Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Last night was the first in my new series of jazz "recitals" at Hedsor highlighting the guitar, and what a pleasure it all was.

When starting a new venture like this, one is full of doubts, and obviously anxious about its reception. How good has the publicity been? Will you be grossly out of pocket? Will the idea work anyway?

I now have an answer to some of it. Yes, next month (Monday April 30th) I shall be just as worried about getting an audience in for the event, but I do now know that it works!

James Fenn used to play for me (with Lisa Amato, and Zane Cronje and James Davis) at The Old Bell, until an unpleasantness with the landlord put a stop to our music there. We did have one night there with Dave O'Higgins, in the original "Bureau of Missing Persons", but last nights re-manifestation of that band was a more enjoyable event.

James is now better know, is playing for real money with a wonderful set of musicians (including Johnny Boston) and it shows. Musically more inventive, and a great, on the spot, leader. Lisa not only continues to add beauty to the beasts, but is becoming more confident on electric bass to the extent of even soloing now and again. The other half of the ensemble were new to me, and a real musical find.

For those not at last nights gig, on tenor saxophone we had Vasilis Xenopoulos.A young musician, who gained his MMus at Berklee College of Music, and gives a really positive answer to everyone who says that young people don't like and cant play true jazz. He was inventive, melodic, rhythmic, able to think on his feet, to improvise and interplay with James, and for me was a real joy to listen to. He brought with him his regular drummer, Chris Nicholls. Playing a very small kit, he didn't over hit, was alive to the melody, was beat stable, and very inventive.

In one word, the band were terrific. Amplified Guitar was wonderfully demonstrated. Post bop modern jazz is alive and doing well. Thanks again chaps for finding your way to Hedsor.

Now for some other, yet to be missed, gigs!

Thursday, again at Hedsor (is this Bucks answer to Ronnie Scotts? At least you don't pay £4 a drink here) this week, Clive Burton's guest is a lovely trumpet player Pete Towndrow. He really is a man not to be missed. Probably twice the age of last nights musicians, but his music is fresh, melodic and punchy in turns, and 2 brass blowers at Hedsor should be well worth your £3 entry fee. Don't forget to purchase your exit pass as well though! This event is partially raffle funded.8.30 pm start.

Sunday this week we have another young man making a big name for himself on the UK Jazz stage. At Fifield, the guest will be Simon Spillett, who according to Humph is "Awesome". Well, Humph is right! Its free to get out, but the landlord would like you to purchase a few raffle tickets before he lets you out!
its an 8 pm start at this venue.

Next Tuesday, and The Bourne End Community Centre, it will be the turn of Al Nicholls and his Quartet. 8.30 pm start £4 to get in, and this includes interval refreshments.

Well, that's it for now folks. CD revues next week, but the blog will have "The Bureau" CD artwork on it.


Geoff C

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Don't forget folks, have no regrets folks, because TONIGHT, Sunday March 25th you have a dilemma of choice.

Do you go to see ex Alex Welsh and Humph saxophonist John Barnes with Century Jazz at the Fifield Inn form 8 pm?


Do you go and see Oregon Sax man Frank Griffith at The Red Lion, Bradenham from 6.30 pm?

Those of you with fast cars could fit in both! Bradenham gig ends at 9 pm, Fifield 10.30 pm!!


MONDAY, March 26th no dilemma, because its the first guitar jazz night at The Hedsor Social Club, and from 8.30 pm tomorrow night you will be able to hear James Fenn, Lisa Amato, together with friends which include Vassilis Xenopoulos (at least I think that's how it's spelled) who was a top saxophone student at Berklee and now making a big noise on the London jazz scene.

Don't miss out, turn out!!

See you very soon!

Geoff C

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I thought I would update you on Peter Cook, the guest for this Thursdays Hedsor Social Club gig.

Peter Cook, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet Active on the London jazz scene since 1992, Peter plays saxophone in a variety of ensembles including his own Peter Cook Septet. He completed the post-graduate course in jazz studies at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1994 and obtained an LGSM in jazz studies. Since then he has performed at many jazz festivals in the UK, mainland Europe and Scandinavia as a member of Ray Gelato’s Giants and Blue Harlem. A respected composer and arranger, Peter has written for The Guildhall Jazz Band, Ray Gelato Giants, his own Septet, Blue Harlem, Seymour's Jump, and for vocalists Louise Cookman and Joan Viskant. From 1995 he lectured in performance at Brunel University until his appointment as Head of Jazz at the London College of Music and Media at Thames Valley University in 2003. He is Saxophone Tutor at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire.

Information kindly supplied by Eddie Fowler.

I hope this entices even more of you than those already commited!!

Geoff C

Monday, March 19, 2007

Good Morning Jazz Fans,

This bit is not quite a nag, more a bleat!

We are one week away from my first Guitar Jazz night at The Hedsor Social Club, and being of a nervous disposition, I thought I would remind you!!

I hate being amongst a load of great musicians all by myself. I would be delighted if some of you joined me, paying the entry fee of just £5 (just £5!). All of this entry fee will go towards paying the musicians, and keeping me out of the bankruptcy court!!

The 2 stringed guitar players present on Monday 26th March are James Fenn, currently touring the continent with Jonny Boston, and well know multi talented local (and very pretty) musician Lisa Amato on bass guitar.They have promised to bring other friends along to make it a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Some of you will have heard them when part of "The Usual Suspects", and will know the shear expertise they bring to amplified guitar music.

I'm really thrilled that they are coming to open what I hope will be a very enjoyable series of mini concerts at the Hedsor Social Club. In the next few months, the last Monday of the month will become guitar jazz night at The Hedsor Club, all starting at 8.30 pm.

I have included artwork for a poster which I hope you will be able to put on display this week somewhere people will see it.

Please make this new local jazz event know to as many as possible, and just go on proving to government that live music is a cultured activity, enjoyed by very nice people!!

Now a more Nagging bit!

The guest artist for this Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club will be alto player Peter Cook. Usual rules apply. £3 to get in, raffle tickets to get out!! 8.30 start. Come and enjoy the unique experience of Jazz at Hedsor. Like all good things, it wont always be there!!

Don't forget that this coming Sunday, Fifield has as its guest that wonderful British reed player John Barnes. Now following an independent path, he was with the legendary Alex Welsh band in the 1960's and 70's, and then with Humph's Band. Wonderful player and humorist, do ask him for a souvenir reed. He sells his old ones off in many different flavours...stale tobacco, cheese and onion, best bitter etc.

Al Nichols and Blue Harlem

Last Fridays concert at Maidenheads Norden Farm was a very enjoyable event. The singer did remarkably well considering she had been drafted in at very short notice. The band (a six piece manifestation) were very tight and swinging, and the arrangements wonderful. It really was only a six piece, but sounded much larger. The only criticism I would have is that more links to the audience, with more info on the music, would have made us all feel more of a part of the occasion. Al hadn't played Norden Farm since the Memorial Concert to Keith Vitty 4 years ago. That event (for Cancer Research UK) was recorded, and some Cd's of the complete concert are still available, do make contact if you want one.
It was lovely to have at Norden Farm for Al's concert, both Dave Vitty, Keith's brother, and Julie Evans, wife of Ernie, who had promoted both the concert and its recording, and who sadly passed away 2 years ago.

I did wondered in my mailing last week how Maidenhead would cope with a jump and jive band like Blue Harlem, and now we know. The 2 people brave enough to try and dance were asked to leave!! And "they" want to make us more fit!! I suppose it was on health and safety grounds that the dancing was stopped!!

Well, at least our souls were gladdened by the sounds, even if we weren't allowed to "Slap Norden Farm with The Souls of our Shoes" (with apologies to Duke Ellington).

See you at another secret meeting of us jazz fans, at a place near you!!

Geoff C

Monday, March 12, 2007

Geoff’s Jazz Nag

Monday, 12 March 2007

Hi Folks,

Just a little reminder today of some of the jazzy items you can look forward to in the coming week. I’m away from home at the moment, and therefore using “strange” equipment to get this important message to you, so please bear with it, and I will enlarge on some of these items when I get back.

Thursdays guest at The Hedsor Social Club is that warm sounding tenor player John Rolls. Someone who not only plays in an older jazz style , but actually has lived through the musical period himself!! Our usual excellent resident quartet will be with us, led by trombone maestro Clive Burton. Entry is as usual, £3 into our red box, exit permits come with numbers on and can be purchased at half time!! Start time is 8.30 pm.

Friday, yes Friday, Norden Farm will be presenting Blue Harlem. Why do I mention this? Because said band is led and organised by our great friend and tenor sax star Al Nichols. We are privileged to see and hear him fairly often at both Hedsor and Fifield, as part of a quintet, but on Friday, for a small sum that is significantly bigger than our small sum, you can see and hear his entire orchestra, Blue Harlem. They play 1940’s, early fifties style swing, a bit like Count Basie’s band. And they are fronted by a gorgeous singer. OK, it’s now a different gorgeous singer than for the last 5 years, but gorgeous non the less. This is what Blue Harlem’s website (http://www.blueharlem.co.uk/) has to say about this :-

First the bad news: after singing with Blue Harlem for more than 5 years Imelda May has decided to move on to pastures new. She is all set to launch a solo career, in which endeavour we wish her every success.
Now for the good news: following extensive research, interviews and auditions Blue Harlem have a terrific replacement in Carla Viegas, an established performer in her native Portugal, and Brazil, whose experience belies her relatively tender age.
Carla Viegas has been involved with performing arts since the age of 7, and has since then been involved in theatre, musical theatre, cinema, dance and music. She was an established singer in Portugal with a career spanning nearly a decade, and has released several albums.
Carla has sung professionally both covers and originals, has been involved in solo and band projects, composition and production, and has considerable experience of studio, stage, live tours, TV, radio, theatre, cinema, musicals and choreography.

Al gave me a copy of his latest CD (Talk to Me) last visit, and it’s a knockout (no, not that mildly royal silly game). 9 Guys and one girl, (not named Mo, but the music is similar) I’m very intrigued to see how Norden Farm copes!! They usually fill places like the Pigalle Club or 100 club, and Maidenhead doesn’t know yet the excitement they are going to generate. Norden Farm is Maidenheads Centre for the Arts. As I am away I haven’t got their details to hand, but they have got a website, so do look them up, and if there are tickets left, buy one.

The CD, if you cant make Friday, is a worthy purchase by itself. It joyous music, that at one time when English was allowed to be correctly used, would have been called Gay. “Hallelujah I Love Him So”, “That’s How I Feel About You”, “I Just Want To Make Love To You” (true!!), will all have you cutting a rug, as they used to say in America!!

Well, that lot should get you through to Sunday when you can get another fix at The Fifield Inn from 8 pm. Century Jazz are totally raffle funded, and any landlord who is prepared these days to put on live music should be congratulated. Do please support such a worthy man, and band!!

Don’t forget folks, that watching a big screen football match in a public place is perfectly legal without a licence, as is poll dancing, but live music isn’t. Any promoter trying to do put on any sort of live music can go to prison, and/or be find £20,000.

And they thought Van Gough was mad!!

I will write more jazz naggings soon, until then

Write to your MP!!


Geoff C

Darkest Ipswich

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hi Folks,

Or as Gilly Potter used to say, “Hello England”.

And this weeks Nag will be almost full of things to go out to in the evenings! And in England!!

Tonight is a First Tuesday. On First Tuesdays Mo runs Jazz at The Bourne End Community Centre bar. And this being no exception, for a small fee (£4 still I think, I may be wrong) you can hear from 8.30 onwards Davey Jones Trad Band, AND pick up a light supper at half time and even possibly win a raffle prize with your entry ticket!!

So, having swallowed that, you may like to know the future bookings for this event? Well

April 3rd it will be Al Nicholls and his quartet.

May 1st they will have Danish Singer Katya Kaplinski and her trio.

Whilst still in The Bourne End Community Centre area, on April 14th at 7.30, Mo is running her annual jazz supper, which is a 2 COURSE MEAL, WITH The Northside Jazzband (a traditional group) all for a £14 ticket

On May 11th (a Friday) I am promoting another concert at Bourne End to raise money for Cancer Research UK. This year it is entitled “From Dixeland to Swing”. It will be CafĂ© style seating, so that you can bring your own picnic, and tickets for that will be £10 each. The musical ensemble will be led by Clive Burton, a trusted player for all of the jazz styles that we will represent that night.

Wednesday Nights

Al Nichols has written :

"Hi Geoff,
Have got my dates for the King & Castle in March:
14th & 28th both with Rex Bennett on drums & Bob Haddrell on electric piano (& bass pedals!)
Jeff Williams trio are doing the other Wednesdays.

Cheers, Al"

That’s in Windsor from 6.30 to 9pm.

On Friday 16th March you can see Al with his entire band (Blue Harlem) at Maidenheads Norden Farm, tickets for which are still available.

Thursdays at The Hedsor Social Club we have the following line up of guests with The Clive Burton Quintet:

This week (8th March) quixotic reedman Clem Adelman

March 15th Tenor man John Rolls

We still need to confirm the 22nd, but for March 29th it will be wonderful trumpet player Pete Towndrow.

Hedsor Thursdays start at 8.30 pm, will cost you £3 to get in and a raffle ticket or 15 to get out!!


At the Fifield Inn, from 7.30 pm, Century Jazz have as their guests:-

March 11th Pete Davis AND Clem Adleman

March 18th John Coverdale, a very accomplished guitar player

March 25th The Amazing saxophonist John Barnes! Yep, that’s right, ex Alex Welsh, ex Humph, ex cellent! Don’t miss out!

April 1st, nobodies fool Simon Spillett, of whose new CD “Introducing Simon Spillett” Humph said last night it was “formidable”. But we’ve know that for ages haven’t we!! Simon told me of a fan who purchased Simons new cd, and told him that he always listened to his jazz cd’s on his exercise bike. Some time after the purchase, he saw Simon again, and told him it had given him the hardest workout of his life!!

Sundays are going to be come a battle for many peoples consciences, because recently started at The Red Lion in Bradenham Village, on the A4010 out of West Wycombe, Bobby Orr is leading a jazz night from 6.30 pm ‘till 9pm.

Its raffle funded and next Sunday the line up is Bobby on Drums, Paul Morgan on bass, Don Innes piano and KELVIN CHRISTIANE on sax. It runs every other Sunday.


Starting on Monday 26th March, and then hopefully every last Monday of the month, at The Hedsor social Club, I am starting a new venture to illustrate the place of the guitar in jazz. As a start we have James Fenn leading an ensemble of his choice, which includes bass guitarist Lisa Amato, with probable additional drums and sax as yet unspecified. £5 entry, no raffle and absolutely all money raised will go the musicians, so come along in your droves please.

The last Monday of April the guest guitarists will be Tim Saunders and MAX BRITAIN.

IF I can persuade you to come out in sufficient numbers, we will try to make this a regular event.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. Next week, hopefully some CD revues, including the Al Nicholls Blue Harlem album, just in time for his Norden Farm Concert!!

Tat Tar For VERY Na

Geoff C http://www.jazzfromgeoff.blogspot.com/