August Jazz Notes
Last month we welcomed the New Orleans Jazz Bandits for the first time at ZJR, though they did come to Lains Barn under their previous leader Colin Kingwell. We were treated to a fine programme of New Orleans style jazz directed by drummer Malc Murphy and reedman Ron Rumbol. It was great to see and hear the super cornet playing of Allen Beechey, now a regular with the band, and also guest trombonist Tom Whittingham.
In August we have probably the youngest band to have mounted our stage. I first met drummer Lizy Exell in Keswick when I was booked to do a guest spot with her band. I have got used to working with musicians the age of my children, but the members of the Old Hat Jazz Band were nearer in age to my grandchildren! They were delightful and very welcoming, so I had a most enjoyable gig. I have seen them a couple of times since and greatly enjoyed their music, which includes both the classic works of Jelly Roll Morton et al as well as original compositions. So now they will be coming to entertain us. Do make every effort to come and hear them. We often bemoan the fact that younger players are not playing “our” music – well, here’s the answer – some at least certainly are, and very well too, with a refreshing outlook that only the young can bring.
Ben Cummings (who I still sometimes introduce as “my spare son”) was on terrific form at the Lamb, depping for Mike Wills (in Canada). Bassman Mike Bennett was also away so when his dep, our good friend Roger Davis phoned in to say he wasn’t well there was a moment’s panic saved by the splendid playing of Keith Howard – thanks Keith! – and we hope Roger soon returns to rude health.
Our August guest is none other than Susanne Hodgson, who has leave of absence from her young family for the evening to come and sing with us again. It’s always a delight to work with her and listen to her soulful renditions of the Great American Songbook – it’s been a while since her last visit so there’s yet another treat in view.
After a week’s absence in Germany with Pete Allen I shall be back at Theale Village Hall for the weekly Graeme Hewitt’s HSJB Tuesday sessions. On Aug 22nd Ben Cummings will guest on trumpet – you can’t keep a good man down! Pete Allen’s monthly Sunday afternoon sessions at the Checkers Hotel in Newbury (3pm start) continue on Sept 3rd with guest Mr. Energy Man & fabulous violinist Ben Holder which sadly I shall miss (well, you have to have a holiday sometime!). I’ll try to get my gig list up to date before I go so you can check what’s going on. That’s about it for now – keep jazzing