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