Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So, I thought I would remind you first that before the finalisation of the above, we do have one more session of JAZZ at The Hedsor Social Club. This Thursday December 18th we have a normal session at Hedsor, with Clive playing Santa Claus (no?), possibly to Mike Wills principle boy (or would he be one of the reindeer, he is used to a lot of travel, coming from Oxford to play for us!).
But seriously folks, another fine session of jazz (or another session of fine jazz) will be coming to Hedsor this Thursday. As ever, you can enjoy this pre turkey feast of music for the measly sum of £5. Start Time is 8.30 pm.
Sadly this will be the last session at Hedsor until January 8th 2009. I know, another year older, and deeper in dept, but that’s how we are, generous with the music.
On a less silly note (I did spend all day today Christmas Shopping), I thought I would write about 3 CD’s that I have enjoyed recently.
Three very different jazz styles, from three different musical perspectives. One I know I have written about before in the blog, but I thought as Christmas draws near, you may be tempted to try and find a shop that still retails Jazz CD’s (no, Smith’s wont stock these!).
In recording date order, the first is
“Humph Experiments”. This is a Lake reissue of music I first heard on 10” LP back in the 1950’s.
In 1951 an Australian Jazz Band visited England, and spent a reasonable length of time here. “Graeme Bell’s Australian Jazz Band” is reputed to have started dancing to jazz in the UK (prior to his visit, most people sat and listened a bit like being at a Revival Meeting). Graeme actually stayed in the flat below Humph, and a great musical collaboration took place. The mix of musicians made a number of recordings together, exploring bigger ensembles, and often West Indian rhythms. These recordings are now mostly all together on this CD. The thing that strikes me most is what a good big band sound Humph organised in 1951. Don’t forget too, that this was long before Humph invited a saxophone player into his regular band. Here, many years (well 2 or 3) before Bruce Turner joined the front line, we have “Lazy” Ade Monsbourgh on alto sax, and Don “Pixie” Roberts on tenor sax as well.
There is a real mix of styles, and group numbers, but it is all great stuff. For anyone who liked Humph’s band in its later years, do go out and buy it. LACD266. It may have the odd banjo in there, but Trad it ain't. Trad itself wasn’t invented for another 8 years of so. Before then the purists called it Revivalist music. And this wasn’t that either!
The Second CD is completely different, but with a link to the first.
Norma Winstone is a singer who has forged a sound that has been copied by a number of other jazz singers. It can on occasion, be unpredictable. But in “Manhattan In The Rain” she performs wonderfully intoned, slightly cool, but wonderfully expressive vocal jazz. I heard it on an Internet radio show, and just had to go and buy it. The link to Humph is Tony Coe. Tony was an 18 year old when he joined Humph around 1959. Now, more mature, his fluid, bubbling sound is a perfect foil for Norma’s clarity. The killer song for me is “People Will Say Were In Love”. Steve Gray on keyboard, Chris Laurence on bass and Tony on tenor contrive to counter melody Norma. It doesn’t shake her timing or composure in any way, and the counterpoint it produces is exquisite. It’s a wonderful CD, and I think better than her more recent collaborations with Swedish musicians. This one goes up to the edge, but doesn’t ask you to step beyond.
It was recorded in 1997. Its on Edoc Records ENOCD 001. You could try 8 Wellington Parade, Walmer, Deal CT14 8AA (the address on the CD) or search Google! But it IS worth the effort.
The final CD this time round is definitely different again. Nicholas Meier is a John McClaughlan style guitarist who happens to come from Switzerland, and is married to a Turkish wife. Combine him with Israeli born sax player Giled Atzmon and you have a CD that has very mixed, but very exciting, musical origins. Add in Asaf Sirkis on drums and Tom Mason on bass, and you might be thinking I’m talking about a world music release played on the BBC World Service at some ungodly hour of the night. But no, I claim it to be jazz. It’s exciting, it’s rhythmic, it swings, and it will widen your musical experience if you seek it out. It is wonderfully recorded on Naim (yes they make very expensive amplifiers and CD players), and came out in April this year. Silence Talks is the album on Naim CD113.
And with that I will retreat to the Turkey I can eat until another year. Don’t forget, it is you who is responsible for keeping live Jazz alive. No audience, no music.
Do have a superb Chistmas, and celebrate the New Year with hope.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Clive and Simon
Last nights Jazz Party at Hedsor was another of those WOW nights.
I think that the very good crowd who turned out had every good reason to say WOW too. The music was excellent, Simon Spillett won more new friends, and our regular quintet, led by Clive Burton, showed just how good and versatile they are.
One of the strangest musical collaborations (that I don’t think I would have called), really worked. A duet, with rhythm accompaniment, between Simon Spillett and Cookham’s fabulous Shirtlifters (a trad band!) lead trumpet player, John Slater.
It was what jazz is always all about. Its all very well for a regular band, to read the scores and rehearse, play well and get it right on the night. BUT for two musicians who had never played together before, and who come from almost the opposite ends of the musical spectum of jazz, to combine and produce sheer magic together was just one of those jazz moments of history. It’s what jazz is all about, it’s what LIVE JAZZ is all about, and if you only listen to records, even on your highest Hi Fi, then you will never experience the thrill. Yes, OK, it doesn’t always work, we’ve all been to disappointing musical events. It does work much of the time though, and if your not there, you will never get that thrill.
The closing number (“Hit That Jive Jack”) was again, that well worn, “lets get all the players up at the same time to finish the evening” scenario. But it was absolutely magic. One, irregular, attendee, said afterwards that Martin Hart should play more drum solos! It wasn’t pre planned, he called for a go!! And it fitted within the framework. And you could feel the combined smile of the audience widen as he played. The riffs backing all the solos were something from the best of the big band era, and I’m also sure many were surprised to see Clive lead the singing too, so Jamie Cullem, watch out.
These Jazz concerts in Hedsor’s Big Room are becoming a regular event. We are making more friends as we do them, and we will do them again.
So don’t miss out, start coming out to Hedsor to see for yourself what great jazz is being performed just up the road from you.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Last Thursday we had a super session from our regular band at Hedsor, which makes us all realize how good they all are, playing difficult arrangements off the top of their heads without prior rehearsal. Their harmonies in the ensemble were admirable, and the individual solos just showed what imaginative musicians we have playing for us on a regular basis. OK, so we had to show the odd yellow card, but what the ....anyway!
Next Thursday our advertised guest, Al Nicholls, will not be able to be with us, he is getting a proper fee elsewhere. This is disappointing as it has been some time since he last played a Hedsor Thursday for us.
In his place however we have veteran saxophonist John Rolls. His broad tone and ballad playing ability should recommend him to many of you, who I know, are his fans.
More News on The Christmas Concert front.
A number of our musician friends have now said they will try and put in an appearance on Thursday 11th December. Obviously, if properly paid jobs appear for them, they may not decide to come, but, BBC Jazz Rising Star saxophonist Simon Spillett has definitely agreed to be our guest, and the following have been invited, and will come if they can:-
Vasilis Zenopoulos a young saxophonist with a love for swing music, John Coverdale, a great guitarist, who we are fortunate to see at Hedsor quite often (but never too often), Peter O'Brian is another great guitarist, who hasn't been lately because other people have paid him more money than we have (not difficult!), Stuart Henderson, a trumpet legend, whom I have never yet seen (hence the legend status, everyone tells me how good he is!). I am sure more will drop in, as Hedsor is becoming know amongst a wider circle of musicians as a great place to play.
So, why don't YOU come to the party too. Tickets are still available from me, or from The Stationery Depot in Cookham Rise, 01628 531178 price £10 each. It really should be a night to remember.
One last mention, That Legend, Stuart Henderson, is playing The Fifield Inn this coming Sunday. Yes that's right, tomorrow night!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Another week, where there is doom and gloom on the financial front, and reflections of mans inhumanity to man become very apparent, and where it is all seemingly supported by the weather.
So is life all grey and drab? No, not with the prospect of Jazz at Hedsor to look forward to, and with recorded music from the past to sustain you on your journey to Thursday.
This week, we have at Hedsor, for the second week running, our own star saxophone section, Mike Wills, coming to play for us with Clive Burton's regular quintet. So swing and melody will be along, with “The Goof and I” even! It all starts at 8.30 pm as usual, and will cost you £5 to get in.
On Sunday at Fifield, trumpet man Stuart Henderson will be Clive’s star guest. I have managed to miss him every time he has played, and have kicked myself every time for doing so too! Free entry, but buy a raffle ticket if you want to leave with the 2 working arms you came in with.
On Thursday 27th November, our guest at Hedsor will be saxophone star Al Nicholls. It’s been too long since we saw him last, and I’m sure his brand of booting swinging tenor sax will appeal to all jazz fans.
Coming up on the near horizon (December 11th) is Hedsor Jazz’s Christmas Party. Tickets are beginning to sell, so if you want to party with us, (and it should be great fun, with many guest musicians, AND some food to nibble at at half time), then get a ticket soon. They are only £10, and you can get them from me or from the Stationary Depot in Cookham.
So, there is the hope for the future, to drag you through the drab, but I have listened to a couple of CD’s this week that should give you instant sunshine until your next fix of live jazz.
Many of you will know that British pianist Brian Lemon has had to give up playing due to arthritis in his hands. He has of course left us a great legacy with his many recordings, and some of them are only now being released.
“Love Walked In” is the title of an album recorded in 2001, with just 4 musicians on it. As they are playing Gershwin, you know the tunes will be good, but alongside Brian are Dave Green on Bass, Tony Coe on not only tenor sax, but soprano and clarinet as well, and Gerard Presencer on Flugelhorn.
As I mentioned, Gershwin tunes are all very memorable (the sleeve notes call the tunes “robust”), and this CD is no exception. “They Cant Take That Away From Me”, “Somebody Loves Me”, and “I Loves You Porgy” are all in there, and the musical approach is fascinating.
Its modern, but not avant guard, clean (no infilling drums), and quit astonishingly beautiful. I don’t hide my appreciation of Tony Coe, I have been a fan of his since the early 1960’s. I hadn’t heard much of his clarinet recently, but it follows his approach on tenor (dribbling out notes rather than shooting them at you). “How Long Has his Been Going On” has two takes, the first with Tony on clarinet, the second on tenor. Go and buy this CD for the clarinet take alone, then tell me that the hairs on your neck didn’t stand up! Zepher Records ZECD 33
The second CD is of an older vintage. I heard it the other week on “Jazz Record Requests” and decided that it was a “must buy”. Via Amazon I managed to find a new copy of it in the USA, and it is now with me, and well worth the £5 paid! I know I am probably late in coming to it, but Jim Hall’s “Concierto” is a great listen. Not just for the title track, (20 minutes of the “Concierto de Aranjuez”), because they are all gems. The performers are all gems too, Jim Hall of course plays the guitar, but with him he has Chet Baker on trumpet, Paul Desmond on alto sax, Roland Hanna on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Steve Gadd on drums.
Well that’s it for now folks, bring on the cartunes!!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This Thursday at Hedsor we have the amazing saxophonist Simon Spillett, who has been missing from Hedsor for too long. But, for a mere £5 you can catch him this week, accompanied by our regular, (and wonderful) Clive Burton Quintet.
The following Thursday, we have another jazz star, but one who hasn’t been to Hedsor before. Trombone player (with the BBC Big Band) Gordon Campbell is coming to compete with our regular bone shaker Clive.
Both gigs start at 8.30 pm. As usual we will be selling second hand Jazz CD’s at both these events. That’s just an added incentive for you to turn out. After all, keeping live jazz alive is our primary aim.
Coming fairly soon after those events, you will find our Christmas Party rushing towards you. On December 11th, we will be occupying Hedsor’s Big Room, from 8 pm onwards (note the time), and we will be providing party buffet food included in your £10 ticket price. Tickets are now available. We are trying to round up the stars as I tap.
One of the reasons for not writing a blog recently has been my upcoming involvement (in January 2009) with the University of the Third Age (U3A). I have been persuaded to talk to the Beaconsfield contingent about my journey through jazz. So, of course, I have been trying hard to recall who I heard first, and what attracted me into being a jazz fan in the first place.
This has meant me looking back at some of the music I listened to first in about 1953. That has also meant me pulling out some of the old (now on CD) LP’s and listening to them again. Space is too short to describe here in detail how I became enchanted by Jazz, but an early television outside broadcast was party responsible. It was Jazz live from what became The 100 Club, with the Humphrey Lyttelton Band, and I was struck forcibly by “Sweet Georgia Brown”. The sheer gaiety (we could use that word without flinching back in 1953), and informality of it all convinced me that this was THE music for me.
I cast around for similar sounds, not knowing what or who, or even how. I purchased second hand 78’s on my way home from school. A wide diversity of artists and styles came through that means. Sid Phillips, Chris Barber, Louis Armstrong (Hot 5 and 7). Ray Anthony, and numerous others. This last week, I have also rediscovered Ken Colyer, a banjo player called Tony Donegan, and then I went on on my musical journey with Johnny Hodges (“Come Sunday” from the first concert of Sacred Music), Bruce Turner (“St James Infirmary” from Jazz at The Conway), The glorious Humph band of the 1960’s with Tony Coe, Alex Welsh’s band with Roy Williams and John Barnes, my trawl through my collection has to go on in the next few weeks, because I have got to identify the music I want to play to illustrate my journey through jazz.
BUT the journey hasn’t stopped. 78’s were replaced by LP’s, and LP’s have been replaced by CD’s. BUT IT IS STILL LIVE JAZZ that gives me the greatest buzz of all. Yes, it’s great to recall times, and musicians, and music from the past. I have yet to reach Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz in my recorded collection. But to hear Live Jazz, played by people who can express themselves through their instrument, is the greatest joy of all. It can be full of surprises, and often full of smiles too. Others have obviously though so too. There is a Bechet tune called "Spreadin' Joy", and a Clark/Boland Big Band LP called "Smiles"
Our usual door charge at Hedsor is £5. For £5 you can have joy, and friendship.
Join me sometime at a live jazz event. They are around, but I do wonder for how much longer?
Friday, October 10, 2008
October 2008 Jazz Gigs associated with The Clive Burton Quintet *
Sunday 12th October
The Fifield Inn (TFI) 8pm
The Clive Burton Quintet aka Century Jazz free entry, raffle. Guest saxophonist Peter Cook
Thursday 16th October
The Clive Burton Quintet £5 entry
Sunday 19th October
TFI 8pm The Century Jazz Anniversary night, with special guest trumpet star Martin Shaw.
See http://www.edwards-instruments.co.uk/trumpet/artists/shaw.shtml for more info on Martin Shaw. Free entry, raffle
Thursday 23rd October
HSC 8.30pm £5
The Clive Burton Quintet. with guest guitarist John Coverdale
Note, details amended in second issue!
Sunday 26th October
Clive Burton Quartet plus another UK jazz star Simon Spillett, free entry, raffle.
Thursday 30th October
Clive Burton Quartet plus another UK jazz star Simon Spillett, £5 entry
*Clive Burton’s Regular Quintet are, Clive on Trombone, Mike Wills on Reeds, Zane Cronje Keyboard, Ken Rankine Bass and Martin Hart Drums. On Sunday’s the bass player is John Monney An ALL STAR Band!
November 6th at Hedsor we hope to have as our guest Gordon Campbell.
“Gordon is regarded as one of this country’s leading trombone players. He is currently Lead-Trombone in the BBC Big Band, a position he has held since 1984. His varied career has encompassed Jazz, Classical, Musical Theatre, Film and Pop and he has worked with many of the world’s leading performers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Barbara Streisland, Tony Bennet, Ray Charles and Robbie Williams.”
November 15th The Woodley Theatre (http://www.woodleytheatre.org/ ) will have a band led by our drummer Martin Hart, with Vibes player Alan Graham, and bass player Andy Crowdy, alongside Ken McCarthy on piano.
December 11th we are planning to run our Christmas Party, with lots of guests, in the Hedsor big room!! Put it in your diary NOW
Very Advanced Notice
Cookham’s Festival of the Arts Jazz Evening in 2009 will be Sunday April 26th, and it will be Very Special!! Remember to keep it free.
Now, If I forget to nag in October, you can still find out whats on!!
If you were used to getting my weekly nags by email, and have recently stopped getting them, would you please send me an email asking to be reinstated.
Keep live jazz live, you know it makes sense!! Turn out or it will turn off!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Tomorrow, Thursday 2nd October , at The Hedsor Social Club, The Clive Burton Quintet play from 8.30 pm, admission £5, which now includes a raffle ticket. Second hand CD's are also for sale at this event.
As most of you know, Clive's Quintet play modern jazz, which isn't really modern, but for all you Bop fans out there, they do play it very well.
On Tuesday 7th October, we have another chance to hear Clive, and if you enjoyed some of the music from last years Cancer Research Concert, you will have another chance to hear Clive with John Slater on Trumpet, voice and humour!
In this iteration they will be called "Jubilee Jazz", and will be playing more in the Dixieland style than Bop, so if you are fan of Cookham's fabulous Shirtlifters why not come and hear their lead trumpet in a different musical environment.
The band will be at The Bourne End Community Centre from 8.30 pm, entry, with raffle ticket and half time refreshments is still only £4 (I think!).
Now I'm going to write about some of the Jazz CD's I've listened to in the last week or so. The artwork should be at the top of the blog.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I'm rushing this out in a hurry, because I don't want anyone to have forgotten, that TONIGHT, we have another of our wonderful jazz sessions at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30 pm onwards. From TONIGHT, the entrance fee goes UP to £5, but it does include a raffle ticket (just 1).
The performers tonight are, of course, The Clive Burton Quintet.
Having rushed that off my chest, let me tell you of 2 of the CD's I've been listening to in the last few days (covers illustrated above).
First a lovely album from the present. Alan Barnes, who is in danger of being the most overworked saxophonist in the business, has released an album on his own Woodbridge label, playing just clarinet! Its in trio format, and is really paying tribute to the Benny Goodman Trio of the 1930's. With him he has 2 young musicians, Jim Hart on vibraphone, and Paul Clarvis on drums. It is incredibly well done, and wonderful in that these guys are playing music that one thought of as forgotten in the rush for young jazz musicians to reinvent the jazz genre!
Its well recorded, it swings, and you can whistle the tunes. "Seven Come Eleven", "Slipped Disk", "Airmail Special", all the tunes are there. But they are not note for note copies of those 1930's originals. Each musician appreciates the tune, but adds to its value. Highly recommended. And it is always nice to know that buying a copy will keep Alan's children from starvation!! "Swinging in Studio One" is on Woodville WVCD118.
The other Cd is in fact a Lake Records double album (2 for the price of one as the cover says), and like the majority of Lake releases, a re-issue.
This time its from the 1960's. Disk one from 64 and disk 2 of 66. They are both of the Humph band of the time, but accompanied by Count Basie trumpet Star Buck Clayton. In the days of the recording, the MU were still in dispute over visiting American musicians, and recording them in the UK was not allowed. So, the LP's (yes,I DO have the original LP's!) led one to believe they were recorded in a restaurant in Switzerland. Actually they were recorded in the back of a pub in Willesden!
Between 64 and 66 the band Humph led went through a number of changes. The earlier tracks have Tony Coe on tenor sax, coupled with the amazing Joe Temperly on baritone sax, a marriage made in heaven from my viewpoint. On bass was Pete Blannin, and Eddie Taylor was on drums (Stan Gregg, who had been playing drums up to 1956 (yes, drums) for Humph had been called up as a reservist to do his bit in the Suez Crisis and never got back to being the drummer. He got back eventuallyas the pianist!). On piano was Eddie Harvey, who also played the trombone! Its just wonderful music, and as we are all blindfolded you cannot easily tell who is playing the trumpet at any one time. "Unbooted Character", "The Hucklebuck", "The Wrestlers Tricks" are the better known tracks, but they are all good, and despite the venue of the recording, its not half bad.
The second disk see's Chris Pyne on Trombone, and Kathy Stobart on tenor sax. Eddie Harvey remains on piano, but Dave Green is on bass, and Tony Taylor on drums. "One for Buck", "Poor Butterfly" (well they are now an endangered species!), "Russian Lullaby" and "Bernies Tune" leave you with plenty of opportunity to join in on your whistle. Lake should be congratulated on there reissue of British Jazz heritage. These 2 came from 77 Records, which used to be Doug Dobell's label (the 77 being the shop address in Charing Cross road). It's not a lot of money for a double album, so spend it! LAKE Records LACD227
Well, as the winter returns (did it ever leave?) I shall probably get around to listening to more from my collection, bu until the next time its
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The Humph CD, "Georgia Mae"
The Chris barber CD "Jubilee Stomp"
The Nicki Parrott, Rossano Sportiello CD
Singer Lea Lyle and Some Young Fans
If you are one of my many friends who are below retirement age, looking forward to the long lazy days of post 65 years, forget it!! I haven't written a nag of any value (if they are of any value anyway) since BEFORE my 70th birthday party, because I have been too busy! And I still am, but thought I ought to upgrade the priority list.
So, here it is, a Jazz Nag!
Hedsor on Thursday has The Clive Burton Quintet with Mike Wills on saxophones. Don't forget that VERY soon, the entry price is going to go up to a mammoth £5, but with the added value of a raffle ticket included, but this week, it is still £3 to get in, from 8.30 pm onwards.
Fifield on Sunday also has the same regular band for your delectation. 8 pm start, free entry, hot food available.
Tuesday 2nd September has another of Mo's value jazz events at The Bourne End Community Centre. The band is one I dont know, but I'm assured they play good "mainstream" jazz. They come from the St Albans area I think and are called "Martin Horsfields Melody Room Jazz". Usual rules apply, entry includes raffle and light bites in the interval.
Also on Tuesday 2nd Septemer, the young saxophonist who sat in during my 70th Birthday Bash, James Shaw, is running a Jazz Jam session evening at The Old Ticket Hall, Windsor Railway Station. With him as backing rhythm section are Ken Thompson guitar, Peter Hutchinson bass, Nick Monnas drums. Do feel free to go along and listen and/or join in.
That's about it for the weeks plugs. I have listened to a few things at home in the last 3 weeks, do look below for details.
One last mention. Yesterday at the Littlewick Green Show, it was a very pleasant end to the day to see "Razzamajazz" drawing an audience to listen to some pretty competent Dixieland Jazz. Some well know (and worn!) faces were there, including Mo's Derrick on bass and Mike Jeffries on Drums and Denny Islet on Trumpet. Lea Lyle joined them for some entertaining vocals, and she did her best to grow a younger jazz audience. I've added in some snaps to show the event!!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
JAZZ AT THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB
Following on from some discussions with both band and Angel members, we have decided that we would make some changes in how we run things here at Hedsor, in order to, not only maintain the current position, but to enable it to improve.
We are dedicated to ensuring, to the best of our ability, that the Jazz does continue here, and we would also like to be able to put on the occasional “Big Show” in the larger room at Hedsor. Some of the inspiration for this has been this years Cancer Research Concert, and “My” Birthday Party.
We also have a vision of perhaps helping the Hedsor Social Club itself by arranging with them some joint ventures. We would be helping Hedsor Club with their income by bringing in more people on those “big” nights.
Bigger names or the same big names more often is one of our objectives, and sometimes that will mean paying more for that privilege.
We are not going to reduce either the frequency of our meeting, it will still be every week, or the quality of our players and guest artists. So do watch this space for who is coming. In the next few weeks it will be mostly the regular band, featuring Mike Wills alongside Clive, but we will be adding in the occasional additional player to enlarge the sound.
If you have any ideas regarding the jazz clubs operation that you think we can accommodate, then let either Clive Burton or Martin Hart know.
One sad bit of news is that owing to the Hedsor Club deciding that they will not open on a Monday at all, my Monday Jazz session with James Fenn and guests will not be able to recommence in September as I had hoped.
I myself don’t want to carry on with quite the level of activity as in the last 2 or 3 years. I will still be involved as an angel scribe. I’m going to carry on with nagging and blogging, but I don’t want to carry on the responsibilities of deputy treasurer, or advertising manager. We are looking for volunteers to take on both these rolls.
We need someone to be responsible for collecting the Red Box money and for paying the band every week that John Dutton is away. We also need someone to help improve our advertising and public image in a proactive way. It is something I am not very good at, and we do need to improve in this area. Not just doing my bits of paper, but liaising with newspapers and local radio.
Like Clive, I am very proud of the band, and I am very proud of the friendly atmosphere that we have at our jazz sessions. I just want it all to carry on.
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
"I feel very honoured indeed that some of you have come a long way to be with me here AT THE HEDSOR SOCIAL CLUB tonight, on this my 70th birthday.
There are people here from The Midlands,
Give yourselves a round of applause for turning out, thank you so much.
And a big “thank you” to all of the jazz people who have been part of my life. Jazz has been my kind of music for the last 57 years.
Some of you know about my thoughts on Angels, no, not Jazz Angels, although we have some of those to.
I believe that angels are people, who come into your life, and share it with you. Share some of lifes burdens with you.
Sometimes they stay, sometimes they do there bit and then leave, but Angels they are.
Many of you are very aware of the difficulties June and I have faced in the last 7 years. My Angels have helped me through some of those very dark days.
Some of my angels are the players themselves, who give us this remarkable music called JAZZ.
A Happy Music, a Swinging and exciting Music. A music that has lifted me very often when I have been very down.
So Thanks to all the players.
Some of you are the punters. Some of you have turned out week on week, paying your £3 into the red box, to listen. BUT you also bring with you the very real warmth of friendship.
Some of you have been around when you were most needed and perhaps you didn't know that you were!
Thank you to all of you from the bottom of my repaired heart.
God bless you all."These are some of the words that I used to thanks all who turned out for my birthday bash at Hedsor on7th August.
For me, it was a wonderful occasion, and I hope you all enjoyed it too. Both socially and musically it worked in a way that you can only hope it will when you plan the event.
What I wasnt prepared for was the generosity of all who came "bearing gifts". To say that I was overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness is an understatement of grand proportions!
Clive Burton and his Quintet played as well as I have ever heard them, and all of the guests (John Coverdale, Mike Jeffries, John Slater, Vasilis Xenopoulos and James Shaw) excelled themselves. And didnt Mike Wills and Vasilis do an awesome tenor sax duet?
James Shaw is a young man, who had previously sat in at a Gig organised by Mo, and that he thought was going to be a jam session. Clive kindly invited him to join in on a couple of numbers in the second half. 3 Months later he emailed me, just the day before my party, to tell me about his new gig in Windsor, and asked help in promoting it. I suggested that he might like to come to my "do" and do that himself. And didnt he do well? Not just in telling us about it, but by standing there alongside Vasilis and blowing with the confidence of a much more experienced player. And to choose to do "Body and Soul" as his solo number was incredibly brave. But it worked!
This is what he wanted to tell everyone (from his email)....
"I've got a new monthly jam session going at The Old Ticket Hall in Windsor. If you know any musicians that might be interesting in coming, especially rhythm section players, it'd be great if you could give me their contact details. The next session is Tuesday 2nd September".
At the top of the blog I have put in some of the photos taken on the night. I hope it gives you all a flavour of the occasion.
I've promised not to organise another 70th birthday party anyway, so you can all rest with that assurance, well, at least until NEXT THURSDAY, because at Hedsor this week, we have the regular band with us, and guess what, Mike Wills will be celebrating his 60th birthday!!
Friday, July 25, 2008
The Swanage Jazz festival is always one of my years highlights, and over about 17 years, I haven't missed one, even if I have been carted away from one with an operable heart condition. I was even back in time for the following years events.
Some Festivals are more memorable than others, some great, and some just good. But hey, good is great isn't it? A few more good week ends would keep the world happy, so no criticism is ever intended.
One persons view of Swanage is obviously very subjective. You could go to the same festival, and always see something that I didn't. And you can say that for at least three people, which is why I always say to people that they must go and "stroller" round to find out who/what they like.
So what did I see.
Marquee 2 Alan Barnes and the Woodville Allstars.
And they are all stars! I have an awful memory for names, but the stars included Enrico Tomasso on trumpet, Andy Wood (? might have been a dep) trombone, Andy Panaya reeds, Robin Aspland piano Andy Cleydert bass and Bobby Worth on drums. A stunning evening full of rich harmonies as Alans band played tribute to Johnny Hodges. He kept apologising for playing these wonderful tunes. When I saw him next day I told him he didn't need to do that,and that when I had recovered from Ken Colyer in the 1950's, my next love was Johnny Hodges!
The Lee Gibson Quartet were my first port of call. Lee is an attractive singer, well able to handle the jazz standards she sang. She was more than ably supported by Robin Aspland on piano (in my view a greatly underrated player, who was excellent through the whole weekend), Andy Cleyndert on bass, and Bobby Worth on drums.
As I wanted to catch a young lady saxophonist in Marque 1 usually reserved for traditional jazz, I didn't stay for all of Lee's second set, but went to Marque 1 to see Amy Roberts Jazztet. I had seen her before, and thought for a 19 year old she was a bit special. Unfortunately although she was, I didn't enjoy 2 of her "tet", so moved on, which is one of the joys and abilities of a stroller ticket.
Back in Marque 2 due to an immigration intervention, the billed Aaron Weinstein was unable to attend, and in his place we were all lucky enough to have tenor man Don Weller, who was supported by Craig Milverton on piano, Simon Thorpe bass and Bobby Worth drums. He was also joined by Andy Panayi on tenor, and that session produced some wonderful, unrehearsed, straight ahead modern jazz. A wonderful bonus session. I wonder how many people noticed Dons boot laces, carefully coloured for port and starboard shoes!
After a brief pause for some sustenance, I went to the Molem Committee Room to see a young Scottish lady saxophonist, Jo Fooks. I had seen her once before in the late Humph's band, and she is a very accomplished player and writer of tunes. The room was very full, and isn't the nicest one for atmosphere, but I'm sure all who could get to see and hear her were really impressed. In her quartet she has the advantage of Dave Cliff on guitar, so it was a good time to catch him too, as he is another of my favourites.
The evening session (back in Marque 2) was Arnie Somogyi Scenes in the City. Now because I had taken a break for dinner, I only caught the second set by this group, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know some who were at the first set left as it wasn't to their taste, which just goes to show that one size doesn't fit all. As well as Arnie on bass, the set had Alan Barnes and Tony Kofi on saxes, Alister White on trombone, Mark Edwards piano and Enzo Zirilli on drums. Mingus type tunes, wonderful writing, and harmonies to die for. I thought it showed how good jazz in Britain can be.
I started the days jazz listening to the Bournemouth Youth Orchestra. All youngsters being given the benefit of playing as a band before the public. One or two were really accomplished players, but for me it was the young Sinatra singer who was their star. The young man has a wonderful voice, and sense of style, and I do hope he carries on with the music, because he was GOOD.
Next up was the same band as Arnie's from the night before, but without the scores, and without the trombonist. Well done all, I particularly enjoyed Tony Kofi. Everyone had good extended solos, and there was an overall supportive rapport between all. It was also very encouraging that for at least one number, Alan Barnes needed the Theloneous Monk Fake book!
Following them was another tightly organised band, the Matt Wates Sextet. Not a lot of room (just about enough) for individual solo's, but carefully crafted arrangements and very tight playing. They have been around for many years now, and it shows. The regular band (Martin Shaw trumpet, Steve Kadestad tenor sax, Leon Greening piano, Julian Bury bass), were joined by Jamie Cullums drummer Sebastian de Krone (?spelling?). Some of the original material that Matt has produced is fast becoming standard in the repertoire of other modern jazz ensembles.
My final real listen this year was in the Marque 3. Initially I had gone for the walk to see on of my long time favourite saxophonist Tony Coe. He was to be part of the band backing singer Julie Dunn. However, due to ill health, he had opted out. I stayed on to be enthralled by the singing of Julie, and the piano playing of John Horler. I stayed for the entire performance, and was sad by the sessions end. It was a masterful example of singer entertainment. Right voice, right songs, and right links to the audience. And isn't John Horler good?
An arranged dinner with some of the many friends I now have at the Swanage Jazz Festival followed, at the end of which we walked to Marque 2 for our last set of the show. However, I just couldn't take to the singer, and left to take in a quiet Scotch whilst watching the sun go down on another excellent Swanage Jazz Festival.
Just a suggestion for the organisers. How about using Ray Gellato and His Giants for a finale next year, and how about presenting Vasilis Xenopoulos to Swanage Jazz's discerning audience. After yesterdays Ealing Jazz Festival Performance, he should be exposed to Swanage!!
One last comment. Thank you to all who organise this annual event. I have been coming since almost its inception, I have been removed from it for heart surgery, have returned to it days after my son died of cancer and before his funeral, and look forward to it every year in the knowledge that I will enjoy most of it, and meet many, many friends. So thank you Swanage Jazz for all your efforts.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I also hope to do a survey of Dorset Pubs!! All in the advancement of science you understand!
It's been a while since I last did any CD recommendations, and I certainly haven't exhausted my Humph appreciation, so, by way of an apology for last night, I have set myself the task of remedying this situation.
But first up, I do again apologies for the need to cancel last nights Guitar Jazz gig. If any of you did actually travel to Hedsor, do please contact me and let me know who you are. One of the reasons for such a late cancellation was an exploding amplifier. Even then, three musicians were prepared to come and play, but they were going to bring with them a fourth, who to be honest, would have needed a larger fee than the preceding advertising would have given. He will come again, and I will let everyone know in good time who and when. It will be worth the wait. It would have been a great session last night, but to only have a musician of that stature play to a dozen or so would not have done the him justice. More of that in the Autumn.
Posted out to you all earlier was the gig list for the next 6 weeks. I will put it in the blog for all to see. Just to remind you, Thursday 19th the guest at Hedsor will me Mike Wills. Do come, he has some super arrangements for the band, and his appearance in last weeks session was very enjoyable indeed.
When thinking of Humph and his music, we have to think of a wide rang of jazz styles, from Dixieland to Swing, to quote a concert title!
A good double album to hear that transition is one of Lake's wonderful re issues, catchily called "Bad Penny Blues". It is also a good value album (but more than 1p) as it is a double for the price of a single CD. It covers the period 1955 to 1956. It also contains some of the tracks that weren't included from the live album of Humph at the Festival Hall. Nearly all of them have Bruce Turner on them, although one was recorded in studio without him because he "got lost"! It has a lovely extended blues recorded in studio but before an invited audience (Blues Excursion) and covers the transition period, which can best be seen when the drummer changed from George Hopkinson in 1955 to Eddie Taylor in 1956. Sandwiched in the middle was a session with Stan Greig on drums. He later rejoined the band, and spent many years with them as the piano player! Anyway, go and find LAKE LACD238. And, yes, it does have "Bad Penny Blues" on it.
Going on one more year and we see Humph as an accompanying band to a singer more used to being backed by Count Basie. In 1957, for "A Night in Oxford Street" Humph and the band were joined by blues singer Jimmy Rushing. Bruce Turner had left the band by then to form his own "Jump Band" and the sax section (yes, now more than one sax) had Tony Coe and Jimmy Skidmore. Eddie Taylor was on Drums still, and Ian Armit on piano. Great stuff this from a blues shouter, with some real favorites, for me anyway, including "I Want a Little Girl", "Sent for You Yesterday", and Jimmy's own "Good Morning Blues". This one is on the Upbeat Label URCD186.
Well that's it for now folks,
Monday, May 19, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Clive Burton Quintet are playing as usual at The Hedsor Social Club from 8.30 pm TONIGHT. You know, but I'll tell you anyway, that it costs £3 to get in and a raffle ticket to get out!!
Mike Wills and Clive are in good form, and the harmonies are ...harmonious!! Last week we had either too many raffle prizes OR too few in the audience. This week you must make it more difficult for us!! Honestly, we do need your support, and we could do with a few new faces (I know, I need a new one for me anyway!), so if you haven't told a friend about it all yet, then bring 'em along tonight. They MAY have read about it in the Bucks Free Press (See top of page). YOU could gain brownie points by personally inviting them along to our famous jazz club!
Sunday you could have a complete day out on Jazz!
Eddie Fowlers last gig in Thame for a while he advertises below:-
Ciao to Jazz - Sunday 18th May - closing Celebration Gig 2.30pm Jazz BrunchFree Entry - bring your Babes! 46 North StreetTHAME, OX9 3BH, +44 1844 260850Bar and Bites - Excellent Bread 'n Pizza- Food It's The Lisa Amato Quartet.
Piano Player is Simon Mulligan – He has also a fine Classical training so he plays a disciplined Jazz Piano.
Lisa failed – bless her humourous - to advise that it is an Afternoon gig so no excuse for saying that you have to work tomorrow – till much later in the day.
AND you can then go on, as also mentioned by Eddie to:-
For those who wish to carry on the party – Art Themen Tenor Sax is playing Bradenham - Red Lion Pub with Bobby Orr Trio at 7pm-9pm on the A4010 Risboro to West Wycombe Road
Now, I was told that coupled with Art Themen would be a well know tenor player at Hedsor, Vasilis Xenopoulos. I hope to make it, but do bear in mind that The Red Lion is a small pub and you will need to get there early.
AND THEN on Monday 19th (yes, NEXT MONDAY) another of our splendid Monday Dates at Hedsor with James Fenn and the same LISA AMATO. They will be bringing guests to play, so please come along and support them and me, I don't want to go to the poor house yet. (I guess if I did I'd probably meet Eddie Fowler there by then!).
Well that will do for now, I'm saving up some energy to write a bit more about favorite Humph CD's, but until I have,
Sunday, May 04, 2008
As promised, a more filled out Nag this week.
First up, don’t forget that on Tuesday 6th you have a real decision to make. Do you go and listen to Scott Hamilton and Lynn Garner at High Wycombe Town Hall, or do you go to The Bourne End Community Centre for one of Mo’s jazz nights? This week they have that British (Welsh?) saxophonist Al Nicholls with his trio. It’s a difficult call, but someone’s got to make it!!
On Thursday 8th at Hedsor, we have, almost guesting there, Clive Burton joining his group this week. Clive has had a number of well rewarded gigs just lately so that he has had to relinquish his place at Hedsor (well, he does have to eat) and he has had his placed filled by a number of star players, but his week, we welcome him back. So come and listen to some of the new arrangements that Mike Wills has for the band. Usual start time 8.30 pm. Usual costs too. We are so cheap!!
Harking back to last Thursday I finally presented the cheque for £1000, the profit from our Dixieland to Swing Concert, to John Pell from Cancer Research UK. The photo is on the Blog (as is any other artwork referenced here).
You may recall that our guest last week was saxophonist Duncan Lamont. Well, I’ve nicked a bit from his website about him:-
Born in Greenock, Scotland. Played trumpet with Kenny Graham’s Afro Cubists changed to tenor sax became a jazz studio player. Played with almost everyone in show business. He has worked (often as a featured soloist) with Henry Mancini, Robert Farnon, Benny Goodman, Gil Evans, Bill Holman, Nelson Riddle, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Fred Astaire, Benny Carter, Mel Torme, Paul McCartney…the list is endless.
Well, he has now played twice with our local team, and really does want to be invited back again!
His approach this time was pretty avant guard, but everyone playing with him showed that they could keep up with his changes in key, time, and structure. For some in the audience maybe not enough of the melody came through, but for the majority it was a riveting experience. And yes, it is him in the photo holding me up! The other gent is John Pell, collecting the cheque on behalf of CRUK.
I didn’t really do justice to the passing of Humph last week. Much has been said about him this last week on the radio and some on TV. However, for most of my lifetime he has been the guiding figure, either there in front of me, playing the trumpet (as I once tried to do) at the 100 Club, or on LP (I spent my first weeks wages as an apprentice on “Delving Back with Humph”), or for over 40 years as an educator through his Monday Evening “Best of Jazz” programmes. The extension to my love of jazz, and an understanding of who played what, came largely through his Monday program. It was also a place of solace at the start of another week in engineering!
Over the years I have collected a large number of Humph CD’s. He “introduced” me to Bruce Turner, and Tony Coe, both very influential British saxophonists, both with distinctive sounds of there own.
I had the please of meeting him, and members of the orchestra, many times over my lifetime. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the band live, it was at The Pavilion on Southsea pier. I must have been all of 14 at the time. I managed to get Bruce Turner and Wally Fawkes to autograph the program after the event. An evening of sheer magic and wonder. The memory lingers on, I’m not so sure of that program though!
In later years I met both Humph and Bruce at Brecon. Sadly they are now both gone.
Tony Coe, happily still with us, I remember seeing and talking with at Maidenheads Bell pub. It was the first jazz event I went to having moved out of London to Cookham. And there at The Bell, were Tony Coe and John Pickard, another one time trombone player with Humph’s band. The Quartet they were playing with was led by Vibs player Lennie Best. Lennie’s son Tim sometimes plays piano for us at Hedsor, it’s a circular world!
So, what would I recommend anyone listening to now on CD from my Humph collection?
Without doubt, one I would take to my Desert Island is “Humph at The Conway”. I have 2 LP’s of this ( I wore one out )and the CD too. Recorded live at The Conway Hall in September 1954 it contains “the” Island track, “St James Infirmary Blues” A feature for Bruce Turner. On the Calligraph Records reissue The Conway Hall Concert is coupled with another famous concert. In November 1954 he played a concert at The Royal Festival Hall (his band played the first jazz concert there in1951 too), which was recorded, and I have the 10”LP of that one too. I can even remember reading the newspaper review of it as well. It was significant in being one of the first outings with that trombone player, John Pickard. The track to listen to on that is “Basin Street Blues”. The CD number is CLG CD 038
Humph returned to the Conway Hall in 1960 with a different more modern sound. It was to my mind his best band. John Pickard, and Tony Coe I have already mention, now add in Jimmy Skidmore, Joe Temperley, Ian Armit, Pete Blannin and Eddie Taylor and you have one of the best British bands ever. There are some wonderful arrangements, including “Love For Sale” (last Thursdays finale) and Blue Lou. This one’s on Lake Records LACD202.
Of course so far I haven’t mention his recordings with Buck Clayton, or Buddy Tate, or his later work, that will be another day.
Now, the only way to here Humph again is by buying the records. Catch live jazz whilst you can, because no one lives forever.
Without doubt, we are all going to miss Humph, and I haven’t even mentioned his comedy!
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Tonight at The Hedsor Social Club we have as our star guest British saxophone legend DUNCAN LAMONT. This will be his second visit to Hedsor as he enjoyed his first so much.
We who only listened also enjoyed his unique playing style on his first visit, and I am looking forward to tonight with eager anticipation! Why not come and listen too? Entry is a token £3, and we run a raffle at half time to defray our deficit!
Even legends don't live forever, not only did we loose Humph in the last week, but Jimmy Giuffre also passed away, again at the age of 86.
I'll try and write a more fulfilling page in the next few days, but in the meantime, enjoy the jazz and the bank holiday weekend.