Keeps you up to date with the jazz scene in Bucks
A GREAT loss to British jazz – the death of Vic Ash towards the end of October came as a shock to all of us who knew him, as it did to his legion of admirers throughout the world of music.
Vic was a man who was generous with his time, never in too much of a hurry to stop and chat, and a modest man to boot. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe the first time I saw him in concert was way back in the 1950s when he was one of a bunch of jazzmen playing in a poll-winners concert at the Royal Festival Hall. It was one of the many times he was voted Britain’s top jazz clarinet player, a title he fully deserved.
His talent was recognised by some of the popular music world’s great stars, including Frank Sinatra, for whom he was a backing reedman for many years. One of our top saxophonists of today, ex-Chesham boy Simon Spillett, has much to thank Vic for. As does, perhaps, another of our leading tenor saxophonists who, after arriving at The Barn at Merlin’s Cave, found something amiss with his instrument. A quick call up the road in Chalfont St Giles, where Vic lived with his wife Helen, brought Vic down to the Barn with the loan of a replacement – not many musicians would do that, I can tell you.
Turning to December’s local attractions, two gigs stand out: December 13th at Berkhamsted when Robert Fowler leads the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band in an evening of the baritone man’s great works. Unlike his quartet, the Mulligan band was short-lived but featured, alongside the great baritone saxophonist, such greats as Zoot Sims, Bob Brookmeyer, Al Cohn, Clark Terry and Bill Crow.
I have previously mentioned the array of talent coming to Berkhamsted, but it includes such as Bruce Adams, Martin Shaw and Steve Fishwick on trumpets, Mark Nightingale, Adrian Fry and Sarah Williams on trombones, Karen Sharp, Alex Garnett, Mark Crooks, Sammy Mayne and, of course, Rob Fowler on reeds, Dave Green on bass and drummer Steve Brown.
The following Tuesday Marlow Jazz Club features the Nigel Price Organ Trio with Vasilis Xenopoulos on tenor saxophone, a group which has won the Parliamentary Jazz Award as the best jazz ensemble.
Nigel Price also features at Beaconsfield in Va Pensiero’s December dinner jazz evening, along with reedman Matt Wates and Julian Bury on bass.
Sundays 12.15pmDecember 7th, Alex Garnett; December 14th, Enrico Tomasso; December 21st, Phil Phillips; December 28th, Paul Hart.
– Gregories Road, Beaconsfield, Monday December 1st, Matt Wates, Nigel Price, Julian Bury. Tuesday December 16th, Nigel Price Organ Trio, with Vasilis Xenopoulos.
– Wednesdays, from 7pm. December 3rd, Savannah; December 10th, Dave Ware’s Hot Shots; December 17th, the club Christmas Party featuring the Dixie Strollers.
– Saturday December 13th, 8pm, Robert Fowler’s Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz