Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Blog before Dorset

June 30 2012

Many people live in Dorset, the last time they all stood still to be counted their were 715,042 of them!! There is also a lot of space, 1024 square miles of it, much of it beautiful rolling country, and ever since my son lived in Blandford Forum, I have enjoyed my visits to it. Even if it didn’t host the best jazz festival in the UK at Swanage, I would still love to go for my fix of the fresh air, countryside, and Bridport Saturday Market. I am off there again on Monday, therefore I thought I should impart to you as much as I know as to what is happening at Hedsor Jazz whilst I’m away.

Next week we have, as our special guest, Mr John Coverdale. A lovely guitarist in every sense. He will be partnering reed man Mike Wills and backing them our rhythm section will be made up from our usual selection of quality jazz musicians. OK, so I don’t know who exactly, but we are very privileged at Hedsor to get such a selection of musicians in our rhythm section, all of whom would be considered stars in any other club setting. At Hedsor, we just take it all for granted.

We also take the fact that this quality of jazz is at Hedsor Social Club EVERY Thursday and for only £6 a head.

Looking further into my crystal ball I can see that for the two following Thursday you should have the standard Clive Burton Quintet. The last week of the month is a little cloudy, so you will just have to find out by experiment who is on!

The last week of July will also give us competition at Hedsor, in as much as the Ealing Jazz Festival will be running that week.

So, I hope we are all able to enjoy live jazz somewhere or other, at Hedsor, Swanage or Ealing, and that we all stay mud free for our music festivals!

I mentioned in my opening paragraph Bridport Saturday Market. Every Saturday in Bridport they have a mini carnival, with street music and a great market selling all sorts of things, including CD’s!! The last time I was there I picked up some real gems.

Kenny Davern and Dick Wellstood used to play that indefinable jazz, that although rooted in the days of stride piano and pre swing era jazz, still swings and brings joy to the jazz soul. Dick also had the most amazing American accent, and to hear him talk about piano playing brings a smile to all. Sadly he died in 1987, suddenly, in a hotel room. “Kenny Davern found him sitting at his desk. He’d hung up his coat, sat down and, I guess his heart just stopped” so said Joe Muranyi.

The great thing about recordings is that we can still hear the past. On the CD I purchased in Bridport Market, you can also hear Dick and Kenny talking about their music. It’s a great live recording, one I had been looking out for ever since it came out in 1995. You may be able to get a copy, and to hear them play an astounding version of “Summertime” if you can track down “Never in a Million Years” on Challenge Records CHR 70019. It was recorded at The Vineyard Theatre New York in January 1984.

Finally this particular edition of the blog is dedicated to my son Stuart, who died in July, exactly 10 years ago.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It’s about time I did bit more of the little light blogging! After all, I don’t want to make avid readers livid readers do I?

Thursday 21st at Hedsor Jazz we have, at least as far as I know, the regular Clive Burton Quintet.

Just in a passing comment, wasn’t last weeks “special” with Stuart Henderson and Mike Wills together with our regular rhythm section an absolutely superb offering. Please let “Sister Sadie” and all her friends come again! Well done Mike and Martin for the arrangements, I just wish I had brought my mini disk recorder along. Three of the five might have played those arrangements before, but two others were instantly sight reading to perfection.

I’m off very soon for some light training before the Swanage Jazz Festival, so information of value might be in short supply after July 2nd, but I believe that Thursday June 28th will also be by the Clive Burton Quintet at Hedsor Jazz.

Also note worthy is a Marlow Jazz Club gig on Tuesday July 10th. Anthony Kerr, a really good vibraphone player, will be with them, and can be herd by you for all of £7. 8.30 pm start, British Legion Hall, Marlow will be the place.

The Race for Life.

Many of you I know supported my family's fund raising run on June 10th. My son Stuart died of cancer 10 years ago, so this year all of his female relatives ran 5K as a team.

I am delighted to tell you that as a team SACC Race (Stuart Alan Clifford Cronin) has raised over £2000 for Cancer Research UK.

CD Round!
I have played some CD’s during the last week or so, one in particular I enjoyed very much indeed.

How often do we take our modern jazz pianists for granted? They are just part of the rhythm section aren’t they? It’s the guys at the front blowing that attract all the attention and all the plaudits (or boos!).

But let’s just ponder that a moment. Think of some of those great jazz pianists, and the identifiable sound each has brought to our music. Our own Hedsor Jazz has the benefit of 2 superb pianists in Nigel Fox and Ken McCarthy. We all remember, of course, our lovely Zane. Then there are those we sometimes get to see and hear. Stan Tracey, Leon Greening (at Cookham last year), Dave Newton and many many others that we can still hear live. What about those committed to record? Ellington, Basie, Andre Previn, (yes, listen to the albums he made with just bass, or bass and guitar, in the late 1990’s), Gene Harris and many many more too numerous to mention. You would think that there would be no one else who could add anything to the cannon of jazz pianists.

Then along comes a CD (fished out by me from the “rejected” stock bin) of an American I had never heard of (it is probably me who is ignorant) playing with some very talented guys whom I have also never heard of either, on a label I don’t know, but on a recording that is acoustically superb.

Keith Brown’s CD “Sweet & Lovely” is on Space Time Records (BG1132), a French label. You just go out and buy it, your not having my copy! There are 12 tracks on it in all. On some it is just a trio, with Essiet Okon Essiet on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums accompanying Keith B. On the others he has either Stephan Belmondo on trumpet, on others Baptiste Herbin on alto or soprano saxophone. On one track, they all play.

They play a lot of strong tunes, “The Very Thought of You”, Sophisticated Lady”, What is This Thing Called love”, “All of You” and 8 others, but the pianist adds insights into all of these tunes, enhancing at least my understanding of those tunes. Waking me up to new possibilities in them. The two blowers are good competent players, not outstanding, but very good and the whole is very much greater than the sum of the parts.

Now tell me you have known of Keith Brown for years!

Swanage? If you haven’t booked yet, you may be too late, but do try. Accomodation will probably by now be out of town, but for a wonderful jazz experience, even in the rain, it is the best. is the place to start!


Monday, June 04, 2012

A brief Bank Holiday reminder that our first week at Hedsor Jazz at the new admittance charge of £6 will have Britain's Top tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett, together with Clive Burton on trombone, Nigel Fox on keyboard, Martin Hart on drums and Steve Pickings on bass.

Still pretty good value for an evening out! Usual small room start time of 8.30 pm.

Coming up soon on TUESDAY June 19th. at The Old Bell at Wooburn, another evening of dinner jazz (you don't have to dine!) with Clive Burton, Peter Cook on saxophones various, Mike Jeffries on drums, and I believe keyboard and bass as well, but I’m not sure who is booked for this at the moment.

Both gigs will be indoors, out of the rain!

Bank Holiday fun, in the rain!

I am being reminded that we still need you all to "like" the page on Facebook that tells you all about local jazz events :-