on 25 April 2011
OK, Tubby Hayes fans are going to buy this CD anyway so this review isn't really aimed at such people, except to say
I don't think you'll be disappointed! However, I'm happy to recommend this CD to anyone inclined towards jazz for
several reasons, (in no particular order):
-it's a studio recording rather than a bootleg from a club and although it's mono, from 1959, the fidelity is high.
-the quartet's feel is excellent. If you thought British rhythm sections were wooden in those days compared
to US ones, you'll be pleasantly surprised what a relaxed, but on-it bounce these guys have. This CD feels good
from start to finish. (it's Terry Shanon (p), Jeff Clyne (b) Phil Seamen (d)).
-the package: includes excellent liner notes from Simon Spillett - a real authority on Tubby Hayes, giving as much
context and informed appreciation of the music as a hard-core fan could want, but written accessibly, not like a
dry encycopledia entry.
Then there's Tubby Hayes' playing itself. This album is an excellent showcase for his abilities - extended soloing
on the tunes, a good range of tempos and his robust tenor sound is captured very well. There is a marvellous
unaccompanied tenor chorus on the track 'Symphony'. To put Tubby Hayes' abilities into the context of who was
playing hard-bop tenor in 1959, I'd say he sits comfortably alongside the very best names you could come up with,
and it's an illustrious crowd.
on 11 July 2011
The Tubby Hayes "lost tapes" industry has been in full swing for some time now, but mostly they've been live recordings that Ron Mathewson found in his garage. Some of those are brilliant - listen to Live at the Hopbine and be amazed - but sound quality has been variable to say the least. This, by comparison, is a studio session, discovered years later apparently, in storage in New York in the effects of the late Blue Note founder Alred Lion.
Simon Spillet's gripping sleeve notes spell out how the tapes - recorded in West Hampstead in 1959 - ended up there and his tale unfolds like a whodunnit (or, more accurately, a whorecordedit). They add a great deal to the listening experience.
All you need to know is that this is Tubby at his peak, and, for once, recorded in the hi-est of fi.
Had this been released in 1959 we'd now be talking about it in the same breath as Giant Steps, Mingus Ah Um, Time out and that other famous 1959 album whose name escapes me. Seriously, I've been listening to jazz for most of my 46 years and I am not exaggerating. It is that good.
Tubby's technique and grasp of melody is breathtaking - hearing it recorded so well in the studio is utterly fantastic.
Buy one now. Actually, buy two. You know that friend who always says "I'd like to get into jazz, but it's hard to know where to start?"
Give them this. It's a masterpiece. And it really, really is Jazz.
on 13 November 2011
Tubby Hayes' 1959 recording "Tubby's New Groove" is in no way over-shadowed by that particularly rich crop of outstanding tenor saxophone albums which bloomed in late-1950's America. The fascinating circumstances of how this recording came to be made,'lost' and re-discovered is explained in Simon Spillett's superb accompanying essay. We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to all concerned.
The performance captures Hayes at his fabulous best and is greatly enhanced by good,clear sound engineering. All the qualities which made Hayes such a great musician are all well evindence throughout this well-chosen programme; technical command,presence,warmth,grace,expressiveness,elan,power and swing,plenty of it. Hayes has the perfect partners of Terry Shannon (p),Jeff Clyne (b) and Phil Seaman (d) who never for so much as half a moment get in his way and at the same time provide him with a wonderful foundation on which he can take flight. There are so many good things which can be said about each piece but just listen to it all and give your ears a sumptuous feast.
It is nearly forty years since the unique Tubby Hayes left us and although the flames of his music still burn brightly,this record alone brings home the enormity of that loss.
on 27 May 2014
Without very much doubt, Tubbs was the very best of British jazz musicians, and here on the very best of form, not that he was often on any other type of form. In recent years there has developed something of a cottage industry in the issue of live sessions by Tubby, sometimes marred by poor recording quality. This session, recorded in 1959 but not issued until 2011, differs in that it was a studio session with good recording quality. It was found in the effects of Alfred Lion, boss of Blue Note, never having been issued. Perhaps Alfred just could not issue a record unlikely to sell much in the USA, or perhaps , an inveterate fan, he just never got round to it. Thankfully Michael Cuscuna did get round to it many years later, and this is the result.
Tubbs is with his usual quartet of the time, with Terry Shannon on piano, Jeff Clyne on bass and Phil Seamen having a good day on drums. Tubbs, throughout, is dazzling, soloing at length, in total command. On the fastest tunes, such as 'The Trolley Song', he takes the tune for a helter skelter ride ( the description in the sleeve note), on other tunes, such as 'Visa' and 'Hook's Way' he shows himself as a convincing blues player, but what really grabs you is the driving enthusiasm with which he plays everything. And, when the tempo slows down, he shows himself a melodist of the highest class.
The rest of the band are pretty good too. Terry Shannon plays fine hard bop piano, a bit of a cross between Horace Silver and Sonny Clark, as the sleeve says, Jeff Clyne is a powerful bassist and Phil Seamen, notoriously inconsistent, is here on his very best form.
This is not just good British jazz. This is as good as anything being produced at the time. After all this time Tubbs still takes my breath away.