Zelda’s Jazz Room, February 2019 Jazz at the Lamb, February 2019

February Jazz Notes

Hello everyone – here it is, the email you’ve been waiting for all January!

My “office” is two floors up (in a spare bedroom) and I’m looking out at bright sunshine and fairly icy snow – beautiful but quite slippery underfoot.

January’s Jazz was excellent. The Jazz Bandits excelled themselves. Trumpeter Allen Beechey was on terrific form, the regulars were clearly enjoying themselves and the two relative newcomers, Rob Pearce (trombone) and Tim Wake (banjo) fitted in perfectly. Nice repertoire and stomping along merrily. Lots of you were there – well done – January is sometimes a bit thin on the ground.

With luck we’ll see you again for Bob Dwyer’s band which used to be “the Hot Seven” but for a few years now has been “Bix and Pieces”. The change of name emphasises the band’s style, based on the classic jazz of the 1920s. The splendid Hugh Crozier , a stalwart of Bob’s bands for many years, will be on piano, and Sarah Spencer has the clarinet and sax chair. Sarah is one of the younger musicians in our favourite music, a strong and positive player with an amazingly wide experience, having lived and worked in the USA for some years. Lots to enjoy, including the rare bass saxophone played by the redoubtable John Bayne.

Last night (Feb 1st) Zelda and I went to Witney Jazz club to hear the new Ian Bateman project, the music of the late Kenny Ball, with Ben Cummings playing the role of the man himself. We were knocked out by the excellence of the band and the care taken to offer a well-balanced program. If you missed it, and another opportunity arises, we would thoroughly recommend it.

Another reason for mentioning this is because Ben handled the demanding trumpet role brilliantly, and will be our guest with the Rascals at the Lamb (Feb 27th). There is always a “fizz” in the air when he’s on stage so it’s certain to be an entertaining evening.

We do enjoy our guests at the Lamb, and Olly Wilby, our January visitor, is one of the best of a terrific group of musicians – he makes it all look so easy, is completely unflappable, and inspires the very best from whoever he is working with. Despite somewhat inclement weather there were a goodly number of you to hear him. A great evening.

Jazz at Theale Village Hall continues every Tuesday at 8.30pm with Graeme Hewitt’s HSJB. Guests include trumpeters Mike Henry (5th) Peter Rudeforth (12th), Andy Dickens (19th) and Allen Beechey (26th).

Pete Allen’s season at the Chequers in Newbury starts on Sunday Feb 17th at 3pm with guest the splendid Kevin Grenfell playing trombone, and probably trumpet as well.

See you soon – wrap up well but don’t let the weather stop you doing anything!