Monday, May 28, 2012

I have returned from Deep Dorset (Worth Maltravers is quite high up really), and have some news to pass on, and some retrospectives.

I missed last Thursdays presentation with Mike Wills and John Coverdale, which is a shame. I understand that most of you missed it as well!! Another shame.

But many of you did turn out for our Big Band concert the week before, with a special appearance of Simon Spillett as well.

I personally thought the whole evening magical. Clive had told me a number of times how good the Remix Jazz Orchestra were, and he wasn’t wrong. They were all terrific. Sorry to say I didn’t take my camera with me, but I did do some recording, which I have yet to process from mini disk to CD. Those of you who had not heard a big band live before would have had your socks blown off. Now perhaps you can understand why the swing era swung!

The two sets with Simon Spillett playing with Clive Burton and the Quintet were worth turning out for on their own, and the two different forms of jazz put back to back or side by side (look up your Duke Ellington LP’s!) was pretty exciting to listen to.

Simon has asked for some time for us to invite to Hedsor not just him, but his quartet too. So we have! October 4th is the day, a regular Thursday, but another Big Room event. He is bringing to Hedsor pianist John Critchinson, Alec Dankworth on bass and Clark Tracey on drums. This is going to be a must come evening, put the date in your diary NOW, and I will issue some annoying bits of paper about it soon. If you cannot wait to here Simon and his quartet, they are appearing this year at The Swanage Jazz Festival in July.

This coming Thursday we do have both Clive Burton on trombone and Mike Wills on Saxophones. In the rhythm section we have on keyboard Geoff Barwell, (who turned out at very short notice some weeks ago when Nigel had his little trauma with his bicycle), on bass John Monney and on drums Martin Hart.

Martin, by the way, played a lovely set on Saturday at Woodley with saxophonist Karen Sharp, someone else we will have to tempt to Hedsor. She has a lovely big brassy tone, and is obviously a very accomplished player. Best tune of the evening in my view was Fat’s Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz”, which was very well extemporised by all. I asked Ken McCarthy how long he had know he was going to play it and he said “about 1 minute”! He did a great job of it.

Hedsor Jazz has been promoting first class jazz at The Hedsor Social Club for 10 years now. Initially it was financed by the raffle ticket sales, except that it wasn’t, and we formed “Jazz Angels” to underwrite the costs, mainly at Hedsor, but for other local jazz events as well. We then put on an admission charge of £3 and also sold raffle tickets. Then 3 years ago we raised the entry fee to £5 and included the raffle ticket. Next we had to put the hat round to try and cover our room rent (we had previously been given the bar for free). Hedsor Club is finding life financially difficult, and we have been asked to contribute more money to our rent there. We have tried to help increase their finances by asking you all to become Hedsor Social Club Members, and many of you have done so. 

Recently all the angels held a meeting (I’m still not in the band!), and with great reluctance we are going to have to raise our entry fee by £1 to £6 as from June 7th. I know we are all living in very trying financial times, but this is the smallest amount we think we can try, being aware that many of you are couples, and it raises your entry from £10 to £12. Some angels wanted to ask for more, and we felt we would see what happens with this small increase. We don’t want to loose you!

Hedsor Social Club has assured us that we are safe in our venue for “the foreseeable future”. Not being clairvoyant I don’t know how long that can be. In the meantime we would like to do our best to help our hosts of the last 10 years stay in business. We are planning more big room big nights (see Simon Spillett above) and the band and the angels have agreed that 3 or 4 big room events per year, with star guests, will be our aim. This will help our finances if we can make a profit on them and help Hedsor Club if you buy more than one shandy from the bar. Don’t forget, that you can also sponsor a guest musician. Liaise with Clive, and we will put in a suitable guest of your choice at your expense.

During my recent stay in Dorset I visited a very local pub, which had sponsored local jazz musicians for the last year, and they were celebrating one whole year of jazz. It happens every Sunday afternoon between 2 and 4pm. We at Hedsor have been running jazz every Thursday evening for 10 years. We hope we can make it into the future. Ten years is something to celebrate, not many local jazz venues have stayed around so long and been able to lay on jazz of such high quality for all of that time.

Hedsor Jazz is unique in the UK, ask Simon next time you see him! Don’t let it fail.

Two Views of Dorset!


Monday, May 14, 2012

I’m writing today to nag you all about a few forthcoming live jazz events. 

As you know, without an audience “live” jazz will die, and all we will have left will be impressions from the past, some of which many of us have collected over the years!

Forefront in my mind at the moment is Hedsor Jazz’s presentation this Thursday May 17th of The Remix Jazz Orchestra, led by trumpeter Stuart Henderson. This is a full size Big Band, which is something you don’t see very often these days. It is the first time Hedsor has hosted such a large ensemble, and I really do hope that you all turn out to experience the thrilling sound that they all make. If you have never heard a big band live before, you will never forget the experience. You can get a very small idea of what they are capable of by going to  and having a listen, but it will be a small shadow of the live experience!

To add to Thursdays excitement, we have our regular Clive Burton Quintet. However, it will have a super guest, non other than the UK’s top tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett. We are charging £10 to get you in, it starts at 8pm, and once we have passed the 120 in audience numbers, we wont let you in! You can avoid this possibility by buying your ticket now from Cookham’s Stationery Depot in Station Parade, tel:-01628531178

But all of the above is just about this coming Thursday. If, for some obscure reason, you cannot make it, then the following Thursday you can come for half the price and listen to the Quartet with guitarist John Coverdale alongside Mike Wills.

Coming soon to a different place, on Tuesday 22nd May you can listen to singer Zoe Swartz with guitarist Rob Koral at Marlow’s British Legion Hall. This is one of Michael Eagleton’s many jazz presentations that have kept us all rich in live jazz for many decades. Whilst mentioning Michael, let me thank him again for allowing me on to his Jazz Show yesterday (on Marlow FM ) to plug this coming Thursday. It was great fun to do, and I will take him up on his extended offer of a further visit.

Jazz is a musical art form, but it is also entertainment. In the UK it seems to be treated like some third world religious movement. We are forced to use small venues, and we have little or no prestige to our chosen art form. In France it is regarded in a much higher light. In the UK there is small representation on any broadcast national medium. Perhaps we are too polite?

Another event, in a small local art centre, happens on Saturday 26th May, when the Woodley Theatre presents Karen Sharp with Martin Hart’s trio. If you can still drive in the dark, why not make for it. See artwork for details. She is another young up and coming (well, she has really arrived!) saxophonist, who was featured in the late Humphrey Lyttleton’s Band

OK, earlier in this blog I referred to impressions of the past that we could listen to. Well, nowadays they don’t all have to be on CD, or LP or tape or 78 even. You can download much of people’s musical activity and have it with you for future reference.

I have 2 CD’s that have come to me recently. One is very much from the past. For many 1960 is history. That is true for me, but I just happened to live through that decade as well! So it is memory as well as history. It was in the 60’s that I first heard Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster. Being truly patriotic in those days I did think Bruce Turner was better than Ben Webster! I was wrong, but not too wrong. Hodges however was a revelation. I played a track featuring him last night on Marlow FM (97.5 FM if within your range, or on line through but I have in front of me a reissue from 1960 of both Webster and Hodges playing together, with Lou Levy piano, Herb Ellis guitar, Wilfred Middlebrooks bass and Gus Johnson drums. Called (imaginatively!) “Ben Webster Johnny Hodges, The Complete 1960 Sextet Jazz Cellar Session” It is a worthwhile addition to anyone whishing to catch up on old releases. It’s on the Solar Record label number 4569895. It is delightful, relaxed swinging music by two giants of the saxophone. Well worth a listen, try  for more details.

The other CD is by three young jazz musicians just starting out and  trying to make their mark. Two of them played for us a couple of weeks ago at Hedsor when we had Vasilis and Peter Cook with us as well. Justin Swadling is a saxophonist, Emily Francis is a keyboard player, and they have Liam Waugh on drums. Their CD promoting their band “Modus” is well played, very well recorded and thoroughly professional. It’s a little rock/pop edgy, and maybe doesn’t have enough variation in musical structure to keep a jazz fan amused at the CD player for too long, but I’m sure they would be very entertaining to listen to in a club. (I believe young people dance!!). You can listen, see (and sample) some of the sounds at . It is such young people that will take jazz forward after the time that we can, and they should have every encouragement to play live jazz to an audience of jazz lovers! I hope we can have them visit us at Hedsor again before too long.

Well, that’s it for now folks, play the cartoon tune!! See you at Hedsor.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today, Thursday, May May 10th, Clive Burtons regular quintet are playing for us at Hedsor. 

On Thursday May 24th at Hedsor, Clive is relinquishing his chair to guitarist John Coverdale, who will play alongside our regular saxophonist Mike Wills. Both these nights will have our usual entry fee of £5.

BUT don't forget to get you ticket for our Big Band night, May 17th, when we have Stuart Henderson leading The Remix Jazz Orchestra in Hedsor’s “big room”. The Clive Burton Quintet will again be in attendance, with a very special guest, UK’s top tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett. Tickets for this event are now available at £10 each, which will also get you free car parking and a light bite to eat!! They can be purchased from The Stationery Depot in Cookham 01628 521921 or from Dee on Thursday.
As a plug for this event I have been invited to talk about it and to play a couple of jazz “records” on Marlow FM this coming Sunday, May 13th on Mike Eagleton’s jazz program between 9 pm an 11 pm. Tune it if you can to 97.5 FM

Yesterday the funeral took place of Len Goodyer, one of our long term attendee's. Although a very sad occasion, it was a very moving service, simple jazz and simple words combining to make a very fitting tribute to Len.

Friday, May 04, 2012


With reference to Len Goodyer's funeral arrangements, my last blog had the correct date and time, but the wrong DAY. It will take place at Amersham Crematorium at 1.45 pm on WEDNESDAY May 9th.

Sorry for the confusion.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Geoff’s Jazz News

For a small club, Hedsor Jazz now has a huge reputation for excellence. And slowly slowly, we are building on it.

Our usual Clive Burton Quintet are playing for us this Thursday (May 3rd). What isn’t “usual” is that our regular reed section, Mike Wills, is away for this week, and as a dep we have trumpet star Stuart Henderson. And if you think he isn’t a star, come and listen on Thursday and tell me I’m wrong!

We also have another dep as well this week. Our regular drummer,Martin Hart, is having an awayday, and in his place is Mike Jeffries. Now he is a regular dep!

So, another special evening in prospect at Hedsor Jazz, and all for £5 a head. Usual small room start time of 8.30 pm.

You may have noticed if you go passed it on your way to Hedsor, that The Old Bell at Wooburn has changed hands. The Old Bell used to be a regular jazz venue, and I’m pleased to say that it looks like being so again. On Tuesday May 8th there will be “Dinner Jazz” with a band organised by drummer Mike Jeffries. This ensemble will have some familiar faces, including trombonist Clive Burton. Contact Mike, Clive or The Old Bell (01628 520406) for more details.

As many of you will know we sadly lost one of our long established regulars, Len Goodyer, last month. Margaret has thanked us for our cards, and our messages of sympathy and support and has informed me that his funeral will take place on Thursday May 9th at Amersham Crematorium at 1.45 pm.

There will be a tea afterwards, to which all from Hedsor Jazz are invited. If you could let me know by this Thursday if you intend to come to the tea, I will let Margaret know in order to get the catering right. I will confirm on Thursday where the tea will be.

Our next Big Night at Hedsor will be on May 17th from 8 pm, when we will have The Remix Jazz Orchestra, led that trumpet star mentioned above, Stuart Henderson. But the night will also “contain” another of our star supporters. Simon Spillett, voted top UK tenor saxophonist this year, will be “depping” for Mike Wills!

So, a Big Band, and a session with Simon, all on the same bill. Entry will be £10, and tickets are available NOW form Dee on Thursdays, or from The Stationery Depot in Cookham (tel 01628 531178).

Jazz Info for Our Area

If you are a FaceBook fan, then you will be pleased to know that you can now find out what is happening jazzwise in our locality by looking at :-

This will cover Hedsor Jazz, Marlow Jazz, and other gigs in and around High Wycombe and the postal codes of HP and SL. OK, so I will have to learn how to drive it!

One Final note. I would like to thank Mark the steward at Hedsor Social Club, who left their employ last week, for all the help he has given us over the last year or so. May his future burn bright.

I believe in future we will be saying “Hello” to a Sarah from this Thursday.