1966-1967. Two years of seismic change in UK history, a time of World Cup wins, of psychedelic ‘happenings’ and Sgt. Pepper, when London’s streets rocked to the sight of mini skirts and Mini Coopers and home-made British pop culture – drawing in everything from satire to sitars – really did look likely to change the world.
British jazz was growing too. Having defined itself through the razor-sharp cool of ‘modernism’, by ’66 it was ready to loosen its collar and let its hair down, feeding directly from an anarchic new breed of young musicians able to move between styles as never before, allowing everything from the avant-garde to R&B colour their work.
London was now swinging in every direction, like some vast kaleidoscopic merry-go-round. This, then, is the story of those British jazzmen who came along for the ride, some clinging on with white-knuckles and gritted teeth, others enjoying the trip of their lives.
Booklet notes by Simon Spillett
The set is magnificent… serves as a wonderful bridge spanning the Atlantic, pulling the two jazz cultures together. The Brit-jazz tracks in ’66 are sensational. One after the next is rich with energy, power and guile as groups such as the Michael Garrick Sextet, the Stan Tracey Quartet, the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet and Gordon Beck Trio tear neatly into originals.
The American tracks from the same year are largely little-known jazz-funk and soul-jazz pieces. The set is smartly curated… All have locked-in grooves and are tasty.
The 1967 material is even stronger…And yes, every single track is outrageously excellent. There’s no filler here. And the sound is very good. I’ll be listening to this set several additional times between now and the end of the weekend. Once again, a superb job by R&B Records. Hats off to the set’s producer/editor. Great choices all.
Mark Myers Jazz Wax