Monday, January 30, 2012

Hi Jazz Lovers,

Last weeks little blog was a bit late, this week’s is a little early! But there are one or two things to mention coming soon, and one thing to report back on.

First then, looking backwards, Cookham’s fabulous Shirtlifter evening of Ineluctability last Saturday was a great fun evening. Being a Cookham resident, I have listened to them on and off for a long time, and slowly, they have improved, and although they have always had a great following, the effort is now well worthwhile!!

It was good to see both Titular Head (Charles Benson) and singer John Brooks back to health, and it was also good to have more of Geoffrey Palmer-Moore as a singer, he has a good voice. Two things stand out from the evening in my mind.

In 1954 I used to listen to the Chris Barber Band at The White Hart in Southall, and after the interval, there was Lonnie Donegan and the skiffle group. It was a great Ineluctable innovation, and a nostalgic tug to have Geoff P-M recreate 2 of the early Donegan hits, including of course, Rock Island Line. A tremendous cheer went up after the shirts rendition! Who would have thought skiffle would be back!

The other memorable event on Saturday was a performance of a song I have always held dear. Whilst John Brooks was incapacitated this year I sent him a compilation of early George Melly made from off of my collection of 45’s. The song in question was, and still is, “My Canary Has Circles under His Eyes”. Not only did John sing most of the original words, but he also played the part of a canary right down to the feathers! I know one of John’s lines at these shows has always been “Now that’s jazz”, but this time it should really be “Now that’s show business”! Well done all, and well done for giving so much money away to so many local charities. All money earnt from playing their kind of fun music. May the sun never set on “Cookham Dean Parade”.

OK, now to the future.

Thursday at The Hedsor Social Club we have another variant of the Clive Burton Quintet. Our regular pianist Nigel Fox is taking a night off, and in his place we will have none other than Ken McCarthy himself, now with a working amplifier for his keyboard, the previous one going into meltdown at Mo’s Bourne End gig a couple of weeks ago!

Ken and I have more than our love of jazz in common. Whilst I worked for the RAF under what was then The Air Ministry in Whitehall, Ken was there at the same time working for The GPO (as it was then). I maintained the encryption machines whist he maintained the wires!! So, to hear how good he can play the keyboard and reminisce, come out to The Hedsor Social Club at or before 8.30 pm on Thursday February 2nd. Usual charges (£5 to get in) apply.

Looking further ahead at Hedsor two more dates to put in your diary, because you wont want to miss a return of Stuart Henderson and “Tolly” in front of the rhythm section on Thursday 9th Feb.

You will also want to put in your diary Thursday February 16th because we have the regular guys, plus Tracey Mendham. Come early or you wont get a seat because both these events are in the bar!!


Even further a field in time, but two musicians that I always enjoy listening to will be combining forces at the Marlow Jazz Club on March 6th. Vasilis Xenopoulos and Nigel Price. Don’t miss it!

CD reviews later in the week perhaps, but for now


Friday, January 27, 2012

This weeks blog is a little on the late side. BUT it does need to be written today!

Yesterday I was very disappointed in my effort to plan a day of Jazz at Hedsor Social Club. Despite agreeing on a date in May (12th) and a cost for the hire of the club for the afternoon and evening and having confirmed bookings for Vasilis Xenopoulos plus for Stuart Henderson’s Big Band, plus many other famous names, I was told by phone last night that the club would now not be available to us. A booking (albeit, seemingly done without reference to a book!) for the day had been made for over 2 years before and was an immovable event! Some of you I know knew about our plans, and this unexpected outcome for them is very disappointing. I will keep you informed of any outcome and possible future dates for later in the year.

We can take heart however from last nights wonderful turnout for our regular quintet. It was great to see so many there, new faces as well. With a complete alternative rhythm section at the bar that only came to listen, it is a tribute to our regular guys and their musical standing.

As a matter of historic interest I discovered in my documentation the original poster for the first gig by The Clive Burton Quintet, and it was on Thursday 27th January 2001.

We do have things to look forward to.

Coming up in February we will have Stuart Henderson and Tolly, Simon Spillett, and Tracey Mendham (she is with us on Feb 16th). You will be pleased to hear that they are not all on the same night, but stretched across February. A diet of top notch jazz for your Thursday nights.

I’ll write a bit more next week, but I have one final piece of sad news to write today. 

Guitarist Brian Wilson passed away on Monday night. He had become increasingly frail and confused in recent months, but had enjoyed Christmas with members of his family. He had played regularly in the London area for many many years, and only stopped within the last 3 or 4. He used to be the interval act for the outdoor Cookham Jazz Festivals organised by Charles Benson and the Shirtlifters, so many of you will have been aware of his talents. He will be sadly missed.



Thursday, January 19, 2012

A few brief word about today's jazz .

Tonight, January 19th, we have an almost complete Clive Burton Quintet, as Mike Wills is back with us this week as our complete reed section. The only non standard item (well almost, he is seen pretty regularly) is drummer Mike Jeffries at the back in place of Martin Hart. Martin is having another little break in New York. My wife asked me if he was playing there!! He may be, but I rather feel that New York has some rather good drummers of their own!!

A CD Listened to this week

Was rather a pleasant surprise. A band that I didn’t know on a CD that hadn’t been disposed of through the second hand sales was kicking about my workshop, so whilst mending a broken computer, I stuck it on. It didn’t have any sleave notes, so initially I didn’t even know from whence they came. Since then I have established them as American. The band are called “One For All", and the album is called “Incorrigible”

It’s superb 1950’s sort of Jazz Messengers bop sound, superbly recorded, with tunes that draw you in, and swing. Interesting rhythms on some tracks as well. They are really very good, and have been together, so the Internet tells me, for 13 years. The album was released in 2010 on the JLP label, which I mistook initially looking at the CD as being The cigarette manufacturer John Player. No, it stands for Jazz Legacy Productions, and they have some really good stuff  in their catalogue as seen on their web site. All JLP CD's seem to sell in the States for $10 each too.

The "One For All" line up is Jim Rotondi trumpet, Eric Alexander tenor sax, Steve Davis trombone, David Hazeltine piano, John Webber bass and Joe Farnsworth drums.

I really thought they were all very good players, and well worth looking out for in the future. The close understanding of the members of the band with each other is obvious from the music they play, and was a treat to hear. The band’s name really sums up their attitude “One For All”. The number of this release is JLP 1001005

A final thing to put in your diary in pencil is May 12th. Why? A very special day of jazz may be taking place at Hedsor. The "May" isnt a pun, it is still being looked into, but almost certainly the afternoon and evening of that day will be full of Hedsor Jazz!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Weeks Guest: Peter Cook

Good Morning Jazz Lovers.

This week we have as our guest at Hedsor saxophonist and bandleader Peter Cook. 

It’s been a while since he was last with us, and it will be great to have him combine his talents again with our illustrious Clive Burton and his quintet. 

We start at 8.30 pm. Admittance is still £5, and has been now for the last 3 years. We hope, with your support, that this will still be sufficient this year to enable us to keep bringing you the best in jazz locally, which is not the same as the best in local jazz!! 

Our typical guest list contains world-renowned musicians, and we hope that in 2012 we will be able to continue bringing you this quality of performer. You don’t even have to pay for parking!! 

We do need an audience, and so do the other gigs and venues around, so if you are a jazz lover, keep coming out at least now and again during the year and do your bit to keep live jazz alive.

CD Listened to.

I mentioned last week the new album by young South London trumpeter Paul Jordanous. The artwork on this his first album under his own name as bandleader has refreshingly clean artwork.  I have now had a chance to actually listen to it!

It is a very clean and crisply recorded album of 8 Tracks, all composed by Paul, and played by some of this countries young and up and coming. Certainly Kit Downes on keyboard must be included in that description. He is after all a Mercury prize nominee!

The tracks vary in the number of players, giving slightly different aspects to the sound. It is nice to hear the vibes of Lewis Write featured on 4 tracks. It’s also nice to hear 2 musicians familiar from the Vasilis Xtet too in the shape (OK, it’s a CD, so that really should be “sound” of) Chris Nickolls on drums and Mark Rose on bass.

Added to this rhythm section are Piers Green on alto sax, Paul Booth on tenor sax, Tom White on trombone and Bill Mudge on keyboard whenever Kit Downes isn’t!

I first heard Paul a number of years ago at Swanage, and he has a rich tone and a great technique. Overall, I would place the bands sound as cool modern bop. They all seem to be college trained musicians, and perhaps the album does sound a bit like that, a bit too serious sometimes and just a bit like its all an exercise. I know I’ve written recently about the jam sessions of the late 40’s and how they swung, how they generated excitement sometimes by the use of space. They also often used popular tunes to start from (even if they did rename them). I noticed on Paul’s own Facebook page that his likes don’t include any musicians from the late 40’s or early 50’s. I hope he does at least have a listen to some of these, often self-taught, guys from the past. They didn’t all have the technique these young players have, but they gave of their own identity.

This is a good album of 21st century jazz. Perhaps sometimes it is just a bit too cold. Sample it and see what you think. A video link can be had at

I think Paul, and the rest of the ensemble, are to be commended for following the star of jazz. It is still on the horizon to be followed! They have a lot of skill, and have obviously given a lot of their time already to the journey. They are not inexperienced, and it may well be that age will add the individual identity of sound that I feel is sometimes lacking in this first album. 


Geoff C

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Happy New Year to all our readers!! 

I know that ever since December 22nd you have all been looking forward to our next session of Hedsor Jazz, and it’s TONIGHT!

It will be almost the regular Clive Burton Quintet, the only exception is that Steve Riddell will be on bass in place of Ken Rankine.

The usual start time of 8.30 pm and admission cost of £5 still apply in 2012.

Don't forget that tonight's absentee (Ken Rankine) will be leading a band of his choice at The Bourne End Community Centre on Tuesday 10th January from 8 pm.

Our guest next Thursday at Hedsor will be saxophonist Peter Cook.

Tell your friends about Jazz at Hedsor, especially those who came on December 22nd and enjoyed the super quality of our music. We have some great ideas for 2012, but we need an audience to make them happen!!

Recorded Music

I have yet to really listen to any new jazz CD's over Christmas, I was too busy listening again to our December Jazz Party, recorded via my trusted mini disk recorder. But I have been sent a new recording by trumpeter Paul Jordanous. Not yet listened to, but it is already comment-able. The CD artwork is refreshingly different. No photos, no black on mauve print, but lovely pastel shaded sketches of the band! The outer (card) cover is show to wet all our appetites. More after my listen!