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Music

Almost all the music added to this page week by week is from my personal archive of private recordings.

Tracks 1 to 4

A gem of a gig at “Ron’s Place”, the King’s Head, Fulham at the end of 1979. Tony’s favourite blues line “Groovin” (by Kenny Burrell) followed by a sprightly “St.Thomas” almost as good as the Dick Morrissey version already on this Music page. Then a lovely ballad and the slow burner “Killer Joe” to close. John Horler on piano, me on drums and some breathtaking bass virtuosity from Chris Laurence.

Tracks 5 and 6

In 1969, the BBC ran a limited series of “Jazz Scene” TV shows live from Ronnie’s. I understand all the shows were subsequently WIPED by the Beeb because they wanted to re-use the tape. Philistinism of this order beggars belief. A bootleg video of very poor quality surfaced in the US (and was obtained by Gordon Beck) of the episode featuring the Tubby Hayes big band which people have posted on Youtube. To my knowledge, only audio copies off the TV survive of this show featuring Peter King (alt) Tony Coe (ten) Stan Tracey (p) Ron Matthewson (bs) and me. Both these compositions are typical of Peter King’s writing. There are two other titles composed by Stan Tracey which I will post in the future - “Under milk wood” and “Principal central stage”.

Track 7.

To complement my “musing” on Phil Seamen, a blues from The Tony Coe quartet (Brian Lemon, Dave Green, Phil) in 1971 See the “musing” (Very) Able Seamen for more detailed comments.

Tracks 8 and 9

A recent church concert featuring the beautiful piano playing of Gareth Williams. A Latinesque Softly and a whimsical Alice in wonderland. Mind the gap on this one - there’s about 10 seconds’ silence before the music starts.

Tracks 10, 11 and 12

A memorable evening at Ronnie’s when I was playing with Mike Carr (organ) and Dick Morrissey showed up and sat in. He was bursting to play and here are some of the results - a blistering version of ST. THOMAS worthy of Sonny Rollins followed by a blues in two parts (because the tape had to be changed early into Dick’s solo). I really dig Mike Carr’s introductory choruses. Uncharacteristically subdued, cooking and just what was required to build up to Dick’s entry. As for Dick’s wailing on this, it is the perfect combination of his jazz and funk tenor styles. A performance I will always treasure. Wait to the end to hear Ronnie’s surly, barrel-chested partner Pete King announce us off with rare praise from him: “A very fine, stomping first set”!

Tracks 13, 14 and 15

A concert at Leeds Playhouse in November 1979 on the “Culloden Moor” tour (see the ‘musing’ Robert Coull Bobby Wellins Chapter Four). A ballad and a drum feature by the quartet, then a solo foray by the late genius Pete Jacobsen

Track 16

An unheard piece of Stan Tracey in concert at the North Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead in 2004. A rousing blues line with Andy Cleyndert on bass and me on drums.

Tracks 17 and 18

The Tubby Hayes big band in full flight on BLUES FOR PIPKINS (“cloned” perhaps from Gerald Wilson’s Blues for Yna Yna) at its most storming broadcast from the Paris Theatre, Regent Street in 1969. Tubbs reassembled the big band four years later shortly before his death for a final BBC outing. SIENNA RED sounds as if it might have been Tubby’s salute to the Miles Davis/Gil Evans tune “Gone”. Roaring electric piano solo from Alan Branscombe, Tubby sounding passionate and some stratospheric arco harmonics from Ron Matthewson before the drums come back for the final theme statement.

Track 19

Please refer to the “musing” Robert Coull Wellins Chapter 3 THE KRAKEN WAKES. Here is an example of the quartet he formed in 1977 taken from a previously unheard live performance. It is clear how fresh and adventurous Bobby sounds and how much he is inspired by Pete’s piano, electric or otherwise.

Track 20.

Ronnie Scott’s regular band of the time with Dick Pearce, John Critchinson and Ron Matthewson. I was depping for Martin Drew. Here’s uptempo version of BLUE BOSSA which I heedlessly brought in even faster at the end!

Tracks 21, 22 and 23

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 Racial Intolerance (JACARI). Almost all the gig survives on tape and I present three extracts: HERE’S THAT RAINY DAY, 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 24, 25 and 26

Broadcast excerpts from 1965-1968 to complement the “musing” Robert Coull 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.

Tracks 27 and 28.

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 29 and 30

Two 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 and then comes Monk’s WELL YOU NEEDN’T, after which Skid turned to Mick and me and asked “Could you swing a little less, please?”

Track 31.

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 (see the “musing” THE BE-BOP KING OF HASTINGS). 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 32 and 33.

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.

Track 34.

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.

Track 35.

HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN? 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,

Track 36.

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.

Track 37.

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!

Track 38.

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 39 and 40.

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?!

Track 41.

The divine Bobby Wellins again 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).

Track 42.

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)

Track 43

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!)

Track 44.

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

Track 45.

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……….