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