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Isomatic UK Weblog

Peter Burton's daily log, covering Peter's personal interests, e.g. jazz, travel and general grumpiness plus (occasionally) the business of Isomatic and its associate companies.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

UGH with Dave Allison and Roger Limb 

This evening we went to The Europa in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House Band. The line-up comprised Alan Brock (trumpet, vocal), Dave Allison (baritone sax, clarinet, vocal, pictured), Roger Limb (keyboard, pictured), Mike Bennett (bass) and Eddie Kettle (drums). The pictures are from previous gigs because we had battery problems with the camera. Our favourite numbers with the base band were:
'Lady Be Good' by George Gershwin;
'Misty' by Errol Garner, to which we danced;
The Duke Ellington number 'In a Mellow Tone'.
Guests were:
John Shepherd and Roy Stokes, playing 'There'll be Some Changes Made', 'Blue Turning Grey' and 'Undecided';
Fred Shaw, Peter Tallent and Roland, playing 'Honeysuckle Rose' and 'A Kiss to Build a Dream On'.
Colin Lewry played keyboard during the breaks. In the first of these we chatted with Roger Limb, who's keyboard style we enjoy very much. He is yet another ex-BBC employee, interestingly with his last 20 years spent in the Radiophonic Workshop. Many wonderful sounds come to mind. It is such a pity that electronic music took the wrong turn, presumably to make more money. We cannot stand synthesised percussion; losing the tiny human variations (imperfections if you like) ruins the effect.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gatsby Jazz Band at the Wych Elm 

This evening we went to The Wych Elm in Elm Road, Kingston Upon Thames, for the monthly performance by the Gatsby Jazz Band (as pictured, with Bob Dwyer in the foreground). As we arrived I was greeted by a Swiss couple (pictured), who asked for confirmation that I was the author of this weblog. Not only do they read it but they come to the UK and visit jazz venues that I describe. Selina missed these revelations because she busy was chatting up Alan Jenkins (cornet, vocals).

Favourite numbers played by the band included:
'Silver Threads Among the Gold', written by H. P. Danks in 1872, based on a poem by Eben Rexford;
'You may not be an angel', by Harry Warren with lyrics by Al Dubin in 1934;
'I get the Blues When it Rains', by Harry Stoddard with lyrics by Marcy Klauber in 1929;
'Lover Come Back to Me', by Sigmund Romberg with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II in 1928;
'Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet', by Percy Wenrich with lyrics by Stanley Murphy in 1909.

We sat with Peter, David and Peter, AKA Frances' boys. There was much discussion on how to persuade Frances to attend jazz venues in addition to the Berrylands. It emerged that Peter Winn is the smooth-talking persuader and the other Peter is their transport manager. Therefore the latter is tasked with proposing a method of reaching each venue and the former is tasked with presenting the proposals.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Personal involvement in a company 

Today I was accused of being unable to separate my role as Director and Company Secretary from my personal involvement in the Company. These are the words of somebody who previously always worked for the tiny majority; the large corporations.
It occurs to me that personal involvement is what makes it good to work with or for the vast majority of companies, i.e. the small ones. Directors with no personal involvement are those that cream off huge salaries and bonuses regardless of company performance. They care only about their own wealth and care nothing for their employees, suppliers or even for their shareholders.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Magna Jazz Band with Mike Pointon, John Barnes & Terry Lewis 

This evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton, where Brian White's Magna jazz band is resident. In addition to the normal Pete Towndrow (cornet, flugel horn), Alan Dandy (keyboard) and Rex Bennett (drums), there were three deps.; John Barnes (C-melody sax ?, clarinet, vocal, pictured), Mike Pointon (slide trombone, vocals) and Terry Lewis (string bass). Peter Winn informed us that John was playing a C-melody sax; I have some difficulty distinguishing the type with the bend after the mouthpiece from a tenor.
There were many great numbers but I will just mention:
'Carnaval' by Luis Bonfa, my favourite Bossa Nova composition;
The lovely 'Kiss to Build a Dream on' by Burt Kalmar, Harry Ruby, and Oscar Hammerstein II, which Mike Pointon informed us was used in a film starring Mickey Rooney and featuring Louis Armstrong;
Alan's solo feature 'Heliotrope Bouquet' by Scott Joplin & Louis Chauvin, perhaps the most beautiful of all ragtime numbers and our request.
Selina won the raffle yet again. Although it was only third prize, it was the one she wanted so thank you to the winners of the first and second prizes who had prior choice.
John Barnes received a great welcome to the Berrylands; Frances kissed him on the lips!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Apex Jazz Band at the Cricks 

This evening we saw the Apex Jazz Band at the Cricketers in Horsell Birch, Woking. The band comprised Tony Nutt (cornet), Peter Minett (soprano and alto sax), Clive Burton (trombone), Terry Twiss (guitar, banjo), Bert Shipp (bass guitar, vocals) and a drummer who was not introduced while we were present. Notable numbers were:
'All Steamed Up', unknown to us but seemingly composed by Australian tenor sax player Ade Monsborough;
Peter and Clive's duet 'Bei Mir Bist du Schön' (German) or 'Bei Mir Bistu Shein' (Yiddish: בייַ מיר ביסט דו שיין, 'To Me You're Beautiful'), composed by Sholom Secunda with lyrics by Jacob Jacobs.
At our table were Axel, Brian and Tony (welcomed by Selina with the words "come and sit next to me"). When he was a young seaman Axel was told by an experienced sailor that his first sexual experience should not be with a prostitute because it would affect his relationship with women for ever. Axel ignored the advice but said it had not affected him. We commented that none of his relationships seems to have lasted and he did admit to sexual posessiveness when he was younger. Perhaps the moral from the film 'Closer' is as I thought.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

UGH with Mark Aston and Andy Lawrence 

This evening we went to The Europa in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House Band. The line-up comprised Alan Brock (trumpet, vocals), Mark Aston (tenor sax, soprano sax, pictured), Alan Dandy (keyboard), Andy Lawrence (bass, pictured) and Mike Knipe (drums). Our favourite numbers with these musicians were:
'Walking Shoes', a Gerry Mulligan number we had not heard before;
'Old Rocking Chair' by Hoagy Carmichael, to which we danced;
'Lover Come Back to Me', by Sigmund Romberg with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II for the Broadway show The New Moon;
Mark Aston and Alan Dandy duetting on 'Its Almost Like Being in Love', by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, featured in the musical Brigadoon.
Alan Dandy's feature was a very sophisticated version of 'Doctor Jazz', originally written by Joe 'King' Oliver.
Colin Lewry (keyboard) played several numbers in the break, including 'Willow Weep For Me', 'Stomping at the Savoy' and 'Over The Rainbow".
Guests were:
John Shepherd (trumpet), Roy Stokes (trombone), Francis (alto sax), Trevor Dockerill (clarinet) and George (keyboard, vocals) playing 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love' and 'Honeysuckle Rose'.
Fred Shaw (cornet), Peter Clancy (trombone), and Trevor playing 'Beale Street Blues' and (with Fred singing) 'Up a Lazy River'.
Roland (tenor sax), and Peter Tallent playing 'If I had You' and 'Mood Indigo'.
It was such a busy evening musically that there was no second break and Alan Dandy failed to get a slot for our request. To compensate he has promised to play the very difficult rag 'Heliotrope Bouquet' at the Berrylands next Thursday.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Closer on pay per view 

Having been out all day, we were too tired to do anything in the evening except flop in front of the television. There was nothing of interest on the broadcast channels so we browsed the list of films available from Virgin Media pay-per-view. We settled on Closer, starring Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts. We are now sorry we missed it on the big screen; an excellent film with an unusual plot and fine acting performances. The big question is "what is the moral of this film ?", as one could extract several from it. I will settle for "Rid yourself of jealousy before settling down with someone !" If you cannot do that then you are too immature to proceed.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brian White's Magna Jazz Band at the Berrylands 

This evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton, for Brian White's Magna jazz band, with the standard line-up. The picture shows Pete Towndrow singing 'Lily of the Valley'. Other numbers that we particularly enjoyed were as follows:
'Once in a While', composed by Michael Edwards with lyrics by Bud Green, published in 1937.
'Take These Chains From My Heart', a Hank Williams number with the traditional Country & Western theme of "Let me go so I can have my other woman."
'Kiss to Build a Dream on', a beautiful number by Burt Kalmar, Harry Ruby, and Oscar Hammerstein II, made famous by Louis Armstrong. We still like the Mike Piggott / Piers Clark version best.
Alan Dandy's solo feature, combining Gershwin's 'Bess You is my Woman Now', 'American in Paris' and finishing with a snatch of 'Rhapsody in Blue'.

Frances had only two of her three 'boys' present but they were very smartly dressed. She has an amazing effect on them !


Monday, November 17, 2008

Panama Café at the Cricks 

This evening we saw the Panama Café Orchestra at the Cricketers in Horsell Birch, Woking. The band comprised Dave Lowe (cornet, vocals), Richard White (clarinet, alto sax, baritone sax, vocals), Chris Lowe (trombone, vocals), Graham Collicott (grand percussion), Chris Houslander (sousaphone) and Dave Griffiths (banjo). Our favourite numbers were:
'Kansas City Stomp' by Jelly Roll Morton;
'West End Blues' by Joe 'King' Oliver (lyrics added later by Clarence Williams).

Chris Lowe's responses to my last post comprised sly references to blues and rags plus mention of the hated Aldi (German Supermarket chain). I take these as an admission that he was wrong about both Panama and the Blues. The band did not play Panama this time. I requested 'Trouble in Mind' but Dave Lowe said they had never played it so would need some practice first.

At our table sat Don, Brian and young Jill, who is an ardent fan of the band, particularly of Richard White. Her seat (next to Selina) was much in demand. As she moved closer to the band, Brian moved into it so quickly that usual occupant Tony failed to get it. When Brian left early a latecomer slipped smoothly into his place. The seat was certainly kept warm.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Easy Virtue at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking 

This evening we saw the film Easy Virtue at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking. This was billed as a comedy but is a rather sad story with a less than sad ending. Fine performances by Colin Firth and Kristin Scott-Thomas as we have come to expect.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Windsor for Selina's birthday 

To celebrate Selina's birthday today (I am not allowed to say which one) we went to Windsor for much of the day. This involved kissing and cuddling in every place we visited; so I too enjoyed her birthday. We had lunch in 'The Crooked House', then toured Windsor Castle, as pictured. We spent the rest of the afternoon in shops, coffee bars and a pub before having dinner at a new Chinese Restaurant, two doors away from the Royal Theatre. 13.50 pounds buys as much as you can eat, far more than we wanted. The alcohol license was still to be granted so we were each given a free glass of wine.
At the theatre we saw the Agatha Christie play 'And Then There Were None', advertised as following closely the original novel. It was certainly gripping, with a typically devious plot.
One warning to visitors to Windsor: DO NOT use the car park immediately behind the theatre or any other privately owned car park. They use a clamping company but do not pay them. Result is over-enthusiastic clamping to make as much money as possible, see Windsor forum. We actually witnessed this happening.
Ideally we, the car-driving electoral majority, should have our own political party, pledged to re-introduce hanging, drawing and quartering for clamper scum, thus discouraging any others. As this will not happen, the only alternative is to starve the private car parks of funds by NEVER EVER using them. If the local authority car parks are all full, PLEASE DRIVE AWAY from Windsor and post to the forum explaining why you spent no money in the town.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Sussex Jazz Kings at the Cricks 

This evening at The Cricketers in Horsell Birch we saw the Sussex Jazz Kings (pictured), comprising Dave Stradwick (trumpet, vocals), John Howlett (trombone, vocals), Bernard Stutt (Clarinet), Phil Duran (banjo), Graham Wiseman (string bass) and John Hall (drums). The Cricks was packed to capacity so it was fortunate that this is a very loud band.
Numbers we particularly liked were:
'His Eye is on the Sparrow', composed in 1905 by Charles H. Gabriel with lyrics by Civilla D. Martin. The song is most associated with actress-singer Ethel Waters who used the title for her autobiography.
'Bouncing Around', about which I know nothing.
Best of all, John Howlett's feature 'Dark Eyes', i.e. the Russian folk song 'Ochi Chyornye'.

We were joined at our table by:
Brian, who presented us with tickets for a musical event on the otherwise boring New Years Day;
Axel, who gave intimate details of worrying sexual side-effects of a much-prescribed drug;
Tony, who once again had Selina in fits of giggles, I know not why.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

UGH with Dave Cox at the Europa 

This evening we went to The Europa in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House Band. The line-up comprised Alan Brock (trumpet), Dave Cox (tenor sax, pictured with Ray Lindsay), Alan Dandy (keyboard), Mike Bennett (bass) and Mike Knipe (drums).
Our favourite numbers with this line-up were:
'Disorder at the Border' by Coleman Hawkins;
'How High the Moon', composed by Morgan Lewis with lyrics by Nancy Hamilton;
'Lover Man', Words & Music by Jimmy Davis, Roger "Ram" Ramirez, James Sherman, 1941;
Alan Dandy's features: 'London by Night' by Carroll Coates and 'Lullaby of the Leaves' by Bernice Petkere (see Thursday's post).
Guests were:
John Shepherd (pocket trumpet), Roy Stokes (trombone) and Wyn Lodge (bass), playing 'Broadway' and 'Sweet Lorraine';
Fred Shaw (cornet) and Peter Clancy (trombone) playing 'Deed I Do' and 'Sugar';
Roland (tenor sax) and Peter Tallent (trombone, playing 'Undecided' and 'Black and Blue';
Ray Lindsay duetting with Dave Cox on 'Bernie's Tune ' and 'All the Things You Are'.
Colin Lewry (pictured) played keyboard during the break.


Magna Jazz Band with Keith Brown 

This evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton, where Brian White's Magna jazz band performs every week. Keith Brown (pictured) replaced Rex Bennett on drums.
Our favourite numbers were:
'St Louis Blues' by W C Handy. Further to my recent comments on blues structure, the verses are twelve bar blues in 4/4 time with the standard three lines of lyrics, the first two lines repeated, but it has a 16-bar bridge written in habanera rhythm.

'The Glory of Love', written by William Joseph 'Billy' Hill (July 14, 1899 December 24, 1940), an American songwriter and lyricist who found fame writing cowboy songs, e.g. 'They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree', 'The Last Roundup', 'Wagon Wheels' and 'Empty Saddles'. 'The Glory of Love' was probably his biggest hit, recorded by Benny Goodman in 1936, Peggy Lee in 1959, Dean Martin in 1966, Tom Rush in 1968, Eddy Arnold in 1969, Wizz Jones in 1970, Otis Redding, The Five Keys, and Bette Midler for the film Beaches. Our recording is by Big Bill Broonzy on the Jazz Guitar Anthology Volume 1.

'The Old Folks at Home', AKA '(Way Down Upon the) Swanee River', written in 1851 by Stephen Foster, to be performed by Christy's Minstrels. It has been the official state song of Florida since 1935.

Alan Dandy's lovely keyboard feature 'The Lullaby of the Leaves', composed by Bernice Petkere with lyrics by Joe Young for the Broadway Revue 'Chamberlain Brown's Scrap Book' (1932). Alan played the theme when we first arrived and asked us what it was called but we were useless.

David, one of Frances' boys, declared that all three of them were miserable because of her absence due to a bad cold. I said "well you don't want her to infect you", to which David replied that he did.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Phil Brown Swingtet at the Cricks 

This evening at The Cricketers in Horsell Birch we saw the Phil Brown Swingtet (pictured), comprising Phil Brown (trombone, vocals), Lester Brown (trumpet, flugel horn), Mark Aston (Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, Clarinet), Ken Ames (guitar), Andrew Clancy (keyboard), Mike Bennett (string bass) and David Clancy (drums). The first half comprised just five numbers, showing that this band gives every piece a good airing.
Numbers we particularly liked were:
'Bag's Groove', composed by Milt Jackson, vibraphone player with the Modern Jazz Quartet, bringing back memories of Chislehurst Caves in the '60s where Raye Duvall's group always finished with it. John Elmer plays it well on the CD 'Cool Vibes'.
Mark and Lester's duet 'Carnaval' from Black Orpheus, one of our favourite numbers, composed by Brazilian Luis Bonfa.
Phil, Ken and Andrew playing the Chris Barber number 'Going Up The River'.

Jed Kearse had read my post about the blues not necessarily being 12 bars. He brought in the score for 'Trouble in Mind' (let nobody say this is not a blues) to show that it is not 8 bars as I claimed but 16 bars. It is true that the two 8 bar sections are not quite identical. I passed the score to Dave Lowe for the benefit of his son Chris. Jed says that in his book of blues numbers, 5% are not 12 bars.

Our table companions were Axel, Brian and Tony as last week. Once again Selina and Tony were giggling about the food being served behind us. In the break, Selina told the more mature of the two Jills that our business partner David is a very nice guy who is being ripped off by his soon to be ex-wife. Jill said it is a great pity he is too young for her.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Brazilian Grands Prix 

We missed the jazz at the Europa this evening because we were so late with dinner due to watching the Brazilian Grand Prix. Was that not the most exciting finish to a motor racing season ever ? It is not uncommon for the driver's championship to be decided at the last race but this was at the last corner of the last lap. The race winner had already crossed the line ! Nail-biting staff indeed.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Quantum of Solace 

This evening we saw the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace. Although we did not rate it a great film, it was a good example of the genre, as was Casino Royale. Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Sean Connery. Olga Kurylenko did not look as devastating as she did in Hitman (see my post of 12 Sept.'07) but played her part convincingly. Judi Dench was as good as ever. Once again we disagree with Cosmo Landesman's verdict.



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