Almost all the music added to this page week by week is from my personal archive of private recordings.
Tracks 1 and 2,
Ronnie Scott’s regular band of the time with Dick Pearce, John Critchinson and Ron Matthewson. I was depping for Martin Drew. First a snatch of a few of Ronnie’s tried and tested gags, followed by an uptempo version of BLUE BOSSA which I brought in even faster at the end!
Tracks 3, 4 ,5 and 6
Rarest of rare Joe Harriott. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! Joe was on top of his game when he fronted a quartet in the Oxford Union Debating Hall at an event to raise money for the then Joint Action Committee again Rcial Intolerance (JACARI). Almost all the gig survives on tape and I present four extracts: HERE’S THAT RAINY DAY, EAST OF THE SUN, Thelonious Monk’s off-kilter composition JACKIE-ING and the lovely song (think Billie Holiday) THEY CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. Brian Priestley on piano, the late John Hart on bass.
Tracks 7, 8, 9 and 10
Broadcast excerpts from 1965-1968 to complement the “musing” Bobby Wellins Chapter Two THE GLORY YEARS. NB ALL THESE RECORDINGS ARE ONE-TRACK MONO. Please split the signal if you can or just snuggle up to one speaker
First up is Stan Tracey’s big band with AFRO CHARLIE (to be retitled “Afro-Charlie meets the white rabbit” when it was later annexed to the Alice in Jazzland suite). Sublime three choruses from Bobby and fiery propulsion from the great Phil Seamen on drums. Second, we have Phil leading his own quartet on OLD MAN RIVER with Bobby and Alan Branscome on piano. They both play excellent solos then Bobby swaps fours with an explosive Phil. Thirdly a 1966 ballad feature IF EVER I SHOULD LEAVE YOU for Bobby with Jackie Dougan’s ten-piece band. Exquisitely tender with Bobby’s slow vibrato to the fore. Finally from 1968, a simple blues by Stan PANAMA RED -named no doubt after a resinous substance. The last two bars make it sound like a nursery rhyme! The quartet now has the exciting new talent of young Bryan Spring on drums but sadly this is one of Bobby’s last outings with Stan for many years which makes it all the more poignant.
Tracks 11 and 12.
Two earlier examples of Bobby Wellins. Please refer to the Musing page “ROBERT COULL WELLINS Chapter 1”. Firstly, the haunting blues McTAGGART with Stan Tracy, Jeff Clyne and Laurie Morgan. Secondly, the “arrival” of Bobby Wellins featured on CARAVAN with the Tony Crombie band in 1960 - the new voice of British jazz announces his unique presence..
Tracks 13 and 14.
Bobby Wellins upstairs at the Marlborough Arms pub in Oxford in October 1965. It was the first time I had ever played with him and life has never been the same since! I launched this website with “Exactly like you”, the opening tune on the gig. Now here in two parts (the tape was edited) is Bobby’s magnificent take on that classic (much abused by talentless open-mike singers) SUMMERTIME. Brian Priestley was on piano.
Tracks 15 and 16.
Two tracks recorded in Cambridge 1962 (by Ray Dolby) featuring Lionel Grigson (tpt) Dave Gelly (alt) Art Themen (ten) Mike Barrett (p) John Hart (bs) and George Walden (dms). Note the second tune is a Lionel Grigson original very much in the authentic “Blue Note” mould of the time. A very professional outing by the student ensemble. See the “Musings” page ( The Varsity Drag episode 1) for further details.
Lionel Grigson on piano this time. “You’re not here” is his moving tribute to his friend bassist John Hart who had recently been killed in a car crash. Recorded by Bob Cornford in his flat in King’s Cross with Daryl Runswick on bass and me on drums.
Tracks 18 and 19.
An illustration of Billie Hoiiday/Lester Young musical marriage made in heaven discussed on the Musings page. In each case, the out chorus is a sublime duet and Lester’s obbligato is a new creation on each take.
Tracks 20, 21 and 22.
Three tunes from a 1989 gig at the old JAZZ CAFE in Newington Green, Skid’s trio featuring Mick Hutton on bass and me on drums. First up is BLUES UP AND DOWN. Next comes Monk’s WELL YOU NEEDN’T and lastly an unusually lively tempo for another Monk composition NUTTY. After which Skid turned to Mick and me and asked “Could you swing a little less, please?”
Count Basie’s earliest surviving live broadcast featuring Lester Young. Please refer to the “musings” page (America’s all time greatest President Chapter #1) for more details. Here’s ST.LOUIS BLUES. on which Lester plays two stunning choruses..
In 1970, while I was a member of three bands (Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Humphrey Lyttleton), I briefly led my own Ornette-Coleman inspired piano-less quartet with Jeff Clyne on bass, Pete Burden on alto and Marc Charig on cornet. I had got to know Pete at the Sunday afternoon sessions at the Troubadour in Earl’s Court. Marc, whose career has ranged from avant-garde to blues and pop, I had first met at school in 1960 when we shared a youthful enthusiasm for Clark Terry. This memorable line by Ornette Coleman himself is the final number from a live Jazz Club broadcast introduced by the imperturbable Humph.
Tracks 25 and 26..
Two numbers from a live broadcast by the Harry South big band. ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS A MONO RECORDING AND HAS ONLY COME OUT ON ONE CHANNEL. SPLIT THE SIGNAL IF YOUR EQUIPMENT ALLOWS. OTHERWISE JUST SNUGGLE UP TO ONE SPEAKER! Joe Harriott plays PORGY AND BESS. A superb, passionate solo. Don’t miss this one! Then, a Stan Tracey original and arrangement, which swings mightily. Cracking solos from SKID, TUBBY and RAY WARLEIGH.
This unusual jazz vehicle is the wonderful bass voice solo from Fauré’s Requiem. We performed it in a church concert in 2013 and it is played more or less straight.
The second incarnation of Bobby’s quartet, with Kenny Baldock (see the tribute to him on the “Musings” page) on bass instead of Adrian Kendon. A “Jazz Club” broadcast in July 1983 from Maida Vale Studios (hence presenter Peter Clayton’s quirky reference to Paddington Basin being nearby). Bobby’s inimitable yearning sound suits this lovely jazz standard perfectly.
HOW DEEP again, this time from a concert by my trio at the Eastbourne Underground Theatre in January 2008. Listen to Barry Green’s original piano style which draws you in to its rhythmic and harmonic complexity,
Stan Getz accompanied on a tour of Scandinavia in February 1970 by the Tubby Hayes rhythm section. This track is from a concert recorded by Swedish radio.
Art Themen, Dave Newton, Dave Green and myself at the old Bull’s Head in 2006. SPOILER ALERT - THIS IS THE MOST SWINGING PIANO SOLO I HAVE EVER HEARD!
Again at the old Bull’s Head. This time the great Don Weller blows up a storm in an organ trio on the beautiful Jerome Kern jazz favourite
Tracks 33 and 34.
A cooking gig at the 606, Lots Rd. Morny, Barry Green, Phil Donkin and myself firstly stretching out on Joe Henderson’s McCoy Tynerish blues line and then at breakneck tempo on Tubby’s old warhorse. Fast enough for you, Tubbs?!
The divine Bobby Wellins with this gorgeous Mel Torme piece. A rare unissued bonus track from the “Fun” CD with Mark Edwards, Andy Cleyndert and Spike This little gem is for life, not just for Christmas (woof woof).
Kenny Wheeler(tpt) Tony Coe(ten, sop) Chris Pyne(tmb) Pat Smythe(p) Ron Matthewson(bs) Spike(d). from a 1972 broadcast. 2 leaders equally diffident about announcements. Luckily the breezy Humph was on hand as presenter! A haunting version of a Keith Jarrett tune
Art Farmer with a mean Blue Monk. From a wonderful gig upstairs at the Richmond pub, Brighton with my quartet featuring Geoff Simkins(alt), the late Colin Purbrook(pno) and Andy Cleyndert (bs)
Long Tall Dexter (Gordon) in his pomp at a Norwegian festival in 1977 with Eivin Sannes (piano) Arild Andersen (bass) and me on drums. Nobody plays on the “Rhythm changes” like him or inserts such hip quotes (even Jim Mullen!)
The Oslo club scene in the 70s. Think Lifetime etc. Loose jazz-rock with Arild Andersen again, Jon Eberson (gtr) Jon Balke (pno) me (dms). A mind-blowing week’s engagement
The original Bobby Wellins quartet in concert in 1979. Never before heard. Features the greatly missed Peter Jacobsen on piano and the imperturbable Adrian Kendon on bass..
Charles McPherson, one of the best Charlie Parker disciples and a one-time Mingus sideman, in Brighton in 1989. McPherson plays Parker - literally! But the highspot here is Mick Pyne’s magnificent blues-drenched piano solo. Fast forward to this if you’re in a hurry……….