JAZZ AND THE EARL MOUNTBATTEN HOSPICE

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, 21st November 2006, 00:00

The PHOENIX JAZZ TRIO have produced a wonderful 15-track album of modern jazz classics mixed with some home-spun compositions. Ex-Plessey engineers Bill Wills on drums and Mike Whitehead on double bass are two members of this musical threesome, along with Peter Trueman on piano. Roger Mason on tenor sax also guests on the CD, entitled “OUR KIND OF JAZZ”.
The jewel-cased insert carries photos and explanatory notes of why the trio have resurrected their previous 60s collaboration for the 21st century. It would make an ideal Christmas gift for any fan of this gently-swinging Jazz genre and from the sale of each sixty-eight minute CD at £10 (update – now only £6), all of the profits are donated to the Hospice.
What a wonderful way to support such a worthwhile and important cause!

The CD can be obtained from the IW Mountbatten Hospice shops or Bill Wills – Tel: 01983 523879.

PHOENIX JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Notes from Bill Wills:

Those who know their Egyptian mythology will appreciate this resurrection; although not of a 500-year interval (more like 30) and rather ‘cooler’ flames from the pyre! So what would three retired engineers do to pass the time? As it happens one is a pianist, one a bassist and the other a drummer. They all love modern jazz. It doesn’t take much of a guess!

Pianist and composer Peter Trueman, double bassist and sound recordist Mike Whitehead, and writer/lyricist and drummer Bill Wills first met up in the 60s and the trio clicked from the start. The demands of earning a living for their families prevailed and eventually they went their separate ways …

Peter comes from Ilford and lived for a while on a houseboat in Wootton Creek before building his own house. He was a Senior Lecturer at the IW Technical College and still works part-time as a Design Consultant. A prolific music writer (even composing in the middle of the night!) he also plays flute and vibes.

Mike originally hails from Gloucestershire but has lived on the Island since he was thirteen. He spent many years working in the film and television industries until finding his niche as Projects Administrator in the local Radar Company. In his spare time he was the Technical/Artistic Director for the Apollo Theatre in Newport and has spots on two Isle of Wight Radio Stations.

Me? The only foreigner. Born in Cardiff, was Principal Radar Engineer for Decca/Plessey/Siemens, love writing musical plays, stories for children and spoof letters to famous people.

So it came as no surprise that when recently our personal circumstances changed, it was a great help to immerse ourselves in music. We spontaneously decided to resurrect the trio for our own and other people's pleasure and specifically to show the younger generation that you don’t need 1000 decibels and flashing lights to produce quality music; also what swinging modern jazz represents … “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!” Never will there be a truer maxim. We wanted to play jazz in our own style and without any influences, commercial or otherwise. So “Our Kind of Jazz” was conceived.

Our special guest on “Our Kind of Jazz” is Birmingham-born Roger ‘Relentless’ Mason, one of the most driving tenor sax players we have had the privilege to accompany. His slow numbers show great sensitivity, probably because of his inherent skills as an horticulturist and portrait painter. He certainly knows how to get the best from a rhythm section!

One of the great delights of playing music is that you can always progress. Whilst doing this, you experience the whole gamut of new ideas and making mistakes (with much merriment) but always aiming for a polished result. We went through many ‘takes’ of each number, sometimes varying the tempo and/or rhythm; at times altering the mood between sadness and joy and occasionally injecting some wild humour in the playing. We never lost sight of the main objective – to have fun and produce a record of our work in the hope that discerning people would appreciate it.

It has given us great pleasure to make and we hope that you get as excited as we did when you listen.

Well … as the great sage ‘Buddy’ Rich said … “Ya Gotta Try!”

Bill Wills

Track listing:

1. Blue in Green
2. There Will Never Be Another You ( Download Sample mp3* )
3. But Beautiful
4. October Waltz
5. All the Things You Are
6. London Medley:
    A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
    London by Night
    A Foggy Day in London Town
7. Stickology
8. A Weaver of Dreams
9. Ghost of a Chance
10. The Look of Love
11. Don’t Blame Me
12. Marjorie’s Blue See-Saw
13. Nancy with the Laughing Face ( Download Sample mp3* )
14. Just Friends
15. Softly as I Leave You ( Download Sample mp3* )

* Note: The mp3 download files are 1 minute in duration and 1MB in size.

The album is dedicated to three very special and lovely ladies: Pauline, Lilian and Sue.

Sold in aid of the IW Mountbatten Hospice.

At the time of writing over £600 has been raised for the Hospice from sales of this CD.

The CD can be obtained from the IW Mountbatten Hospice shops or Bill Wills – Tel: 01983 523879.

The trio are currently working on their next CD which features singer Nette Robinson, and this will be available early next year.

Update: the CD, called Isn't It Romantic? is now available – see the village website at http://www.northwoodvillage.org.uk/village/villagediary/1938.aspx

for more details.

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