2017

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OCTOBER

 

Review : Tuesday 31st October 2017.
Dave Grant introduced the Resident Trio and they ‘kicked off’ the evening, with Hilary playing “Tea for Two” a tune from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Irving Caesar was a duet, sung by Louise Groody and Jack Barker as Nanette and Tom, imagine their future. It was also sung by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae in the 1950 musical film, Tea for Two and has since become a jazz standard. Hilary started with a Bossa Nova rhythm before reverting to the familiar rhythm of the melody with Ted taking a solo.
Then Dave introduced Dominic Ashworth and Julian Marc Stringle, this month’s guests and Julian began by referring to the American clarinetist and saxophonist, Ken Peplowski with whom he had recently been touring the U.K. and that Ken has since reluctantly returned to the U.S.A., but not before they completed an album together entitled ‘The Clarinet Maestros’. Julian and Dominic tried to work a Halloween theme into the evening’s performance, but the first number was not indicative of that. It was in fact, ‘I Thought About You’, a 1939 popular song composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, who wrote the them on an actual train trip to Chicago. Julian led on clarinet, playing the basic melody before repeating it, but with extensive improvisation, before handing over to Dominic for a solo. Julian introduced the next number ‘That Old Black Magic’, just about having a vague connection with Halloween. It was first recorded as a single by Glenn Miller in 1942 with music written by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Before launching into this number, Julian spoke about his involvement with Audio Books for Children and gave some impressions of his ‘cat’ voice. Dominic lead off with Julian playing the basic melody before handing over to Dominic for an improvised rendition of the main theme. Next was (definitely renamed for Halloween) ‘Witch What Happens’, composed by Michel Legrand (or as Julian knew him ‘Big Mick’) and is probably remembered best as the he tune used, to great effect, in the Jacques Demy films "Lola" and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg". Julian lead with the basic theme, then with improvisation and accompanied by some really swinging combo work from Dominic and the Trio. Dominic with an inspired solo of ‘The Girl from Ipanema' thrown in for good measure, before Hilary took an inspired solo with great support from Dominic. Ted took a solo with effective triangle support from Dave before Julian finished with the basic theme to make it the best the best number so far; lovely stuff!
Julian then selected his tenor sax’ to play ‘Lullaby of the Leaves’, composed by Bernice Petkere and lyrics by Joe Young. The tune, featured in the 1932 Broadway revue, Chamberlain Brown’s Scrap Book [how could you forget that], soon becoming a favourite of jazz musicians and notable because of its female composer, a rarity, especially in the jazz world. Julian led, before handing over to Hilary, who played a solo with an interpretation evocative of falling leaves. Dominic picked up on this continuing in the same vein, very ‘bluesy’, before Julian closed the number, playing the basic melody on tenor sax’.
Julian remarked that he liked the new club and the atmosphere and hopefully will be invited again! Hilary played an introduction to the next number, ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’, a 1940’s popular ballad, with music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke and it was Frank Sinatra's first hit recorded with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Julian led on tenor sax’, with the main theme before handing over to Dominic for an improvised solo. Hilary played a thoughtful minimalist solo, before further improvisation by Julian and reverting to the straight melody to finish.

This concluded the first set with the musicians taking a well earned break, whilst the audience took their preferred refreshments and awaited the drawing of the raffle. Dave and Joyce reminded us of the pre Christmas Jazz & Buffet event (£15) on Tuesday 28th November as Joyce distributed tickets for those attending the event. After the interval, and some tinkering with the light switches, as dimness arrived, Dave spoke about something special having been prepared by Julian and Dominic, and the duo launched into a wonderful rendition of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. I had heard this played by the them before, it is their party piece, but this version was the best ever, finely honed to perfection!
It was now time for the Trio to have their solo spot; choosing ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ from Walt Disney's 1937 animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Written by Larry Morey (lyrics) & Frank Churchill (music), performed by Adriana Caselotti (Snow White's voice in the movie), it was ranked the 19th greatest film song of all time, as the Trio reminded us of that experience with an emotional trip down memory lane. The Trio played an introduction to the next number, ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, originally titled "In Other Words", a tune written in 1954 by Bart Howard, and has since become a frequently recorded jazz standard. Frank Sinatra's 1964 version was closely associated with the Apollo missions to the Moon. Julian played the main theme on tenor sax’, handing over to Dominic for a solo with Julian improvising freely. Hilary and Ted took solos, eventually handing back to Julian to finish. Julian admitted to being a Hammer House of Horror addict and his affinity with Boris Karloff? So the next number with a Halloween connection was, ‘Old Devil Moon’ composed by Burton Lane, lyrics by Yip Harburg for the1947 musical Finian's Rainbow, and in the 1968 film version, the song was performed by Don Francks and Petula Clark. Julian began the melody on clarinet handing over to Dominic for a solo followed by Julian improvising freely effortlessly. Hilary took a very pleasing solo with the Trio providing some nice combo work.
It was now time for Dominic’s solo spot, choosing the Django Reinhardt favourite composition ‘Nuages’ (Clouds), starting unaccompanied before the Trio joined in on the second chorus. This was a beautiful rendition of this wonderful melody by Dominic, the guitar maestro. (Django Reinhardt added clarinets in several of his performances of this tune, so personally, I was a little disappointed that Julian did not participate). No connection with Halloween (that I could detect), the next number being the Gershwin classic, ‘The Man I Love’, (unless it was Julian’s appreciation of Boris Karloff or did he really mean Peter Cushing?) Julian led off playing the straight melody unaccompanied, until the Trio and Dominic joined for the second chorus. Dominic and Hilary took solos followed by several chase choruses, with breaks, from Julian, Dominic, Hilary and Dave. A return to the Halloween theme with, ‘Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered’, a popular show tune from the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey. Julian led playing the melody, then Dominic played chorus just using guitar chords as ensemble finished playing the theme. Julian selected his tenor sax’ to play the last number of the evening, ‘Cotton Tail’, a 1940 composition by Duke Ellington. It is based on the rhythm changes from George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" and a notable recording, is the driving tenor saxophone solo by Ben Webster. Originally an instrumental, "Cotton Tail" later had lyrics added by Ellington and even later, more lyrics were written, by Jon Hendricks, and recorded by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Dave kicked off with a drum solo, then Julian led the ensemble with the familiar riff, followed by swinging solos from Dominic, Hilary and Ted and a drum solo from Dave
An encore was called for and ‘Poor Butterfly’ a popular song inspired by Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly was selected. The music was written by Raymond Hubbell, lyrics by John Golden. The song, published in 1916, has since become a pop standard, recorded by many artists and Julian led the ensemble masterfully on clarinet, with solos taken by Dominic and Hilary before Julian led the ensemble to a poignant conclusion. ‘Poor Butterfly’ a wonderful tune and this rendition was one of the best versions I have heard. The WOW! response from the audience agree with that analysis.
Dave Grant paid tribute to the guest artists, Dominic Ashworth and Julian Marc Stringle, and thanked the audience for their loyalty to the club, not forgetting the stalwarts, Hillary Cameron and Ted Simkins for their support in providing yet another wonderful evening of great jazz music.
Next event is on Tuesday 28th November. The Pre Christmas Jazz / Buffet, featuring Carlton Jazz.
Footnote: This was definitely the best audience turnout since the club moved to O.B.s in January 2017 Thanks are due to the musicians of course, but also to the organisation provided by Dave, Joyce and Richard and all who have helped to make the club a success including loyal members of the audience.
John C.

Dominic  Ashworth & Julian Mark Stringle

guitar and tenor saxophone/clarinet

 

  

Dominic & Julian the Dynamic Duo

  

Photographs courtesy of Brian Leith

 

Great audience in the interval

 

 

SEPTEMBER

 

Review :  Tuesday 26th September 2017.

Dave Grant Introduced The Resident Trio and ‘kicked off’ the evening, with Hillary playing “Blue Bossa” an instrumental jazz composition by Kenny Dorham. A blend of hard bop and Bossa nova, the tune, possibly influenced by Dorham's visit to the Rio de Janeiro Jazz Festival in 1961 has since become a jazz standard.

Dave introduced John Withers, the first of this month’s guests, who chose “Bluesology” the M.J.Q. (Modern Jazz Quartet) composition by Milt Jackson, as his opening piece. Just to confuse things, there was a British R&B band of that name (Bluesology) inspired by the MJQ title and prominent member of the group was one Reg Dwight, later to be known as (E.J.) you know who! To confuse things further the melody of Bluesology is very similar to the ‘Beatles’ song, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, attributed to Paul McCartney; Surprise or what, Hmmn! Never the less John’s wonderful rendition left no doubt of the jazz origins of the piece. John’s next number was, “Just Friends”, a popular song that has become a jazz standard. The song  written in 1931 by John Klenner with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis, was led by John with the melody and solos taken by Hilary and John with drum breaks by Dave.

Dave then introduced the second guest Paul Wood, who opened with “Where or When” as his first ‘Sinatra’s Songbook’ number.  Originally a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical, Babes in Arms, the song was used for the 1992 biopic Sinatra, starring Philip Casnoff; in which Frank Sinatra performs the song on stage at the Paramount Theatre.  Paul deftly syncopates and improvises in the Sinatra mode. Next was a Samba; “I’ll Close My Eyes”, a song with words and music originally written by the English songwriter and bandleader Billy Reid and published in 1945.  It is usually performed to the original music but with different words by the American songwriter Buddy Kaye, and has become a jazz standard.             Paul however, sang the lyrics as sung by Diana Krall.  John augmented the Samba rhythm to great effect with his tambourine and cabasa (shekere).                                              Hilary played an introduction to Paul’s next song, “The Nearness of You”, a popular song written in 1938 by Hoagy Carmichael, with lyrics by Ned WashingtonJohn and Hilary took evocative solos and some delightful combo work followed from Hilary, John and Ted, before Paul returned to the lyrics to close.    I’ve Never Been In Love Before”, a song by Frank Loesser, originally written for the 1950 musical, Guys and Dolls, was Paul’s next choice of song, where he improvised effectively with the lyrics.  John, Hilary and Ted played imaginative solos.  John took over the main theme, with drum breaks from Dave before Paul returned to the lyrics for a rousing finish.                         

It was now time for a solo spot from John.  He chose “Pick Yourself Up and Start All Over Again”, a popular song composed in 1936 by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. It has a verse and chorus, as well as a third section, though the third section is often omitted in recordings, and the song was written for the film Swing Time (1936), where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. John and the trio produced a lively instrumental version of the song, with wonderful improvisation and combo work, with a drum solo by Dave, and further drum breaks during the return to the main melody. Paul returned to sing “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”, originally a 1973 single released by Stevie Wonder. The song became his third number-one single and won a Grammy Award and was nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year.  John took up his tambourine and cabasa to provide wonderful enhanced rhythm to Paul’s rendition of this very popular song.  Hilary took an effective solo, before Paul returned to the lyrics for another rousing finish. Hilary played the introduction to Paul’s next song, a Sinatra classic written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, “Come Fly With Me” with Paul launching into the lyrics in typical Sinatra style.  He has a wonderful and infectious sense of rhythm. John and Hilary took solos, as they played together with the trio, improvising on the melody line with Paul repeating the lyrics to close the number, and the first set.

After the interval, John and the Trio played “Weaver of Dreams” composed by Victor Young and Jack Elliott.  And notable recordings of the song have been by Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and Carmen McRae.  Hilary and Ted took solos and John provided rhythmic support with tambourine and cabasa, after which he returned to the main theme on vibraphone to finish the number. John and the Trio continued with “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” a jazz standard with music by Duke Ellington and lyrics by Bob Russell. The tune was originally called "Never No Lament" and was first recorded by Ellington in 1940 as a big-band instrumental.  Russell's lyrics and the new title, were added in 1942.  John led off with the main theme on vibes.  Hilary and Ted took solos and John concluded the number, returning to the main theme on the vibraphone.

Paul returned to sing “Fly Me To The Moon”, originally titled "In Other Words", a song written in 1954 by Bart Howard but since then has become a frequently recorded jazz standard with Frank Sinatra's 1964 version closely associated with the Apollo missions to the MoonPaul in his swinging ‘Sinatra element’ with this song fairly rocketed along (pun intended).  Hilary, John and Ted took solos, while Dave played an effective triangle in Ted’s solo.  Paul concluded with his own very effective ‘lead out’ version of the lyrics.

Paul stated that during the interval he received some requests, one of which was the next song, “Misty”.  This beautiful melody, originally composed as an instrumental by the pianist Erroll Garner in 1954,  who incidentally could not read a note of music, became a jazz standard, and with the eventual added lyrics by Johnny Burke became the signature song of Johnny Mathis John and Hilary took solos, alternating each eight bars before Paul returned to the main theme lyrics to finish. Another request was for “One Note Samba”, (Samba de Uma Nota Só) is a bossa nova tune composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Newton Mendonça but the English lyrics were written by Jobim.  The main melody line, consists of two series of single notes played over a descending chord progression in a bossa nova rhythm followed by eight bars of a more complicated, scalar melody line.   Paul sang his (two) one notes with pace and gusto and I wondered if he would manage the diction of the following eight bars, but it was no problem for Paul at all.  John took a solo accompaniment, and Paul concluded the song by repeating the difficult part.                                                                                         

An anecdote from Paul introduced the next song, who at some time in the past had contracted chicken pox and elected to stay indoors playing records until he looked presentable again. One of the tracks that got his attention was a song by a diminutive Scottish girl, Lulu, namely “Why Did I Choose You”, music written by Michael Leonard with lyrics by Herbert Martin.  It is the sort of song that leaves you with a lump in the throat, so I can understand why Paul was moved by it.  Anyway, that was his story, and he proceeded to sing the song with the emotion that the lyrics deserve.  John and Hilary shared a solo, Hilary’s, very effectively reminiscent of Lullaby of Broadway before Paul returned to the evocative lyrics to finish. Paul followed up with another Sinatra favourite song, “That Old Black Magic”, taking liberties with the lyrics to great effect.  The music was written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics with Judy Garland in mind, who was, on occasion, an intimate partner, and both Judy Garland and Glenn Miller recorded singles of the song in 1942.  John and Hilary took solos, alternating on the middle eight bars before Paul returned to improvise on the melody to close.                                                         

 

With Paul taking a short break John and the Trio continued in instrumental mode with “Cute”,  composed by Neal Hefti, an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger, during his association with the Count Basie band.  He wrote the music for the film The Odd Couple and most of the tracks on the album ‘Atomic Basie’ were penned by Hefti, probably, most notably ‘Splanky’.  John and Hilary tackled this number most effectively, with lively drum breaks from Dave.                                                                                            

Paul returned to sing “Sweet Lorraine”, a popular song music by Cliff Burwell and lyrics by Mitchell Parish published in 1928 and now a jazz standard that has been recorded by many artists, including Teddy Wilson in 1935, and Nat King Cole in 1940.  Paul was in his swinging ‘Sinatra swinging element’ again with this song, very effectively.  Hilary and John took solos, alternating the middle eight bars with Paul concluding improvising the melody to great effect.                                                                                                                 Ted played an intro’ to the tune “Bye Bye Blackbird”, published in 1926 by the American composer Ray Henderson with lyrics by Mort Dixon, and it was during World War II, that this song was used  as part of Joseph Goebbels' propaganda campaign.  The lyrics were changed to reflect German political rhetoric and sung in English, intended to demoralise U.S. and British troops, as well as British citizens.  Segregationists opposed to the American Civil Rights Movement, notably at the Selma to Montgomery marches, played the song over loudspeakers as a taunt.  Paul had his own swinging version of the lyrics which he belted out in his own inimitable style.  John took a solo, after which Paul played tribute to guest, John Withers, Musical Director Hilary Cameron, Ted Simkins, Dave and Joyce Grant, before returning to sing a final verse of the song.

 

Dave Grant paid tribute to the evenings’ guest artists, Paul Wood and John Withers, and thanked the audience for their loyalty to the club, not forgetting Hilary Cameron and Ted Simkins for their support in providing yet another wonderful evening of great jazz music.

Footnote:  The interaction between the musicianship of John Withers and Hilary Cameron and the trio was a delight.  Paul Wood fitted into this combination admirably, considering that he has a really powerful voice.  He is able to sound very much like Matt Monro, and Frank Sinatra to a great extent too.  His mastery of the technique with the hand held microphone is evident, and he uses this to great effect.

John Constable

 

   

 

Far left: Johnny Withers, vibes in full flight unlike Ryanair

 

Left: Paul Wood, vocals in Sinatra Songbook style

 

Top right: Hilary Cameron, keys

 

Bottom right: Group action       

Photographs courtesy of Brian Leith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUGUST

 

Review: Tuesday 29th August 2017.

This session was dedicated as ever, to swing music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, ably reprised by this month’s guests and assisted by the resident trio. Dave Grant introduced The Trio and then ‘kicked off’ the evening, with Hillary playing “Cheek to Cheek” a song composed by Irving Berlin in 1935 for the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat.

Paul Higgs introduced himself and also Kevin McMahon, as this month’s guests, and straight away launched into a lively, “Billie’s Bounce” a jazz composition written in 1945 by Charlie Parker in the form of a 12 bar F blues and was dedicated to Billy Shaw by “Yardbird”. The original recording by Charlie Parker and His Re-Boppers was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. Originally an instrumental, lyrics were added later by Jon Hendricks and by Eddie Jefferson.  Solos were taken by Hilary and Ted followed by chase choruses by Paul and Kevin with drum breaks from Dave. Paul introduced the next number, “Just Friends”, a popular song that has become a jazz standard. The song written in 1931 by John Klenner with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis  and although introduced by Red McKenzie and His Orchestra in October 1931, it became a hit when singer Russ Columbo performed it with Leonard Joy’s Orchestra in 1932. Solos taken by Kevin, Paul and Hillary before returning to main theme. Next, was another composition attributed to Charlie Parker, "My Little Suede Shoes”. The melody is a contrafact of Harry Warren’s, “Jeepers Creepers”.       (A contrafact is a musical composition that uses the chord progression of a pre-existing one, but introduces a new melody and arrangement. Typically the original tune's progression and song form will be reused, but occasionally just a section will be reused in the new composition).                   Now not a lot of people know that ……do they Michael !                                                                    

Paul and Kevin started with the main theme in fine Bossa / Calypso style and each took solos followed by a really great solo from HillaryTed took a solo followed by good drumming from Dave Time now for Kevin’s solo spot as he chose “Cry Me A River”, a popular American torch song, written by Arthur Hamilton, first published in 1953 and made famous in 1955 with the version by Julie London. Kevin did his best with this, but I thought did not quite capture the plaintiff anger and emotion the song invokes.  Hillary’s solo however, accomplished the required emotional touch, before handing back to Kevin, to return to the main theme, and finish his solo spot. A song from Hillary followed, and she chose “This Masquerade” a song written by American singer and musician, Leon Russell. Originally recorded in 1972  "This Masquerade" was re-recorded by American vocal duo The Carpenters, releasing it on their album Now & Then in 1973, some three years later. "This Masquerade" recorded by American singer and guitarist George Benson, became the first big hit of his careerPaul accompanied Hillary very effectively on flugelhorn and took a plaintiff solo.  This was followed by an evocative keyboard solo from Hillary before returning to the song, accompanied by Paul again. Returning to an instrumental, the group played "Bernie’s Tune”, a 1953 jazz standard.  The music written by Bernie Miller, with lyrics added later by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was popularised by Gerry Mulligan, the baritone saxophonist / composer on the 1952 album of the same name, featuring Chet Baker on trumpet.  Kevin, Paul and Hillary took solos after completing the familiar riff, with Paul and Kevin improvising effectively together on the main theme to finish. This concluded the first set and the musicians took a break whilst the audience took their preferred refreshments, eagerly awaiting drawing of the raffle.

After the interval, Paul reprised the jazz music known as ‘Bebop’ and as  an example, selected the Clifford Brown composition, and signature tune, “Joy Spring”.  An anecdote tied to this composition is that, Larue Anderson, a classical music student had chosen "Classics versus Jazz" as her thesis, in which she wanted to prove the superiority of classical music over jazz.  Her friend, Max Roach, introduced her to Clifford, who took her aside and said: "Honey, the whole world is not built around tonic / dominant " and he convinced her to the point that she became a jazz devotee, and his wife. The trumpeter composed the song in honour of Larue, whom he called his "joy spring". Tragically Clifford Brown died in a car crash at the age of 25, having had only four years in the limelight. Solos taken by Kevin, Paul and Hillary with Paul’s solo truly inspired by the style of Clifford’s trumpet playing.  Paul and Kevin completed the rendition with chase choruses on the main theme. The next number was “Desafinado”, (translated to English from Portuguese as ‘out of tune’) a Bossa nova composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with lyrics (in Portuguese) by Newton Mendonça.  The English language lyrics were written by Jon Hendricks and "Jessie Cavanaugh".  Another English lyric, more closely based on the original Portuguese lyric (but not a translation) was written by Gene Lees.  The version by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd (from the album Jazz Samba) was a major hit in 1962.  Kevin and Hillary took solos, returning to the main theme to finish.                                  

During the interval, I asked Paul to play something in the style of Bix Beiderbecke, which he is adept at doing.  The compromise was the tune “Stardust”, a popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish.  Not recorded by Bix, to my knowledge, but composed by his great friend Hoagy Carmichael.  For me this was the highlight of the evening, a masterful rendition by Paul with a complementary solo from Hillary.  Excellent stuff!   A vocal from Hillary followed with, ”Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” a song with music by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II, from the 1928 operetta The New Moon.  The original song composed as a tango, features a dance as accompaniment to the choral reprise, but many versions of the song have changed the tempo completely and there are many jazz renditions.  Solos taken by Paul and Kevin, with Hillary singing the final chorus accompanied by them. This was followed by a tribute to ‘Bubber’ Miley.  James Wesley "Bubber" Miley, was an American early jazz trumpet and cornet player, specialising in the use of the, sink plunger, mute. Miley's talent and unique style were soon noticed in the New York's jazz scene by Duke Ellington among others, whose band he featured in between 1923 & 1929.  Unfortunately alcohol abuse shortened both his career and his life in a similar way to that of Bix Beiderbecke.  The song chosen was “Do Nothing ‘til You Hear From Me”, music by Duke Ellington and lyrics by Bob Russell originated as a 1940 instrumental designed to highlight the playing of Ellington's lead trumpeter at that time, Cootie Williams.  So, Paul was to transpose the muted trumpet talents of “Bubber” Miley, into a song that was composed several years later, to highlight the talents of Cootie Williams!  Paul led off, using the mute to great effect.  Kevin played the middle eight bars and then improvised on the theme before handing back to Paul for more improvisation using the mute.  Hillary played a really effective ‘minimalist’ solo, followed by solos by Ted and KevinPaul finished the piece using the plunger mute to great effect and ending in a really “cheeky” style.                                      

Kevin announced the next number, “Speak Low”, a popular song composed by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash and introduced by Mary Martin and Kenny Baker in the 1943 Broadway musical One Touch of Venus with the tune becoming a jazz standard widely recorded. Paul and Kevin led off and Kevin played the middle eight bars, followed by the main theme.  Paul took an effective solo that I could only describe as WoW!  Kevin and Hillary took solos and the group returned to the main theme to finish.

Paul wound up the proceedings with tributes all round, before announcing the final number “Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid”Sid Torin, born Sidney Tarnopol, known professionally as "Symphony Sid", was a long-time jazz disc jockey in the United States with many critics crediting him with introducing bebop to the mass audience.  Lester Young was the original composer of the tribute theme, and lyrics were added later.  I had no knowledge of the title, or the story behind it when announced by Paul, but when they started playing, I instantly recognised the music from way back, probably from my brother’s record collection. After the familiar main riff, all members of the ensemble took solos; Paul’s solo included effective drum breaks from Dave as they returned to the main riff to finish and wind up the evening’s music.            

Dave Grant thanked the audience for their loyalty to the club, and thanked the guest musicians Paul and Kevin, not forgetting Hillary Cameron and Ted Simkins for their support in providing yet another wonderful evening of great jazz music.                                                                             

John Constable

Eds Comments

I was pleased with my choice of blending the classical jazz trumpet of Paul with the soulful saxophone playing of Kevin who had never previously met and which the audience were not sure to believe. Well for the record folks not only had they not met but had not heard each other play!

It was also a joy to note that the audience numbers increased with quite a few new faces turning up, and hopefully it will continue in that direction.

 

Paul Higgs, trumpet

     

 

 

Photographs courtesy  Brian Leith

Kevin Mcmahon, ten. sax.

     

 

 

 

JULY

 

Review - Tuesday 25th July 2017.
This session is dedicated as ever, to swing music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, ably reprised by this month’s guests and assisted by the resident trio.
Dave Grant Introduced the resident trio and ‘kicked off’ the evening in Bossa style, with Hillary playing, “One Note Samba”; (Samba de Uma Nota Só) a song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Newton Mendonça. The English lyrics were written by Jobim. For the purists: - The song title refers to the main melody line, which at first consists of a long series of notes of a single tone (typically D, as played in the key of G) played over a descending chord progression in a Bossa nova rhythm. The first eight measures consist of D, followed by four measures of G, and then four measures of D. This is followed by eight measures of a more conventional, scalar melody line.
Dave introduced the first of this month’s guests, Mike Sagrott guitar, who introduced the first number, ”Gone With The Wind”, a popular song written by Allie Wrubel, lyrics by Herb Magidson. The song published in 1937 and date of song's release might suggest an association with the 1936, Margaret Mitchell novel Gone with the Wind, though the lyrics have no obvious connection to the subject matter of the novel. Mike led, and solos were taken by Hilary and Ted followed by chase choruses by Mike and Hilary.
Dave introduced the second guest, a regular performer at the club: - Sharon Scott, vocals, who introduced her first number "From This Moment On", a 1950 popular song written by Cole Porter, for his musical Out of This World. It was dropped from that show, but included in MGM's 1953 (3D) film Kiss Me Kate, and in the 1999 Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate. Mike took an interesting solo.
Sharon changed the rhythm to a Samba for her next song, ”On Green Dolphin Street” (originally entitled "Green Dolphin Street"), a 1947 popular song ,composed by Bronisław Kaper lyrics by Ned Washington. The song, composed for the film Green Dolphin Street, based on a 1944 novel of the same name by Elizabeth Goudge), became a jazz standard when recorded by Miles Davis in 1958. Sharon sung the song deftly, with solos were by Mike and Hilary.
Sharon’s next number “But Beautiful" is a popular song, with music written by Jimmy Van Heusen, and lyrics by Johnny Burke. The song was published in 1947 and is one of five songs written by Burke and Van Heusen featured in the Paramount Pictures movie Road to Rio (1947), it was introduced by Bing Crosby and is also associated with his leading lady Dorothy Lamour. The song was a hit in 1948 for Frank Sinatra. It is usually performed as a ballad. Sharon and Mike took the first verse without the trio. Hilary joined in, and continued with a plaintiff solo. Sharon continued with the song, with Mike improvising behind the vocal, and Ted bowing the double bass.
Now it was Sharon’s turn to give a Bossa treatment to “It Might As Well Be Spring”, a song from the 1945 film, State Fair, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. State Fair was the only original film score by Rodgers and Hammerstein. In the film the song was sung by Jeanne Crain, but was dubbed by Louanne Hogan. Dick Haymes, made the first hit recording of the song. Sharon sung the song with ‘Spring Fever’ gusto and rousing solos were provided by Mike and Hilary.
Next came the song, “Mr. Ugly”, written by Norman Mapp and first released by Aretha Franklin in 1963. Randy Crawford & Joe Sample covered it with success in 2006. Sharon handled the poignant lyrics masterfully.
Time for Sharon to take a rest and hand over to Mike and the trio for an instrumental rendition of "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)", a popular song written by Brooks Bowman, an undergraduate of Princeton University, for the 1934 production of the Princeton Triangle Club's production of “Stags at Bay”. It became a hallmark of the Princeton ‘Tigertones’, one of the university's all-male a cappella groups. Mike led off before handing over to Hillary for a solo that nearly reverted to ‘Tangerine’ before handing back to Mike for a solo. Ted took a solo, then Mike and Hilary concluded the number with chase choruses interspersed with drum breaks from Dave.
Time for a Blues, namely “Sugar” the title track from an acclaimed album by jazz saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, featuring performances by Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Ron Carter, and Billy Kaye. Mike led off before handing over to Hillary for a solo. The ensemble concluded with the main theme.
Sharon returned to sing "Just One of Those Things", written by Cole Porter. Porter had completed the score for Jubilee earlier in the spring of 1935, but In September, Jubilee's librettist, Moss Hart, mentioned that the play's second act required an additional song, so Porter hurriedly completed "Just One of Those Things". The original lyric lacked an adjective for the line "a trip to the moon on gossamer wings": "gossamer" was suggested by his friend, Ed Tauch. Sharon sung the song masterfully, and Mike provided an equally masterful solo.
"Just One of Those Things" concluded the first set and the musicians took a well earned break for refreshments and drawing of the raffle.
After the interval, Mike and the trio played “Days of Wine and Roses”. The music, written by Henry Mancini, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, is from a 1962 drama film directed by Blake Edwards, with screenplay by JP Miller. The film depicts the sad downward spiral of two average Americans (played by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick), who succumb to alcoholism and attempt to deal with their problems. Mike led off with this very familiar theme and Ted took a thoughtful solo.
Sharon returned, to sing "’Deed I Do", a 1926 jazz standard composed by Fred Rose with lyrics by Walter Hirsch. It was introduced by vaudeville performer S. L. Stambaugh and popularized by Ben Bernie's recording. It was recorded by influential clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman as his debut recording in December 1926 with Ben Pollack and His Californians. Ruth Etting's rendition of the song became a top ten hit in 1927 as did the version by Johnny Marvin. Mike led off with a ‘break’ of the familiar theme “Undecided” before improvising and then handing over to Hillary and Ted for solos.
Sharon followed up with another very popular song; “Someone to watch Over Me”, composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, from the musical Oh, Kay! (1926), where it was introduced by Gertrude Lawrence. Gershwin originally approached the song as an up-tempo jazz tune, but his brother Ira, suggested that it might work much better as a ballad, and George ultimately agreed. Sharon sang the whole of the introductory ‘verse’ followed by the main theme, so well, it was a pleasure to hear. Hillary took an equally masterful solo before handing back to Sharon to complete the lyrics.
The next number was "How High the Moon" a jazz standard with lyrics by Nancy Hamilton and music by Morgan Lewis. It was first featured in the 1940 Broadway revue Two for the Show, where it was sung by Alfred Drake and Frances Comstock. In Two for the Show, this song was a rare, serious moment, in an otherwise humorous revue. Sharon sang the song with a Samba rhythm. Mike and Hilary took solos before Sharon concluded with a final verse of the song.
This was followed by a wonderful version off "Summertime", an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy ,on which the opera was based. The song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin. It became a much recorded jazz standard, described as "without doubt, one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote. Sharon sang the song with great feeling and Hillary complemented this with an excellent minimalist solo, rich in subtle minor chords.
Sharon’s next song, "Mean to Me" is a popular song published in 1929, with music by Fred E. Ahlert and lyrics by Roy Turk. The song is a popular standard, recorded by many artists. The first singer to record the song was Annette Hanshaw in 1929. Ruth Etting also recorded the song in 1929. Sharon sang the first verse then solos were taken by Hilary, Mike and Ted with drum breaks from Dave. Sharon sang the final verse to complete the song.
The next song “Meet me Where They Play The Blues” was written by Sammy Gallop and Steve Allen and made popular by Jack Teagarden. Sharon sang the first two verses in fine traditional blues style, followed by a very ‘bluesy’ solo from Mike. Sharon sang the last two verses to finish in fine blues style.
Sharon followed up with another very popular song "Misty", a jazz standard written in 1954 by the pianist Erroll Garner. Originally composed as an instrumental following the traditional 32-bar format, and first recorded for Garner's 1955 album Contrasts, the tune was later paired with lyrics by Johnny Burke, and became the signature song of Johnny Mathis, appearing on his 1959 album, Heavenly. Sharon sang the song with the emotion it deserved. Mike and Hilary took supporting solos.
Sharon took a well earned rest, and handed over to Mike and the trio to play “Triste” (meaning "Sad" in English). It is a Bossa nova song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, who also wrote lyrics for it in both English and Portuguese. The first recording of this lovely melody, was an instrumental version by Jobim for his 1967 album, Wave. Sinatra recorded it with Jobim two years later on the sessions for their planned second album, SinatraJobim, which was ultimately released as Side A of Sinatra & Company. Mike and Hilary, obviously ‘at home’ with this popular melody, took enjoyable solos.
The ensemble then played "Alright OK You Win", as an instrumental. The song was written by Peggy Lee and features on her 1959 album, Things Are Swingin’. Mike took the first solo follo & resident triowed by Hilary, who gave the melody a very jazzy ‘boogie woogie’ treatment. Solos by Ted and Dave followed.
Sharon returned, to sing the final song of the evening; appropriately entitled "That’s All”. This a 1952 song written by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes. It has been covered by many jazz and blues artists. The first recording, by Nat King Cole in 1953, achieved some popularity, but It was Bobby Darin’s version in his 1959 album, That's All, that introduced the song to a wider audience. Sharon sang the song plaintively and Mike took a final solo, to sadly, bring the evening’s swinging entertainment to a close.
Dave Grant thanked the audience for their loyalty to the club, and thanked the guest musicians Sharon Scott and Mike Sagrott, paying particular tribute to Sharon Scott, who sang her heart out with so many evocative songs, but not forgetting Hillary Cameron and Ted Simkins for their support in providing yet another wonderful evening of great jazz music.
John Constable

 

Mike Sagrott, guitar

      

     

Photographs courtesy  Brian Leith

Sharon Scott, vocals

       

 

JUNE

 

Review : Tuesday, 27th June, 2017
The evening was dedicated to swing music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, ably reprised by this month’s guests and assisted by the resident trio of Hilary Cameron, keyboard &vocals, Ted Simkins, skeleton’ bass and Dave Grant, drums/leader. Dave introduced the trio and ‘kicked off’ the evening in a bossa style, with Hillary playing, appropriately for an extremely wet evening, “Here’s That Rainy Day”; a popular song published in 1953, written by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke. It was introduced by Dolores Gray in the Broadway musical Carnival in Flanders but has since been sung most notably by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, and also a favourite of jazz instrumentalists too.

Dave then introduced this month’s guests, Al Nicholls tenor sax. & Jeff Williams, trombone. Jeff introduced the first number, ”There is No Greater Love”, a 1936 jazz standard composed by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Marty Symes. The song is often played as a ballad, notably by Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole. Medium-tempo swing renditions when played by a group have also been recorded. (There are several versions of the song on You Tube). Jeff lead off with Al providing counterpoint themes and then they each played alternate choruses. The style very reminiscent of the Vic Dickenson and Buck Clayton mainstream jam sessions with Hilary and Ted taking interesting solos. Jeff introduced the next number ”Blue Skies”, (by now it was now dark outside, as well as very wet). Composed in 1926 by Irving Berlin, it was a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy. Whilst the show had limited success, "Blue Skies" was an instant success with audiences. Jeff lead off with the melody, with Al providing a supporting counterpoint and then Al took over the lead with a wonderfully improvised, close to the melody, solo. This was followed by solos by Jeff and Hilary and culminated with chase choruses from Jeff and Al interspersed with drum breaks from Dave, before the ensemble returned to the main theme to finish. The next number 'Deed I Do" a 1926 jazz standard composed by Fred Rose ,lyrics by Walter Hirsch, was recorded by Benny Goodman as his debut recording in December 1926 with Ben Pollack and His Californians. Once more Jeff lead off, with Al providing a counterpoint followed by a very confident solo by Hillary. Roles were then reversed with Al soloing and Jeff providing the counterpoint, unaccompanied by the trio they improvised together, until re-joined by the trio, they returned to the main melody to finish. Time for a trombone solo from Jeff; Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”. Jeff explained he was going to use a hand held plunger mute to produce a ’wah-wah’ sound effect, but to get the sound he preferred, he was going to use a ‘Pixie’ mute in conjunction with the plunger mute. He demonstrated the different sounds that could be produced, and proceeded to play a masterful rendition of the Ellington melody, using the mutes to great effect. Hilary took a beautifully improvised solo and she seemed very much at ease with this style of mainstream jazz, possibly because of her previous work (some on record) with the guest musicians.
Composed as an instrumental by Ellington in 1935, "In a Sentimental Mood" had lyrics written later by Manny Kurtz. Ella Fitzgerald made a notable recording and for the purists: "In a Sentimental Mood" makes use of a musical technique called contrapuntal or chromatic embellishment of static harmony (gulp). This is also sometimes referred to as a line cliché. To follow, the ensemble played the Billy Strayhorn (Basie signature tune) classic, “Take the ‘A’ Train”. Hilary lead off with the familiar piano intro to the main theme, and this was followed by a swinging solo from Al that built to a crescendo. Jeff took over with an equally interesting variation on the theme before handing over to Hilary for an equally masterful solo before the ensemble returned to the main theme, to include drum and piano breaks from Dave and Hilary before finishing. “ Take the 'A' Train" was composed in 1939, after Ellington offered Strayhorn a job and gave him money to travel from Pittsburgh to New York City. Ellington wrote directions for Strayhorn to get to his house by subway; directions that began, "Take the A Train". This referred to the then-new ‘A’ subway service that runs through New York City, up into Harlem and northern Manhattan.
That concluded the first set as musicians took a break for refreshments and drawing of the raffle.

 

The second set began as Dave announced that a request for Sharon Scott to sing, had been made by two ladies in the bar from the Napa Valley in California. Sharon, ever willing to oblige, took to the stand and sang the popular Gershwin brother’s song, "'S Wonderful", with the trio. The song was introduced in the Broadway musical Funny Face (1927) by Adele Astaire and Allen Kearns. Sharon followed up with another popular song; “Taking a Chance On Love”, composed in 1940 by Vernon Duke with lyrics by John La Touche and Ted Fetter. It was introduced in the 1940 show Cabin in the Sky, a ground-breaking Broadway musical with an all black cast, where it was performed by Ethel Waters and Dooley Wilson. Much applause ensued for the unexpected bonus from Sharon. The guest musicians Al and Jeff returned to perform a Freddie Green composition; “Corner Pocket” with Hillary providing a piano intro and everyone taking a solo, culminating in a three time ending. The next number was Duke Ellington’s classic jazz standard, “In My Solitude”. Al took a melodic swinging solo early in the proceedings, and this was followed by a wonderful solo by Hilary.
Jeff used his mute combination to great effect, to provide an emotional solo, before the ensemble returned to the main theme to finish.
Along came Hilary’s turn to provide a vocal, and the song selected, “Moondance”, written in 1970 by Northern Irish singer-songwriter, Van Morrison, and is the title track on his album Moondance. Hilary sang the familiar lyrics, and Jeff and Al taking solos before handing back to Hilary for the vocals, and some ‘scat’ singing too. Not strictly ‘swing’ music, but no matter, well performed by all. The ensemble then played "Undecided", a popular song written in 1938 by Sid Robin and Charlie Shavers, recorded in 1939 by Chick Webb and his Orchestra, with the vocal by Ella Fitzgerald. Following the main theme, came swinging solos from Jeff and Al and Hilary. Then followed more swinging chase choruses from Al and Jeff before returning to the main theme to finish. It was now Al’s turn to solo, and he chose "Embraceable You", a popular jazz song written by the Gershwin brothers that was included in the 1930 Broadway musical Girl Crazy and performed by Ginger Rogers in a routine choreographed by Fred Astaire. Al’s treatment of this wonderful melody was a joy, with really good support from Hilary, and really thoughtful solos from both her and Ted. Dave’s light touch drumming was spot on too. The next number was “Give Me The Simple Life”, a 1945 song, with music by Rube Bloom and lyrics by Harry Ruby. It was used in the 1946 film Wake Up and Dream. Following the main theme, Jeff, Al and Hilary took improvised solos before retuning to the theme to finish.
For the penultimate number, the musicians decided on “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be”, (not the Lionel Bart musical song), but a 1942 jazz standard with music by Mercer Ellington (the Duke’s son) and lyrics by Ted Persons. After the main riff, Jeff took a solo using his mutes to great effect. Al, Hilary and Ted took solos, (Hilary’s was particularly notable), before a break where Al and Jeff (unaccompanied by the trio) improvised together, until finally, re-joined by the trio, they returned to the main riff to finish.

As the evening came to the close, the musicians decided “Sweet Georgia Brown” .would be an appropriate finale. This really is a swinging number, and the group did not fail to do it justice. Jeff started off with the melody and Al improvised a really swinging solo, followed by Hilary. Several chase choruses from Al, Jeff and Hilary with drum breaks from Dave ensued, and finally the ensemble returned to the melody to end the number, that sadly brought the evening’s entertainment to a close. The jazz standard “Sweet Georgia Brown” was composed in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard. Although not the accredited lyricist, Ben Bernie came up with the concept for the song's lyrics after learning that Dr. George Thaddeus Brown, a longtime member of the State House of Representatives for Georgia, told Ben Bernie that subsequent to the birth of Dr. Brown's daughter (August 11, 1911), the Georgia General Assembly had issued a declaration that she was to be named ‘Georgia’, after the State. This is referenced within the song's lyric: "Georgia claimed her, Georgia named her, “Sweet Georgia Brown”.

Dave Grant thanked the audience for turning out on such an unpleasant wet evening also thanking guests, Al Nicholls and Jeff Williams, for providing some really great jazz, not forgetting Hilary Cameron and Ted Simkins in providing yet another wonderful evening of great jazz music.

Footnote: - I particularly enjoyed the jazz music of this session. Entitled ‘That Free Flow Swing Thing’ it certainly did! Improvisation always close to the melody line and free of the unnecessary many notes associated with some jazz musician’s desire to swamp the melody with over enthusiastic notes.                      

I look forward to many more like this.
John C.

 

Al Nicholls & Jeff Williams & Resident Trio

 

Al Nicholls, tenor

Photographs courtesy  Brian Leith

Al Nicholls , tenor & Jeff Williams, trombone

blowing a storm

 

MAY

 

Review : Tuesday, 30th May, 2017

The gig this month was dedicated to guitar maestros of yesteryear, ably brought back to life (rhetorically) by our guests, Andy Watson & Simon Hurley accompanied by the resident trio: - Hillary Cameron (keyboard &vocals), (The man in the hat), Ted Simkins, (‘Skeleton’ Bass), John Withers, deputising for Dave Grant, (drums/leader) who along with Joyce were holidaying in Portugal. The Resident Trio, kicked off the evening with Hillary playing “Tangerine”  The tune written by Victor Schertzinger, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, published in 1941 became a jazz standard and featured in the 1942 movie, “The Fleet’s In” and was directed by Schertzinger, just before his death.  There are over a hundred recordings of "Tangerine", by a host of notable artists and was featured as background music in the films “Double Indemnity” (1944), and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).

In the absence of Dave, Richard introduced the guests, guitar duo, Andy Watson & Simon Hurley. Andy began with a solo introduction to a blues, originally inspired by the album ”Big Blues”, featuring  *Jim Hall (guitar) and Art Farmer (flugelhorn) recorded in 1978 and joined with solos taken by Hillary and Ted.  Chase choruses with drum breaks from John brought the performance to a lively conclusion.

The next number, Toots Thieleman’s, Jazz Waltz, "Bluesette", led by Simon  was composed by Thieleman who performed on harmonica, whilst playing the guitar and whistling and has since become a jazz standard.   (it can be viewed on You Tube).  Andy provided guitar counterpoint, and interesting solos were provided by Hillary and TedAndy and Simon, improvised together, before returning to the melody and being joined by the trio.  Without announcing the title, Andy and Simon launched into a long introduction with many musical hints relating to the melody to follow: - “Stella By Starlight”,  originally composed by Victor Young for the soundtrack of the 1944 film, The Uninvited, with Ned Washington writing the lyrics for it in 1946.  Andy informed us that this particular arrangement was inspired by the style of Irish jazz guitarist Louis Stewart who in 1968 performed at the Montreux International Jazz Festival receiving the 'Outstanding European Soloist' award.  Offered a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music, he turned it down to join Benny Goodman's band in 1970, recording (as a leader) in 1976, with the album, “Louis the First”. [His sidemen co-incidentally included one Spike Robinson’ (tenor sax) who ran a Jazz Club in Brentwood in the ‘90’s and dedicated to his memory  there are several, “Spike’s Place”, jazz clubs in Essex & Kent.] In the late 1970s Louis Stewart began working with George Shearing, touring America, Brazil and European festivals, recording eight albums.  In a review of Stewart's 1995 album Overdrive,  All Music said that "Louis Stewart is one of the all-time greats, obvious from the first notes he plays, on any occasion".  Unfortunately, Louis Stewart was lost to ‘live’ jazz in 2016.

Next came a tribute to jazz guitarist Pat Martino (born Pat Azzara), with a Henry Mancini composition “Days of Wine & Roses”, the theme from the 1962 sad drama film of the same name.  The song is on Pat Martino’s (1976) album, “EXIT” along with some other excellent tracks. (The full album is also on You Tube).  There are also guitar tutorials by Martino who tours worldwide and awarded 2004 Guitar Player of the Year, Down Beat magazine's 2004 Reader's Poll. Simon then introduced a Kenny Burrell  blues theme number “Midnight Blue” (a contemporary of Charlie Christian), from his 1963 album of the same name and is recognised as one of Burrell's best-known works for Blue Note. Simon said the opening chords are reminiscent of the popular song “Moondance”. (Midnight Blue is  on You Tube)Ted provided a thoughtful solo that concluded the first set as the musicians took a break for drinks, and the raffle was drawn.                                              

The second set continued led by the “Duo” with a “Wes” Montgomery blues, “The Thumb” (one of the riffs in which reminded me of Neal Hefti’s, “Splanky”).  John Leslie (“Wes”) Montgomery is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others.  Montgomery was known for his unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb which granted him a distinctive sound. The ensemble had a great time with this blues with piano breaks from Hillary and drum breaks by John and a wonderful solo by Ted.              The next number was a joint composition by Charlie Christian, with Benny Goodman, namely “Seven Come Eleven”.  Christian was an important early performer on the electric guitar, and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz.  He gained national exposure as a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra from August 1939 to June 1941. His single-string technique, combined with amplification, helped bring the guitar out of the rhythm section and into the forefront as a solo instrument.  In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the category Early Influence. The ensemble had much fun with this up tempo number, with solos by Ted and Hillary and drum breaks from John.  (I missed the Benny Goodman clarinet).

Andy paid tribute to the trio: - John Withers, Hillary Cameron and Ted Simkins in accompanying our guests, who having not previously met before along with colleague Simon Hurley played superbly. The next number “Have You Met Miss Jones”, was dedicated to father and son American jazz guitarists, Jimmy and Doug Raney.  In 1977, they formed a father and son duo and toured Europe together with Doug Raney eventually moving to Copenhagen and  Andy confessed he would have loved to have had guitar lessons from Doug Raney in Copenhagen.  Jimmy and Doug Raney recorded several albums together with “Have You met Miss Jones” on the 1979 album “Duets”  (On You Tube too).  A very similar sound to how Andy and Simon played it. A tribute to guitarist Grant Green followed who was influenced by the playing of Charlie Christian and Jimmy Raney, but interestingly also by saxophonists Charlie Parker and Lester Young.  He first played boogie-woogie before moving on to jazz, but, it is quoted, “The greatest "pure" jazz album Green ever made, perhaps the greatest album period, may be “Idle Moments”, recorded over two sessions in November, 1963 where  It offers, in its dreamlike title track written by pianist Duke Pearson, 14:52 minutes of the most serene instrumental romancing ever put on disc”.  Praise indeed; as Andy and Simon assisted by the trio endeavoured to recapture the magic. (“Idle Moments” is on You Tube). To conclude the evening’s music was a familiar Samba, “Blue Bossa”, a tribute to Louis Stewart and recorded by both Louis Stewart and Pat Martino of whom Louis was a great fan.

Richard Marson thanked this month’s guests Andy Watson and Simon Hurley, and also John Withers for standing in for Dave Grant in the resident trio, not forgetting Hillary Cameron and Ted Simkins for another wonderful and unusual evening of great guitar jazz before urging those present to bring some friends along to our next gig on 27th June, 2017 featuring Al Nicholls and Jeff Williams and a finally with a safe journey home.

Footnote: - The jazz music on this performance was not what you might call “easy listening” and concentration was needed to appreciate the many complicated jazz guitar, chord changes and counterpoint themes.  I spoke to Andy Watson after the performance, mainly to ask if he had had a chance to hear (7 string) guitarist Howard Alden, during his recent visit to the U.K. (‘Spike’s’ Place).  He confessed he hadn’t. However he did to say that “That both He and Simon were most impressed, by the interest, and enthusiastic appreciation of the music, shown by this particular club; as many audiences were not always this appreciative or attentive”……….

John Constable

Andy Watson & Simon Hurley, guitars

Photographs courtesy  Brian Leith

 

Andy Watson & Simon Hurley, guitars

 

 

APRIL

 

Review: Tuesday, 25th April, 2017

As this month’s title suggests, this gig was dedicated to prominent ladies of the keyboard, some of whom were also prominent vocalists aided and abetted by the resident Dave Grant trio, Hilary Cameron, keys & vocals, the man in The Hat, Ted Simkins, skeleton bass and Dave Grant drums who gave the Club’s congratulations to Ted achieving 90 years of age and still playing exceptional jazz.

The Resident Trio, kicked off the evening with Hillary playing “On Green Dolphin Street” (originally entitled "Green Dolphin Street"), composed in 1947 by Bronisław Kaper with lyrics by Ned Washington. It was composed for the film Green Dolphin Street (based on a 1944 novel of the same name by Elizabeth Goudge).  It became a jazz standard after being recorded by Miles Davis in 1958.

Hillary then introduced the first of this month’s guests: - Sandra Lambert (‘Roland’ keyboard).

Sandra gave us a very confident rendition ofDay By Day.  Not  the hymn, nor the song from Godspell, but the popular song with music by Axel Stordahl and Paul Weston, and lyrics by Sammy Cahn.  The Diva connection here is appropriately, Doris Day, from her album “Day By Day”.  Sandra continued with “Speak Low”, a 1943 popular song composed by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Ogden Nash and now a widely recorded jazz standard.  Our Diva artist here is Billie Holiday.  Sandra concluded her first spot with (an unaccompanied) “Avalon”, a popular song written in 1920 by Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva and Vincent Rose referencing Avalon, California.  Jolson was one of the first artists to capitalise on his popularity, cutting in on composer credits and royalties.  Most likely, Vincent Rose deserves the real credit for the music.  The Diva here is pianist, Marian McPartland, this version being inspired by a 1975 club concert movie called “At the Top” a performance from Marian and her cornetist husband.      Sandra then introduced our second guest performer: - Jenny Carr (‘Nord’ keyboard).

Jenny played a Herbie Hancock composition “Driftin’”.  No Diva here but Jenny played in an easy melodic jazz style with a feminine touch, and included some thoughtful trio work too.  Jenny followed this with the rather solemn ballad “Sandino”.  Dave augmented the solemnity of the piece with some really effective drumming.  Although not announced by Jenny, I am assuming the ballad (composed by Charlie Haden) was written as a tribute to Augusto Sandino the Nicaraguan revolutionary, revered in Nicaragua as a “national hero”, for leading a rebellion against the U.S. military occupation of that country.  There is a full length version of “Sandino” by Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra, on You Tube.  It is well worth a listen.  Jenny finished her spot with “Peel me a Grape”, composed by Dave Frishberg.  You can take your pick of the Diva’s here, for it was first released by Anita O’Day in 1962.  Dusty Springfield recorded it, and more recently Diana Krall added it to her repertoire.  Jenny favoured Blossom Dearie’s version, but she couldn’t quite imitate the child like voice.

Hillary returned to her keyboard to play and sing “Fly Me To The Moon”.  Composed in 1954 by Bart Howard, it became a hit when Peggy Lee sang it on the Ed Sullivan show in 1960, and there is your Diva connection.  Hillary has a strong voice with a good jazz feel and she included some “scat” too. Ted played a thoughtful supporting solo.  Hillary continued in jazz waltz vein with the George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” number, “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, Hillary making full use of the sarcasm in the lyrics.  Hillary concluded the first set by playing an emotional ”Willow Weep for Me”, inspired by a Mary Lou Williams recording..  This 1932 popular song was composed by Ann Ronell.  The song was recorded by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday. Break for a well earned rest, drinks and raffle.

The second set opened with all three keyboardists playing the Ellington/Strayhorn composition “Take the “A” Train, each taking turn with “chase” choruses of this popular tune, with drum and bass breaks by Dave and Ted.  The musicians were obviously enjoying themselves, as were the audience.

Sandra  then gave an ‘up tempo’ rendition of the Gershwin classic “But Not for Me” in Mary Lou Williams inspired style.  This was followed by a mesmerising Bossa Nova number “Estate” (Summer) composed by Bruno Martino.  (This was allegedly inspired by a Lynn Arriale recording, but I was unable to find it.)  I did find a very pleasing toe tapping Bossa Nova version on You Tube, sung by Irene Grandi.  (Estate [Ess-tart-a] is on Sandra’s CD).

Hillary returned to play and sing  “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”, written by Brooks Bowman

This was followed by “Pick Yourself Upcomposed in 1936 by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. It has a verse and a chorus, as well as a third section, rarely heard.  Nice solo by Ted in East of the Sun.  Both songs have been recorded by Diana Krall.

Jenny returned to play and sing “God Bless the Child written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr. in 1939, and  followed this with a long (semi-classical) intro to “Waltzing Matilda” as a tribute to N.Z. born, Judy Bailey who studied music in the U.K., moved to OZ in the 1960’s and became an Aussie legend with Jenny gaving the tune special treatment which caused a lot of amusement.

The three ladies then took to their respective keyboards, to have great fun with chase choruses of the Ellington classic, “C Jam Blues”.  They followed that, in a similar vein, Sandra leading off with “Days of Wine & Roses”, the Henry Mancini theme from the 1962 sad drama film of the same name.

The evening concluded with a vocal from HillaryThe Boy from Ipanema” with keyboard accompanist from Sandra and Jenny.  The music was from the pen of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and is probably his best known work.  The English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel.  The 1964 single featuring Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz became an international hit.  Notable recordings are by Peggy Lee (1964), Ella Fitzgerald and The Supremes (1965), and Shirley Bassey (1966).  Petula Clark sang it in the Muppet Show. Ipanema is a fashionable seaside resort located to the south region of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Hillary thanked the guest artists, and the members of the audience for their indulgence.  Dave Grant thanked the lovely ladies for their artistry and congratulated Ted Simkins on reaching his 90th birthday relatively unscathed.

Footnote: - I had had my doubts about the appeal of this gig’s format, which was borne out by the disappointing audience attendance.  A great shame, for this was a wonderful evening of keyboard jazz and notable vocals, with great variety and enjoyment for all, including the musicians who melded together as if they had been playing together for years, instead of for the first time.    

John Constable

 

Hilary and Sandra

 

The girls with Ted and Dave

 

 

Photographs courtesy  Brian Leith

Hilary, Sandra and Jenny

 

MARCH

Review : Tuesday, 28th March, 2017
The resident trio, kicked off the evening with Hillary playing “Watch What Happens” (composer Michel Legrand (Big Mick), a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist. He is best known for his often haunting, jazz-tinged film music. (I only knew this as an instrumental; but check out Frank Sinatra’s version on You Tube). Dave Grant then introduced this month’s guest: - Andrew Linham (Alto Saxophone).
Andrew outlined the evening’s musical structure: - the first set to be dedicated to the music of Paul Desmond, and the second set, to that of Lee Konitz. Admitting that the jokes would not get any better (they didn’t), and backed ably by the trio, Andrew played a pleasing rendition of “Out of Nowhere”. Originally a popular song, composed by Johnny Green, with lyrics by Edward Heyman, but has since become a jazz standard. Bing Crosby recorded it in 1931 and it became his first number one hit as a solo artist. In 1937, tenor saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins' instrumental version with Benny Carter and Django Reinhardt was so intimidating that no tenor saxophone player tried the tune until several years later. Brave stuff Andy. (Interestingly, the song's harmonic progression was used in the ‘Star Trek’ theme and several other songs).
Andrew then introduced the mystery guest: - Miguel Gorodi (Trumpet). (Check him out via Google).
Le tout ensemble then played “Imagination” inspired by the Paul Desmond album of the same name."Imagination" is a popular song, with music written by Jimmy Van Heusen (when he was a teenager, but with different words). When he later played the tune for Johnny Burke (without the lyrics), Burke wrote the current "Imagination" lyrics. First published in 1940,.the two best-selling versions were recorded by the orchestras of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.
With seasonal disregard, the group continued (Miguel leading off), with “Autumn Leaves”. This was inspired by the Paul Desmond/Chet Baker version (but played in a different key?). Andrew and Miguel playing some great chase choruses intermingled with drum breaks from Dave.
Andrew introduced the next number “Alice in Wonderland”, by way of a ’tongue in cheek’ tribute to his girlfriend, Alice. This is a waltz composed by Sammy Fain & Bob Hilliard for the Walt Disney animated film of the same name. The Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded the album Dave Digs Disney, featuring jazz renditions of familiar songs from several Disney animated films. (No guesses for why this particular track was chosen then!). This was followed appropriately by “Like someone in love”, a popular song composed in 1944 by Jimmy Van Heusen, with lyrics by Johnny Burke and becoming a jazz standard.
If a tribute to Paul Desmond was to be authentic it had to be done; and so “Take Five” was the next number. Often attributed to Dave Brubeck, it was actually composed by Paul Desmond and originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet for the 1959 album Time Out. Two years later it became the biggest-selling jazz single ever. It is written in 5/4 time, (five beats to the bar), an unusual challenge for western musicians. Nevertheless, with Miguel adding supporting trumpet riffs and the trio doing justice to the unusual rhythm, the overall effect was not disappointing. Andrew makes a remarkable approximation to the style of Paul Desmond. Interestingly, right from the start, Paul Desmond used a very hard reed (No.4) in order to develop a strong embouchure and get that attacking tone to his alto sax. Quite a challenge to endure the initial aching jaw muscles, but just listen to the result!
The musicians took a well earned short break, during which the raffle was held.
The resident trio, kicked off the second set with Hillary playing a pleasing rendition of “Days of Wine and Roses” (composed by Henry Mancini for the film of the same name). Andrew and Miguel joined the trio to give us “All the Things You Are” in the Lee Konitz style; Miguel experimenting successfully in chase choruses with Andrew. Next was “Stella by Starlight” inspired (according to Andrew) by Lee Konitz at ‘Smalls’ New York. Smalls was a well known, New York (Greenwich Village) jazz venue, for mostly unknown or emerging jazz musicians. (I could not find any reference to Lee Konitz having recorded there).
“All of Me” inspired by the Lee Konitz album ‘Motion’ was the next number chosen. I use ‘inspired’ loosely because the album line-up was alto sax, bass and drums. Miguel lead off in a swinging ‘Armstrong’ vein, with Andrew sounding more like Earl Bostic than Lee Konitz. Above all it was fun, and more reminiscent of ‘trad’ than modern jazz, especially with Dave’s enthusiastic drum breaks.
“Let’s slow things down a bit”, said Andrew as he handed over to Miguel for a trumpet solo. “Darn That Dream” was the chosen number. Hillary played a very nice introduction, and later a thoughtful and melodic solo. Miguel played well, but it sounded very much like a tight ‘test piece’.
Andrew informed the audience of forthcoming attractions that he is organising or involved in. Locally, he is fronting a big band at the Belvedere club (Chichester Hotel, Rawreth) on April 19th.
Another really enjoyable evening of jazz music was concluded with a very modern jazz treatment of “Oleo” from the Lee Konitz album of the same name.
Dave thanked everyone for attending and invited applause for the guest musicians and the resident trio. The next session (dubbed ‘Ladies Night’) is on Tuesday 25th April and features the keyboard playing of our own Hillary Cameron, plus Sandra Lambert and Jenny Carr. (See program for more details).
Summing up it was another thoughtful and varied programme, ably supported, as always, by the trio.
The gig was again well supported, but not quite as many as on the opening night, in January.
Aspects for the future: - The seating layout was much better and background music is now provided in the intervals. The matter of spotlights requires some serious thought to avoid using the hall lighting when the musicians are playing. All in all, the venue continues to be having a positive effect for the Club
John Constable

Manuel Girodi, trumpet

 

Andy Linham - alto sax, Manuel Girodi and Trio

All photographs courtesy

Peter Henry Evans

Manuel Girodi, trumpet

FEBRUARY

Review: Tuesday, 28th February,2017
The resident trio, kicked off the evening with a popular song published in 1946 with music by Walter Gross and lyrics by Jack Lawrence namely “Tenderly”
Dave Grant then introduced this month’s guest,
Graham Pike, trumpet, flugelhorn, harmonica who selected his flugelhorn and backed ably by the trio, gave a thoughtful rendition of “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar HammersteinI from 1928 operetta The New Moon.
Switching to trumpet Graham played a Clark Terry composed favourite of his; “One Foot in the Gutter” and to show his versatility Graham then sang “I Thought About You”, taking a harmonica solo too. Back to his flugelhorn, Graham played a Freddie Hubbard composition; “Up Jumped Spring” referring jokily to the composer, Neil Hefti, as ‘a big bloke’, with Graham continuing with a muted trumpet rendition of “Late Date”.

The first set concluded with another vocal and haunting harmonica solo  Graham; “Comes Love” (Nothing Can Be Done); a song written by Sam Stept, Charles Tobias, Lew Brown and originally sung by Dianne Reeves, first recorded by the Harry James Orchestra on May 24, 1939.
Graham introduced the Second Set in a mystical vein in which he and the trio produced some weird sounds evocative of ‘space music’ with weird sounds that eventually ‘‘morphed’ into that haunting but captivating melody, “Little Sunflower”, another Freddie Hubbard composition. Club members may remember that a vocal version of this tune was deftly sung at the club in January, by Catherine Lima,.
Sharon Scott, (a regular performer at the club), was invited to sing. Sharon was in fine voice and sang three numbers; “I Love Being Here With You”, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”, finishing with a rousing “Route Sixty Six”
Graham then gave a beautiful harmonica rendering of “Nuages” (Clouds), the Django Rheinhart classic. as a tribute to the late great harmonica virtuoso, Toots Thielemans who passed away in recent months. This was followed by, “I Could Write a Book” and “Pretty Eyes”, a Horace Silver origin, with gravelly vocals by Graham, then switching to horns, Graham played “My Little Suede Shoes”, allegedly composed by Charlie Parker, (but not indicative of his style), followed by a Charles Mingus composition “Orange was the Colour of Her Dress” and then Blue Silk, a strange titled modern jazz melody typical of Mingus, with some enigmatic lyrics!. (There are several versions on You Tube). Graham then announced the next number, “My Secret Love”. “Ah yes”, said Dave, “By Doris Day”. “Not this time”, said Graham, as he launched into the melody.
Another really enjoyable evening of jazz music was concluded with Graham leading the trio in a rousing rendition of “Take the “A” Train”. Another thoughtful and varied programme, ably supported as always by the resident trio.
Once again a good turnout but with not quite as many people as on the opening night in January.
Aspects for thought should be to revise the seating layout and consider the matter of spotlights to avoid using the hall lighting and bring musicians out of the shadow
All in all, the venue is proving to be having a good effect for the Club.
John Constable

Sandra Scott, vocals

 

 

Graham Pike with resident trio

All photographs courtesy

Peter Henry Evans

Graham Pike, trumpet

 

JANUARY

Review -  Tuesday, 31st January, 2017

The resident trio, led by Hillary Cameron kicked off the evening with “Perdido” (composer Juan Tizol) followed by Dave Grant introducing the first guest of the evening, Paul Higgs, trumpet, who immediately asked the audience if they were familiar with the tune “Slow Boat to China” (composer Frank Lesser). Many, if not all, were, but Paul’s version was more upbeat, in fact, a veritable speedboat to China!
Dave Grant then introduced
Catherine Lima, vocals, the second guest of the evening.
I missed Catherine’s Belvedere Club appearance at the Chichester last February, (see it on You Tube) so I was taken aback at how good a jazz singer she is. Her first number was “Devil May Care” (composer Harry Warren). This was not as staccato as Diana Krall’s version and benefitted from it. To commend Catherine’s versatility this was followed by a Rodgers and Hammerstein composition “It Might as Well Be Spring” from the 1945 musical film, State Fair. Not really a jazz number, but beautifully sung anyway.
The next song by Catherine, “Born to be Blue” is a really ‘blue’ blues. A 1946 jazz standard sometimes attributed to composer David Braid but more often attributed to Mel Tormé and Robert Wells. The song was used in a film of the same name portraying the life of singer and trumpet player, Chet Baker. Catherine sang this with great feeling and Paul’s wa-wa mute came into play with great effect.
Catherine introduced the next number that is known as “Black Orpheus” or alternatively, “A day in the Life of a Fool”. Its actual title is “Manhã de Carnaval” “Morning of Carnival”. It is the most popular song by Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfá and lyricist Antônio Maria Araujo De Moraes (not Antonio Carlos Jobim)! and other familiar great songs (Samba de Orpheus), were featured in the 1959 film Black Orpheus, made in Brazil, by French director Marcel Camus. Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote several songs for the film (but not Manhã de Carnaval). Catherine sang “A day in the Life of a Fool”, English lyrics sung to the melody of Manhã de Carnaval, but not a translation of the original Portuguese lyrics. Nevertheless, a beautiful melody, and sung superbly
Catherine followed with “Blue Moon” (composer Richard Rogers) and followed that with a “Fats” Waller composition, “Squeeze Me”. Catherine closed the first set with the Cy Coleman composition, “The Best is Yet to Come”. It was difficult for me to believe that the magic of the first set could be surpassed, but I was willing to be proved wrong………..
2nd Set
Paul Higgs kicked of with a solo “St Louis Blues” (the jazzman's Hamlet), (composer W.C. Handy). Handy was dubbed ‘Father of the Blues’, and as well as composing other blues melodies (e.g. Memphis Blues), he wrote a book using ‘Father of the Blues’ as his title. Catherine rejoined the fray to sing “Little Sunflower”, (music composed by Freddie Hubbard, lyrics by Al Jarreau). This is a lovely somewhat haunting melody with some interesting chord changes. The lyrics are captivating too, and were beautifully sung by Catherine. Another Cy Colman composition “Witchcraft” followed, and after that a further venture into 1936 popular music with “Goody Goody”, (composed by Matty Malneck with lyrics by Johnny Mercer).
Paul Higgs then introduced his renowned novelty ‘musical instrument’, the Melodica. In spite of his undoubted prowess on the trumpet, Paul is invariably requested to perform wonders on this dubious school recorder, replacement. He referred to the recent sad death of actor Gorden Kaye best known for his role as René Artois in the T.V. series, ‘Allo, Allo’. So it was obviously appropriate to play the ‘Allo, Allo’ theme tune, written by series creator David Croft, and Roy Moore.The actual title of this French style (accordion) theme tune is “London Calling” with Carmen Silvera, playing René’s wife in the series, recording the full song version and released on an LP in the 1980s. Paul played this nostalgic theme tune so well that I detected a hush of appreciation at its conclusion, before the well deserved applause. Paul finished his excursion with a typically French jazz composition, “Flambé Montalbanaise” (composer Gus Viseur).
Catherine resumed the vocals with “Lover Man” (composer Roger Ramirez) and “Teach Me Tonight (composer Gene de Paul).This was followed by “A Night in Tunisia” (composer Dizzy Gillespie with lyrics unknown by me), sung by Catherine with Paul doing his Gillespie stuff, the introductory riff, solo and outro.
Catherine then told us of a schoolgirl crush that she had had on a really handsome boy, but never had the courage to declare it to him.This pre-amble was to announce the impending release of a her new album “Secrets and Lies” that features Paul, with one of the tracks being “The Lies of Handsome Men”
(composer Francesca Blumthal), which by way of a sampler she delivered superbly.
A really enjoyable evening was concluded with that very popular Burt Bacharach song, “Walk On By”.
Two excellent, musically proficient, guests performed a thoughtful and varied programme, ably supported by the resident trio; Dave Grant, Hillary Cameron and “The man in the hat”, Ted Simkins.
My thoughts on the initial gig at the new venue was it is not without ‘atmosphere’ but the absence of adequate (stage) lighting was evident casting shadows on the musicians. The bar area used by Club members uninterested in music, made their chatter intrusive at times, but the Brentwood Brewing ale was definitely a positive feature.

John Constable

Catherine Lima, vocals

 

The quintet of Paul, Dave, Ted, Catherine and Hilary

All photographs courtesy

Peter Henry Evans

Paul Higgs, trumpet


 

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