Online Sales Links
Chris runs his own record label Bell CDs
Pete Allen Jazz Band: Sacramento Lift Off
Harlem Airshaft: Echoes From the Park
Boswell’s London Journal
Back In Your Own Backyard
“Chris plays a good, hot trumpet, no frills, no fuss, with attack and invention.”
Nevil Skrimshire, Editor , Jazz Journal International
“The Cardiff-based Chris Hodgkins Band accomplished the challenging task of accompanying Wild Bill Davison with trombonist Bob Tunnicliffe and pianist Eric Herbert turning out immaculate solos. It is as Wild Bill said ‘a hell of a good band.” Paul Keel, South Wales Echo, 15th September 1976
Wild Bill Davison and Bob Tunnicliffe, Cardiff, 16th September 1976
“Accompanied by the Chris Hodgkins Band, Buddy Tate ……exploited the full range of the tenor, keeping a good tone in the upper register and a satin , whispering effect in the lower. In Tangerine and Sunday he punched out chorus after chorus of rhythmic invention, never once seeming lost or uninspired. The polished Chris Hodgkins Band provided as always, confident, sensitive support for their guest with Dave “Father” Green putting in some fine solo work, especially with In A Mellow Tone.” Paul Keel, South Wales Echo, 23rd November 1976
Chris Hodgkins, Jed Williams, Buddy Tate at Chapter Arts Centre 22nd November 1976
“Last night’s session at Chapter Arts Centre with the Cardiff based Chris Hodgkins Band was one of pure enjoyment for both audience and musicians. Kathy Stobart has played with the band several times before and it showed in the ease with which the band knitted together. The addition of second tenor player, Mike Ludlow rounded off the line up of Chris Hodgkins, Bob Tunnicliffe (trombone),Dave Greensmith (bass), Eric Herbert (piano) and Jed Williams (drums). Kathy’s playing alternates between good , belting swing and moments of spine-tingling sensitivity. Her solo -My Ship – on soprano sax was particularly haunting, the sort of stuff that compels you to hang onto every note. Another high spot came with a duet of Kathy and Mike Ludlow on Bernie’s Tune, their different touches providing a good foil for each other. There was some fine work from the Chris Hodgkins Band who are fast building a big reputation for themselves and there were some original arrangements for the band from bassist Dave Greensmith particularly on Robbins’ Nest and Splanky.” Frances Toyne South Wales Echo, 12th May 1977
Mike Ludlow, Chris Hodgkins, Kathy Stobart, Chapter Arts Centre 11th May 1977
“There are few people who combine the attributes of of talented, sensitive musician and astute, efficient and successful organiser. Chris has impressed me in both these roles over the years when I have enjoyed working with him.” Humphrey Lyttelton
Humphrey Lyttelton agreeing to be president of the Welsh Jazz Society Ltd and a rallying cry to members 12th January 1979
“In Chris Hodgkins’s concert at the Gibbs Club there were a few vestiges of that frustrated amateur who dragged his trumpet around Cardiff bars 10 years ago drumming up local enthusiasm for jazz. He still swings of course, but in several years of playing professionally in Britain and Europe he has learned to channel his original raw energy, acquiring a versatility of style, a lot more technique and, above all a very expansive use of tone and dynamics….The menu may have been standard but it was spiced with a great deal of tonal experimentation as Hodgkins bent and flattened notes, growled soulfully into the mouthpiece and juggled with a variety of mutes (including a beret with origami cut outs). In Funk Dumplin’s he showed himself quiet capable of the brilliant arpeggios of bop but the appeal of his style lies not in virtuosity but in the steamy emotion generated by his relaxed, bluesy improvisations. Harry Edison’s Sweet Cakes was a delight, as, keeping in the lower register ofthe trumpet, Hodgkins growled sensuously into a Harmon mute, gradually building a passionate and menacing improvisation until it drowned out the apathetic chatter of the crowd. A chance visit by Digby Fairweather transformed the concert into something quite extraordinary. For three numbers in the final set, cornet and trumpet duelled playing marvelous, intricate passages in duet, throwing phrases challengingly from one to another, each trying to out do the others solo. Fairweather’s brilliant tone and technical bravura was complimented perfectly by Hodgkins’s more soulful musicality, and with no mean contribution from the excellent Bob Jones Trio, they treated those few of left in the Gibbs Club to one of the most exciting displays of trumpet playing ever heard in Cardiff.” Robin Lyons, South Wales Echo, 28th July 1983
In November 1993 Jazz Services published, Jazz – The Case For Better Investment. The full document can be seen at: http://www.chrishodgkins.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/CaseForBetterInvestmentInJazz-Nov93.pdf Sir John Dankworth commented on the draft on the 19th October 1993
Brecon Jazz Festival 2003 – “By rushing about between events I managed to catch Chris Hodgkins’ Trio, with Max Brittain, guitar, and John Ferguson, double bass. Hodgkins is known to most professional musicians as the indefatigable Director of Jazz Services. Here he treats us to pleasant mainstream trumpet playing on “I’m Confessin'”, “Taking A Chance On Love”, “Good Morning Heartache”, “Just Friends”, “Struttin With Some Barbecue” and “Too Late Now”. Chris has a nice line in endearingly waggish wit. With but little extra polish, his mordantly funny compering skills could feature more at British jazz events.” John Robert Brown, Jazz Review, October 2003
“Dr Johnson’s House sits quietly behind the bustle of Fleet Street like a haven of calm, just the place for the live premier of Chris Hodgkins Quartet’s set of themes, co-written with Eddie Harvey, linked to events in Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Anchored by Alison Rayner’s purposeful bass lines, with guitarist Max Brittain and the saxophonist Diane McLoughlin alongside trumpeter Hodgkins, this was chamber jazz, tuneful and clever, with light-touch narration by actress Susan Sheridan. Performing on high in the garret, alongside memento’s from the likes of David Garrick and Boswell himself, the audience close at hand, the quartet was jaunty and solemn by turn, each player interlocking craftily, with McLoughlin holding the reins while Hodgkins let rip. Tailor made for the literary festival circuit, this project deserves to do well.” Peter Vacher, Jazz UK, December/January 2010/11.
Jazz and Dr Johnson at Scarborough Literature Festival
“Jazz and Dr Johnson This event was part of the Scarborough Literature Festival and proved an interesting link between jazz and literature. The evening consisted of movements from a jazz suite interspersed with readings by the actress Susan Sheridan, who had tailored various anecdotes and quotes from James Boswell’s journal that chronicled Johnson’s life.
Susan Sheridan read her parts in a conversational manner, employing a slight Scots accent for James Boswell and giving a slightly booming quality for Johnson’s ponderous tones. If her voice sounded familiar, this may be from hearing her on Radio Four, or on several audio books. She has also voiced cartoon characters on TV and played a character in the Walt Disney film The Black Cauldron. The jazz was ably played by The Chris Hodgkins Quartet. Chris had co-written the suite with Eddie Harvey with the exception of two movements, one by accomplished guitarist Max Brittain, and the other by saxophonist Diane McLoughlin. Without piano or drums, the music had an ‘open’, fleet and lively quality, revealing the double bass to be the pivotal driver of the group. Alison Rayner’s bass playing was strong and interesting throughout. Despite the eighteenth century source of the readings, the music was very much of the moment. We heard a bluesy number on which Chris Hodgkins used a plunger mute to great effect, several tunes were given a lithe, bouncy tempo and the final surprise was a calypso. Whether there was enough jazz for the jazz fans, or enough Dr Johnson for his fans, the audience seemed very pleased either way.”
Dick Armstrong, 6th April 2011.
Chris Hodgkins and Matt Anderson live at Scarborough Jazz
“Providing a link to the Scarborough Literature Festival is now a well-established event for Scarborough Jazz, and this year involved contributions from the local Poetry Workshop. The poets seemed a straightforward, good natured group, with not one languid consumptive among them, or any eccentric clothing: I’d secretly hoped for long strings of beads tangled in crocheted shawls – at least among the men. We were treated to a well-chosen set of poems, many of them jazz related………..
Musically the evening began with two numbers from the Mike Gordon Trio. These ate into the time available for readings and excluded the two guest musicians booked for the gig. However the first number by the full band, Blue Monk, was excellent, with Matt Anderson’s persuasive and assured sax and Chris Hodgkin’s muted trumpet in wonderfully bluesy mode. Now fully warmed up, the band stopped while two poems were read. In fact, we didn’t get two consecutive musical numbers, despite several times hearing two or even three consecutive poems. Was it a case of the poetry interrupting the jazz or the other way round? The jazz we did get was very good, with a feature for each front liner. Chris Hodgkins took the seldom played Black Butterfly and reminded us of what a lovely tune it is, while Matt chose It Could Happen To You which show-cased his beautiful sound. It proved an interesting evening with something for everyone.”
Dick Armstrong 4th April 2012