Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Its time to write again

This week I will keep it fairly concise.

As most of you will know, tragedy struck Hedsor Jazz again last Thursday when Glenn, Martin Harts wife, was struck down with a stroke from which she died on Friday night.

Like all troopers, and although obviously tinged with sadness, the music carried on, and was in fact very good. Thank you to ALL the musicians who played through the evening.

Above are three of the photos taken by Geoff Swaffield , Sue Greenway, Mike Wills and Rory McEnroy

Our Thursdays WILL also carry on, as detailed in the program I put out in last weeks blog.
Alvin Roy
So this week we will have clarinet star Alvin Roy, and together with Mike Wills they will play some old tunes and some new, with perhaps a taste of the traditional too!

Mike Jeffries, who took over the drum chair at such short notice last week (THANK YOU), will again be our drummer this week.

There is a possibility that Martin may come with his son Miles to just be with us. 

I spoke with Martin a couple of times last weekend, and I am not ashamed to say, was unable to do so without tears. I’m sure that Martin will find it difficult to be back at Hedsor, but equally sure that he will at some stage be back. I am equally sure that we will all treat him with all the love and sympathy we can offer. I can remember the reception I got when I first came back to the jazz fraternity after my own son died in 2002. Friendly normality, with unspoken understanding. Things change, but life travels on.

Everything must change,
Nothing stays the same.
Everyone must change
Nothing stays the same.

The young become the old,
Mysteries do unfold.
'Cause that's the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged.

There are not many things
In life you can be sure of.

Rain comes from the clouds,
And sun lights up the sky,

Just some of the lyrics from “Everything Must change” by Benard Ighner
December 21st, our Christmas Party. Don’t forget to get your tickets. £10 each from Dee on Thursday.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Glenn Hart

It is with very great sadness that I have to tell you that Glenn Hart died last night. She never regained consciousness after suffering a stroke at Hedsor on Thursday night. 

I have spoken with Martin, and I'm sure we all offer him our love, sympathy and support. More info when I have it.

Geoff Cronin

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Hedsor Jazz News

After Martin Hart’s announcement last Thursday it is great to welcome
trumpet player Lester Brown as the new member of what is now to be known as “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”. 

Lester has played for us a number of times in the last 12 months, and will be playing with the rest of the quintet whenever his other commitments allow. This does leave sufficient spaces in the calendar for us to invite other guests to join us either as his replacement for a night, or as an addition to our musical endeavours. He will be part of our line-up starting in January 2018

This Thursday our guest is lovely lady saxophonist Sue Greenway. I don’t think Sue has played for us at Hedsor before but has performed with Martin Hart in one of his Woodley concerts.

Listed below are the guests for the rest of the year, and for January 2018. 

DO NOT MISS our Christmas Party Concert on December 21st. Tina May is our very special guest (all our guests are special!!) and tickets are now available from Dee on a Thursday at Hedsor, or from the Stationery Depot in Cookham, see last weeks blog and poster info.

December 14th Alvin Roy on Clarinet will join Mike Wills, also probably on clarinet!

December 21st Our Christmas Party

December 28th NO JAZZ AT HEDSOR

January 4th Max Brittain guitar and Duncan Lamont Jnr sax. Mike Jeffries will be depping for Martin on drums until January 25th!

January 11th Alison Bentley, singer, plus her guitarist partner Kevin Armstrong

January 18th Lester Brown trumpet, now joins as part of the band!

January 25th Julian Marc Stringle reeds. This is another gala evening, DO read about his career at http://www.julianmarcstringle.com/about/Julian

It is a real coup that he will be coming to Hedsor Jazz. Put the date in your diary, and say thank you to “Jazz Angels” because it will still only cost you £7 to get in and park your car.

I heard last week that there are places in Central London that charge £50 PER HOUR to park your car! Supporting Hedsor Jazz makes even more sense!

Above is looking ahead, looking back, here are one or two photos taken by 
Geoff Swaffield at recent gigs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


We are in that odd period between the sadness and loss of Clive Burton, our bandleader at Hedsor for over 15 years, and our celebration of Christmas.

For me, the past week has been doubly difficult, as after Clive’s funeral last Monday, I travelled down to Portland to visit Ken Rankine’s sister Linda.

Ken passed away last September and his funeral was on November 9th 2016. His grave is now complete and last Thursday, in a gale, I said another farewell to him.

But, as the song says, “We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and start right over again”. On the horizon there is our Christmas concert and tickets at £10 each will be available from this Thursday. I will bring some poster with me as well on Thursday, and if you could take one and display it for the pubic to see it will help our advertising department no end.

Our regular band has decided that in future it would like to be known as “The Clive Burton Celebration Quintet”, and drummer Martin Hart will be telling us more about that on Thursday as well. It will be a lasting tribute to Clive, who will be in all our memories for many years to come. Our guest this week is guitarist Terry Hutchins who was last with us in September.

We are busy booking ahead into 2018 and I can tell you that we have a prestigious guest coming in January. On 25th Jan 2018 we will have clarinettist (and singer!) Julian Marc Stringle coming.


Not that we are lacking in talent for our remaining gigs this year. On December 7th we have saxophonist Sue Greenway,

 and on December 14th, Mike Wills is getting together with clarinettist Alvin Roy. 

December 21st for our Christmas Party you will all know by now that it will be celebrated with world-renowned singer Tina May, together with Alan Grahame and saxophonist Duncan Lamont Junior.

Hedsor Jazz has had some knocks in this last year, but we will be carrying on, and with your support, carrying on with added vigour. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hedsor Jazz 21st November 2017

A sad day to blog, but I feel it only fitting.

I think we gave Clive a good send off yesterday. As I have said more than once, he will be greatly missed. Thank you to all who came to say your goodbyes. There must have been around 200 of you; there really was no room for all in the crematorium chapel.

The wake in the Caversham Working Men’s Club was a joyful affair, just as the event in the chapel had been a dignified one. Much music and conversation. So many familiar faces, and, as usual, not enough time to say hello to everyone. I was particularly pleased that 2 members of the management of The Hedsor Social Club came to pay their respects. I assured them that it was indeed our plan to carry on in to 2018, they had not been sure that we would. We can only do that through your continuing support.

You can! As this Thursday our guest is reed player Kelvin Christiane, (yes he was at the wake)! I’m sorry for once I wont be able to be with you. It is another thing that is sad but true, but it is now a year since the funeral of Ken Rankine, and I am going to Portland to visit his sister Linda.

Below a few of the photos from Geoff Swaffield taken at Clive’s wake. Below that is a copy of Clive’s order of service.

And an advance notice, Thursday 30th November our guest will be guitarist Terry Hutchins.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hedsor Jazz Wednesday, 15 November 2017

My blog is a day later than usual, and it will be a bit shorter today as well.

Tomorrow night we have trumpeter Lester Brown coming to join our regular quintet. If my memory is correct (unlikely!) Lester was last with us on Election night last year. He’s a very accomplished player, and I for one am looking forward to seeing him again. As usual our entry price is £7.

We are making every effort to broaden our advertising, and we are getting some assistance with SOCIAL MEDIA!

OK, some of you are EXPERTS, in that but I am not, and Charlie Wren BSc (Hons), MSc. From the Directorate of Student Services of Brunel University has volunteered to give us a hand with this. She will be with us tomorrow, with a friend with her camera, to start us Twittering on Facebook, or something like that.

Most of you know already that Clive Burton’s Funeral is on Monday 20th at 1.45pm in Reading Crematorium. Jan wishes to thank the very many of you who have sent letters, cards and personal messages of sympathy. I spent some time with her this morning and saw many photos of Clive, some with Jan, most with a trombone, that she wanted to reminisce over. One was in pride of place alongside Clive’s LP collection. 
It was Clive playing that pink plastic trombone at The St Piran’s Jazz Festival.

On Wednesday I am travelling to Portland to visit Ken Rankine’s sister and to visit Ken’s grave. It is a year now since Ken died.

Due to Clive’s passing Hedsor Jazz is changing. We now have a guest every week, but we hope that we can continue to provide the same great entertainment as we have done for the last 15 years. You can always keep in touch with who is coming by reading my blog, so do let others know that we are going to carry on.

Well that’s it for now. Below are a couple of photos kindly provided by Geoff Swaffield from last Thursdays session that we had with the amazing Alan Grahame as our guest .

We had 2 other sit in guests last Thursday, Ken McCarthy and Andy Crowdy

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Hedsor Jazz

Thanks first to all who came last Thursday. It was a wonderfully enjoyable musical evening, with the sounds of Django Reinhardt reproduced by Jezz Cook, Bill Medcraft et all.

Photos of the night via Geoff Swaffield

We did of course have to pay our tribute to Clive Burton who had died only 2 days before. Mike Wills did a wonderful job with his tribute, and in the minutes silence that followed you could have heard a pin drop throughout The Hedsor Social Club. 

Hedsor Jazz will not be the same without Clive, with his humour and his information about each tune played. He made all of us his friends, an that has made Hedsor Jazz the warm and friendly club that it is. We will carry on, and others will come who didn't ever meet Clive. However, I am sure that the music and the friendships will still be of the same high quality.

Tomorrow night we have a return of that lovely man Alan Grahame. Alan on Vibes will be accompanied by our regular guys. 

I should also mention that on Sunday 19th November, Alan and our regular guys will be playing a lunchtime set at Marlow's British Legion Hall. They will be recreating the sounds of the Benny Goodman Sextet, see advert below.
One final point today. If you turn back a page you will see the details of Clive's Funeral.

Jan is suggesting that anyone who would like to donate for a charity in place of flowers (only family flowers at the funeral), should do so for The Lymphoma Research Trust and can do it via the funeral director:-

A B Walker and Sons, Eldon House, 36 Eldon Rd, Reading RG1 4DL,
Tel: 0118 957 3650


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Details of Clive Burton's Funeral

I have just received from Jan Burton details of Clive's funeral, which she has asked me to blog.

It will be on November 20th at Reading Crematorium at 1.45pm

Details of the crematoriums location can be found at

Would you please pass this information on to all who may not read either my blog or get my nags. Many thanks.

Geoff Cronin

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

News from Hedsor Jazz, Tuesday, 31 October 2017

This Thursday (November 2nd) we have a jazz “special”. We are going to celebrate the music of the French gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.

This style of music is epitomised by light rhythms and lilting tunes. To help us achieve this our special guests will be guitarists Jezz Cook (lead guitar) and Bill Medcraft (rhythm guitar).  With them we have Mike Wills on clarinet, Nigel Fox on keyboard, John Monney on bass and Mike Jeffries on drums. Do give this special flavour of jazz your encouragement, and let people know about it please.

Last weeks session with Stuart Henderson on trumpet and Kelvin Christiane on tenor and flute was a complete knockout. What a superb session. Sadly I didn’t get any photos from the evening, but it was the sounds that counted anyway. One of our regulars emailed me next day 

“Hi Geoff, A real knock-out night last night, the staggering ability of the soloists was exceptional”.

And you get all of this quality of music with free car parking and club drinks prices all for our low admission charge of just £7. AND, something Ronnie Scott’s doesn’t do, we run a free raffle!

On Thursday November 9th our guest will be Alan Grahame on vibraphone. What more can I say! After his “Celebration of a Life in Music” back in July his fame has grown larger than ever. We are having him again in December when he comes to help celebrate Christmas alongside Tina May and Duncan Lamont jnr. on December 21st. But do grab a slice of his mature energy by coming in November as well.

Thinking back to July, that event was one of the last our leader Clive Burton was able to come and play at. I went to see him, now at home, last Friday. He is very week, bedridden and unable to sit up. He was however very interested in how Hedsor Jazz was doing and I had about ¾ hour of conversation with him. He now recognises his inability to drive, and they have disposed of their car. Do give them a thought, and if you can, say a prayer too. Jan is finding the situation very difficult. Clive’s son Roy has been over from Australia but has now had to go back. Whilst here he was a great help to them both.

Hedsor Jazz is determined to carry on, and we are taking greater steps to advertise ourselves than ever before. If you have ideas where a poster can be put, or a paper to get some free coverage from, do speak to either Mike Jeffries or Ian Wallis. We have a complete program until the end of the year, and plans are already afoot for January 2018.

That’s it for now folks. I hope to see you ALL on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hedsor Info Tuesday October 24th 2017

“Woke up this Mornin’ “ and it’s Tuesday again! How quickly the need to update and inform comes around!

Last Thursday might not have been Halloween, but it was indeed “A Hoot”!

Tracey Mendham was larger than life this time, and Hedsor needed rescue! AND, after a 999 call, in came our knight in armour Simon Spillett. An application by him, as he said, of itching powder to Tracey, and musical nirvana was restored.

Simon was an unexpected guest, and played all of the second set. The sound of 3 tenor saxes was enormous. Impromptu “arrangements” of little know tunes did show what talented players we have at Hedsor Jazz. Clive would have called it “grass roots”, and would have perhaps winced once or twice, but it was a great demonstration of sax power!

Clive Burton is now at home, but there is a BIG BUT. He is in a hospital bed, and unable to walk. He has a carer coming in twice a day to help him and Jan, and this is expected to be provided for 6 weeks, after which a reassessment will take place. If he does ever get to look at his tablet again, (yes we know you have one Clive) I hope he reads that we all do send him our love and prayers.

Coming to Hedsor Jazz this week we have trumpet star (almost “Trumpet Major” as he was once a military man) coming to keep Mike Wills company on the front line. Stuart Henderson is that man!

I will put a number of items up on my blog this week for you to link to and download. The first links are for MP3 files of the recording I made on my mobile phone of the session we had with Martin Nickless and Max Brittain. If you want to make your own CD’s up of this evening I have produced a pdf file of artwork for a cover for them.

The other link is for a generic poster to advertise more widely the fact that Hedsor Jazz is every week. This is again a pdf file, and if you can print and place them in a place where the public can see them please do. Do ask permission to do this if it be a shop or on a bit of “street furniture”.

We hope to increase our advertising in the next few months, and have been offered some assistance in how to do this by Brunel University. Mike Jeffries and Ian Wallis have volunteered to be our inside men!

We do have a program through November and December and some plans for January as well. Those of you who do already know about Hedsor Jazz, and have enjoyed it in the past, rest assured that we plan to continue, and please spread the news about the great jazz we do put on EVERY THURSDAY.

Until the next blog or until we meet again, keep jazz alive!

DropBox Links

CD Art

Set 1

Set 2


Geoff  C

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


This week has the irrepressible saxophonist Tracey Mendham coming to keep Mike Wills company at the front of the band. Another session not to be missed! Indeed 2 tenors for the price of one, although neither of them are in plastic with brail markings!
Tracey, with Clive and Ken Rankine
Looking back over the past 2 weeks I must say that we have had some cracking sessions.

Two Tenors and a guitarist!
Simon Spillett played a very interesting piano less session with John Coverdale on guitar and Mike Wills on the other saxophone. Not a combination we have had before, but it was excellent, and makes you realise, (if you hadn’t done so already) that our Thursday sessions offer exciting, innovative explorations of the jazz envelope. Its called keeping live jazz alive!

Martin and Max
Last week was a bit more conventional, with clarinettist Martin Nichlass alongside guitarist Max Brittain. All very Benny Goodman, but beautifully done, and it was great to hear again those once familiar tunes (that is if you did listen to the radio in the 1940’s and 50’s!).

Coming next week we have trumpeter Stuart Henderson.
Stuart in Hedsor's bar, as in days of old!
Together with Mike Wills that should be an exciting session of top brass!

In next weeks blog I hope to be able to let you know all of our guests for the next month. We have been busy trying to plan ahead so we can give you more information for your diary. We have already some dates booked through to January.

News of Clive is much the same. He remains in hospital and is unable to have any further chemo until they get his blood condition more under control. I know we all wish him well and a speedy recovery. Hedsor Jazz is not the same without him.

Last Saturday I went to one the concerts Martin Hart arranges in Woodley. This one had one of Hedsor’s firm favourites, Vasilis Xenopoulos. Vas was in fine form. He is playing with such maturity and assurance these days. He has plenty of work (25 gigs in the next month!), which is as well, as he now has a wife to support! Yes, Vas got married in Greece back in the summer and now has a ring on his right hand (yes, a Greek tradition). He looks remarkable well on it so far and I do wish him and his lady wife every blessing. On Saturday I tried to book him for my “event” next August. He has pencilled it in his diary, but won’t be able to confirm it until at least April 2018!

I purchased from him on Saturday a CD I had not seen of his before (he is on  one or two of singer Peter Jones CD’s) but this one has him with pianist Paul Edis. It only came out this year and confirms Vasilis now as a mature musician. It is just saxophone and piano, it is very well recorded, and you would think that it was a session by two of the American Greats of the 40’s and 50,s. Tunes included include “Dat Dere”, “Jitterbug Waltz” and “What is This Thing Called Love”. (No, no question marks here please). A superb CD, privately produced, but can be got via Vasilis or on Amazon. It’s called “A Narrow Escape”

Well, that's it for now, see you (ALL?) at Hedsor Social Club.


PS, middle two pictures courtesy of Geoff Swaffield

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hedsor Jazz News

Without our bandleader Clive Burton, who is still receiving treatment for cancer and is still not able to play for us, we are arranging some very interesting combinations of musicians to come and play live jazz for us at Hedsor.

This week (October 12th) we are without our reed section Mike Wills so our front line will be occupied by guitarist Max Brittain and clarinettist Martin Nickless.

Both are well know to us, and also to YouTube! Do look them up

and or 

You might recognise a few of the players around them, and in the case of the Max Brittain film, the venue!

Our regular rhythm section will be behind them, well physically at least!

Next week we have another outstanding performer coming to play. Tracey Mendham is a big toned tenor player, with bags of personality. She makes her usual October appearance on October 19th. No, she wont be alone, the rest of the band will be around!

Both above gigs start at 8.30pm, and will cost you an on the door entry fee of £7

The last Thursday of October (26th)  our guest will be trumpet star Stuart Henderson.

A Picture taken in Hedsor's Old Bar!

Looking further ahead into November, our first Thursday we will be having a slight change in emphasis. Normally the quintet play 50’s modern jazz, often referred to as “bop”. On November 2nd we are going to feature a kind of jazz often referred to as “Manouche”. This is the kind of gypsy jazz that the French guitarist Django Reinhardt made popular in the 1930’s. So in addition to piano bass and drums we will have Jezz Cook on lead guitar, Bill Medcraft on rhythm guitar and Mike Wills on Clarinet. Do come along and give Hedsor Jazz and this innovation your support. Our usual entry time and fee apply.

Swanage Jazz Festival

As many of you know I was a fan of the Swanage Jazz Festival, and when Fred Lindup and his team told us that 2017 was it’s last year, I was one of the many hundreds of regulars who were bitterly disappointed. 

There is some good news, again from someone we are used to seeing at Hedsor jazz. Guitarist Nigel Price is trying very hard to resurrect it. Do read his interview in London Jazz News (http://www.londonjazznews.com/2017/09/interview-nigel-price-new-director.html) and follow the links to support him. 

If it is any help to you in making up your mind as to support this initiative or not, I have already bought my ticket for 2018!

CD Listened to this week

Talking of innovation I listened this week to a CD whilst repairing a computer in my garage. It was a CD that had gone unnoticed before. It had come in a plastic sleeve with no notes, but when played I was captivated by it. Allen Toussaint was born 7 months before me, but sadly died of a heart attack in 2015. I didn’t recognise his name, not being a listener to R&B. However after the storms of 2005 had destroyed his New Orleans home he travelled to New York and started performing songs he had largely written for others to sing. To everyone’s surprise he had a good voice. Always an accomplished piano player (in the New Orleans style) he made a late career as a solo performer. On his CD “Songbook” recorded live in “Joe’s Pub” in NY in 2009 he sings over a dozen songs he has helped others to make famous. The recorded piano sound is terrific, his style of playing is a blues drenched boogie woogie, and his approach to singing a sort of clean “Dr. John”. Absolutely fascinating, so far this week I have played it 3 times!

Allen Toussaint “Songbook” is on Rounder Records ‎– 11661-9154-2

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

There is a correction to be made to my spelling of Martin Nickless. Geoff Hiscott tells me it IS Nickless not Nicholas as in the entry for October 12th. My apologies.
Hedsor Jazz for October 2017

First of all news of Clive.

He is very unwell, and is in hospital in Reading as of yesterday. He has an infection in his blood, and is being treated on a drip with antibiotics. I am sure we all wish him a speedy recovery. He was due to have a scan yesterday but was deemed too ill to have it, and will have to be stronger before the state of his cancer can be ascertained.

Due to Clive’s condition we have now decided to book ahead our guest musicians so that when he returns there will be an audience to greet him! We now have a list for all of October.

This week (October 6th) Simon Spillett will be our lead saxophonist. We are very grateful to Simon for his continuing support for Hedsor Jazz. He has been busy this past week in the recording studio and has readily taken up our request to play for us, despite such a time constraint.

October 12th Mike Wills is taking a break this week, and we have filled the space in front of the rhythm section with guitarist Max Britain and with Martin Nicholas on clarinet. Martin was last with us as an emergency dep in March last year. Max has been to Hedsor more often than Martin, but not so much recently, and we look forward to seeing him again.

October 19th Tracey Mendham with her big tenor sound (and big personality!) will be joining us. Last time I think we were all impressed by her playing, which has steadily matured since her CD release a few years ago.

October 26th Trumpet Ace Stuart Henderson will be alongside Mike. 

We are already working on a program for November. Our regular saxophonist Mike Wills will be with us for all of Novembers Thursdays, and we hope to have some exciting guests to play alongside him. Just watch this blog for news.


Well I enjoyed it! It was a bit of a pity that more people didn’t get to see and hear Peter Jones alongside Duncan Lamont Junior. It was a great session and most of the food did go, even though some of it became my Friday lunch. Peter has a good voice, and sang a number of quite challenging songs. Not many jazz quintets attempt Steely Dan repertoire! I look forward to seeing him again.

One final plug, Vasilis Xenopoulos is playing alongside Martin Hart, Nick Pugh and Ken McCarthy at The Woodley Theatre on Saturday October 14th. For more details contact Website: www.woodleytheatre.org

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Special Night at Hedsor Jazz

This week at Hedsor Jazz we have another of our occasional nights that could be called “special”!

No, it is NOT a ticketed event. Come and pay the usual £7 at the door. BUT we will have a few nibbles to chomp during the interval.

But that isn’t the reason it is “special”. We have coming to “play” for us on Thursday a singer. OK we have had singers before, but this week it is not a lady singer, but a man! He will be only the second male singer to perform for us at Hedsor (Michael L. Roberts being the first).

Peter Jones has released at least 3 CD’s under his own name, usually accompanied by people such as Vasilis Xenopoulos and/or Nigel Price, both names familiar to Hedsor Jazz members. This week saxophonist Duncan Lamont junior will accompany him. Duncan has been to us a number of times recently but Peter has never been to Hedsor before. Peter and Duncan have not played together before either, so we have the makings of another true great jazz event which I hope makes the prospect interesting enough for you to come out and support, even without the half promise of a sausage roll!

I planned this event with Peter without reference to last year’s diary. Why would I want to look back at last year I year I hear you think? In my planning I just wanted to celebrate the fact that I had gone past another milestone in my earthly survival. So I had fitted in with Peter’s diary as well as ours at Hedsor. Sadly when looking back on September 28th last year I saw it was the day Ken Rankine passed away. Ironic really. BUT it does give us another reason to come out to Hedsor Jazz.

Ken played for us so many times. He was a founder member of “The Clive Burton Quintet”, and played the bass for us nearly up until his death. I discovered in tidying up my in tray this week photos taken last year whilst I was in hospital in May of Ken playing for last years Cancer Research fundraiser, alongside Karen Sharp and Stuart Henderson.
So for whatever reason, perhaps just to celebrate that Hedsor Jazz has also survived since at least 2002, do come and be part of this weeks Hedsor Jazz. It starts at 8.30pm