Jazz IS alive

Keep in touch for jazz dates and venues in the Swindon area. Please note that the blogger (who set this site up for Dave Knight) receives information second-hand and lives on the other side of the country! More information on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jazz-Knights/544313058974889

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Sunday gigs at the Brass Pig in the New Year.


Ever since I first heard Undercurrent the landmark recording by Bill Evans and Jim Hall originally released in 1962, the piano/guitar duo has held a particular place in my heart. Last Thursday night at the Prince of Wales, Shrivenham as the rain poured down outside, Dave Newton and Colin Oxley graced a lucky audience with their own very individual take on this intimate and often lyrical musical format. Dave and Colin’s rapport and admiration for one another was apparent from the beginning. They wove together a magnificent programme of arrangements and improvisations on a wide range of tunes that included Surrey With the Fringe on Top (with everybody in the crowded bar blissfully singing along), Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Body and Soul, I Got Rhythm and I’m Old-Fashioned. Great jazz musicians know how to listen and Dave and Colin confirmed this time and time again throughout this tremendously enjoyable evening. Each song was like a conversation between good friends, a masterful demonstration of give and take and mutual support. Dave Newton was even seen to smile on several occasions!

And all for free.

                                                                                                    Tom Saunders.

Dave Newton and Colin Oxley

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


An excellent recording featuring the thrilling young violinist and vocalist Ben Holder on a varied selection of standards and originals. The quintet are Ben on violin, piano and vocals, James Evans on reeds, Jez Cook on guitar, Paul Jefferies on double-bass and Frank Hockney on drums. The set kicks off with a peppy arrangement of Fascinating Rhythm, followed by a measured and tender reading of Someday My Prince Will Come. Up next are a couple of Ben Holder originals, the lovely A. Gospel with Ben on piano and violin and James taking the melody and the swinging What Did I Do. Ben sings and plays violin on this last tune. The Folks That Live On the Hill, a beautiful ballad performance, finds Ben in duo with Jez. Ben is again on piano for Lucy’s Waltz, another of his originals. He overdubs a second violin in the solo and duets in counterpoint with himself. (They can’t touch you for it.) Bassist Paul gives solid support. Someone to Watch Over Me is a trio performance with Jez and Paul. Drummer Frank joins in as the group segues into Django’s Swing 42. You is an original with James switching from clarinet to alto saxophone. Ben sings and plays violin here. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square features Ben in melodic mood with just the rhythm section. Both Jez and Paul solo with aplomb. The joyful St Thomas includes fine percussion from Frank. The Nearness of You has Paul and Jez taking the melody and Ben playing some tasty piano. Another Ben original, a brisk Me, Myself and I, rounds off the record.

The CD is rightly a showcase for virtuoso Ben’s wide-ranging talents, but everyone in the group contributes admirably. If you’re an aficionado of hot violin and the likes of Stephane Grappelli, Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith or you simply love swinging and inventive jazz, these performances deserve your earnest attention. Ben Holder has arrived and he’s coming to get you!

                                                                                                   Tom Saunders.

Friday, 9 November 2012


“It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” The Ben Holder Trio at the Prince of Wales, Shrivenham, November 8th 2012.

                                      “I hope there’s a gin and tonic coming . . .”
                                                                                    Ben Holder.

The smile on landlord Eddie’s face said it all. Last night the Ben Holder Trio lit up the packed bar of the Prince of Wales, the crowd joyously enthusiastic and enthralled. The group sparkled and swung mightily through selections from the Great American Songbook (Embraceable You, Fly Me to the Moon, Body and Soul, They All Laughed and more), Django’s back catalogue (Minor Swing and Nuages) and bluesy foot-stompers such as Bobby Troup’s classic Route 66. 23 year-old jazz prodigy Ben, only a few hours back from the USA, where he played at The House of Blues in Las Vegas and gigged in California, played his violin with supercharged facility and sang with confidence, skillfully supported by the melodic and nimble Jez Cook on guitar and the rock-solid and sophisticated Paul Jefferies on double-bass. The band capped off the evening in triumph with the tirelessly effervescent Ben bowing up a tropical storm on the magical Sonny Rollins’ calypso St Thomas. What an incredible night - and all for free.

                                          You should have been there!

                                                                                                    Tom Saunders.

Ben Holder

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

JAZZ AT THE PRINCE of WALES - THURSDAY 8th November High St, Shrivenham.

                                        JAZZ AT THE PRINCE of WALES
                                               THURSDAY 8th November

                                                    High St, Shrivenham 
                                                     8-30/11-00  FREE 

          The now thriving jazz scene at the Prince of Wales Shrivenham continues
          triumphantly this week with the fabulous Ben Holder Trio. Ben is a gifted
          and electrifying 22 year old violinist/vocalist. He started to learn classical
          violin at the early age of 6, switching to jazz in later years after turning on
          to records by French and Belgian jazz maestros Grappelli and Reinhardt.
          Fiery and multifaceted, he can confidently and effortlessly switch from
          virtuoso violin to vocals on a wide selection of standard jazz tunes. Jez
          Cook, a hugely skilful guitarist, plays with passion and flair, making him
          an admirable foil for Ben. Bassist Paul Jefferies, a wonderfully swinging
          and creative musician, completes the trio.

                              Expect an entertaining evening's jazz music. 

                                                                                        David Knight.