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.