In 1962, the London jazz scene was thriving but divided into two very different playing styles. The trad jazz scene was holed up at the 100 Club whereas just across the road at The Marquee, modernist dreams were fulfilled on Sunday evenings. If you wanted all night action, then you needed to head to The Flamingo Club in Wardour Street, where on dark and moody Saturdays, Soho’s underworld figures converged on the club for sessions that ran from midnight to 6am.
Dance crazes such as The Twist and The Madison were taking over the dance floors at various sophisticated venues in the West End. Modernists wouldn’t be seen here though; their clubs were usually unlicensed premises in dark smoky basements serving a chaste menu of Coca-Cola and hamburgers. A more soulful jazz sound was breaking through personified by The Flamingo’s house band, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, whose style was based on the kind of tracks found on this LP, from the flowing organ work of Les McCann to the smooth vocals of Jimmy Drew.
Collected here are a couple of slabs of British quality along with influential American sounds from labels such as Impulse, Blue Note and Prestige. This album captures the period just before rhythm and blues would begin to emerge as the dominant club sound, forcing clubs like the Flamingo to change their music policy in order to survive.
Sleeve notes by Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson