Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wow, its another Wednesday (my life) already. How did that happen?

Just to keep you up to speed, and interested in coming to Hedsor Jazz on a Thursday, below is a list of the front line guests who will be playing for you in the next few weeks.

This week, 31st March the only regular member of the Clive Burton Quintet who will be playing is Clive. BUT, and as you can see it is a big BUT, we do have the following band to listen to:-

With Clive on the trombone will be Vasilis Xenopoulos on saxophone, Nigel Fox, on keyboard, John Monney on bass, and Mike Jeffries on drums. Well worth the £5 entry fee.

I cannot be as precise as to the makeup of the band in the next few weeks, but I think it will be like this:-

April 7th
Clive Burton, John Coverdale on guitar (do you remember the “unforgettable” guitar duet John did at Zane’s benefit concert with Max Brittain? You weren’t there? We still have some recordings for you to buy!), possibly Nigel Fox on keyboard, Ken Rankine on bass, and Mike Jeffries on drums.

April 14th
A triple whammy:- Clive plus Mark Aston AND Tracey Mendham on saxophones and fun! Ken, Mike Jeffries, and a keyboard player.

April 21st
Clive, with the wonderful trumpet and flugel horn of Stuart Henderson, with Martin Hart (back from Texas) on drums (thank you Mike for your help for the last three weeks), Ken, and a keyboard player.

April 28th
The regular band, with an as yet to be named keyboard player, with special guest trombone player Steve Shaw. Is that J&K or what?

May 5th
Guest will be Peter Cook on saxophone.

May 12th
Our guest will be trumpet and flugel horn ace Paul Eshelby, a featured soloist with the BBC Big Band for 17 years.

May 19th
Back with us again as our guest will be Simon Spillett on tenor sax.

May 26th
A welcome return for our guest saxophonist Al Nicholls.

You see, every cloud has a silver lining. The sad fact that our regular saxophonist is grounded (see last week) has meant that many of our other friends have stepped forward to play for us at Hedsor. Tell you mom, bring your friends. We need them like never before. Help us keep the jazz flag flying at Hedsor for live jazz and social contact. Hedsor Jazz must not be allowed to go under in these difficult cultural times.

CD Review
We nearly always have a quintet at Hedsor. Some places without a proper music licence use the two in a bar rule for music. In February last year two musicians played Nola’s Penthouse in New York. They happened to be Saxophonist Scott Hamilton, and the Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello. Their combined talents went un-aided by any others, and the result is a CD of musical charm and warmth.

Very suitably, the CD is entitled “Midnight at Nola’s Penthouse”. There they are playing tunes that are less associated than some with Modern Jazz. Show tunes, love songs, songs that have real melody. “A Garden in the Rain”, “Come Back to Sorrento”, “In the Middle of a Kiss”, but also “Big Butter and Egg Man”, which could possibly be called a love song. After all, it’s about a girl who wants to find a rich farmer to settle down with, someone who is big in butter and eggs!

Yes, it’s late night music, but very well performed, and as it’s on the Arbors label, VERY well recorded. ARCD 19415. I know some ladies who love that rich warm saxophone sound, perhaps you do too, in which case…..



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hedsor Jazz Update

Thursday March 24th

Just a reminder about tonight's Hedsor Jazz Gig.

With Clive Burton we have Trumpet and Flugelhorn player Mike Nichols, with the keyboard role being performed by Nigel Fox.

Soon we will be able to let you know about future replacements for Mike Wills whilst he is without a driving licence (for the next 3 months, see my blog this week). Next Thursday, 31st March, we are delighted to welcome back to Hedsor that fine young saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos.

He should also have the benefit of Nigel Fox on keyboard as well. Due to holidays our drummer will be Mike Jeffries , who will be filling in for Martin Hart for 3 weeks.

There are some gaps to fill in at the moment, but we do have Stuart Henderson (again trumpet etc) for 21st April and Paul Eshelby booked for 12th May. Simon Spillett will be with us on May 19th.

So, keep coming to Hedsor Jazz, keep being surprised by the quality of the music, and finally persuade yourselves that Hedsor Jazz, whilst buried in the grass roots of jazz, is a wonderful place for growth!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hedsor Jazz News

It never rains, but it, well, you know, you get wet!!

Our reed section, Mr. Mike Wills went for a check up today for his pacemaker, and due to an occurrence that the computer records kept IN the pacemaker told the hospital today, he is unable to drive for 3 months. No, thankfully he is perfectly well, but in January his pacemaker fired off a sort of wake up call, it was unbeknown to him, but he now has to hand over his driving licence for 3 months, and will need to be re checked by the medics before he can start driving again.

This has devastated him, and does of course have a knock on effect for the Clive Burton Quintet! We will be getting in contact with all the guests who played at Zane’s benefit concert to fill Mike's gap for 3 months, and of course, we will also be finding a few keyboard players for you to listen to as well.

Therefore, this week, we will have a newcomer to Hedsor, Trumpet and flugelhorn player Mike Nichols. He has played before with our guest pianist this week, Nigel Fox.

The rest of the band will be familiar (not too familiar you understand!), but next week the drummer will change, as Martin Hart will be taking a 3 week holiday break. In the back row in his place will be Mike Jeffries. And he thought he wouldn’t have enough to do when he was retired!!

All our normalish sessions at Hedsor on a Thursday start at 8.30 pm, and the admission fee is still £5*.


Zane is now in The Thames Valley Hospice in Windsor, and I visited him this morning.

He is obviously very week, but mentally in good shape. He doesn’t have the strength to read, or to listen to music, but does enjoy conversation. I was told that visiting hours are 24!! but I was unable to stay that long! And you may well be rewarded with a cup of tea, as I was today. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, the place is spotless, and he has a single room with a view over the garden.

*Jazz Angels

John Dutton will shortly be circulating a letter to all who attend Hedsor Jazz asking for financial contributions to ensure we can keep live jazz going at Hedsor. For some months now we have been loosing money every week, and our piggy bank no longer rattles. See John and offer him money. He will explain how the Jazz Angels scheme works.

Well that's it for now. I will endeavour to write up another CD very soon, right now, I'm off for a starving blood test!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zane on the Move

We had a phone call from Margaret yesterday evening telling us that Zane is being transferred to the Thames Valley Hospice TODAY, a day earlier than was first thought. I have included details of the hospice, in Windsor, very near to Margaret and his home.

I'm sure he will be more comfortable here, do take a look at their website and watch the 10 minute video clip of the Hospice’s work.

then "click here" to watch the DVD.

Don’t forget that at HEDSOR JAZZ tonight, we have the regular band, with guest pianist Geoff Clark. Hedsor Social Club, £5 entry, 8.30 pm start.

We do still have copies of the double CD of the Zane Cronje Benefit Concert for sale at £8, all funds go to help Zane.

Help keep live jazz alive by coming yourself and bringing a friend. You may even make some more if you do!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

News of Zane

It has been decided that Zane will go into the Thames Valley Hospice towards the end of this week. It is only a 5 minute walk from Margaret’s home, and they will be able to give him the care and attention that he needs now. There is no more that the Hospital can do for him.

This Week at Hedsor Jazz

For our regular Thursday session this week we have the regular band (The Clive Burton Quintet, wasn’t last week’s music wonderful) and the deputy pianist will be Jeff Clark.

As usual the music starts at 8.30 pm, and it will cost you £5 to get in. Last week’s attendance was a bit on the small side, and if you still have friends, bring them along, we need their money!

CD Review

One way or another, I get to hear quite a number of Jazz CD’s. If I don’t know the performer, I will usually put the CD on, listen to a few tracks, and very quickly make up my mind as to listening now, because it is so interesting, putting it off for a later time, or deciding then that those few tracks were enough.

Recently a new CD by someone I know came in, and of course I wanted to have a listen, and make up my mind if it were a good recording, a good performance and something to be savoured for later, or so good, I must hear as much of it as time allows now!

We met Michael L Roberts through Vasilis Xenopoulos 2 years ago. We wanted to book Vasilis and his Xtet for the Cookham Festival’s Jazz night in 2009. Vasilis wanted to “sell” me a male singer. I was unsure, girls singers usually have a certain attraction for me, (I saw Tina May last Friday), but I cant say I have been as keen to rush out and buy a male singers CD. OK Frank Sinatra is the exception, I’ve had “Sinatra at The Sands”, with The Count Basie Band since it was first released. But booking a male singer for a jazz night, well I wasn’t sure. I am so glad that Vasilis persuaded me to go along with his choice, because that night we heard Michael L Roberts, and people in the audience were coming up to me saying “Where did you find him, I haven’t heard anything like that for ages”.

Since then, we have heard him at Hedsor with Vasilis, and again with the Xtet at The Marlow Jazz Festival and it has always been a very enjoyable experience.

The CD is no exception, but it is pretty exceptional, because I played it through from track 1 to track 8 in one bight (the remaining tracks coming a day later!). I just hadn’t the heart to turn it off until I absolutely had to. No Vasilis! But yes, one or two familiar faces in the band from my Monday Hedsor jazz nights (Chris Nichols on Drums), and from the Marlow event (Mark Rose on bass). But also in the band are Rob Barron on piano, Chris Montague on guitar and on 2 tracks the added voice of Anita Wardell. The recording is of Hi Fi demo standard, the songs a mixture of standards and original compositions, and overall a kind of Pat Metheny sound. A truly magical mix of voice and instruments. A small group, but producing an interwoven mix. The highlight for me was one of Michael’s original compositions, “Faces” which has Anita singing with Michael. I could go on about it, but you can hear some of it for free via Michaels web site

I think that Michael will go far. He has a great voice, with good control. You never get that unhappy feeling that he isn’t going to get the right note. That duet with Anita is worth the purchase price alone, but there is so much else for you to enjoy too.

He returns to the Cookham Festival this year again with Vasilis and the Xtet on May 20th. Make sure you get your ticket soon.

In the meantime download or buy that Michael L Roberts album. It’s called “Moving is Living” Nota Bene Productions Ltd NBP030, iTunes and Amazon.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Two More Photos from The Zane Cronje Benefit Concert

Don Wright

Ken McCarthy

It’s another Wednesday. For some of the day, the sun has shone, something has displaced the colour gray.

Tomorrow something else may help out with the mood. It’s Jazz Night at The Hedsor Social Club with The Clive Burton Quintet. We have had some absolutely splendid nights of jazz at Hedsor over the last few weeks. Most memorable of course would be the Zane Cronje Benefit Concert. What an array of top British talent was there for us to enjoy. We have also had some more usual nights, in our normal room, the bar!! But we have had some wonderful music. Last week, Stuart Henderson alongside Clive was joined by Simon Spillett. The music could not have been bettered in a club charging 3 times the price for entry and a similar surcharge for drinks! The Hedsor bar is now able to serve proper beer, Rebellion is in the air! Well, it’s in the barrel at Hedsor now, and what a treat.

Tomorrow, we have with us again our “regular” reed section; Mike Wills will be with us! All the saxophones, but he never brings his clarinet!! Some of the Benny Goodman style stuff that the Marlow Jazz Festival enjoyed would be nice (hint hint!).

I am uncertain who the guest keyboard man is tomorrow, but we have been treated to some great players during Zane’s absence, so I’m sure tomorrow night will be no exception. We are drawing on the talents of Ken McCarthy (last week), Nigel Fox (the benefit night), Malcolm Cliff (over Christmas), and we have a promise of Alan Berry when he can make it.

There is also that exceptional raffle to excite you and some CD’s for sale as well.

So why not get out your £5 note and come and join us. The music kicks off at 8.30 pm; the bar is open at 7 pm.

Dee and June visited Zane this morning, and I am pleased to report that he seems a bit more comfortable than last week. It must be the feminine touch! Still frail, but with a better colour and a firm handshake. Remember he said he would be back, lets hope that will be the case. At the moment I think that both Zane and Margaret value our thoughts, and care full actions on their behalf.

One final thought. My wife has a "thought a day" note pad. Todays thought is

"Musicians Don't Retire. They Stop When There's No More Music In Them"

And who said that? Louis Armstrong!