Comments and Reviews

You're welcome, members and visitors alike, to send us comments on any concert - anything from a couple of sentences to a longer review.  Send your comments to   bjazztickets@gmail.com 
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Mark Nightingale's Dankworth Quintet (January 2017)

We really enjoyed last Saturdays concert, it was superb and our guests thought we are so privileged to have such amazing calibre of players within walking distance from home.

(From C&I M)
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Pedigree Jazz Band (September 2016)

We really enjoyed the concert last night, great music and very professional.  It exceeded our expectations.

(From CA/ DS)
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Nick Care Big Band (April 2016)

I had to write to say what a wonderful evening my wife and I had at last night's gig.  Nick Care's big band gave us hope that whilst there are so many talented young musicians jazz still has a great future.  We thought there was a perfect balance to the programme and the arrangements and solos were really exciting.  Also, Nick's compering was most amusing.
 
I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending anyone to go and see this band and hope the club can tempt them back in the not too distant future.   (From PG / AG)

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We really enjoyed  Nick Care's Big Band on Saturday Night. It was one of the Best Concerts, that is saying something, because we have been going to Berk Jazz Concert's for 18 Years now. Well Done, for Organising it.  Many Thanks.   (From LP)
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Ray Gelato and the Giants (March 2016)

Absolutely brilliant @Rgelato Giants gig at @berkhamstedjazz tonight. If you get the chance, go and see them. 

From DF
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Derek Nash Quartet (April 2015)

For me was the best evening for this season .... Superb gig. Great musicianship & so good to see such joie de vivre & enjoyment from all the quartet.

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We are constantly amazed at the quality of the performances at the venue.  So much enjoyment at such a small cost.  Thank you for your work in providing so many wonderful evenings there.   (Spring 2015)

From GL.
 
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Robert Fowler's Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band (December 2014)

... Fabulous.  Good to see ... a big band.
 
From: anon
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Lenore Raphael (November 2014)

I keep thinking about how much I enjoyed performing in Berkhamsted. What a wonderful audience!!!!

From Lenore Raphael

And Lenore wrote this in her Newsletter:

I just returned from England where I had a wonderful concert in Berkhamsted for the Jazz Society.  We had a packed house and a wonderful audience of REAL jazz lovers.  Thank you ... for keeping jazz alive and well in Berkhamsted.
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Dave Moorwood's Rascals Of Rhythm (January 2014)

It was good ... to enjoy a session of music again.  I couldn't decide precisely what type of jazz it was so I asked Dave Moorwood and he couldn't either, so we settled on swing!  .... I enclose a cheque which covers the rest of the season's sessions.

From TN
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Elaine Delmar and her Quartet (September 2013)

What a great evening .  Thanks to you all for arranging it.  My guests really enjoyed the whole experience.

From Bryan F
 
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Georgina Jackson Sextet (April 2013)

What a joyous evening! It was just one gem after another and tremendous fun from the word go - Pete Long saw to that! 

After the great concert by Sharp,Campbell and Adams in March it seemed impossible that could be bettered - but I think it was!

Well done to all concerned and here's looking forward to more of your monthly treats!

Sorry about all the exclamation marks but it's a thrill just remembering the great evening we all had.

From RM
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Bruce Adams and Gordon Campbell (March 2013):

Yes we were there on Saturday daring to journey all the way from Amersham Old Town! It was a wonderful evening with I think Gordon Campbell just edging it for best performer and Karen Sharp's "The Dolphin" the best number. Absolute joy - more please!

We expect to get to Georgina Jackson for another memorable and entertaining evening.

From R&HM
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The piece below was written after the concert by Darius Brubeck in February 2013:

Darius Brubeck’s latest CD was recorded in Romania and South Africa, nicely illustrating that he’s done more than most to ensure that jazz has become a true world music.  As a boy, Darius accompanied his father on much of the tour that resulted in pieces like the Turkish-inspired “Blue Rondo A La Turk”, and he’s spent much of his working life in South Africa.  Currently he has a base in London, which makes a visit to Berkhamsted pretty straightforward.

This was Brubeck’s second concert for Berkhamsted Jazz Club.  We think it’s a decent place to play; there’s a regularly maintained Yamaha grand piano, a hall with good acoustics, and the committee may be amateurs, but we can keep ticket prices low and we must be doing things right or we couldn't have held our thirtieth anniversary festival recently.  The audience is usually well into three figures; tonight produced our biggest attendance for several years, and no-one went home disappointed.  “A superb evening”, my wife said with simplicity and accuracy.

A Darius Brubeck concert has to pay tribute to his family heritage, but he was at pains to say that he doesn't lead a tribute band; rather, it’s one which reflects his own experiences and interests, and it’s plain that a lot of thought goes into the planning of a programme.  A Darius Brubeck concert will include a couple of old favourites but is always fresh and the programme never becomes formulaic.  I think this was the fifth time I've heard Darius with his quartet, and two-thirds of the tunes were ones I’d never heard him play before.

The concert began with one of those old faithfuls from the classic 1959 Time Out album - “Blue Rondo A La Turk”, which the O’Higgins tenor and the Brubeck piano ensured soon dropped into an entertaining groove.  Not surprisingly, Brubeck’s piano style is influenced by his famous father (I once gave Michael Garrick a blindfold test of a record of Darius playing one of his own compositions; Mike didn't recognise the piece or the player – but said it reminded him strongly of Dave Brubeck).

“Blue Rondo” was followed by another Dave Brubeck classic, “The Duke” (O’Higgins on soprano), which has become a true jazz standard.  Later we heard “Audrey” (with a delicious solo by Brubeck), the beautiful minor blues that emerged from a Dave Brubeck / Paul Desmond recording session and which was played at the funeral of its dedicatee, Audrey Hepburn.

But Darius is a significant composer in his own right.  With most jazz composers the words “Here’s a tune of my own” fill audiences with dread, but it seems a pity that his tunes aren’t better known.  Tonight we heard “Ravely Street” (soprano again from O’Higgins) and a new piece, prefaced by a long introduction by bassist Matt Ridley, inspired by a trip to Crete.  And his infectious “Monkey’s Wedding” could only have been written by someone with a South African background (which was further emphasised by the Abdullah Ibrahim tune “Tsakwe” – Dave O’Higgins wailing on soprano sparking some driving piano and foreground drumming over Brubeck’s ostinato).

Any Darius Brubeck gig will also feature a standard or two from the Great American Songbook; tonight it was the 1930s tune by Victor Young “Ghost Of A Chance”, taken rather more briskly – though very effectively – than usual.  Throw in a couple of Duke Ellington numbers as well, and you have a nicely balanced programme – the first half closed with a swinging version of Ellington’s “Jump For Joy” (O’Higgins would have had Dexter Gordon purring) that made you wonder why it’s not one of the most played of all Ellington material.

Brubeck must be a good guy to work for.  O’Higgins – a player with a worldwide reputation -plays with him in several formats.  Matt Ridley was virtually unknown five years ago but has since become a first-call bass player and a leader in his own right, and Wesley Gibbens’ flexibility and familiarity with South African patterns makes him a considerable asset – and they've both been with Darius since at least 2008.

In any Darius Brubeck concert it’s easy both to see and hear that we’re in the presence of a man who grew up when giants walked the earth – indeed his very parents among them.  But there’s nothing of the big star in his demeanour – a recognition that, yes, he’s the leader, but a friendly relaxation and affability with musicians and audience that can’t be anything but wholly natural.  To an outsider, the Brubeck name seems perhaps almost as much a disadvantage as a blessing.  On the one hand Darius Brubeck grew up when jazz immortals were not merely household names, but household visitors.  On the other, it must be a terrible thing to be defined as your father’s son rather than in your own right.  That’s for Darius rather than us to worry about, and anyway, he’s surely used to it by now, and he wouldn't be forgiven if he didn't close the programme with “Take Five” for the ten-thousandth time (musing, perhaps at the irony that in 1959 the record company was reluctant to issue Time Out on the grounds it wouldn't sell enough copies).  But the old warhorse comes up smiling each time; it gives the imperturbable Wesley Gibbens some serious exercise and is pretty well guaranteed to get the full house demanding an encore.  Another Ellington piece, a nicely-judged “Things Ain't What They Used To Be” with just a couple of choruses each was the perfect choice.

 

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