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

Sunday, 17 March 2013



The much lauded saxophonist and jazz authority, Simon Spillett brought his tenor sax to the Prince on a cold March night to an audience of jazafs and socialising diners and drinkers. In a programme sensibly tailored for this setup, the theme was 'standards', with a sprinkling of ballads and refreshing tempo changes. Three J Van Heusen compositions, two by Jerome Kern and a Cole Porter number framed the course of the evening, but the attacking be-bop style generally associated with this axe man was never far away.

Simon Spillett has had a long and productive musical relationship with pianist John Critchinson, a stalwart trio member. 'Critch'  is a fount of musical knowledge with stories of the early be-bop days, from his West Country roots to Ronnie Scott's Soho world. His enthusiasm and musical talent are undiminished.

One might consider that the trio's drummer, Terry Howard - a newcomer to Simon - would be disadvantaged in the understanding built between keyboard and sax, but locally based, Terry is an experienced jazzman in his own right and provided attentive and sympathetic backing throughout.

So an evening of fine music. Starter: The Way You Look Tonight at medium tempo; into an easy-paced, lyrical It Could Happen To You. Then a slow, languorous But Beautiful, showing off the sweet, wistful tone of the tenor sax. A samba rhythm to Night And Day livened up the mood and gave Terry the chance to exercise sticks and skins, this followed by the third Van Heusen  tune, I Thought About You. The set closer: Who Parked The Car?, a catch-all title for an up-tempo blues built around Sonny Rollins' Tenor Madness. Green Dolphin St, latinated, and Guy Wood's My One And Only Love - with some well placed Polka Dots and Moonbeams quotes from Critch opened the second set. Quotes from My Favourite Things reminiscent of John Coltrane were featured on Lover Man - Simon's only soprano sax excursion of the evening. Perhaps the most memorable number of the session, however, was The Gentle Rain as a gentle bossa nova from the pen of the admirable Luiz Bonfa. A lively Nobody Else But Me, the second of the Kern contributions, left the evening to be rounded-off by the ever reliable jazz vehicle, Bye Bye Blackbird.

A satisfied audience and I think the musicians, too, enjoyed their trip to the sticks.

                                                                              Logodaedalus (AKA Keith Brain)

Simon Spillett
John Critchinson
Terry Howard



The Stuart Henderson Qnt played Baker St on a Tuesday against the opposition of Man. U. on the night. This band has provincial associations but A-league qualities and played a well-knitted programme of modern jazz according to the preferred formula for this venue. Material by Kenny Dorham, Miles Davis and Donald Byrd showed off the tastes of the leader on trumpet but included a lovely rendition of a Leonard Bernstein ballad on flugelhorn.

The tenor sax contribution of Reading-based Ukrainian, Anatoliy Vyachaslavov made a well balanced complement forming the front line, sounding to me at times more from the plains of Texas than from the Ukraine.

On keyboard, Graeme Taylor laid down a satisfying infill and his own solo contributions were well constructed and inventive.

In the engine room, Simon Price on drums provided an extra dimension of energy and immaculate time keeping, with the whole group underpinned by Rapa Mizraki, impeccable on double bass.

Indeed, the whole group was as well-knit as their programme - which also included Toots Theilmanns' Bluesette, Henry Mancini's Days of Wine & Roses, Ellington's In A Mellow Tone, Sammy Cahn's Secret Love and Kern's All TheThings You Are.

Well, not all, but quite a few things in this enjoyable musical mesh.

                                                                          Logodaedalus (AKA Keith Brain)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


                                              FRIDAY 28th of JUNE                                           
                                              St Michael's Church, Vicarage Lane
                                              Highworth SN6-7AD

                                              Charity jazz evening in aid of
                                              Angels Orphanage, Nepal
                                              Emily Wright and the Royals
                                              Admission £10.00
                                              7.30-10.00 Tickets From
                                              Lighthouse Book Shop, Highworth
                                              Info Centre Swindon
                                              Reservations 01793-764979


Upcoming gigs at Baker Street, Swindon.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


On Tuesday 5th March, Baker Street presented 4 of the UK's most acclaimed jazz musicians, featuring a quartet led by Ron Heatherington, a favourite drummer of visiting International jazz musicians. On double bass was John Rees-Jones, who is currently working with the Humphrey Lyttelton band and will be playing at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London in two weeks time.The UK's foremost jazz pianist Dave Newton was on piano. Dave has accompanied many visiting US musicians, including Herb Ellis and Art Farmer. He has been awarded top British jazz pianist 11 out of the past 12 years. Art Themen was on saxophone. Art managed to combine with considerable success being an orthopaedic surgeon (ret) and an eminent jazz musician.

The large audience of jazz fans from Swindon and elsewhere were treated to an evening of some excellent jazz music. Ballads/blues and bop standards were on display and it was a super evening's music and all for FREE.

Next week,Tuesday 12th March, admission FREE 8pm Baker Street presents the Stuart Henderson Quintet, featuring the fantastic Ukrainian tenor saxophonist Anatoliy Vyacheslavov.

                                                                                                 Dave Knight.
Art Themen
Dave Newton

Ron Heatherington


Gigs April through until August at the Prince of Wales, Hight Street, Shrivenham. Thursday evenings 8.30/11.00 FREE

Friday, 1 March 2013


Your complete listings for March.


Swindon jazz has been presenting some outstanding jazz sessions at various venues in the Swindon area and in Bristol. Gigs featuring some of the UK's finest jazz musicians, including the UK's number one jazz pianist Dave Newton, UK's top jazz rock guitarist Mike Outram, leading alto sax player Martin Speake, Steve Waterman trumpet, Alan Barnes the UK's pre-eminent mainsteam jazz saxophonist and Tantrum featuring Tommaso Starace, the superb alto sax musician from Milan Italy, and Roger Beaujolias Britain's finest vibes player. Swindon's own musicians Ian Bateman and Chris Cobbson have also featured prominently.

This Tuesday 5th March 8.00-10.30 Baker St are presenting another jazz showcase featuring some of the UK'S top jazz musicians lead by drummer Ron Heatherington, who has often gigged at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, John Rees-Jones on bass from Humph's band, Dave Newton will be on piano and on tenor sax Art Themen, the former orthopaedic surgeon and a legend on the UK R'n'B scene.
               Expect standing room only, so come early, and it's all FREE.
               Swindon Jazz is now presenting in excess of 200 gigs per year.

                                                                                                 Dave Knight.

Art Themen

Dave Newton