Album Remarks & Appraisals:
As a document this 6 CD set is as invaluable as the music it contains which includes some extra tracks from Tubby's Groove that had been auditioned by Blue Note and then lost and which has taken 50 years to find and release. The restoration of sound quality is excellent and you have to constantly remind yourself that these recordings date back almost 60 years. I've already mentioned what excellent notes Simon Spillett's are which tell the full story behind the recordings.
Liner Note Author: Simon Spillett.
This whopping six-disc set comprises the early bop and hard bop solo output of tenor saxophone giant and bandleader (as well as a pianist and vibraphonist) Tubby Hayes, one of a handful of players who put British jazz on the map in the 1950s. Admired by American and European players alike, he stands as one of the great masters of the horn, period. Some of the other notable players that recorded with him during this historic period are trumpeters Jimmy Deuchar and Dickie Hawdon, bassist Pete Blannin, drummers Lennie Breslaw and Tony Crombie, and, of course, saxophonist Ronnie Scott, to name a few. The first two discs here are almost entirely devoted to the Tubby Hayes Orchestra (actually an octet), whose dates were released on 7" EPs as well as the LPs British Modern Jazz Scene 1956 and After Lights Out. The second also contains two tracks from the early Jazz Couriers, released on the historic Jazz at the Flamingo, recorded during in the summer of 1956. Disc three begins in 1957 with the album Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers Featuring Ronnie Scott, recorded on August 8, as well as an alternate of "On a Misty Night" from a Tempo anthology. It is followed by four cuts -- including Hayes' killer "Plebus" from an August 15 session -- and capped off by a live date in February of 1958 that featured the band playing a spirited read of Scott's "Some of My Best Friends Are Blues" that carries over to the rest of the record, The Jazz Couriers in Concert, on disc four. The remainder contains the EP The Eighth Wonder -- Hayes also plays baritone, alto, vibes, and piano on the record -- with bassist Phil Bates and drummer Bill Eyden. It also includes six of the eight tracks from The Couriers of Jazz; the remaining two kick off disc five. The full-length London Jazz Quartet album is here, as well as the first half of the Jazz Couriers' The Last Word, from 1959. Disc six contains the final three jams from that album, which features a dynamite reading of George Gershwin's "Love Walked In." The last album in this set is Tubby's Groove, recorded in December 1959 with Jazz Couriers pianist Terry Shannon and drummer Phil Seaman, along with new bassist Jeff Clyne. The sound on this set is excellent; the music was remastered from original tapes, not vinyl. While it's worthy of complaint that the original albums are not presented wholly together, separated by discs, it's actually minor. Also included is a brilliant liner essay by British saxophonist Simon Spillett that's not only full of historical data, but cultural insight. This is a tremendous package from Acrobat and well recommended to Hayes fans and jazz enthusiasts. ~ Thom Jurek
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