The town of Reading and area is actually quite well served when it comes to Jazz. Apart from the professionals who earn a crust visiting various venues, we have our regular musician enthusiasts who keep pubs, clubs and restaurants humming. So, well done all of you and I say thank you for the music.

Here are the highlights for me over December, with apologies for not choosing sooner.

I have to start on the 16th with the Jazz In Reading gig that I am hosting at Progress Theatre. The reason is simply that EMPIRICAL are so rarely in our part of the World that I do not want you to miss the date and opportunity to catch this outstanding band. They have been together as a quartet for eight years, which is unusual these days for young jazz musicians, but means that their improvisational understanding is highly developed. Their latest album, “Connections”, as with previous releases, is original and highly praised. I’ll stick my neck out by saying that I guarantee an exciting gig. So I look forward to seeing you there!

Alan Barnes joins the Skelton & Skinner All Stars on the 6th at Fleet Jazz Club for a swinging gig of favourite standards. I believe Ellington and Basie feature heavily and with an octet packing a punch like a big band it will be a great pre festive season gig.

Speaking of big bands, Chris Barber brings his to Goring on the 9th. Live near there? If so, no excuses.

Steve Waterman is always a pleasure and he brings an oustanding septet to Norden Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead, also on Friday 9th. With Clarke Tracey and Andy Clyndert around, what is not to like?

Local musicians including Stuart Henderson, are holding a JATP like session on Sunday 11 December in honour of local jazz lover Dave Curwell, who died recently. I did not know Dave, which is my loss, as everyone who did, thought highly of him. The free entry gig at The Retreat from 6:00 PM will be a fund raiser for Cancer Research. Please give generously to the collection.

Jagz in Ascot gets in the festive mood on Sunday 11th over lunch time, with the John Critchinson Xmas Special. Apart from the former Ronnie Scott pianist, we have the ever affable sax supremo, Art Themen. Bassist, who has played with all the greats in the UK, plus many of those visiting our shores over the past umpteen years, Dave Green. Augmented by Matt Holme on drums and Jacqui Hicks vocals. Attendances have picked up over the last few gigs and the music food and atmosphere is really good at Jagz.

Nigel price Organ Trio with Vasilis Xenopoulos will no doubt bring the house down as they did recently at Progress in Reading. Those Marlow Jazz Club fans will have a great evening on the 13th. Why not join them?

In fact, it is one great line up after another this month. Norden Farm on the 15th hosts Alec Dankworth’s World Spirit which also features the sax of Brandon Allen, uniquely expressive percussionist Paul Clarvis on drums, plus Emily Dankworth who continues in the family tradition of being an outstanding vocalists.

You can find all these events listed on the gig’s calendar with links to the venues for tickets.

I wish you all the very best for 2017 and a Happy Christmas.


Jazz n Stuff