Tony White keeps you up to date with the jazz scene in Bucks

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON SHOW -

THERE’S sad news for lo­cal jazz fans: Jazz in the Barn at Chal­font St Giles is no longer. Re­fur­bish­ment of Mer­lin’s Cave public house has meant that the barn in the car park, home to Sun­day lunchtime jazz for around 35 years, has been con­verted into the pub’s cel­lar, with the pipes run­ning un­der the car park.

The venue was some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, as was re­ported in Crescendo mag­a­zine in 1983: “Take the un­likely com­bi­na­tion of an English coun­try pub in a sleepy Buck­ing­hamshire vil­lage com­plete with duck pond, an Amer­i­can land­lord of said pub, and some of the top ses­sion and jazz mu­si­cians around, and Chal­font St Giles be­comes for a cou­ple of hours ev­ery Sun­day lunchtime the scene of some of the hottest and most swing­ing mu­sic around.” And so it was right up to De­cem­ber 2014.

That Amer­i­can land­lord was an ex-US ser­vice­man Wally Handl and his English wife Jean, who took over in 1976 and, through Jean’s love of jazz, started the Sun­day lunchtime ses­sions soon af­ter.

It was later, in the 1980s, that those ses­sions were taken over by Glyn and Beryl Evans, who were in charge un­til De­cem­ber last year.

(As I’m writ­ing this I’m lis­ten­ing to a record made in the barn in 1983 with a live au­di­ence and some names fa­mil­iar to Barn au­di­ences, such as pi­anist John Clark, drum­mer Ge­off Cox and trum­peter John McLevy, all reg­u­lars in the Barn.)

I can re­call some mem­o­rable ses­sions there, in­clud­ing a very ex­cit­ing tenor sax duo of Ken Pe­plowski and Spike Robin­son, and a set by one of the world’s finest gui­tarists Martin Tay­lor.

Another mem­o­rable ses­sion was that or­gan­ised to ben­e­fit Barn favourite, Dick Mor­ris­sey, who was se­ri­ously ill. Jazz in the Barn will be se­ri­ously missed.

There’s still plenty of jazz to be had lo­cally, though. At Mar­low on Au­gust 18 Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams com­bine and there’s a full pro­gramme at Amer­sham Jazz Club for those who pre­fer the mu­sic of the 20s and 30s Look­ing through the mag­a­zine Jazz in Lon­don I also picked up on two more ses­sions, at Here Café, in Lower Kings Road, Berkham­sted, on Mon­days and at Kings Langley Club, 3 Hemp­stead Road, Kings Langley, on Tues­days. And, ac­cord­ing to the list­ings, both are free.

Jazz Di­ary

Mar­low Jazz Club, Mar­low Royal Bri­tish Le­gion, Sta­tion Road, Mar­low. Tues­day Au­gust 18th, 8.30pm, Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams, with the Frank Toms Trio.

Amer­sham Jazz Club, Bea­cons­field SYCOB Football Club, Wed­nes­days, bar open 7.15pm, mu­sic starts 8.30pm. Au­gust 5, Dixie Strollers; Au­gust 12, New Ge­or­gia Jazz Band; Au­gust 19, Bob Dwyer’s Bix & Pieces; Au­gust 26, Fryer Huggett All Stars.

Hed­sor So­cial Club, Thurs­days, 8.30pm, Clive Bur­ton Quin­tet with oc­ca­sional guests.

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