Friday, December 24, 2010

The Hedsor Jazz Christmas Party 2010


First of all, thank you audience for turning out. It was great to see so many of you there, and I hope we see many more of you again. Thanks to all who got the hall ready beforehand, and thanks to all of you who provided food on the night. And you were a great audience, which allowed us to pay our way and provide an evening of great jazz entertainment.

One of our regular attenders asked me “How are you going to write that up in your blog?” And I think “Wow” is how. “Entertainment” is another good word to describe the evening.

Tracey Mendham can hardly go without a mention. A BIG PERSONALTY lady, who played with a wonderful deep rich tone to her tenor saxophone. She also sang (Let it Snow?After the last week?), and danced, out staged Clive (which takes a lot of doing!), and altogether acted like a female Father Christmas personality in the Ho Ho Ho role!! I know that after the Marlow Jazz Festival, where she first met Clive, she really wanted to come and play our party, and we are indebted to her for her 140 mile round trip to do so.

Max Brittain was another of our star guests. He really is a lovely guitarist, who can swing and excite, and play the musical humorist as well. He lives a lot nearer to us than Tracey, but thanks again Max for supporting our Hedsor Jazz venture.

A special mention for a dep rather than a guest. Malcolm Cliff on keyboards was replacing a very unwell Zane, who was there in the audience but who is clearly unwell. We all wish Zane a speedy recovery. It has already taken too long. Malcolm managed to string so many musical “quotes” together I was asked at the end how we could possibly provide a list of the tunes played for the Performing Rights Society! He added to the attack of the ensemble with true jazz panache.

The regular lads in the band, well, we know they are good. They just proved it again!

We were fortunate that, possibly due to the article in the Maidenhead Advertiser, we had a number of new faces at Hedsor last night. The ones I spoke to were amazed at the level of professionalism and class that we have in our regular band. We have know how good they were for years, I am so glad that others are beginning to find out too.

I’ll just leave you with a few of the photos and say thank you, one and all, performers and fans alike, for your company during the last year, and look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year, with our Hedsor Jazz starting on January 6th.

Happy Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Winters Blog

A few brief words of blog, something to keep you amused during the snowbound weekend!!

If you can still get out, TONIGHT, we have at The Hedsor Social Club that terrific trumpet man Stuart Henderson coming to play alongside Clive. I am assured that our usual rhythm section will be in attendance, so it should be a great night. All for our usual £5 admittance charge.

Next week, our bumper Christmas Party, all for £10 a ticket, kicks off at 8PM on Thursday 23rd December and will have as special guests lady saxophonist Tracey Mendham. With her and equally special (but distinctly no lady!) guitarist Max Brittain, and on trumpet an humour (ditto remarks) John Slater. A light buffet will be provided, and there will be raffle prizes to be won as well. Come and celebrate the approach of Christmas with us and with Hedsor Jazz.

Now for a couple of CD reviews for you late shoppers.

First, recently celebrated by the BBC was Dave Brubeck. His 90th birthday prompted not only a TV program, but a request on a recent Saturdays Jazz Record Requests. The track “The Way You Look Tonight” prompted me to pull out my copy of the “Jazz at Oberlan” CD and play it all the way through. Recorded in 1953 it certainly isn’t a new recording, but if you don’t have it already, and think that his Quartet started with “Take Five” and Jo Morrello go and buy it now! On this early recording you can hear his multi rhythmic approach, and his “modern” orchestral influence to jazz (he was a student and good friend of French composer Darius Milhaud). It’s exciting and absorbing. The fact that he went on to become world famous would not have influenced all who bought the LP in 1953, and it should encourage you to get it into your collection soon. Concord Record Company “Original Jazz Classic” 0888072319912. Which isn’t a pin code!

The second more recent album which excited me this week was possibly the last one by John Bunch. John died in March 2010 but recorded “Do Not Disturb” in December 2009. It’s in trio form, with excellent guitar from Frank Vignola, and with John Webber on bass. It’s superbly recorded on the Arbors Jazz label (all good stuff on that label!), and has some terrific tracks on it. “Doxy”, “Anthropology”, “Come Sunday” to name but 3. John doesn’t hog the limelight, and the solos from both the other players are first class. One could almost think it was a CD under the name of Frank Vignola or John Webber! Its CD number is ARCD 19403.

One final plea, both “commercials”! At the Marlow Jazz Festival we had a display by Westmount Music. They had been in business for just 4 weeks at the time of the festival. I now have a new flyer from them, and it is attached.

Also, on of my “children” has a close friend who for a fee would like to offer guitar tuition. His details are attached as well.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I hadn't realized how long it had been since my last blog entry, but life has been a bit busy. First off was "The Interview" with the Maidenhead Advertiser, which was written up very well by John Balson and gives Hedsor Jazz a little more "exposure". Mind you, maybe with the current cold weather, we don't really need too much overexposure!

I hope you can read the above extract from The Maid Ad. Try saving and pasting into Word, then double click on it and it will enlarge via Internet Explorer.

The next thing to suggest is that you come to our Christmas Party. £10 entrance for a wonderful array of musicians. I'm sure it will be a great deal of fun. But it will be more fun with you there too!

Just to drive the point home, I'm reproducing below the text of my nag this week:-

Our last three gigs of the year are coming up at Hedsor, and each of them has a “special guest” feel to it. SO do come along and join in our festive triple whammy!!

This Thursday December 9th the special guests will be John Coverdale on guitar, and Alan Berry on keyboard. Mike Wills is not with us, and Zane is still in recovery mode, although much better than he was.

The following Thursday, December 16th the guest will be trumpeter Stuart Henderson. Mike Will will still not be with us, hopefully Zane will be.

The following week is our Christmas Party. PLEASE buy a ticket for this event. Your £10 will bring you a small buffet and a great party. So far coming to join the full Clive Burton Quintet are Trumpet man and comedian John Slater, Essex Girl and wonderful saxophonist Tracey Mendham, and that wonderful star guitarist Max Brittain. All that talent for just £10, we must be mad!

So, with 3 weeks of excellent music waiting for you at The Hedsor Social Club, why are you waiting? Come on out, and help to keep live jazz ALIVE.

You might like to see the poster for the party, so here it is:-

Same graphical rules apply as for the poster!!

So, almost another year in Jazz Land has past bye. I hope to add a few suggestions to your Christmas Jazz CD list in the next day or so, but for now.......

Geoff C

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time for another proper blog.

Christmas is coming, so you might need to think of what will go in your Christmas stockings (apart the legs of course!). So I thought a couple of CD reviews might be helpful. Don’t forget you can always look back on previous blogs to read up on CD’s you haven’t already rushed out to buy. Be aware however, that old reviews do not remain tied to the VAT rate applicable at the time of the review!

But in time honoured fashion a bit of more local advertising. Coming soon to a Hedsor Social Club near you, just in time for Christmas on December 23rd, we have our Christmas Party. We hope to have a number of special guests playing with the full Clive Burton Quintet, our special mention this year is a young lady from Essex who plays a pretty good range of saxophones. Tracey Mendham did a tremendous job at The Marlow Jazz Festival (of recent memory) during both the Mainstream Session and the Jam Session. She is a bubbly personality, and will be great fun to have for Christmas! Tickets are on sale at £10 each, and a buffet will be available in the interval. The start time will be 8 pm, so that we can cram as much music in to the evening as possible.

OK, commercial over, now to CD’s

A tune often played by The Clive Burton Quintet is called “Black Nightgown”. It is taken from the score of the film “I want to live” made in 1958, which told the story of Barbara Graham, who was executed in America for murder. The entire film score is available on CD. Written by Johnny Mandel it is a great jazz score, with a “Jazz Combo” (it says on the tin) featuring Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Manne, Art Farmer, Bud Shank, and Red Mitchell. The orchestral bits also have a really talented jazz orchestra as well. There are 16 tracks of film music relating to scenes in the film, and 5 tracks with the combo, including “Black Nightgown”. Well recommended, it’s on MGM RCD 10743. It also has some interactive PC readable content.

The second CD is in fact a double album featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra. This is led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who has written the “Vitoria Suite”, an exploration of indigenous Basque music and Spanish Flamenco and features guitarist Paco De Lucia. It is an excellent piece of writing for jazz orchestra, with an Ellingtonian feel to it, but in my view, it’s a bit on the long side. One CD and 6 “movements” would be very acceptable, but 12 “movements” are a bit indigestible. Having said that, do have a listen, because the music sound is superb. It’s on the Emarcy label and is a recent release.

Well that’s it for now, TTFN


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another of my photos from the Marlow Jazz Festival. From the Jam Session

And this is the one I had waited to get for about 3 years.
Vasilis and Simon together for the first time.

Whilst mentioning gigs other than Clive's, as I usually do (and don't forget that he will be playing with the Quintet at Hedsor on Thursday!), above is a mention for another band that contains other notable musicians. You may live nearer to it than I do, which will help you in your journey!

Don't forget, that wherever you live, if you are a jazz fan, you cannot do it by just buying recorded music, you have to go to see it live. That way the musicians eat too.


Geoff C

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It’s one of life's little facts that there is live jazz at the Bourne End Community Centre bar every first Tuesday of the month.
It is also another little fact that you cannot find out who is on unless a) you were there the month before or b) you walk past a Bourne End Shop!!
So this Tuesday is a jazz night. And I can tell you that this Tuesday it will be Al Nicholls on tenor sax, supported by Rex Bennett – drums, Bob Haddrell – keys, Nils Solberg – guitar.
A very nice ensemble that can be heard from 8.30 pm onwards for £5 entry. Don't forget that this price not only includes a raffle ticket, but an evening snack too!!

You also know (if you heard my remarks at the close of the Marlow Jazz Festival) that in order to keep live jazz alive, it needs an audience!!

So, if you go to the Tuesday gig, you must also bear in mind that on Thursday, at The Hedsor social Club, you have the regular Clive Burton Quintet, and Clive is one who has done more than most to keep live jazz alive in our area by playing it here for over 10 years.

TTFN, and have a dreadful Halloween!!

Geoff C

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Marlow Jazz Festival


We have all now had a couple of days to recover, and digest Saturdays Marlow Jazz Festival. I thought I would share with you all some of my thoughts about it.

It had been in the planning for about 9 months, and as a musical event I thought it went pretty well. Although walking about the various parts of the hotel for most of the morning and a large chunk of the afternoon meant that I couldn’t spend much time listening to everyone, I enjoyed all that I heard, and thought it was all to an incredibly high standard.

As I said in my program notes, we are fortunate in our area to be able to hear most of the bands that played on Saturday fairly frequently, and it does spoil us. The quality of the product is superb. Saturday was indeed a celebration of quality jazz, and I have read a number of feedback forms that support that view. We are going to hold a post mortem very soon to establish what we learnt from the experience, and what we might like to repeat of leave out next time, if there is a next time!! (that could be your choice).

But it was a great day out of jazz. I think every musician playing raised there game for the event. Dare I go through individually, probably not! But I will for just one or two!

I loved John Brooks Fedora! And they did sound good as a band in that bar. They looked and fitted the part!

Jez Cook and his violinist friend who played with Celebration Swing were wonderful and to have the violin there was an unexpected bonus.

Mike Will’s clarinet sound for the Benny Goodman Set was stunningly good. Alan Grahame on vibes was as good as you could get too.

It was interesting to hear Lynn Garner and Brad Lang doing tunes I had only heard her do before with a piano accompaniment. On occasions it took me a few bars to realise they were the same sometimes.

Simon Spillett with his own band were just like the CD’s, Fast Hard bop! Great musicianship.

Tracey Mendham with the Mainstream set was, and is, a great sound and a great personality and, just as I predicted in the program notes, even though they had not played together as a band before, they were all so good it DID work.

The Vasilis’s Xtet with Michael L. Roberts set was remarkable. Exciting, tight, harmonic, and left everyone wanting some more of their perfection.

And the Jam session was everything I could have wished for. It was a shame it had to stop. You will read below why!

I didn’t hear enough of the BBO to really comment, but they seemed to have an audience wanting more.

I didn’t get to hear any of Swing 42 at all so, sorry chaps, but being in two places at once is just schizophrenic! I was beginning to need to sit down in one place for a bit!

Simon Spillett took his Mum and Dad down to see them after his set, because his parents didn’t believe that Clive Burton ever played Trad!!

It could have gone on all night as far as I was concerned, but Simon had to leave for Leyland in Lancashire (a 4 hour drive) to do a gig in Manchester Sunday lunchtime!

I thought both Clives did a remarkable job as compere’s, and I also thought the Green Room a great place for the musicians to all mix, some meeting others for the first time, and some catching up on old friendships. As musical director it was a privilege to go in and be a part of that.

It was really good to have Vasilis and Simon play together for the first time. They got on so well that I think it might happen again. Part way through the Jam Session, it was great to see them shake hands after a pretty fast set of exchanges.

So, I think all in all, smiling faces all round.

BUT there was an area of exception. The hotel were very generous in letting us have their facilities for free. It couldn’t have happened at all without their help and I am very grateful to them for their generosity, but without exception EVERYONE I spoke to moaned about the prices! Sorry, we will try to do better if you want a next time.

I found out the hard way how big the hotel was, but I really did enjoy my day with all the friends I had there. Some of the photos are attached, I will try and get more available soon.

One final comment. The Flying Pigs had never organised a Jazz event before. I thought they did incredibly well, so a big THANK YOU to Helen and her staff.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A few lines today for a special mention about The Marlow Jazz Festival.

This takes place on Saturday 23rd at Marlow's Crowne Plaza Hotel, and it is in aid of a very special cause. All of our ticket money of £20 per ticket is going to Cancer Research UK. We have a terrific line up of jazz talent, and the music starts at 11 am. There are still some places on the guitar and saxophone master classes so if you are a player why not sign up? These come at no additional cost to your entry fee to the festival.

For the talent on display, the price is a bargain, so come and cheer your cut selves up by spending the day with affable jazz friends, and with wonderful jazz music.

See you there.

Geoff C

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hi Everyone,

We have two weeks of extra jazz to look forward to.

Obviously, (it MUST be obvious by NOW), we have the Marlow Jazz Festival on October 23rd, the biggest jazz event I have ever been associated with producing.

But also as a run up THIS week, we have 3 special events involving some of our stars for the jazz festival.

Starting Tomorrow night (Tuesday 12th ) at The Marlow Jazz Club, held in Marlow’s British Legion Hall, we have the Clive Burton All-Stars. With Clive on Trombone are Al Nicholls on Tenor Sax, Max Brittain on Guitar, Frank Toms Piano, Adam King on Bass and Dennis Smith on Drums. Entry is £7, and it starts at 8.30pm.

Then on Wednesday 13th, at The King William pub in Speen, Alan Barnes is playing alongside the Martin Hart Trio. With Martin on drums will be Ken McCarthy on Piano, and John Monney on Bass. The Pubs web site tells me that Alan Graham will also be there on vibs, and that entry is £15, which includes starter and a main course. See for more info.

Then on Saturday 16th Martin and the ensemble are playing the Woodley Theatre, see for more details.

We do have Martin, and Alan Graham and Max Brittain coming to The Marlow Jazz Festival, and you can still book a guitar masterclass with Max by contacting Helen Rathbone, FLYING PIGS MARKETING, Tele: 07912 696658, email website

Don’t forget, that all your ticket money (£20) for the Marlow Jazz Festival is going to Cancer Research UK. Tickets for the festival can be obtained from Helen Rathbone.

In addition to the Max Brittain master-class, we do have another guitar masterclass run by Nigel Price, and two saxophone master-classes run by Simon Spillett and Vasilis Xenopoulos. There is NO additional fee for the master-classes, just buy a ticket for the festival.

Times for the masterclasses are

Max Brittain 11.30 am

Nigel Price 1.00 pm

Simon Spillett 2.30 pm

Vasilis Xenopoulos 4.00 pm

Each session will last about 1 hour each. Book when booking your ticket.

More info will follow about the jazz festival in the next few days, so stay glued to this blog!


Geoff C

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Some CD's Reviewed

As promised in the last edition, a couple of CD buys for you to hunt down. I say “hunt down” because according to some reading I did recently, apparently there are only 32 independent record shops left in the UK. OK, you do still have the big chains, but even they are shrinking as we purchase more and more of our listening material from the net. And some sites even let you preview the music before you buy. So, a good thing maybe. You don’t have to go out in the rain to purchase, you don’t have to wait until Saturday either. But you do miss the opportunity to talk with the shop owner, who may well have a greater understanding of the genre of music you are interested in, and will be able to advise you on someone you don’t know, but he thinks you will enjoy. I haven’t forgotten the record shop in the Chiswick High Road that sold second hand as well as new, and purchased them back (at a slight loss to yourself of course) if you didn’t get on with the latest purchase. I well remember, in the days when I was buying Ken Collier on 78’s, being “told” by the proprietor to listen to a recording by the “Lighthouse All Stars”. Definitely new experiences to explore!

So, what have I got out today? Both were published 2 to 4 years ago, but I would expect them to still be around.

First a compilation of Blue Note Records called “Sharp Shades and Fingersnaps” of music mostly recorded in the 1960’s. Tunes that if you come to Hedsor, are sometimes played there by our own Allstars, “Sister Sadie”, “Nite Flite”, “The African Queen”, for example. This is a double album containing the original recordings of some of modern jazz’s “second generation” fathers. Lee Morgan (now didn’t he get shot by his girlfriend, or even wife?), Art Blakey, Horace Silver. Tunes that did become popular (Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” for example, as well as said “ Sister Sadie”). Not only is the music reproduced, but the excellent booklet contains miniature versions of the original LP album artwork. So, go looking for BlueNote (on EMI now), 00946-355221-2-9. I am again made to think that they really do want to get you to buy, by the slip of a digit, “The Best of Victor Sylvester”. OR is that really BlueNote’s telephone number?

The second album is on the Candid label, and is by Stacey Kent. I haven’t always been a fan of hers, but this album “The Boy Next Door” is a beautifully recorded and executed reminiscence of the songs that brought her to singing. As the sleeve says “songs associated with some of Stacey’s musical heroes, from Tony Bennett to Paul Simon”. As well as her English husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, the band also includes David Newton on piano and Colin Oxley on guitar. The songs are well known, and we will all have heard different (the original) versions. “The Best is Yet to Come”, “Too Darn Hot”, “People Will Say We’re In Love” and similar. These new versions are beautifully sung and worth buy for that reason alone, but it really is a worthwhile purchase for another reason as well, it will do very well to demonstrate your Hi Fi. Playing it on your car CD player (as I did to start with) does it no favours at all, because it is a terrific recording. Candid CCD 79993.

Don't forget that Live Jazz is STILL a must. Thursday's at Hedsor is always a joy (don't believe me? Ask the audience!).

And there is a chance for pure indulgance on October 23rd, when we are holding our Marlow Jazz Festival in that towns Crowne Plaza hotel. 12 hours of top quality music, and all for £20, which is all going to Cancer Research UK anyway. Tickets are still available fro me at Hedsor, or from Helen Rathbone on 07515 287823

Monday, October 04, 2010

More about The Marlow Jazz Festival

I have been asked to give out the times of the master classes that are associated with our Jazz Festival at The Marlow Crowne Plaza Hotel on October 23rd.

Now that is soon going to be here, so have you got YOUR ticket yet?

We are running 4, 1 hour masterclasses, which if you wish to be part of will cost you nothing in addition to your ticket price!

11.30 am – 12.30 pm Guitar with Max Brittain

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm Guitar with Nigel Price

2.30pm – 3.30 pm Saxophone with Simon Spillett

4. 00 pm – 5.00 pm Saxophone with Vasilis Xenopoulos

There is room for 20 pupils at each session. Please bring a music stand as well as your instrument!

Tickets are £20 each (all of which is going to Cancer Research UK) and can be obtained from:-

Helen Rathbone
Tele: 07912 696658

Please note, that at the time of writing there is a glitch with this web address. If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, you will only get the old site, with no information about the jazz festival at all. If you use Internet Explorer, or Mozilla Firefox you will get the new website, with access to info re the jazz festival through the logo!

A Special Note for Keyboard players coming to play at the Festival.

NO PIANO is available at the hotel. The lift is too small to enable one to be imported up to the concert room!! So we are asking you ALL to bring your own electric keyboards. We will supply the electricity at no extra charge!

Jazz at The Hedsor Social Club

This week (October 7th) we will have a line-up consisting of:-

Clive Burton Trombone

Mark Aston Tenor Sax

John Monney Bass

Zane Cronje Keyboard

Mike Jeffries Drums

£5 entry, 8.30 pm music start time, door open at 7 pm.

It is always good to see new faces, and if you feel like coming, we are a friendly bunch, and we will try to make you feel at home.

That's it for now, I hope to write some CD's reviews before the week is out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hi Everyone,

I haven’t blogged recently about the Marlow Jazz Festival, and with it now rapidly approaching, I think I should bring everyone up to speed.

As you probably know, it will take place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Marlow, and all of the ticket price from the event will go to Cancer Research UK. Yes, that’s right, all of the ticket price is being given away, because we have achieved some smashing sponsorship from a variety of local companies, not least, the Crowne Plaza itself, who have given their building to us for the day for free!

The ticket price will be £20 each for this all day event (11 am ‘til 11 pm). We have 10 sessions of wonderful music ready booked, with maybe some last minute extras to come. I now have some tickets myself or they can be purchased through Helen Rathbone 07515 287823

The hotel are promising Festival Food for around £10, and a room for the night if you so wish, From £56 room only advance purchase, pre-payment required, non-refundable, non-transferable, can be booked on-line via These prices are a bargain, as it IS a 4 star hotel! They do feature a bit about the festival on their website. It will give you amusement if you read it as they obviously have only half read some of our literature!

I now have a timetable for the music, and I will email it to anyone who would like to have a copy (in PDF format). I will put a jpg file in the blog, but it may not be very visible!

An item not greatly stressed before is the inclusion in this festival of 4 master classes. There will be 4 1 hour classes (which must be pre-booked), 2 on the guitar, and 2 on the saxophone. They will be run by Nigel Price, Max Brittain for the guitar, and Vasilis Xenopoulos and Simon Spillett for he saxophone. There will be no extra charge for these, but we must know you are coming, and each class will be limited to 20 people.

It is the first time either I or The Flying Pigs have done a Jazz Festival, but the Flying Pigs HAVE achieved 2 very successful food festivals in this hotel. I doubt we will get it exactly right first time, but it should all be great fun, even if we are learning the ropes. If all goes well, we will do it again (assuming anyone will have us!).

OK Enough of that. Normal jazz life does continue. Thursday see’s another of our regular weekly sessions at the Hedsor Social Club, with Maestro Clive Burton on trombone leading his regular Quintet (of whom he is very proud!). 8.30 pm start £5 to get in, even more to get out!! And that includes one of the best raffles held on a Thursday anywhere in Hedsor!

I was kindly invited by Michael Eagleton to plug our festival at the Marlow Jazz Club yesterday evening, and was delighted with the immediate response of many of it’s regulars to the festival. I was also delighted by the super set from Derek Nash, who played almost the entire saxophone range at some point during the evening. Accompanied by Geoff Gascoyne on bass, and the regular (this time) Frank Toms Duo. Excellent jazz, and well compered by Derek.

And next month some of the Hedsor regulars will be playing at The Marlow Jazz Club, as Clive Burton will be joining Al Nicholls, Max Britain, and the Frank Toms Trio, that’s on October 12th.

So to the recorded stuff!

I had to have another listen after last night to one of Derek’s earlier recordings, made with the late Spike Robinson and called Young Lions Old Tigers. My copy is on the Jazzisit label (JITCD 0022), but I think it can only be downloaded as MP3 now. As the back of the sleeve says “They join forces in a classic all swinging two sax front line band. Like Zoot and Al, or Ronnie and Tubby they are the perfect foil for each other.” I recon that’s pretty accurate! Why not risk 99p and download one of the tracks and see if I’m wrong!

And now for something COMPLETELY different!

Harriet Coleman, of Harri’s Jazz, emailed a number of us a month or so ago because she had just discovered Hiromi Uehara, a fabulous and young (or fabulously young!) Japanese keyboard player. I had discovered this out some years ago when I heard her live at a Brecon Jazz festival. One of my favourite albums by her is called “Brain” (Telarc CD-83600). She really is well worth a listen. On this album, don’t start with track 1, go back to it after you have heard some of her more conventional playing. She is a real innovator.

I remember playing Vasilis one of her CD’s, on the basis that he would never guess who it was, but he did immediately, because she was at Berkley at the same time as he was!! You can never win can you!

Enough for now, start buying your Festival Tickets and make a lot of people happy.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Thursday Reminder

Hedsor Jazz has had some wonderful sessions in the last few months. Last weeks was no exception. It looked so exciting, that even though I was still suffering from the remnant of my lung infection, I had to go. What a reward. Simon Spillett’s playing goes from strength to strength, and combining him with our regular Clive Burton Quintet gave a real demonstration of improvised jazz.

That, in itself, would have satisfied everyone there. But there was more to come!! Half way through the first set, Simon announced that we had been listening to Tubby Hayes very own saxophone! Yes, the very one that I had seen Tubby play in 1973, just before his sad departure from the playing scene! Now, is that a scoop for Hedsor Jazz, or not?

Perhaps of less historical impact, but Zane Cronje was also playing a new instrument. He used his new Roland keyboard for the first time last Thursday as well! And I hadn’t taken my mini disk recorder!!

So, what is left for us all to look forward to? Well, children go back to school soon, for some, a welcome relief!

But with more immediate impact for those with an enthusiasm for jazz, TONIGHT at Hedsor, we have non other than legendary trumpet player Paul Eshelby. Paul is a big band trumpet player with a fine pedigree. He has played for a variety of big band leaders and composers including Billy May and Johnny Dankworth, and for 17 years has played in the BBC Big Band.

For just £5 you can come TONIGHT to The Hedsor Social Club, and hear him for yourself, partnered by Clive Burton on Trombone, and with our regular guys in the rhythm section! I know, I have to pinch myself sometimes, can all this be happening in The Hedsor Social Club. Well, it IS!

Recent CD Listens

We are currently being reminded that it is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and for some of us, a level of nostalgia rules at the moment. I came across an excellent release by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra with the Swing Sisters. Entitled “Take Me Back”, and there are 14 songs that will!! A great selection of 40’s songs, expertly played and sung in period style, it’s on the Emporia label, number EMPRCD 627. Well worth searching out, even if only (and it isn’t only for) “When I Take My Sugar to Tea”!

Next on the spinner, another excellent recording from Arbors Jazz. Warren Vache and John Aldred are top notch brass players (trumpet and trombone) who usually stay in a mainstream cum Dixieland musical landscape. With “Top Shelf” (ARCD 19399) they stretch themselves into some more “boppy” tunes, with superb results. “Tiny Caper”, “Spontaneous Combustion”, “Whisper Not” have all been heard at Hedsor, and on many 1950’s LP’s from the likes of Benny Golson and the Adderley Brothers. Warren and John have with them on this latest release Nicki Parrott, the lady bass player who can also sing rather well, Leroy Williams on drums, and Tardo Hammer on piano. A thoroughly enjoyable experiment, combining the harmonies of the tunes, with the looser solo freedom of bop style. Excellently recorded, well worth buying, as are most of the Arbors Label offerings.

Well that’s it for now folks, see you tonight.

Geoff C

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paul Eshelby

A View from the Barn


What a week!! From High to Low, with all the notes in between!!

Last Tuesday I went to Brecon to celebrate the 90th birthday of my very dear friend Stella, with whom I stayed in the best years of the Brecon Jazz Festival. June came too (there would be NO jazz !!) and we stayed in a Beacons village farmhouse, and visited Stella and her family for the celebration way up in a converted barn 2 miles up a single track road, that only led to the barn! It was an idyllic situation, and a lovely event.

However, on returning home on Thursday, I started a temperature and a cough, and disappeared to bed for 3 days! Monday and Doctors appear to work again, and I am now recovering on antibiotics from a lung infection!!

I am really hoping to be fit for This Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club BECAUSE we have award winning saxophone star Simon Spillett coming to join Clive and Mike on the frontline. It really is a privilege to have musicians of this quality wanting to come and play Hedsor. Have you ever thought why a small room of up to 30 jazz fans can attract such talent? Well it isn't what we pay them! Think of those who have come in the past, even since Christmas. We are so lucky that such talents want to play for a small jazz audience. We do have a fine regular quintet, and we do provide a friendly atmosphere. Hedsor is unique. Just keep it that way by continuing to turn out.

We have tried to get him before, this time we have succeeded! On Thursday September 2nd we have trumpet and flugel horn player Paul Eshelby coming to try out the Hedsor Experience. Paul is in the top rank of British (Scottish) musicians being musical director of NYJO and having served with the BBC Scottish and the BBC Radio Big Bands, as well as accompanying artists as diverse as Ella Fitzgerald and Queen. And now he tries Hedsor!!

Hedsor Jazz starts every Thursday at 8.30 pm, and will cost just £5 to get in.

One final mention, very soon I will have tickets for The Marlow Jazz Festival. They will be £20 each. All the music is in place, and many people are wondering why we aren't making it more expensive! A full 12 hours of top quality, top name jazz, right on your doorstep!

All profit from this event will go to Cancer Research UK. So, as I often say "You know it makes sense"



Monday, August 16, 2010

A Quick Nag.

I’m off to Brecon tomorrow, not for the jazz festival, that was 2 weekends ago, but to celebrate the 90th birthday of the wonderful lady I used to stay with when I did go every year.

My association with the Brecon Jazz Festival goes back many years. My son had a girlfriend who lived in Abergavenny, and she it was who let me in on the “secret” of the wonderful local jazz festival that blossomed into one of the best festivals in Europe.

Sadly, for a cumulation of reasons, I now don’t “do” Brecon, and in recent years have saved all my energies for Swanage. But Stella is a marvel, a true patriarch worthy of a book! So to be invited by her family to celebrate her 90th birthday is a privilege not to be missed.

So, this scribing is first to tell you that at Hedsor on Thursday (19th August) this week we have the regular band for the first time in a number of weeks! Mike Wills will be returned from his American tour, and will be amongst us. I must say however, that the last 2 weeks have seen some wonderful jazz at Hedsor, first of all from Peter Cook and John Coverdale, and then last week from Clive with Max Brittain. You will not find better jazz anywhere else, not only for the £5 we charge you to get in, but irrespective of price, anywhere in our area.

And to keep the value going, on August 26th we have not only the full Clive Burton Quintet, but also ace saxophonist Simon Spillett as well. And still we will only ask you for £5 to come in! As you will no doubt know by now, we do charge a small fee to let you out! (Since we have had to pay rent on the room, we ask for a voluntary donation to cover this).

Also, don’t forget to reserve October 23rd in your diary. The Marlow Jazz Festival at The Crowne Plaza is looking good; I will have some tickets to sell you very soon at £20 for 12 hours of music!


“Current Climate” by the Clark Tracey Sextet sees Clark leaving his “old” young hands behind (Simon Alan etc) for some new young musicians. Clark is determined to showcase young British talent, and he has been doing this very successfully over recent years with different manifestations of his Sextet. The current issue, recorded in May and June 2009, has Paul Jordanous on trumpet, Piers Green on alto sax, Lewis Wright on vibes, Kit Downes on piano and Ryan Trebilcock on bass. Clark plays drums obviously. They have a very tight ensemble sound, and solo with maturity. Some tunes are well know, some original, but all can be remembered afterwards! Thelonious Monk’s “Bemsha Swing”,and Wayne Shorter’s “One By One” will be familiar to Hedsor Jazz fans as also being in the Clive Burton Quintet’s repertoire.

All in all a highly commendable, and enjoyable CD.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hi Fans,

I'm beginning to get feedback from fans who want to come to the Marlow Jazz Festival on October 23rd, and wish to book tickets.

My previous blog entries had not told you how!!

The tickets will be £20 each, and they can be booked by contacting Helen Rathbone of Flying Pigs Events on 07515 287823 or you can email her on

They also have a contact web

I will also be firming up the timetable very soon, and will blog publish when completed.

In the meantime, keep supporting live jazz wherever YOU are.

Geoff C

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Just a brief message to tell you that we have the wonderful guitarist Max Brittain coming to play for us alongside Clive at Hedsor on Thursday. It's still only £5 to get in, it still starts at 8.30 pm, but if you come late expect to stand!
CD's and a raffle are also exciting reasons to leave the comfort of your home, and the certainty of your TV for the adventure of live jazz at Hedsor.

You know that keeping live jazz alive makes sense!

At the top of the page, above the photo of Max, are 3 more of my photos of The Swanage Jazz Festival Sunday. I thought I would add colour to your visit!

Geoff C

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Saturday at The Ealing Jazz Festival

I last visited the Ealing Jazz Festival 2 years ago. The venue, the layout etc hasn’t changed much if at all, in the year in-between. Initially, the audience seemed much smaller, but as the day wore on, and certainly after 5 pm, the place filled up remarkably. Due to the bargain entry fee of £1 it seemed to me that many more people came in during the evening just to party. The music was for them incidental, which may be why, at the end of the evening, after some terrific music, an act of crowd vandalism seemed to be performed. A can of “liquid” was thrown at, or towards, saxophonist Andy Panayi. It missed, but the expected encore was called off immediately. I have never seen anything like it at a jazz festival before. The only similar type of action I have experienced used to occur at the free parts of the Brecon Jazz Festival, where drunken boys and girls from the local valley communities would throw beer cans at each other on either side of the street.
The musical side of the Ealing’s jazz was very accomplished. I stayed in the Main Stage for most of the day, only venturing forth for the odd break, and for sustenance!

“Harlem Airshaft” had some elder statesmen of the music playing tunes associated with Ellington and Basie, with a traditional line up of trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, bass, and drums. They still sounded fresh, and they seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. My main surprise was seeing Eddie Harvey at the piano.

They were followed by “Paul Carmichael’s Flight”, which was quite a large ensemble of 9 players and a singer. Good fun, crowd pleasing latin type music, with 2 trumpets (one of them being Steve Fishwick), trombone, sax, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, drums, latin percussion, with Jackie Rawe providing the vocals. A really big sound. It was really well played funky music, and many in the growing crowd outside the main marquee danced to it.

As the crowd continued to grow, there was a set by someone I would not have felt was “my cup of tea”. But “Xantone Blancq’s Fewture” were an absolute blast of entertainment. Xantone is a keyboard player and singer, who encourages the audience to join in, playing a kind of Stevie Wonder music. It was great fun. He was supported by a lady saxophonist (Dee Byrne), guitar, bass and drums. The audience loved it, and he had to be told to stop. He didn’t know what time it was!!

A more conventional form of jazz followed from the “Jack Honeyborne Quintet”, and here, I am going to insert a few more names, because, although the combined age of the players probably added up to in excess of 400, they were all legends of the game. With Jack on piano were John Barnes on saxes (and voice!), Ronnie Hughes on trumpet, Dave Green on bass, and Tony Kinsey on drums. It was jazz, it swung, it was fun, what more do you want? It seemed like an anticlimax to put them on immediately after a show stopper like “Fewture”, but at the end, just as many of the crowd were shouting for more. Jazz like that is infectious!
The evening ended with a wonderful set by Liz Fletcher and her band, that included Steve Fishwick again on trumpet, Andy Panayi on saxes, Leon Greening on piano, Ben Hazleton bass, and the combined rhythmic talents of Marc and Will Parnell on drums and percussion.
It was great music from everyone, the audience wanted more, but one member of the audience obviously thought it was time to go home. I hope someone made sure he remembered what he had done.
To all in that band, I thought you were terrific, No jazz fan could want for more. Excellent singing from Liz (in a wonderful dress), Leon Greening is a very good jazz pianist indeed, Andy Panayi has had my admiration for some years, he usually organises the bigger ensembles of Alan Barnes, and the Parnell brothers were a percussive knockout. Which leaves me to mention Ben Hazelton who was getting a very good sound out of his bass.

And after all of that, what have we got to look forward to?

Hedsor, Thursday 8.30 pm, our own mini festival of jazz, with, this week, saxophonist Peter Cook, and guitarist John Coverdale in front of our regular rhythm section.

OK, it will cost you more than £1, but still a pretty mean £5. But we are on every week!

Next week, we will have guitarist Max Brittain with us alongside Clive Burton, and on Thursday 26 th August we have, in addition to our regular quintet, Simon Spillett.

So, come on down to our regular weekly jazzfest!! You know it makes sense