Keeps you up to date with the jazz scene in Bucks

Tony White

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON SHOW - Jazz in the Barn, Mer­lin’s Cave, Chal­font St Giles – Din­ner Jazz at Va Pensiero Mar­low Jazz Club, Royal Bri­tish Le­gion, Sta­tion Road, Mar­low – Amer­sham Jazz Club, Bea­cons­field SYCOB FC Berkham­sted Jazz, Civic Cen­tre, Berkam­stead

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

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