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Alan Giles (Britain)

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Symphony: The Lost Session 1972
Symphony: The Lost Session 1972
Price: £10.01

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CELEBRATING A BRAVE MAESTRO, 12 Jan. 2015
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Had he lived, Tubby Hayes would have been 80 on January 30th 2015 - sadly he died at the tragically early age of 38 on 8th June 1973 after a lengthy spell of ill-health. In his lifetime he made several great records for the then Philips owned “Fontana” label, but it has been left to the independents to mark this anniversary of one of Britains greatest musicians. Acrobat have done a great deal to honour the memory of Tubby and several other British greats, and it is they who start this celebration of the life of Tubby Hayes in this anniversary year.

Tubby’s last few years were blighted with heart problems which necessitated major surgery, and 1972 marked the comeback of this major talent. His musicality, imagination, enthusiasm and total committment to his music was unimpaired and it is one of the most disappointing and regrettable omissions that no record company thought to preserve this late period - for, make no mistake, this is no diminished talent. Tubby always gave 100% to his music, and you can only marvel at his courage and stamina in continuing, right up until a matter of weeks before his death, in continuing to devote himself so tirelessly and selflessly to the music. At no point did it occur to you that you were listening to a sick man. No allowances whatsoever had to be made for his playing, which made his death all the more upsetting. Tubby never coasted or rested on his laurels - I don’t think he would have known how to.

Luckily some of these late performances were recorded and we can only once again give great thanks to those who had the foresight to record them, and preserve them, and to companies like Acrobat for making these wonderful recordings available to us.

At the time of these 1972 performances Tubby had no regular band, but he played with enthusiasm as a single with many different groups (I recall a 15 minute TV show for BBC2 in March 1972 where he played with Bill LeSage’s “Bebop Preservation Society” a fine five piece band which included the late Hank Shaw on trumpet and Peter King on alto. Tubby fitted very well into this established quintet, and you might have thought he was a regular member). There were BBC radio broadcasts, and live performances - this date is from February 1972. The title track “Symphony" is a little recorded piece (I know of only two versions, one early on in the recording career of Tommy Whittle, whose club this date by Tubby was recorded in, and the other very late in the career of Ritchie Kamuca). Tubbs gives it a far more strenuous workout than the other two saxists. Autumn Leaves gives us another chance to hear the Hayes flute, he was as dexterous on this as he was his tenor. Tubby was equally at home on ballads as he was on up-tempo numbers. Around this time he seemed to have affection for the lovely Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer ballad “I Thought About You”. Even in these final months, though, there was still tremendous fire and exhilaration at a Tubby Hayes gig, as this fine CD proves. Just listen to “Sonnymoon For Two” to hear him still musically pushing himself forward.

To those of us who love this music, sound will be of secondary importance. For those who worry about such things it would be idle to pretend you will be hearing audiophile quality, but considering the tape is of a private recording 43 years ago, it is more than acceptable. I feel sure his many fans will just be as grateful that this marvellous music has come to light all these years later as I am.

One other important point is that, like all the other Acrobat issues of Tubby’s music, there is an excellent essay by Simon Spillett - I say essay because these well-researched. in-depth and knowledgable pieces are far more than mere sleevenotes. For several years he has been working on a biography on Tubby Hayes, which is due to be published this year, and deserves to be a great success - anyone who reads the notes to this CD alone will need no urging to order a copy. I was saddened to read in Simon’s notes that the Hopbine is now a branch of Tesco’s, and though every little helps, live jazz of the calibre The Hopbine produced would be far preferable to buying a giant sized packet of crisps and getting one free, double club card points or no.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2015 6:17 PM GMT

Prestige Records: The Album Cover Collection
Prestige Records: The Album Cover Collection
by Prestige Records
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT BAD AT ALL, 10 Jan. 2015
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I enjoyed looking at this book and found it much better than another reviewer suggests. The point is that at the dawn of the LP era most record companies were unsure about what was appropriate for cover art: especially in ten inch days, a company like Decca in the UK would choose a uniform cover design, often in unpleasant shades of grey. Prestige decided to concentrate on typographic design rather than pictorial design, but they, like every other company evolved over time and it is interesting to see the progression and it is nice to be reminded of the music you first encountered with the label - the early Miles and Stan Getz, those Friday afternoon jam sessions at Rudy Van Gelder's studio, the big names rubbing shoulders with those who would disappear off the scene, like Gil Coggins and Webster Young.

It's a coffee table book, well produced in hard covers, plus as has been pointed out elsewhere, a free CD while you enjoy browsing - and it doesn't break the bank.

The Quintet & Jazz Five Studio and Live Recordings 1959-1961
The Quintet & Jazz Five Studio and Live Recordings 1959-1961
Price: £10.01

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRITAIN'S UNIQUE CLARINETIST (1930-2014), 9 Dec. 2014
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Since I first heard that the Vic Ash/Harry Klein Jazz Five "Tempo" recording of 1960 was to be reissued - with extra tracks from a broadcast, I have been awaiting it's issue with impatience. It is here, but tempered with sadness in that Vic died on October 24th this year (his front line partner Harry died in 2010 - a great character, who I knew, and another unique voice in his case on baritone sax). Vic was in a similar situation to America's Buddy De Franco. He was a modernist in outlook but liked to concentrate on clarinet - an instrument in the 50s and 60s practically overlooked by modern players.

This CD opens with a set by Vic's quintet (the late Ian Hamer partners him on trumpet in the front line). This was recorded for the BBC Overseas service, who had their own ediiton of the BBC flagship radio jazz show "Jazz Club" (on the doemstic service the show ran from 1947 to 1990, when in yet another act of pointless destruction the BBC axed it). I wonder how many more of these weekly shows have survived on tape?. I have hopes that some Joe Harriott appearances might one day surface, but I digress...

The recording quality of this 1959 session is superb. David Jacobs escapes from Juke Box Jury to introduce it.

Then follows the only Jazz Five LP: Vic on tenor as well as clarinet, Harry's baritone enjoying a recording characteristic that really displays his great tone. This 1960 session is available on Jasmine and on Fresh Sound (in the latter case with the much reissued Atlantic session by Ronnie Ross & Allan Ganley Jazzmakers from 1959, which is also available on Acrobat paired with Ron's 1958 Parlophone/Ember session and the American "Collectables label with a session by Joe Castro added, not including RR), but this Acrobat issue is the one to go for. Why?- well the great bonus of another BBC recording of a May 1961 "Jazz Club" broadcast by the Jazz Five. Tony Hall, who all British jazz fans of my vintage owes a great debt to, with his championing of the British modern jazz greats of the time, such as Jimmy Deuchar, Tubby Hayes and Harry South, to name a few, and recording them for the "Tempo" label, despite the indifference of the parent Decca company, produced the original LP, the last to be issued on the Tempo label: if only the label had survived a year or two more - there might well have been a follow up, but in the 1961 broadcast we can hear what might have been - a really tight little band, who could relax and let themselves go. It goes without saying that though three of the broadcast performances are "repeats" of tracks from the LP, the solos are totally different, and if anything, even more fluent.

Sessions like this make you realise how lucky we are to have recording tape, the BBC, the original labels like Tempo and courageous reissue labels like Acrobat - plus of course, great, if under-appreciated musical talents like Harry and Vic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2014 1:42 PM GMT

When Night Falls
When Night Falls
Price: £14.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NIGHT OR DAY, 7 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: When Night Falls (Audio CD)
Many years ago Humphrey Lyttelton gave the title "I Play As I Please" to his first volume of autobiography, which summed up his attitude and philosophy to his music, and when you listen to Osian Roberts and Steve Fishwick on one of their "Hard Bop Records" CDs , you get the feeling that they would have entirely agreed with Humph's attitude. They play the sort of music they enjoy and the result is melodic, genuine and committed. This disc is no exception. They are joined in the tenor/trumpet front line by the baritone sax of Frank Basile, who at times reminds me of the late Pepper Adams, especially on "Lost Cave" written by the pianist on the date Albert Sanz, and arranged by Steve Fishwick.

This well produced disc was recorded on July 12th 2013, and it shows the continuing development of the group, plus the maturity of Steve Fishwick, who I think is one of the best home produced trumpet and flugelhorn players. I first saw him a dozen years ago with the Mike Carr Blue Note band and he was special then, now he is superb - a confident and poised musician. With the recent death of Kenny Wheeler, one of the great lyrical brassmen it is good to know that men like Steve are around. His twin brother Matt is on drums here, and it goes without saying the British musicians are the equal of their American guests. No need for inferiority complexes these days.

There is a danger that a record like this will get overlooked - Osian and Steve's label doesn't seem to have been taken up by the jazz magazines and the BBC so give little airtime to jazz these days, except for the usual safe names, many people who would enjoy it might not get to hear it. If only Humph and Peter Clayton were still around, I am sure they would have given the music the exposure it deserves.

To complete the pleasure the CD gives, the cover photography and design is by Osian Roberts and it is housed in a glossy card gatefold sleeve. You don't have to wait for night to fall to enjoy this original music - I listened in the daytime and found it superb

Murder in Soho [DVD]
Murder in Soho [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack La Rue
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £5.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars IT SOUNDS LIKE MURDER!, 3 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Murder in Soho [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of those late 30s films that can't make up it's mind if it is a crime drama or a comedy. Mixing elements of both was a favourite device in this decade and the 1940s and frankly it doesn't date very well. The dangerous criminals sound about as frightening as the Tellytubbies. The American accents are overdone. I much prefer the 1950s British crime dramas which Renown and Network have put out. This film reminds me of an AmDram production which for some reason was preserved on film. The biggest mystery is why it was released in the first place and why it is deemed worthy of reissue now

Meets Sadik Hakim
Meets Sadik Hakim
Price: £15.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SWINGING IN THE SEVENTIES, 24 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Meets Sadik Hakim (Audio CD)
It is received wisdom that the 1970s was a bad time for jazz, but though this was sadly true for the working musicians, as far as the record buyer was concerned, we had never had it so good. While the reissue labels gave us the great performances of the past (Verve gave us the gems of Norman Granz productions, for example), Mr. Granz himself was still as busy as ever with his Pablo label allowing us to hear his artists in their maturity - Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, Ray Brown, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie etc. Was there a month in the second half of the decade when there wasn't a Pablo issue full of good things?.

But equally as welcome was the efforts of the small companies: in Britain Tony Williams was still recording the bop survivors (Al Haig, Pepper Adams, Cecil Payne, Jon Eardly etc) and reissuing the Dials of Parker, Howard McGhee etc for his Spotlite label, and in Scotland Alistair Robertson was busy recording British and American artists for is Hep label, as well as fantastic reissues from almost forgotten names like Boyd Raeburn.

The late Harry Lim was making new performances by Red Norvo, Scott Hamilton etc available on Famous Door and the late Gus Stiratas was busy with Progressive: it was the ideal time - many of the greats were in their last decade: which brings us to this disc. Here we have Sonny Stitt and Sadik Hakim (formerly Argonne Thornton, who played for Savoy on sides by Parker): Sonny was to die 4 years after this April 1978 session and Hakim a year 5 years later.

Stitt plays alto and tenor on this session. He played on dozens of sessions in the last decade - this Progressive session might be just another session, but they were all never less than goot, and I always appreciate the chance to hear him on alto. The standout track for me is Round About Midnight here. Great too to hear the underrecorded Hakim, getting a chance to prove he was still an inventive pianist.

Obviously this was recorded in the LP era, so the session is rounded out with four alternate takes to make up the time, but even if it wasn't, with it's original David Stone Martin artwork, and good recording it is well worth having. Progressive recorded sessions with Jimmy Knepper and Pepper Adams, two with Arnett Cobb, and Derek Smith, the British expatriate pianist (still active) but not all of the catalogue, so far, as been transferred to CD. I am glad this one has, as a tribute to those small labels, like Beehive, Famous Door who kept the flag flying with small budgets but big production values, most of wom disappeared when the vinyl record did

Toronto 1947
Toronto 1947
Price: £20.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PRIMITIVE MODERN, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: Toronto 1947 (Audio CD)
There are not so many live jazz recordings of 1940s jazz (There was the "Jazz Off the Air" broadcasts - also from 1947, with Allen Eager/Charlie Ventura and Flip Phillips/Roy Eldridge, Ventura again with Bill Harris at the Three Deuces (1947), the July 6th 1947 concerts centered round Dexter Gordon and issued by Savoy and the famous August 1947 Just Jazz Concert with Lionel Hampton - even the Charlie Parker airshots didn't really get going till 1948), so it seems churlish to critisize this one. We must be grateful that given the bulky and primitive recording equipment of the time, anyone recorded anything in this way, and even more grateful it has survived the decades. But, what do we have here?. Well, we have Joe Newman sounding much more fiery than he would as the 50s dawned, and some rare opportunities to hear exciting baritonist Leo Parker at length, and contributions from a live and lively audience.

Jacquet to my mind was the wildest of the wild tenorists of the time (Flip Phillips, Charlie Ventura, Arnett Cobb), and whilst as exciting as Leo Parker here, he can sound rather derivitive: on the ballad medley his tone and execution on "All The Things You Are" puts you in mind of Charlie Ventura in his 1946 recordings for Black & White - currently available on the Proper Box Ventura set ("Bop For The People" Properbox 41- just about still available) - rather embroidered romantic tenor.

Obviously you do not expect great sound. It tends to sound, sonically, a bit like those Dexter Gordon recordings three months later,occassionaly it can sound a bit like the Parker Rockland Palace acoustic (that from 1952). The rowdy audience tends to detract a little bit (they do calm down though eventually), but it does give atmosphere: they sound the sort of audience JATP had.

To sum up, I am glad I heard it, but it won't get that many repeat playings by me. As it is on a quite expensive label, I would advise hunting round to get it a bit cheaper, or second hand.It tends at the moment to be around the £8 mark on Amazon, which seems a fair price to pay.

After mentioning all those 1947 live sessions if we give Lionel Hampton's 4 out of 5 for sound quality, I would put this effort between 2.5 and 3.You do get 70 minutes of music here, though, but I would advise taking it a few tracks at a time. Kudos to Uptown for issuing it though. I hope I have been fair.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2014 12:45 PM BST

Jazz on Disques Vogue
Jazz on Disques Vogue

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NEARLY RECORD OF THE YEAR..BUT.., 25 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Jazz on Disques Vogue (Audio CD)
Anybody who started their record buying career in Britain in the days of EPs and 10" LPs will have a soft spot for labels like Esquire, Melodisc...and Vogue, who served us jazz fans far better than the big four.

Perhaps it is the warm glow of nostalgia, or increasing tolerance with age, that it doesn't seem so incongruous to see Sidney Bechet rubbing shoulders with Monk and Lionel Hampton and Mezz Mezzrow with Bobby Jaspar in the same sturdy 20CD box. Jimmy Raney, Milt Jackson, Roy Eldridge and Bob Brookmeyer are among my favourite musicians, who , despite their different styles, lived and breathed jazz.

I have very few reservations: the main one may seem paltry. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet (with Bob Brookmeyer) disc runs for only 37 minutes 40 seconds. The following volume, Theolonious Monk, solo, both from 1954, runs for 31 minutes 35 seconds. Both these sessions could have fitted on to one disc. There were other tracks recorded by Mulligan in Paris in the opening days of June 1954 at that same concert, but to be fair, the entire session has been reissued many times of many labels and is easily obtainable.

I would have liked to see these sessions coupled on one CD to have had the "extra" CD taken up with the sessions Frank Rosolino and Zoot Zims recorded in Paris while on tour with the great Stan Kenton Orchestra in September 1953 and there was a great quartet session by Frank Foster which could also have been accomodated (both appeared on the British "Vogue double" series of LPs in a compilation called "Four 4 Sax" in 1978).

Also, couldn't room have been found for at least one of the two takes of the magnificent "Brown Skins" - a variation on "Cherokee" recorded (in the utmost secrecy) by a large band led by Clifford Brown, when he was playing truant from the Lionel Hampton Band in 1953, and Clifford had to be smuggled out of his hotel room because Hamp's dictatorial wife Gladys had forbidden any of the band making recordings while touring.

These records sum up a time and a place and the thought of Brownie and his trumpet sneaking down the fire escape of his Paris hotel is perhaps the most romantic of the lot, and Brown Skins will always reman one of the supreme masterpiece of the catalogue.

These carping critisisms aside, the set is worth every penny: most of the CDs have the familiar dark red, white and black Vogue labels we knew so well, a few have the toffee brown "Swing" label. Each CD is contained in an extremely strong cardboard cover, rather like the Japanese Blue Note and Prestige issues from King. All sleeve notes are in French. The booklet could perhaps have painted a rather better picture of some of the sessions, butt they are factual if brief.

The only thing that saddens me is that these projects are always one-offs, and though there wouldn't be enough material for another 20 volume set, so much is missing, that a smaller box could (but probably won't) be commissioned. How about "The Herdsmen Visit Paris", or Jay Cameron's International Sax Group (January 1st 1955), as well as the Foster and Rosolino/Sims sessions and.how about Kenny Clarke with Jimmy Deuchar.... but what's done is done. Let's be grateful for what there is: I have heard the Henri Renaud sessions from March 7 1954 many times, but until this weekend I had never heard the track where Milt Jackson sings and plays piano on Harry Warren's "The More I See You", and there are a few other tracks I have never heard.

This set will sit next to that wonderful collection of "The Complete Saturne Picture Discs" (Paris Jazz Corner Productions PJC 222008), - recorded in 1951 and issued over a decade ago which featured Henri Renaud (with highly evocative sleeve notes by M. Renaud ) leading a band including Sandy Mosse, Bobby Jaspar and Jimmy Gourley. Jimmy Gourley (1926-2008) was a fine guitarist in the Raney mould who enlivened many a session including the cerebral Lee Konitz one included in this Vogue box, and some of the Clifford Brown/Gigi Gryce tracks here. He was a great favourite of mine and deserved to be better known. Towards the end of his life he had his own label "Elabeth" and it's few issues are worth hunting down.One even included Stan Getz guesting (masquerading as "Dju Berry")- thats how good he was, Stan wouldnt have wasted time with just anybody in the 1980s.

My advice is to buy this set if you have any interest at all in jazz from the late 40s to the mid-fifties before it gets deleted and will cost a months wages to buy secondhand
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 14, 2014 11:43 AM BST

Edgar Wallace Mysteries - Volume 7 [DVD]
Edgar Wallace Mysteries - Volume 7 [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Thaw
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TAILING OFF, 12 Jan. 2014
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The difference between the early Merton Park Wallace's (The Clue Of The Twisted Candle, The Man Who Was Nobody etc) and these 1964/5 productions is very noticeable. the earlier ones featured several "locked room" mysteries, which would appeal to the lovers of both Wallace and E. Philips Oppenheim's books, and feature some marvellous beauties of the cinema of the time in the UK, like Maxine Audley and Hazel Court, and some great actors like Bernard Lee and Alfred Burke.

The later ones are rather more "psychological" - there are future TV stars like John Thaw,and good as they are, some of them feel rather plodding.

The highlight for me is the extra none-Merton Park film "Seven Keys" - a really pacy little thriller which seem more like the earlier Edgar Wallace's. The 4 stars are for Seven Keys - if it were just the final EWs I would have given three.

But, that said, thank goodness one company had the courage to issue these little gems (and Scotland Yard) which would otherwise be forgotten - no room on terrestrial TV these days for black and white - even afternoons or late nights - only "reality" (scripted) shows and other rubbish in colour!

Aqua Optima Evolve 12 month pack, 6 x 60 day water filters - Fit *BRITA Maxtra (not *Maxtra+) appliances - EVD602
Aqua Optima Evolve 12 month pack, 6 x 60 day water filters - Fit *BRITA Maxtra (not *Maxtra+) appliances - EVD602
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT VALUE, 12 Jan. 2014
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This was bought as a gift, and the size is just right for somebody living alone who needs to drink plenty of water each day. It sits very comfortably on a work surface, looks good and blends well in a small modern kitchen, and there is cold water on tap all day long. Great value

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