Gigs in August….

August is super busy, as usual….I’m really looking forwards to getting stuck into these.
31st July, The Sugaree Band, Auberge de l’Argentour, Nanteuil-en-Vallée, 16700
1st Saturday – Jazz a la Carte – Private function.
2nd Sunday 12noon- Jazz a la Carte Green Man Inn, Charroux, 86250
7th Friday 8pm- Jazz a la Carte La Petite Fontaine, La Dorat, 87210
8th Saturday 8pm- Jazz a la CarteBar de la Fontaine, Gouex, Poitou-Charentes
13th Thursday – Jazz a la Carte – Private function.
14th Friday – Jazz a la Carte La Meteorite, Rochechouart 87600
15th Saturday 8pm- Jazz a la Carte Au Reflet des Limousines, Ecuras 16220
16th Sunday 5pm- Jazz a la Carte Le Soleil Couchant, Verneuil, 16310
21st Friday 8pm- Jazz a la Carte Le Repos, Lac du Mondon, Cromac, 87
23rd Sunday- Jazz a la Carte – “Grande Braderie”, Ruffec town centre, all day…
11am Place d’Armes, Hotel de Ville
3pm Rue Jean Jaurès/Rue du Chenais
5pm Place Aristide Briand
27th Thursday – Bennetti’s Jazz n Blues ClubLe Soleil Couchant, Plan d’Eau, Verneuil, 16310.
28th Friday 8pm- Jazz a la CarteCafé de le Gare, Gourville 16170
29th Saturday 8pm- Jazz a la CarteAuberge du Noyer, La Brousse, Londigny 16700
30th Sunday 12noon- Jazz a la CarteLa Charrette, Benest 16350

A 3 gig week!

3 in a row!

Three gigs, three different line-ups, three different sets!
1. Thursday 25th June @ the Soleil Couchant. Bennetti’s Jazz n Blues Club.
Playing outside on the terrace, a mix of Jazz n Blues, with a mix of musicians. We’ll be playing all sorts, and it should be a great night.
2. Saturday 27th June @ Nuit en Fete Exideuil. The Sugaree Band. The new band, but missing the other new guitarist as he can’t make it!!! We’ll be playing opposite the Rivage Restaurant at the top of the town from 9pm. 3eme Div, a French punk band are on before us, and Je Dis Jazz, an ex-pat Jazz band are on after us. There’s fireworks at midnight, and festival happenings throughout the evening.
3. Sunday 28th June @ La Charrette, Benest. Jazz a la Carte, playing on the terrace from 2pm. Jazz a la Carte is the Jazz trio that I joined. There’s Lynn Garner (vocals), Brad Lang (bass, vocals), and me on guitar. I joined them a little while ago. Didn’t want to mention it too soon in case I couldn’t cut it. Lynn and Brad are fabulous pro’ musicians, it’s a real treat for me to play with them.

Then top all that off with a party on Sunday night at a musician friend’s house……the life of Riley eh?

Super Jazz n Blues Session at Le Soleil Couchant

The Jazz n Blues session at Le Soleil Couchanton 30th April was one of the best yet. We had more players than ever, really experienced players!
Here’s a clip of one of my favourites from the day…..Joe Cocker’s ‘The Letter’…..

The next scheduled session is on the 14th July at the Golf de Saint Junien, though I might try and organise something before that. As it happens I’m off to the seaside next week to see if I can pick up a couple of gigs on the coast….West Coast that is…can’t get no more jazzier than that! Watch this space! :-)

Haute Vienne VTT Championships…

It was the departmental MTB championships for the Haute Vienne at the weekend. I put my guitar away and rode my bike instead. The circuit at Panazol just outside Limoges was one of the best I have ever ridden. Superb roller-coaster-whoopedoope stuff for the whole 9kms. I wasn’t gridded for the start, I rode a 26 when most were on 29ers, I’m not really super fit – getting the excuses in here! But, I managed to just get on the podium!!!

VTT_Champs

Jean Claude Sansonnet won easily – a true champion. Super strong Michel Guene was a comfortable 2nd. I was gifted 3rd place by Marcel Buisson who punctured at the end of the second lap.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day. My first race in the 60+ vets category. It’s a start! :-)

A Ride South To La Rochelle

I love to encourage bikers (motorized or otherwise) to take the time to explore France; it’s so varied and much of it is incredibly beautiful. The food is (of course) wonderful, and the country is generally extremely friendly for two-wheeled types. Here’s a round trip idea from Calais to La Rochelle, passing through some amazing spots. The quickest route is just under 700km, but venturing off the main roads will both save money in tolls and allow you to see some stupendous sights.

Why La Rochelle?

The ancient port of La Rochelle is a great destination, with brilliant nightlife including a variety of seafood restaurants, buzzing bars and a decent casino. If you’re new to the pleasures of the roulette and blackjack tables, it’s not a bad idea to practice first; French folks tend to be pretty good at it! Playing for free online is a good way to get your head round the rules. Choose a trusted site – http://www.jackpotcity.org for example – and you’re good to go.

Rouen

If you’re arriving in Calais late, it’s not a bad idea to book a hotel before you arrive, especially in high season. For those unused to driving on the right, learning the ropes in the dark is not such a great idea! Otherwise, our first port of call (OK, so it’s not actually a port) is going to be Rouen, 215km to the south via the A28. Most people’s highlight is the cathedral, at which it’s possible to stare in awe for hours, despite the fact that quite a lot of it has been restored since the last war.

Rouen is a great spot for a leisurely lunch; take a wander around the old town and see the half-timbered buildings that survive on most streets, then try the fixed-price lunch menu at Pascaline on the rue de la Poterne. Delicious, typically French bistro grub at reasonable prices.

Le Mans

Next we head towards Le Mans, where race fans can visit the Bugatti Circuit which has played host to the French Moto GP, as well as actually riding on the public-road parts of the Circuit De La Sarthe (the more famous track). That’s not all there is to see in Le Mans though; there’s plenty of history in the town, including Roman baths and a beautiful old town known as the Cité Plantagenêt. Le Mans is 210-odd kilometres from Rouen; the E402 passes through the Forêt d’Écouves, an important site for cycling events including the Trans Écouves, held in September.

La Rochelle

The final stretch to La Rochelle is around 275km, so you may want to stay in or near Le Mans overnight; there are plenty of stopping points along the A11 southwards though, including Angers with its amazing, striped city walls, and the 850-year-old Tour St Aubin.

If you’ve had a typical Northern France shower (or downpour) to contend with earlier in the trip, the glowing sunlight of La Rochelle will raise your spirits. Accommodation-wise, it’s possible to camp in the summer, or there’s a selection of decent 2-star hotels from under €50, depending on when you go. Wander around the historic arcades and pick somewhere for dinner; Bistrot Remi Masse is just one of many great seafood spots, on rue St Jean du Perot. After a few liveners you may well start to feel like a trip to Casino Barriere – it’s at 15 allée du Mail. Good luck!

Somewhere……

Somewhere, from a long time ago….a half remembered tune.

The other day, I’m just walking along, hardly a single thought passing, and a half remembered tune comes into my head, and stays there. Half remembered from a long time ago. Somewhere in the 70s! I’m not even sure I remember it correctly. When I got home, I worked out the melody and the chords, and put this recording together. The picture carefully chosen for this tune. I hope you like it.

Recorder with a Japanese Fender Stratocaster, through a Fender clean amp channel, with compression, delay, and reverb.

Bennetti’s Jazz Blues Club Special…REVIEW

Our Jazz n Blues special took place on Sunday 9th November at La Ferme St Michel in Confolens.

All on stage at the end - Bennetti's Jazz n Blues!

Are you wondering how it went? Was the three months of work worth it? Did it all come together on the night?
Well yes it did! It was fantastic! Better than I could have hoped. In fact it was just perfect! The place was packed, and a great afternoon was had by all. So many people thanked us, and yet we have so many people to thank. Right from the ‘load in’ and set up at 12 noon through to climbing into bed at gone 1am the next day….perfect!

We even got a review in the local press….thanks Annie Grandjean at Charentelibre.

Confolens : le public au rendez-vous du Bennetti’s Jazz & Blues club.
Lynn Garner and Brad Lang

Ce sont près de 160 personnes qui ont fait le déplacement dimanche après-midi à la Ferme Saint-Michel pour assister à l’animation organisée par l’association Bennett Productions en partenariat avec l’Amac. Bennetti’s Jazz & Blues Club a offert au public un concert de deux heures d’une grande qualité. Ce concept réunit des musiciens de tous horizons, le but étant de jouer ensemble, apprendre les uns des autres, échanger autour d’une même passion. Quinze musiciens amateurs et professionnels se sont succédés sur scène pour jouer divers morceaux. De longs applaudissements et de longues discussions avec les artistes ont conclu cette soirée qui fut une grande réussite aux dires du public présent.

Le “Bennetti’s Jazz & Blues” sera jeudi 27 novembre á partir de 20h30 au Golf de Saint-Junien. Entrée gratuite.

Read more on the Charente Libre website here.

We have pro’ photographer Ian Wilson to thank for a superb album of photos. Here’s a selection to give you the idea…..

Blues Shouter Norrie Snakebite Burnett…
Norrie Snakebite Burnett

Andy Roxburgh on Saxes…
Andy Roxburgh on Saxes

Birthrite‘s drummer Ron Draper – who flew out from the UK just for the weekend to take part…
Ron Draper - Drummer with Black Country Steampunk bnad Birthrite

Here’s me, in the background, hanging on every note from fab French bluesman Bobby Dirninger
Bobby Dirninger

You’ll find the full album of pictures here.

Thanks to all the musicians who took part. You were all fabulous, and to see you enjoying what you do best made my day.
Thanks to all the team at La Ferme St Michel for having us. Especially Seb’ of Asscociation AMAC.
Thanks to all the supporters and fans of Jazz n Blues that came along on the day. It’s as much about you as it is us. It’s ‘our’ show!
Thanks to all the team at La Ferme for a great sound and a making us all feel welcome. We had a great sound – thanks Yan!
Thanks to all the wives and partners who ‘mucked in’ and helped. Lin on the merch’ table, Jaci on seating, Dave and Bill on the door.
Oh and needless to say…Thanks to Carla (Madame Blanc) her all her help and support, and for presenting the show in French! I could not have done it without her.

Madame Blanc… :-) <3 Madame Blanc

Bennetti’s Jazz Blues Club Special…

Yeah! The Jazz n Blues club I started continues to go from strength to strength. So…we are organising a Jazz n Blues Special on Sunday the 9th November at La Ferme St Michel in Confolens. We have a some fabulous musicians coming to take part including Norrie ‘Snakebite’ Burnett (Blues Shouter), and Bobbie Dirninger (fresh from the Montreux jazz festival). We also have seasoned pro’s Lynn Garner and Brad Lang, as well as Birthrite’s drummer Ron Draper who’s flying in from the UK just to take part. It is gonna be a special day!

JnB_poster_NOV_web

T-Sirts available for 10 euros! They look like this….

Jazz n Blues T-Shirt

If you are anywhere near Confolens 16500 on the 9th November and you are a Jazz and Blues fan. Don’t miss this! This will be a truly hip hang, dig?

Entrée libre (restauration sur place toute la soirée – pas de reservation necessaire)

Dimanche 9 Nov à 17:00 heures, nous accueillons le fameux Bennetti’s Jazz Blues Club (organisé par Steve Bennett) au La Ferme St Michel, Confolens 16500.

Le jazz club est ouvert à tous, ce concept réunit des musiciens de tous horizons ; le but est de jouer ensemble, apprendre les uns des autres, échanger autour d’une même passion. Les morceaux joués pendant la séance sont improvisés.

Il faut le voir pour le croire ! Chaque performance du jazz club est étonnante, leur public les suit où qu’ils se produisent, c’est une expérience à ne pas manquer ! Si vous voulez vous joindre à eux, tenter votre chance et amener votre instrument ou simplement les regarder en sirotant un apéritif au bar, n’hésitez pas ! Ambiance garantie !