Jazz is being kept alive daily by our local musicians, pubs and restaurants. Most major jazz artists are appearing monthly at the various venues like Progress, Marlow and Goring Jazz Clubs, Norden Farm, Anvil, Fleet’s Harlington and Bracknell Jazz at South Hill Park. Even then, South Hill Park used to stage the occasional gig in the Wilde Theatre featuring bands and groups that were risky and may have required some subsidy. With the so called austerity cuts, these have now faded from view.

Jazz as an arts form attracts a loyal audience, but is it a growing one? With the demise of venues like Ascot’s Jagz that used to offer weekly gigs, musicians are still reliant more than ever on commercial work and teaching in order to earn a proper income. I have noticed a definite decline in the number of what one terms major artists appearing locally and this is not a healthy sign. However, Jazz In Reading promotions at Progress are featuring bands that are attracting healthy audience numbers. So encouragement there and we fans must get to as many live performances as possible in order to ensure that the gigs remain available to us. So do not forget the London Jazz Festival starts 13 Nov, just down the M4 – in case you wondered.

Tenor saxophonist Vasilis Xenopolous stepped in as a replacement at Bracknell Jazz last month and by all accounts delivered a blistering couple of sets. He appears with Karen Sharp at Marlow on the 10th. Both players who deliver driving, swinging jazz.

Goring present two superb guitarists on the 13th who have recently released a duo album and will be appearing at the forthcoming London Jazz Festival. Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier play a variety of guitars, layered at times to symphonic effect. Turkish panache, soundscapes of Latin America to English pastoralism. If Goring is an adventure too far, Bracknell Jazz has guitarist Dominic Ashworth on the same night. Canadian born Dominic covers a wide range of musical genres in his playing and history ranging from George Melly, Michael Garrick, Paul Jones, Cuban, Blues, Jazz and the classics.

That good dining pub with atmosphere, The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row offers a special on the 16th of the month, the Budapest Cafe Orchestra, featuring Chris Garrick-violin with an equally superb accordion, guitar line up.

Fleet Jazz on the 17th offers a chance to catch a rare local gig with sax giant Alan Skidmore, normally kept busy in Germany and other mainland European countries and he is with local boy made good Simon Allen who again is much in demand from Jamie Cullum’s Big Band to his own line-ups. On the 17th Clark Tracey and Gareth Williams also feature. This gig is one of a number this month that it would be a big shame to miss.

Some may already miss out on the Darius Brubeck Quartet at Progress on the 20th as at the 1st Nov, only two tickets left.

The Anvil Basingstoke hosts vocalist, Stephan Triffitt on the 21st and he is the go to for any Sinatra tribute gig. An evening of standards made famous by Ole’ Blue Eyes complete with a stormin’ big band.

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



Jazz n Stuff