Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Chris Barber LP "Battersea Rain Dance"
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!

What's on?

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!!

Recorded Music

First of is an LP, a generous gift on my Birthday Bash. In 1969 Chris Barber surprised most of us by releasing this most amazing record. An amalgam of Jazz, Funk and Rock. The purists of any of those musical forms hated it, I loved it. How to turn a trad band into a "wow" band, well, listen to it. "Mercy Mercy Mercy", "People get Ready", Dancy Dancy", and my favourite "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" (very apt for this summer particularly!). Its a wonderfully rich and varied sound, in early left, right stereo, with a good depth of sound. I dont think this has ever been reissued on CD. It was originally release on the Marmalade Label, and the LP's are re selling at around the £25 mark.
Second, and I'm listing these in chronological order, is a 1995 CD from a German label of the 1974 Humphrey Lyttelton Band called "Georgia Mae". This is the band that brought together the talents of Bruce Turner and Kathy Stobert on saxophones, Mike Pyne on piano, and Dave Green bass with Tony Mann on drums together with , of course, the leader playing very fine trumpet. Bruce Turner was, is, and always will be one of Britain's finest jazz stars, and finding another album with him on it is always a treat. Small group swing at it's best. I have it on a German CD Pastels CD 20.1623
Next, another Barber Band CD, one that I have had since 2003, mainly because it has the Big Chris Barber band on it. 11 men, playing 1920's and 30's scores without the aid of the dots themselves. Lovely sound, and so sensible of Chris to give himself and Pat Halcox a break by employing not only Bob Hunt on trombone, but other members taken from the Bob Hunt Ellington Orchestra. the tune "Battersea Rain Dance" gets another outing, as does a very little known Fields and McHugh tune called "Freeze And Melt" ( which also seems very appropriate to this years summer!). Go and buy it. Timeless Records CDTTD654
Finally, a real new comer to the listening booth (who remembers them then?). A lovely, beautifully recorded album (one for audiophiles, it is so good) from a piano player and a bass player. One from Australia (the lady bassist), the other from Italy. Some singing too, but great late night listening. I always find it difficult to convey with words what the sound is, and for a pianist, to give references. Well, he has heard all that has gone before, but a kind of extended stride style best describes him. The bass playes all the right notes, and is in fact very pretty. I do mean the sound, although the lady herself does look rather fine in the photos!! Tunes include "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do", and Chopin's Revolutionary Etude (in C Minor)and there are some originals too, so it is a very interesting listen. If your Hi Fi has clarity and bass, you will love this one. Nicki Parrott and Rossano Sportiello: People Will Say We're In Love : Arbours Records ARCD 19335
That should keep you going for a few days so its.....
Geoff C

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I thought I would include for everyones information all of the text of a letter I put out last Thursday to all the Hedsor Jazz club people. We announced on that night our need to increase for the first time in 3 years our admission charge from £3 to £5.


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.

Geoff C

Scribing Angel

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, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Essex, Oxfordshire and Greater London.

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!!


Geoff C