's Red Lion pub.

The landlord (a face, even if not a name, know to me from the past at Hedsor) has recently taken over this pub, and this was his second night running jazz. He intends to do this every alternate Sunday evening, running between 6.30 pm and 9 pm. This way, he manages to fit in a session without alienating his evening drinkers!!

And the evening itself was tremendous!!

Willie Garnet is probably known to most of you as a Texas sounding tenor sax player, a large man with a large sound, who runs a big band. Add in behind him a drummer like Bobby Orr (it WAS Bobby Orr!), a bass player (unknown to me I think called Morgan), who played very inventive solo's and kept a nice filling sound going at all times, and John Critchenson on piano, and you have a recipe for the very best kind of British modern jazz. John C played some wonderful chromatic solos, Bobby drove the ensemble along with real verve, and the whole of the first set was an absolute delight. THEN, add on Alex Garnet (a younger and slimmer version of his dad) and the sound really gets interesting. THEN add to that mix none other than Simon Spillett and you have an absolutely roaring success. Even the raffle prizes were worth winning too!

The audience (I counted them all in, even if not back), was in excess of 50, which is pretty good for a new venture.

So do please bear it in mind for another Sunday. It wont always be the same pianist, but certainly it will all be put together by Bobby Orr, so it will be quality.

And due to the timing, I even got home in time to watch some TV!! So you could do it all on Sundays. Except eat. The pub doesn't do food on a Sunday night!!

The pub itself (The Red Lion) is situated on the A4010 going from West Wycombe to Princes Risborough, on the right hand side, and the car park is behind the pub.The next gig is on 4th March.

Well done landlord, the man in the cravat

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Above is the artwork for one of Frank Griffith's Albums

OK, the Nag. is a bit late, and it will be short, as 2 of my grandchildren have been on half term!!


At The Hedsor Social Club (perhaps we should now call it "The Famous Hedsor Social Club"!) with Clive Burton and the quartet we have that wonderful and swinging tenor saxophonist Al Nicholls.
£3 to get in, raffle to get out! Gig starts at 8.30pm

I will point out at this juncture, that the bar the music is played in is now a NO SMOKING area. At the moment, smoking is still allowed in the other bar.

Sunday, at The Fifield, a tenor player I personally don't know, Brian Thompson. Its a free gig, funded by a raffle, starts at 8pm, and good quality food is available.

At Hedsor next Thursday, March 1st American saxophonist, currently living in the UK, Frank Griffith will be our guest. Check out the website for more info about him and the work he has done, BUT don't miss out on a live set by staying away!

Sunday 4th March at Fifield will be that lovely trumpet player Pete Towndrow.


this week has been slightly truncated, but I have spent some time remastering some old reel to reel tapes of 1960's BBC Jazz Club Broadcasts. It has proved to me (again), that we did have some wonderful talent around, much underrated by ourselves. This is still a truism!! Do go out and listen to the live stuff, because it will be the stuff nostalgia is made of!!

TTFN, See you tonight,

Geoff C

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I just thought I would put everyone's mind at rest, and say that 4th time was lucky, and I did have a very pleasant visit with Mike Wills on Tuesday. Attached is a photo taken Tuesday, showing Mike active in the role of tea maker!!

Also I am pleased to report that last Sunday, he managed 5 tunes on the bandstand at a lunchtime session in Oxford before Sam dragged him off. He said he felt fine, and that it was great to get back on the bandstand. He plans to come and see us all at Hedsor one Thursday very soon (purely as a punter you understand!).

No further surgery is being proposed for him, he just has to keep taking the tablets!! He will also be joining a cardiac rehab gym next week to get some of his former fitness back.

AND, if you look closely at your Swanage Jazz Festival program, you will see that he will be appearing there, and, in a different band, so will Clive Burton! We obviously have True greatness in our midst!

See you tonight at Hedsor for SIMON SPILLETT (and for those who don't know, he plays a saxophone!).

Geoff C

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another week, another missed visit (by me) to Mike Wills, well I did warn people. I said comet, but in fact it was snow!! Never mind, I hope to see him, and pass on all the good will messages to him TODAY, but, well, you never know!

Local gigs:-

Hedsor, on Thursday, our guest will be SIMON SPILLETT, so do make sure you turn out, you are bound to enjoy it, and make friends, and perhaps make someone happy! (even yourself).

As we are privileged to know from Simons regular visits to us, he is a rising star of the British Jazz Scene, and in my view, still an improving player. Yes, I know he has amazing technical command of the tenor sax, but he is now hearing, and playing with, other great British jazz musicians, and you can hear it in his playing. Its an 8.30 start at Hedsor, £3 to get in, but we do expect you to buy a raffle ticket for one of the amazing prizes on offer every week.

Whilst still at Hedsor, advance notice that I have been asked to organise a few extra gigs at the Hedsor club. So, on the last Monday of March (26th) I shall be starting an evening series involving the Jazz Guitar, featuring different players month by month. The first one will feature James Fenn, with Lisa Amato on bass, and, to quote her own words

"Hello Mr JazzSuspect,Thanks for the poster - very eye-catching and colourful. I'll have to change the wording though, as it now transpires that O'Hig can't make it. Why he wants to earn a fortune on the session scene is beyond me, but he now owes me a favour, so I'm sure we'll be able to drag him down at some point. However, the infinitely less famous bass holder shall be there and we have drafted in another bebop hotshot, so should be good."

O'Hig referred to was Dave O'Higgins, who had initially offered his support for the opening night.
I shall be charging £5 to get in, NO RAFFLE, so do come along. All the money processed on the door will pay the band, the more that come, the more they get!!

At Fifield on Sunday, almost in competition, we have guitarist Max Britain, 8pm start, free entry, raffle funded.

My April Monday guitar gig by the way will be led by London based Tim Saunders "with friends."

For those of you who like to mark their diaries up in advance, Thursday 22nd at Hedsor the guest will be saxophonist Al Nicholls.

Recorded Jazz

Continuing really with my guitar theme, I've listened to a very soothing CD by the virtuoso guitarist Antonio Forcione. Its a very simple album, only 2 players, and when I tell you that the other one is bassist Charlie Haden, you will realise that its a quality album, and great for late night Hi Fi listening. Its on the NAIM label, and some of you will know that name(!) from some very classy Hi Fi products. The recording quality is superb! To quote from the PR blurb "Heartplay (the name of the album) is a (!) unprocessed analogue recording, in which the sound of the instruments is allowed to shine without any hindrance from the procedure". I will say that yes, that is true, but also say as well that it's great music that is shining through .Its NAIM CD098.

My other recommendation this week is from another lady singer. Yes, I know some of you don't like them, but some of us don't like flutes, and its hard to say that they don't get played a lot in our music too. Anyway, this young lady singer IS young. All of 15! So with someone so young, and, perforce, inexperienced in both life and music, how can it be any good. Read on McB..

She comes from Scotland does Daisy Chute, and has been singing for over a year with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland. Her voice is clear and clean, and she conveys the emotion of each song appropriately for its content. She seems to be pitch perfect too. She is accompanied by David Patrick on piano, Adam Sorenson drums, and Andy Sharkey on bass. Its not just that she sings one of my favourites (Lazy Afternoon), but a lot of other songs that you will recognise, but that haven't been over sung!! I am absolutely sure that she is a great British talent in the ascendancy. Her album "Daisy Chute Simply Jazz" is on the Twisted Lips label TLCD001. Try for a copy.

Well that's it for now folks, see the CD covers on my blog page


Friday, February 02, 2007

This one is partly a retrospective, and partly a forward advert for things to look forward to, so please bear with the text!!

Currently I'm suffering on of those sciatic back problems that always come at you out of the blue (there's a band in that somewhere), and always make you think that you'll never walk again, but there you go, all I expect from you all is SYMPATHY! It happened yesterday, after I volunteered to organise our evening meal!!

Yesterday I had planned to visit Mike Wills in darkest (blue) Oxford, but yet again, it has had to be postponed. Mike suffered an "episode" whilst crossing the road on Wednesday, and decided to site down on the island in the middle, as he felt dizzy. A kind passing stranger had, however, already dialled 999, and within 1 minute a Para medic was with him, by which time Mike was recovering anyway. BUT, to be safe, they whisked him away to the John Radcliff, kept him there 9 hours, checked him thoroughly, and sent him home (at 10pm) with Sam!! All down to a change in medication, and that he had taken it in the morning, not at bed time!! The only reading matter he had about him for this 9 hour assessment was next weeks Radio Times, so if you need to know anything about next weeks media, give him a ring as he knows it by heart!! He is now back in his own home, and laughing about it all!

So, watch out for stray comets, or a plague of frogs next Thursday, because for the 4th attempt I will be travelling to Oxford for a visit (perhaps). That's if my back improves!!

In retrospection still, I, (and a number of other Hedsor fans) enjoyed the fabulous Shirtlifters evening of Winter Ineluctability last Saturday, and very fine fun it was too. Well done all. Even John Brooks, cutting a fine figure in his leopard pants, remembered (or with improved glasses, was able to read) all the words!! Well done chaps, it was the best so far, and left me without a heart attack! It was exactly 5 years ago to the gig that I suffered my third, and so far, last, heart attack!! so some apprehension in me was apparent!

I've had an email from Al Nicholls, who says:-

Here is the line up for the King & Castle, Windsor for February (6.30 - 9.30pm - commuter jazz!)
7th Al Nicholls Trio
14th Neil Casey Trio (featuring Dave Priseman, I think?)
21st Jeff Williams Trio
28th Jeff Williams Trio

I am also at Fifield this Sunday (4th)

Cheers, Al Nicholls

So, lets carry on on that theme with news of the next few gigs, and some a little further away.

Sunday, Fifield, see above, it will be Al Nicholls.

Tuesday it will be Jazz at The Bourne End Community Centre, 8.30 pm onwards. I don't know the band, but its always good fun, and even includes a finger buffet ay half time.

Thursday, The Clive Burton Quintet will be at The Hedsor Social Club, with a guest, but I don't know who yet (does Clive I wonder?).

At Hedsor I'm hoping to start a new venture! Once a month, on a Monday night, starting on March 26th, I'm going to be running a series of presentations by different jazz guitarists. It will cost £5 to get in, and all the money will go to paying the players!! I'm hoping that James Fenn will be our first guest.
It's all a bit of a toe in the water job, but I have missed my gigs at The Old Bell (I was thrown out exactly a year ago), and the Hedsor Club has offered me Monday nights. So do look out for more info on this series, and please support it if you can.

On May 11th (a Friday) I will be running another Jazz Concert for Cancer Research. This year it is called "From Dixieland to Swing". As always it will be Cafe Style, with tickets at £10 a head, and a raffle as well.Please add it to your "must go" list.

Recorded Jazz

Two albums again that have tickled my fancy this week. The first is on the Timeless Label ( from Holland) features live concert recordings of The Dutch Swing Collage. Still going after 60 odd years, the personnel changes of course, but they are a very slick band playing in a traditional style. All the old, and maybe slightly too familiar tunes are there, with one or two gems (Doghouse Blues, On Revival Day) added in to make it less predictable.It swings, and they are all great instrumentalists. On the whole, perhaps a bit too predictable, but fun anyway. It was recorded in 2003 whilst on tour in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.Timeless CDTTD652

The other album is by Ruby Braff and his Buddies, who include Scott Hamilton. Its one of his best, recorded in the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA in 1993. Beautiful relaxed, unorganised ensemble and solo playing that is a true joy to listen to. 9 tunes, and in addition to SH, solos are contributed by Dave McKenna on piano, Gary Sargent on guitar, Marshall Wood bass, and Chuck Riggs on drums. The music really was unrehearst, and it was directed on the spot a la Condon by Ruby himself. A definite for any lover of cornet playing, and although he was already suffering from emphysema, you would never know. Go for it. Arbours Records ARCD 19311.

Well, more than enough for me,


Geoff C


Yet more interesting stuff from Al Nicholls. Blue Harlem are also at Norden Farm, Maidenhead's Arts Centre, on Friday 16th March.

Geoff C
----- Original Message -----
From: Al Nicholls
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 3:01 PM
Subject: 3rd February
Hi All,

Blue Harlem are appearing at the Pigalle Club (just off Piccadilly Circus), tomorrow, 3rd February
It's free to get in before 10pm - Smart dress code - ie no jeans, trainers, etc.

Come check out our fabulous new singer Carla Viegas - if you haven't already done so.
Also see the revamped web site:

Cheers, Al Nicholls