Thursday, June 23, 2011

First a quick (OK Late!) plug for tonight’s gig at Hedsor.

Our illustrious guest tonight is saxophonist Simon Spillett. We have Clive to harmonise with him at the front on the trombone, and a guest drummer to propel them both along (I think that will be Mike Jeffries, Martin is taking a service break), with Nigel Fox and Ken Rankine to moderate the rhythm section! It all starts off at 8.30 pm, and we still only charge £5 to get in. There is nowhere else in Britain where you can have so much fun and see so much jazz talent as at Hedsor on a Thursday, so why not break a habit of a lifetime and come along. Do I mean smoking? Well perhaps I do, but I also mean that habit of lethargy that we all sometimes get struck down by! If you like the sort of jazz that we play at Hedsor, come and help to keep it a living music, not a historic one.

As mentioned last time, I will be away until after the Swanage Jazz Festival, I will not be taking my crystal ball with me (or Kenny) so I wont be able to let you know who will be with Clive Burton at Hedsor in July. With luck, Mike Wills will be making his reappearance, as long as they pass him fit to drive again. Looking on to the end of July, on the 28th, we will all be joined by the ebullient Tracey Mendham, saxophonist, singer at cat fan. She is terrific fun, so put that in your diary NOW.

CD’s that I am taking with me.

Three really enjoyable CD’s have come out of the woodwork recently. They have some commonality, they are all on the Arbors label, and two of the three have Chuck Wilson on Alto Sax and Howard Alden on Guitar.

“Ruby Braff, Our Love Is Here To Stay” was recorded on consecutive days in April 1998. It is so good to still have previously unreleased material from Ruby being released now. This one follows his usual relaxed and melodic style, with him playing alongside very compatible musicians on tunes that have largely stood the test of time. Relaxed, swinging, never sounding hackneyed. “Day in, Day Out”, “I’m Coming Virginia”, “Deed I Do”, have all been played a million times, and if you have any Ruby Braff in your collection you would have heard them from him before. But he was always so inventive and melodic. Chuck Wilson adds a bit of Hodges like alto, and Howard Alden is as good as he always is, consistent and pleasant to listen to. On a few of the tracks they are all joined by Scott Robinson on Tenor Sax, and Jon-Erik Kellso on trumpet. The rhythm section is Marshall Wood on Bass and Jim Gwin on Drums. The CD Number is Arbors ARCD 19426 Braff fans need to add this to their collection.

Next one up is under the name of Chuck Wilson, “Echo of Spring”. Again, a very accomplished, relaxed sound by guys who play so well that they no longer have to remember how to do it! This time, Chuck and Howard are joined by a lovely trombone player Joel Helleny, who sadly died in 2009. The overall sound is kin to the sound we often get at Hedsor. “Echo of Spring” is a Willie “The Lion” Smith tune, but they have also managed to include for my benefit the Billy Strayhorn tune “Isfahan” from the Duke Ellington “Far East” Suite. Also by Strayhorn is “Upper Manhattan Medical Group” written when Billy was being treated for the cancer that eventually killed him. Small group music beautifully played. Murray Wall is on Bass and Tom Melit Drums. Arbors ARCD 19206

The last one in this little roundup is slightly different, and you may think why am I writing about a CD entitled “The International Hot Jazz Quartet Havin A Ball”, because the title alone is a lot of keys to push! 4 players, all great instrumentalists, playing trad tunes? Yes and no. Because in the selection they have elected to play for us is Jelly Roll Morton’s “Sidewalk Blues” and “King Porter Stomp”, but also Jimmy Giuffe’s “Four Brothers” and Charles Thompson’s “Dynaflow”. It is all great fun, played with real thought for each tune, and not anything like British Trad of the 50’s and 60’s. The players are Duke Heitger on Trumpet, Englebert Wrobel on reeds, Paolo Alderighi on Piano and Oliver Mewes on Drums. It was all recorded in 2010 and is on Arbors ARCD 19407. I don’t have proper artwork for this one, as it was a rescue from a critics floor job, but search it out as it is great fun and will bring a smile to you face. You cannot believe it is only a quartet that is producing the lovely sounds.

So, TTFN Geoff

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

“To blog, or not to blog, that is the question”

or even recently "Can I blog at all"!!

Apologies to those who have turned to my blog pages this last 2 weeks or so to discover what is on and where in the local jazz scene, I have been unable to write the page due to an unpleasant and debilitating illness. I am ever so glad to say that I am now much better, and in a position to let you know what is happening, not only tomorrow, but next week as well!!

Tomorrow, June 16th at Hedsor Jazz we have a saxophonist that we haven’t seen for a little while. Peter Cook will be alongside Clive. It will be good to have him back with us, and I hope you all feel energetic enough to come out and hear the combined efforts of Clive, Peter and the rest of the boys(?) in the Quintet. To catch up with Peter’s career, try his web site from which you can tell he IS well worth turning out for. We have had some wonderful sessions with him in the past, and tomorrow will not be the last time we invite him.

Tomorrow you will have the joy of passing ME the £5 entry fee. Dee will be away, and I have been loaned the RED BOX!! And the shopping bag to keep it in!!

The following week (with Dee back in charge of the £5 notes) we are delighted to have saxophonist Simon Spillett back with us at Hedsor again alongside Clive. I have always thought that those two can put together great harmonies, and we are privileged to have such support from professional musicians like Peter and Simon for our Hedsor Jazz.

For those of you who enjoy another of the saxophonists who have graced Hedsor Social Club, Vasilis Xenopoulos you might like to know that his Xtet will be playing this Sunday (now you haven’t forgotten it is Fathers Day have you?) at The Lodge Tavern in Ealing.

If that venue is outside the range of your motoring experience, then you might like to know that he will be at the Marlow Jazz Club, held in the Marlow British Legion Club, on Tuesday June 21st. AND he will be playing alongside Mr. Art Theman, recently retired from his day job as an orthopaedic surgeon. Art has been a giant of the British Modern Jazz Scene for a number of decades, and you may not have realised that music was not his day job!

Coming back to us we hope in July will be our regular saxophonist Mike Wills. Keep your fingers crossed as he needs to get his driving licence back since his little episode with his pacemaker, but he hopes to be with us very soon. We have arranged a little welcoming match for him. On July 28th, that lady of the saxophone, Tracey Mendham will be joining us again!

Bye the way don’t forget that we can always add in an additional star musician of your choice into our regular Thursday night mix. If you would like to sponsor someone, either on your own or together with some friends just tell Clive or me and we will see if it can be arranged.

You will see above the Certificate Awarded to Hedsor Jazz by Thames Hospicecare after our presentation last month of the proceeds of our Tribute to Zane Cronje Concert (£635). So well done to all of you for making it such a worthwhile sum.

In a week or so I shall be getting into training for the Swanage Jazz festival, and will be disappearing from your ranks for 2 or 3 weeks. I promise to try and tell you before I go of some of the CD’s I would recommend you taking with you on your holiday. OK, you may MP3, but you don’t get the sleeve note or the artwork, and yes, I do MP3 as well!!

So, with this first blog since coming out of the closet, I bid you adieu (It wasn't an earth one I promise, here in Cookham the ceramic ware is really quite sophisticated!).