• The Beatles established a repertoire of over 600 tunes, allowing them to tailor their set to the occasion for jazz clubs, strip clubs, folk clubs, working men’s clubs, church dances and rock’n’roll joints. Almost all of the songs they learned were released in the UK and from 1957 onwards, they avidly followed the weekly music charts and kept up to date with the records that did not make the hit parade. Before naming the Beatles in the summer of 1960, they were the Quarrymen. Quarrymen Two looks at the band’s rock’n’roll influences. RANDB006
  • Liverpool To Hamburg 1960-1961 For the first six years of their career, the Beatles were essentially a covers band. When they were captured live on tape in two sets at the Star Club in Hamburg in December 1962, they played thirty-two songs, only two of which were their own compositions. Going into 1961, Silver Beatles sees the group broadening out their repertoire to include some of the Latin-influenced ‘uptown R&B’ numbers currently in vogue, along with more rock’n’roll, rockabilly and some gospel-style numbers. This is an excellent compilation of songs...if you have volumes one and two and enjoyed them, this one is even better. Ernie Sutton British Beatles Fan Club Magazine RANDB007
  • At the start of their career, the Beatles were essentially a covers band. By 1963, they had established an impressive repertoire of over 600 songs; their enthusiasm for popular music of all genres enabled them to play to a wide range of audiences, but in 1961-1962 they were mainly performing at the famous Cavern Club. Part four of the Beatles Beginnings series of CDs, The Cavern Club finds the Fab Four broadening out to include Latin-influenced songs, uptown R&B and dance craze numbers along with more rock’n’roll, rockabilly and easy listening items. A must for any Beatles fans who are interested in finding out more about what inspired them and what shaped their musical sensibility. R003 Available as slimline CD with annotated 48 page book and has 4 page CD insert. Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) All CDs are guaranteed error free and will always be replaced if any problems are encountered. Please advise if you require printed inlays that can be inserted into CD jewel cases.
  • Part of a series investigating the Beatles’ early influences and the cover songs they loved to perform, this CD covers the period between Ringo Starr joining the group and the start of Beatlemania in early 1963. It brings together pop, R&B and early soul records that the Beatles had in their live set in 1962. A must for any fans who are interested in finding out more about what inspired the Fab Four, Star Club gives us an accurate picture of what they would have sounded like if we’d been there at the time. R004 Available as slimline CD with annotated 48 page book. Each individual CD has 4 page insert. Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) All CDs are guaranteed error free and will always be replaced if any problems are encountered. Please advise if you require printed inlays that can be inserted into CD jewel cases.
  • With fully illustrated 24-page booklet Late ‘62 through to mid ‘63, the Beatles’ live set and their recordings consisted mainly of cover versions of contemporary black American pop. I Saw Her Standing There and Ask Me Why were the only two band originals played at the Star Club in December 1962, and a set list from a ten-song show in April ‘63 contained only four of their own songs. Yet by the end of the year, the Fab Four were making history with their own unmistakable sound. This CD contains a mixture of songs taken from their 1963 live set and songs they recorded same year, along with other music that influenced their own compositions at this crucial time. A must for Beatles devotees and for any fan of early sixties pop. The "Beginnings”series strikes again with another spectacular collection of original recordings that in this case inspired or influenced The Beatles... the accompanying booklet has extremely thorough and welcome annotation. I applaud whomever performed the extensive research that resulted in these fascinating choices. Their other series, "How Britain Got the Blues", is every bit as good (if not better, as each set of this 4-part series is a 2-CD extravaganza of great cuts). Bravo to History of RnB Records for these releases and the outstanding music scholarship that accompanies them. William Stout R011
  • No artist works in a vacuum. Young men of their time, passionate music lovers who in their formative years had access to an unprecedented range of pop music thanks to Brian Epstein's NEMS record shop, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison listened, borrowed and reshaped quite an array of tracks, processing these borrowings into their own unmistakable sound. Named after their first publishing company, this CD, with accompanying booklet, sheds light on the Beatles' creative process. Listen to these tracks and see how some of the best loved songs in pop music were formed. R015
  • DISC ONE 1950-1957 DISC TWO THE VILLAGE FETE DISC THREE 1958 DISC FOUR THE END OF THE QUARRYMEN Here are the 100 or so songs they are documented as having performed along with a few of their teenage party pieces with which they would entertain family and friends. It is no exaggeration to say that the entire "Beatles Beginnings”series is an important set of historical documents. Even without regard to the Beatles, this is a collection of "Singles of Significance"...The producers of this series pored over Beatles biographies to compile a list of the songs and musicians the Beatles cited and performed. The work behind this set is scholarly...provides an opportunity to get right to the core of the Beatles influences immediately and effortlessly... Buy it, hear it, and appreciate it forever. Malachi Beale With fully illustrated 24-page booklet RANDB022
  • Out of stock
    From the Grosvenor to the Top Ten Club Summer 1960 to Summer 1961 300 Shows in 365 days and nights The Beatles Early Repertoire’s 123 tracks includes 78 songs previously unpublished in the series along with 44 tracks that have appeared on other discs. This set brings together all the songs that were introduced into the newly-named Beatles repertoire during the period when they were a five-piece band with Pete Best on drums and Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. With fully illustrated 24-page booklet. The sound is very good - clean with a period feel for music from this era--typical of releases from this label. The 24 page booklet is stuffed with information on the music, plus period photos, album covers, record labels, and other ephemera which help put the music in better perspective. This is a cool little set of music in one nice, neat box set, for deep Beatles fans interested in what influenced them way back in 1960-61. Even as a collection of different music styles and performers, this is a pretty nice look at music from this era. Stuart Jefferson Amazon RANDB039
  • Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered. 24-page booklet included
  • This little gem… the extensive, well-written accompanying notes could usefully be used by anyone lecturing on the subjects. Brian Smith R2 If this collection doesn’t put an umbrella in your pina colada then you should see a doctor. There’s the genuinely hard-core instrumental Latin gems bristling with brass such as the Griffin Brothers with Griff’s Mambo, and Illinois Jacquet’s terrific sexy sax on Mambocito Mio. And if you’re thinking this might be all snake hips and exotic women’s hats piled with fruit, there are even Latin tracks from Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James. As a collection to dance to, this is a brilliant idea. Olé! Git down and boogie…er…mambo. Blues Matters RANDB012 Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered. 24-page booklet included
  • Africa and Latin America together have moulded American popular music since the beginning of the twentieth century. African influences have led to the development of jazz, gospel and blues while successive waves of dance music from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Jamaica have largely determined its rhythm. Dance forms and musical stylings such as habanera, bolero, tango, rumba, conga, samba, baion, calypso, mambo, charleston, cha-cha-cha, bossa nova and twistall have their origins outside the USA. This compilation aims to demonstrate just how far back the roots of Latin jazz stretch, well beyond the partnership that Dizzy Gillespie forged with Chano Pozo in founding cubop, the post-war marriage of bebop with Cuban music. 8 PAGE BOOKLET INCLUDED RANDB009 Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered.
  • This little gem… the extensive, well-written accompanying notes could usefully be used by anyone lecturing on the subjects. Brian Smith R2 If this collection doesn’t put an umbrella in your pina colada then you should see a doctor. There’s the genuinely hard-core instrumental Latin gems bristling with brass such as the Griffin Brothers with Griff’s Mambo, and Illinois Jacquet’s terrific sexy sax on Mambocito Mio. And if you’re thinking this might be all snake hips and exotic women’s hats piled with fruit, there are even Latin tracks from Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James. As a collection to dance to, this is a brilliant idea. Olé! Git down and boogie…er…mambo. Blues Matters 24-page booklet included RANDB012 Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered.  
  • Sale!
    This is slippery and seductive music with that tricky undercurrrent that rumba beats bring, and to hear how these diverse musicians adapted and bent it to their own styles is just a whole heap of fun. More than that though, if you take the time to read the liner note essay, this collection is instructive history. But history that will put a smile on your face and dip in your step. I thoroughly recommend this one…all tracks are pretty great…a really excellent compilation…contains tracks you wouldn’t necessarily associate with latin music…it messes together very, very well. Mark Lamarr BBC Radio 2 RANDB010
  • Sale!
    This is a delicious 2CD production with a 28-page booklet choked with information, pictures (the Earl Palmer one is terrific) and a discography that indicates the rhythm pattern associated with the song. The appendix gives instruction on how to speak aloud the rhythm of the beats and tap out the accented beats with your hands (difficult or what?)...Let me assure you on the majority of tracks my foot jumps and I want to dance...The tracks do not appear to be common to the vast amount of PD releases...CD 2 is very interesting with a different feel to your normal run of the mill PD...due to their late 50s/early 60s recording dates...It’s the more obscure tracks...that grab you...The number one and most essential is the quality of the recordings. They are first class and on a personal note, I now have the best copy in my collection of ‘The Freeze’ by Albert Collins. There is a lot to discover and long established collectors will have the opportunity to refresh their musical diet by checking this compilation out. Highly recommended to all. Keith Scoffham Blues & Rhythm R012
  • 'This compilation shows how Latin music's irresistible rhythms first took hold of the blues and brought teenagers black and white on to the dance floor'. RANDB026
  • The mambo was born in Cuba in 1938, of African and European parentage. It arrived in New York ten years later via Havana and Mexico City. 1954 was the year of the mambo in America as dancers flocked to the ballrooms to see exciting new bands led by Machito, Tito Puente, Perez Prado and Tito Rodriguez. To cash in on the craze, record companies encouraged their R&B artists to come up with songs in a Latin vein and to include the word mambo in the title. Latin rhythms have infiltrated every branch of popular music, but none has had such a wide ranging influence as the rumba. Its 3-3-2 rhythm, combined with the New Orleans second line beat, formed the basis of the Stax and Motown sound and the more complex rhythms of funk in the 1960s. RANDB041
  • Johnny Burch is probably best-known for songs he wrote in 1963 for Georgie Fame such as “In The Meantime” and “Preach and Teach”. This was at a time when the boundaries between modern jazz, rhythm and blues and beat music were being broken down at such places as the Flamingo and the Marquee. For a few months, Burch was leader of a group that included several musicians who found fame in the blues and rock scene of the late 60s such as Graham Bond, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. This CD features the earliest-known recordings of Bruce and Baker together in a live broadcast for the BBC from March 1963. It also contains five tracks from a session that Burch’s 1965 line-up recorded for BBC’s Band Beat. Burch was never a major figure in the London jazz scene but this collection highlights his group’s unique role which acted as a bridge between modern jazz and the nascent British R&B movement. RANDB055 Overall, an amazing collection of pieces, many obscure, some best described as period pieces but much to enjoy. Peter Vacher Jazzrag When one thinks of bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, the name of Eric Clapton immediately comes to mind since the three masterful musicians formed Cream. However the first time that Bruce and Baker played together was not in a rock group but back in 1963 as members of the Johnny Burch Octet.     Pianist Johnny Burch (1932-2006) was part of the British jazz scene starting in 1959. After a period as a member of Allan Ganley’s Jazzmakers and with Don Rendell’s group, he evolved to become a leader in modern jazz without achieving much fame. He did get to accompany such visiting American greats as Freddie Hubbard, Red Rodney and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and wrote a few songs for the popular singer Georgie Fame. Jazzbeat has Burch at the head of two different octets, playing live in 1963 and 1965. These seven selections have so-so recording quality but are full of plenty of excitement with the numbers including “Moanin’,” “Del Sasser,” and Burch’s “Nightwalk.” On both broadcasts, the playing is top-notch and at the level of their American counterparts. The music is very much in the modern mainstream of the mid-1960s, forward-looking while never hinting at the music of Cream. Scott Yanow Los Angeles Jazz Scene
  • THE HARRY SOUTH BIG BAND WITH GEORGIE FAME AND THE DICK MORRISSEY QUARTET When the BBC invited pianist/composer and arranger Harry South to front his own big band for a special edition of its flagship radio programme Jazz Club in 1960, few could have predicted the broadcast’s fall-out. Although the Beeb would offer a similar helping hand to other British jazzmen in the decade ahead – making big band leaders of a range of leading figures from Humphrey Lyttelton to Stan Tracey – none of these other bands evolved quite like South's. Beginning as a showcase for his distinctive, often darkly dramatic, original material, and operating as a 'jobs for the boys' forum for those British modernists he felt closest too (among them Tubby Hayes, Dick Morrissey and Joe Harriott) the sheer clout of South's star-packed aggregation ensured it soon attracted interest from outside the normally closed borders of jazz purism. Indeed, when Yeh Yeh hitmaker Georgie Fame decided to pursue his wider musical ambitions, he chose South and his big band as his collaborators, creating the album Sound Venture, a cross-over classic that has become one of the iconic LPs of the decade. Assembled from South's own tape archive, and featuring a wealth of PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED material, including NINE killer Georgie Fame tracks, Further South is both a prequel and sequel to that landmark achievement, a four-disc document of one of the most vibrant times in British music, a souvenir from the days when Swinging London created its very own sound from a heady amalgam of small band Hard Bop, Big Band Swing, R&B and Soul. Containing no fewer than ten complete radio sessions by South's big band (and two by the Dick Morrissey Quartet) and packaged with rare period photographs and an extensive booklet essay by award-winning saxophonist and author Simon Spillett, this set is a must-have for all fans of British modernism. RANDB051 These Harry South Big Band broadcast recordings contain modern big band jazz of quite extraordinary power and dynamism - rarely, if ever, equalled since. The Band - led by conductor/arranger/composer South- has just about every modern jazz star of the 1960's including such luminaries as Tubby Hayes,Ronnie Scott and Dick Morrissey in the sax sections on offer. The Band rips it up on just about every track and culminates - in CD 4 - with Georgie Fame at the microphone with the band in full swing behind him. All in all, a truly remarkable catalogue of music making. But, a word of warning, these recordings are of BBC broadcasts of "Jazz Club" and (I believe) are taken from tapes made of the various transmissions by Harry South himself and are definitely not "Hi-Fi" or anything approaching it - but they are nevertheless priceless in their rarity and musical excellence. In addition to the Big Band broadcasts there are some wonderful sessions recorded by the Dick Morrissey Quartet with no less than Harry South himself on piano and the titanic drumming of Phil Seaman on offer. All in all a fitting tribute to a marvellous set of musicians playing at the peak of their powers in the 1960's - with the caveat for the audiophiles alongst us as to the far less then perfect sound reproduction! Jonny Dee
  • Out of stock
    British record buyers had to wait until 1960 to hear the great American albums of 1959; John Coltrane's debut LP, Charles Mingus's Ah Um and Horace Silver’s Blowin' the Blues Away. On the home front, in December 1959, Tubby Hayes was already absorbing influences from these albums while cutting his latest LP, Tubby's Groove. This 4CD set pits Britain’s finest jazz tracks of 1959-1960 up against the very best music coming out of the States at the same time, showing that British modernists could at last stand tall among jazz music’s giants. Compilation Nick Duckett Includes 24 page booklet. Sleeve Notes Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson and Simon Spillett RANDB049 …the British choices are more exciting. They include not only some fabulous rarities, but items culled from BBC broadcasts of the time, whose very existence came as a complete surprise to me: Dizzy Reece guesting with the Jazz Couriers, for instance. Even the most demanding mod would have approved. Dave Gelly The Observer
  • An exemplary tribute to an unjustly neglected figure - Richard Williams A perfect potted history of the period - Dave Gelly, The Observer An overdue recognition of the genius of Harry South and the world class calibre of the musicians he worked with. An important landmark in British Jazz and indispensable to any collection. – Eddie Little Superb tribute to a stalwart jazz pianist,composer and arranger. Excellent booklet notes by saxophonist Simon Spillett. Highly recommended – Amazon Superbly annotated, this is a reissue of exemplary quality – Peter Vacher, Jazz Rag The Songbook is the definitive Harry South release…makes a strong case for South’s musical contributions to jazz…Lovers of modern big band jazz will find much to discover in this well-conceived set.  Scott Yanow - The New York City Jazz Record RANDB040
  • Sale!
    THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS: 1963 – The British Perspective by Simon Spillett “There is a new look to British jazz these days. The soloists are still going their own way but against a more saleable framework.” Melody Maker, February 2nd 1963 “Rarely has a new year caught the British jazz scene in such as state of flux.” So began an article in Melody Maker on January 5th 1963, outlining what the paper thought might be likely trends within the music over the coming months. The Trad Boom - for so long the mainstream media idea of what British jazz was all about - it maintained was finally over, while Rhythm and Blues, the new style that had latterly begun to feature in London jazz hot spots like The Flamingo and The Marquee, had yet to truly prove its worth. Elsewhere in the same issue, R&B was the subject of a piece with the provocative strap-line Trend or Tripe, in which figures including Alexis Korner and a nineteen year old called Mick Jagger debated what the music’s likely impact might be in the near future. Having now got its foot firmly in the door of two of the country’s leading jazz clubs, was it possible that with Trad now on the wane, this might be the next real threat for Britain's tight clique of modern jazzmen? Not everyone thought so. To the surprise of some, Pete King, manager of Ronnie Scott's club believed R&B could “definitely assist modern jazz”, adding that when played by jazz musicians the new music “sounds really good.” King's comments were the latest in a series of indications that, after a decade of cool indifference to public tastes, the capital’s modernists were starting to thaw out. Indeed, as the country froze in the grip of the coldest winter since 1947, there were even signs of them melting. “The modernists are beginning to move backwards towards less-complex, more easily assimilated music”, Melody Maker concluded, a prediction borne out by the launch the following month of The Seven Souls, a co-operative band headed by John Dankworth, which aimed to “please the dancers” with “uncomplicated arrangements and a strong beat.” The band’s début gig was a roaring success, with Melody Maker's Bob Dawbarn postulating that the group might even shake the British record industry out of its almost total indifference to local jazzmen. “If [the producers] had heard [them play] Hoe Down they would have had the contracts out on the stage,” he gushed. Sadly, the musicians knew just how unlikely this pipe-dream was. Despite the predictions of writers like Dawbarn and Benny Green (who in an article in Scene magazine in October 1962 had even gone so far to suggest that “the prospects for British modern far as recording studios are concerned, are...better than they have been for many years”) things had fallen ominously quiet on the album front. Although Fontana had made some in-roads into recording local modern jazz during the previous two years – signing both Tubby Hayes and Dick Morrissey in 1961 – there was little resulting windfall on other labels. In fact, looking at the number of British modern jazz recordings reviewed in the pages of Melody Maker, Jazz Journal and Jazz News and Review during 1963 reveals the story in stark black and white. MM reviewed a dozen such LPs and EPs, JJ thirteen and JN&R just eight discs, a meagre ratio when set beside the space allotted American albums, and a statistic also somewhat skewed when one remembers that “modern” back in 1963 could still take in certain fringe artists, such as Steve Race. But this wasn't just the old conundrum of local press prejudice – the problem was Britain's modernists simply weren't recording. In fact, in this regard, 1963 was a truly dismal year. Modern jazz recording sessions in London over those twelve months could almost be counted on the fingers of one hand; a couple of Dankworth dates, one by Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin, a session each for Dick Morrissey, Michael Garrick and Joe Harriott, but little else. “The [record] companies have virtually closed their doors to modern jazz,” complained saxophonist Don Rendell in an interview in March, believing “only US records will sell well here.” Painful as it was for men like Rendell to hear this, the record labels had a point. Some thought money an issue; in October of 1963 Ronnie Scott suggested that British jazz might sell if “available on record at prices lower than those charged for American LPs” a suggestion also made more than once that year in Melody Maker's Mailbag (Scott himself briefly tried his hand at record store management, opening a short-lived shop in Soho's Moor Street in May 1963). But this had already been done, disastrously as it turned out, by the SAGA Company back in the late 1950s. A cut in record prices from all the major UK labels - following Purchase Tax relief in January 1963 - hadn't helped much either. No, what was needed was an ingenious way to drip feed the work of London's modernists to the record buying public; in other words – the jazz single. The success of the 45rpm of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's Desafinado the previous year (lifted from the Grammy-nominated album Jazz Samba) was all the argument needed to prove that just occasionally modern jazz could find favour with popular taste. And although bossa-nova's insinuating mood of gentle romance hadn't moved everyone who heard it (Jazz News’ critic Patrick James had dismissed it as “a curious Latin-American scrubbing sound”) nobody could deny its commercial potential. For a jazz recording, however diluted, to reach the Top Twenty was nothing short of a minor miracle. Surely Britain’s jazzmen could cash-in too? And so they did – or rather they tried to, with the new Brazilian rhythm inspiring a small wave of singles by British artists over the winter of 1962/63 – Shake Keane, Vic Lewis, Elaine Delmar, Johnny Scott – each hoping that a little of the Getz magic might rub off. A few of the locals even went for the expedient option of refitting existing material to meet the new groove, like Bill Le Sage, whose composition Autumn in Cuba dated back to the late 1950s but whose title – post-October 1962 - now had a delicious irony to it. In spite of their good intentions, none of these discs really hit the spot, with Melody Maker's review of one – Vic Ash's Banco – more or less encapsulating the fate of them all: “haunting on repeated spins but we can't see it scoring highly.” But bossa wasn't the whole story. Other influences were at play too, among the most pervasive that of soul-jazz, a music whose imprint could be felt in the work of several of the newer London jazz groups of the day, such as the John Burch Octet, one of whose members – Graham Bond – had done the impossible, signing a five year contract to EMI that spring. Bond had gone the whole hog, of course, abandoning his alto saxophone – and eventually jazz altogether – in favour of an earthy, R&B-driven mix of Hammond organ and vocals. This new “back to the roots” angle had also thrown a lifeline to those associated with older styles of jazz; Humphrey Lyttelton was now playing things like One Mint Julep alongside his otherwise solid diet of mainstream, while vocalist Beryl Bryden weighed into the singles market with a surprisingly effective version of Bobby Timmons' Blue Note anthem Moanin'. Normally all washboard and Trad, Bryden re-emerged like a female Ray Charles. Crass commercialism was still an ever present trap though, with some of the years British jazz output hanging unashamedly from the coat tails of others; Dave Lee's Five To Four On openly aped Dave Brubeck, and the likes of Laurie Johnson (There's A Plot Afoot) and Ken Jones (Dodgy Waltz) proffered a bastardised reflection of the latest jazz fashions more suited to Come Dancing than the floor of The Flamingo. The well-tried conceit of co-opting the songs of a Broadway show remained popular too, with Tony Kinsey's How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying notable if only for the absolute mauling the group received when the album was reviewed in Jazz Journal, a critique describing the band as “highly proficient dance band musicians playing at jazz” whose performance was “unforgivably trivial.” However, there remained one British modernist whose work seemed positively unassailable, and it was he who provided what was perhaps the biggest surprise of 1963. Yes, in the same year when Christine Keeler went to bed with John Profumo, Valentina Tereshkova went into orbit and Ronnie Biggs went to ground, Tubby Hayes went pop. Then the éminence gris of British jazz, Hayes' bid for chart stardom began in February 1963, when the saxophonist’s recording manager at Fontana, Jack Baverstock, bolstered by the recent success of his label's release of Take Five, suggested his recent signing take a crack at recording a single. Hayes agreed, taping four potential items, out of which Baverstock plumped for the highly unusual choice of Sally, former property of none other than Lancashire legend Gracie Fields. Nobody has ever quite been able to fathom what informed this selection; was it some sort of in joke? Had Hayes been given the most unlikely piece Baverstock could think of as a challenge? (“There you go, Tubbs! Try and make jazz out of that!”) Was it a reference to the early sixties' cultural fascination with all things Up North? Was Lancashire being played off against Rio De Janeiro? Whatever the reason, to his credit, Hayes had actually managed to transform this most innocuous of English ditties into a rather neat Horace Silver-like arrangement, but beyond that – and in spite of some canny publicity from Fontana and an in-person airing on ATV's otherwise pop-dominated Discs-a-go-go - the record wasn't a success. “This one doesn't stand an earthly,” said Dusty Springfield when she was played the record in Melody Maker's Blind Date that summer. “It's probably well done but I don't like it. It doesn't get anywhere.” Indeed, the fate of Sally seemed to speak volumes about what a naïve folly it had been to ever believe British post-bop could score a commercial hit. The message from the pop world was clear: this is our turf, so leave us to it. With the monopolising force of the Beatles about to break through, advice like this was soon to be rendered academic. Nevertheless, one could see some sense behind the efforts of Jack Baverstock and co. It hadn't all been about sales figures, it had been about keeping the music visible, a point driven home by remembering that not only had 1963 been a lean year for British modern jazz records, it had also been a particularly bad time for modernism on the radio too. For much of the year, players like Tubby Hayes had found themselves shut out of the BBC's popular Jazz Club slot, the after effect of a ban on “weird stuff” initiated by the corporation’s Light Programme the previous spring. “Many of them just don't play ball,” said Jazz Club's producer Terry Henebery at the start of the embargo, shaming the hermetic “take it or leave it” attitude with which many of London's modern jazzmen then regarded their art. The irony was laughable; the very things the modernists had so admired in their American role models – lengthy solos, ambitious original material and harmonic complexity – had actually cost them a valuable part of their already shrinking workload. However, when the ban was finally lifted in the summer of '63, it was clear that something had been learned in the interim, a lesson in part drummed home by the catchy and condensed requirements of the three-minute single. Indeed, it was telling that, on his first appearance on Jazz Club's new Saturday slot that September, John Dankworth had included Hoe Down, the spirited slice of soul-jazz which Bob Dawbarn had predicted would turn heads back at the beginning of the year. There could be no resting on laurels though. “British musicians should try to find something that is individual,” Dankworth remarked in the final weeks of 1963, as if sensing the next great leap forward for UK jazz. “One shouldn't say 'I'm going to make this sound like an American.' To me it should be completely the opposite.” 1963 had been a year of transition then – twelve months in which Britain's modern jazzmen had gone from chasing hits and following fashion to realising their own worth. Where they went next would be quite a story... RANDB043
  • Something Quieter: 1962 – The British Perspective by Simon Spillett As for our own jazzmen – stick to listening in the clubs. They are twice themselves there. Readers letter to Melody Maker, October 6th 1963 It was an affront! Nothing less than an insult! An unnecessary and totally incongruous modernistic excrescence arbitrarily grafted onto what was one of the nation’s favourite radio programmes. How dare the BBC tinker with this hallowed ground, trying to tart it up to make it more in keeping with contemporary tastes. If the change to the programme title were not bad enough, then what was this?! – a new signature tune, all garish jazzy harmonies and such. Whatever next?! Outraged of Tunbridge Wells wasn't merely upset, he was incandescent! So went public the reaction to the BBC's re-branding of Mrs Dale's Diary as The Dales in February 1962. The show’s new theme music – an offending burst of modern big band jazz - had been written by none other than John Dankworth, then riding high on the recent success of African Waltz, the chart-friendliness of which had thrust him – always one of the more palatable UK modernists – further towards the realms of the establishment. Indeed, profiled in Melody Maker the same month as The Dales first aired, it was clear that at least for Dankworth and his wife, vocalist Cleo Laine, modern jazz was now providing a living far removed from the starving-in-a-garret clichés normally pedalled by the press. “The couple live in Woburn Sands, Bedfordshire” the paper reported, “and run two cars – an A40 and a Zephyr...” Although the BBC were to junk his new theme to The Dales within a matter of months, following an avalanche of letters requesting “something quieter”, Dankworth's radio commission was the latest sign that modern jazz in Britain was at last finding its feet. Those same feet were now also gaining ground across the Atlantic. A Melody Maker headline at the beginning of the year shouted America is Booking British, detailing how the Anglo-US exchange deal begun the previous autumn was now gearing up to return Tubby Hayes to New York, soon to be followed by Ronnie Scott, Jimmy Deuchar and Ronnie Ross. Barely a few months before, all this would have seemed impossible. And it wasn't only the British who'd welcomed the trade-off. Even America's jazz bible DownBeat noted the wisdom of the exchange; “If England'll accept, I'm all for sending Noel Coward back and taking Tubby Hayes,” wrote one of its columnists. “Come to think of it, I'm all for sending Noel Coward back whether they give us Tubby or not.” But for the Englishmen back home in London it was to be an all too brief moment in the noon-day sun. In May 1962, just five months after it had proudly unveiled Dankworth's new Dales-theme, the BBC summarily banned what it termed “uninhibited modern jazz” from its Light Programme scheduling, partly a reflection on the audience figures the network had accrued when latterly presenting traditional jazz bands, partly out of a fear that modernism was a pernicious force undermining the corporation’s strict, Reithian edicts. “I'm not asking Tubby Hayes to make a commercial sound like Victor Sylvester,” said producer Terry Henebery, as if in mitigation, “but there are limits.” The almighty row that exploded in the pages of the jazz press following the ban – in which Dankworth himself compared the BBC's policy to apartheid – was also accompanied by an on-going one about how these same modernists presented themselves in public. The argument was an old one, namely that Britain's modern jazz musicians appeared to believe the world owed them a living. “Whose fault if no-one wants modern jazz?”, asked one Melody Maker piece, laying the blame squarely at the feet of the players themselves. Sam Kruger, boss of The Flamingo, had had enough of the studied indifference displayed by many of those he employed, railing against the way “[they] dress in a slovenly way, smoke on stage and play endless choruses”. The musicians tried to fight back. “We must present ourselves properly and have more confidence,” remarked the Jamaican altoist Harold McNair, as if waking to smell the coffee. “It doesn't mean lowering standards – just more communication.” Even those who might not otherwise have appeared to give a damn about Brit-Bop waded in, with one, Trad demigod Acker Bilk, providing a characteristically pithy piece of advice. “If British modernists saw [Gerry] Mulligan,” wrote Bilk after a trip to New York, “they would understand that modern jazz is as much a part of show-business as trad or pop.” Trad and pop, however, weren't getting the brush off from the record industry. The top-selling UK jazz album of 1962 – itself an almost totemic representation of the entire Trad movement - was The Best of Barber and Bilk. British modern jazz LPs on the other hand continued to be rare as hens' teeth. For example, that year, Ember released just two new modern albums by Tony's Kinsey and Crombie, and while Fontana continued its valuable patronage of Tubby Hayes, for many other local jazzmen, the story continued to be one of A&R neglect. Nothing was clear cut though. Indeed, looking at recording activity covering the three strands comprising the fabric of modernism at this juncture – cool, bop and the blues-driven end of mainstream – there is as much contradiction as conformity. Again, some thought the music at fault, others the musicians. One unidentified record producer told Bob Dawbarn that he was now loathe to book “a modern jazz group three months ahead [as] I know I will see an entirely different band of musicians [on the session] – if the group still exists at all.” Another mover and shaker, Pete Burman, mastermind of the Jazz Tete a Tete concert packages believed too much emphasis had been placed on chasing the cutting edge of Hard Bop. “I wonder if this intimate, rather formal sort of jazz” he wrote of the music he presented – played by the likes of Johnny Scott and Pat Smythe - “isn't perhaps the kind British musicians are best at.” He had a point; or maybe he didn't. When Philips' Johnny Franz signed saxophonist Tony Coe's Quintet – a group able to straddle several stylistic camps - to a one-shot LP deal in summer 1962, Coe found no such reservations about what might sell, with his producer actively encouraging him to cover the gamut. “[He] was wonderfully sympathetic,” he said of Franz in a Melody Maker interview. “Musically he gave us our heads [and accordingly] most of what was used were first takes.” Coe's relaxed experience in the studio was an unusual one for a British modernist, but with a repertoire incorporating Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Burrell and Sonny Rollins, his band was playing music typifying the definite shift towards harder, earthier playing that was now the trend in London's jazz clubs. However, regardless of how spirited the music in these venues may have been at this, the last point in musical history in which soul remained an adjective rather than a noun, there were those who continued to see it all as a phoney, fashion-fitting pretence. “A British jazzman must make a living, with audiences and colleagues largely conditioned to Transatlantic fashion,” wrote Kitty Grime in January 1962, explaining the dilemma faced by virtually every local modernist. Pianist Eddie Thompson – who having finally tired of the impediments of the UK jazz circuit, upped sticks permanently to New York around the same time – was even more direct. “You cannot afford to be original here,” he observed wistfully, “I could go no further in Britain.” Another English jazzman - one making the reverse journey after years in the States - bassist Peter Ind, also saw things with a refreshing clarity. “They seem to forsake their own originality for an imitation of whichever American jazz star is currently popular,” he said of the colleagues with whom he'd been reunited, “thus, we have many little Miles’s, Coltrane's and Cannonball's around, all vying for attention.” Perhaps the most vociferous critic of all was Danny Halperin, Jazz News' resident curmudgeon, who took every opportunity available to swipe at the locals. Having dismissed the London club scene in the autumn of 1962 as “a dreary succession of dimly-lit miniature steam baths peopled by drags”, he then delighted in tearing a strip off of several of the capital’s leading lights. “I wouldn't give you a plugged farthing for any of them. Yes, and I mean that tenor man who runs changes till the cows come home. Also I mean that charming bandleader who plays the most wooden alto this side of heaven.” But, as the year drew to a close, it was to be that same “charming bandleader” who was to prove himself more man of steel than saxophonist of wood. In fact, during the very same week that John F. Kennedy faced down the Soviets, John W. Dankworth stood up against an equally formidable foe – the BBC. Having relaxed its ban on modern jazz somewhat during the late summer months, the corporation had engaged Dankworth's band to appear on its Jazz Club programme on October 11th. During rehearsal, one of the bandleader’s pieces – Freeway, a quintet feature for Kenny Wheeler – had been vetoed by producer Terry Henebery as “too advanced for Jazz Club”. Come the broadcast, Dankworth was asked to restore the piece to the show’s playlist, which he flatly refused to do – live on air – resulting in the programme under-running and a flustered response from compère Alan Dell. Was it a protest at the stylistic vacillations of the corporation? - a held-over response to their earlier outright ban on modern jazz? - or even a fit of pique over them scrapping his theme for The Dales? The answer was simple: Dankworth was standing up not just for his music, but for himself, showing the genuine grit which British jazz was so often said to lack. “If I am well-known for anything,” he had written earlier in 1962, “it is certainly not for obeying rules.” It was clearly a watershed moment, a very public display of the “more confidence” Harold McNair had thought was woefully absent in many local jazzmen. Indeed, at the end of the year – twelve months that had mixed controversy, confrontation and consolidation in equal measure – Britain's modernists had come out stronger than ever. Battle-scarred but undimmed, now all they needed was a wider audience. Maybe 1963 would be their year, after all? Simon Spillett July 2017 RANDB035
  • This is the latest of a terrific series of classic 1960's British jazz… digging a good deal deeper into the jazz side, and, moreover, offering the considerable bonus of rare as hen's teeth UK jazz 7"/EP and LPs with a second CD of American jazz…Rounding off an excellent overview of the club scene are the terrific black and white photos and these capture the atmosphere to perfection. Extensive liner notes come courtesy of Paul 'Smiler' Anderson. A fascinating insight into the kind of music that was played in the hipper clubs of the era... A good, if expensive, time to be a 1960s jazz devotee. Tim Stenhouse UK Vibe A little difficult to grasp: 1961 - The British Perspective by Simon Spillett Not so long ago, the unlikelihood of the Briton as a jazzman would have been perfectly expressed by thinking of him in a bowler hat. Result: complete incongruity, like Mrs Grundy dancing the can-can. Philip Larkin, The Daily Telegraph, July 15th 1961 It's hard to work out what caused the biggest noise in British jazz circles back in 1961. Was it the one and only UK visit of John Coltrane, the first bona-fide American avant-gardist to play to an English audience, whose London début was dismissed in Jazz Journal as “the low water mark of jazz in this country.” Or was it the installation of a new espresso machine at Ronnie Scott's club, “the most out-of-tune contraption of its kind in all of Britain,” according to Jazz News, issuing “steaming sibilance...guaranteed to blast almost any soloist out of audial existence.” Then again, perhaps it could have been the clamouring wheels of the Trad bandwagon, pushing its way up the mountainous slopes of the popular charts? Actually the big story of the year wasn't one at club or concert level, although both appeared to be doing well. Despite the predictions of nay-sayers and the odd spat with other West End promoters (“From Monday to Thursday, the Flamingo quietly folds its wings and drops dead,” observed Scott in December 1960), Ronnie Scott's had survived for just over a year, its successes coming in fits and starts not unlike the splutterings of its new espresso maker. The coffee machine was a good sign though, as was the long-awaited installation of a bar at the premises in April 1961, an event only made possible by the formation of the club’s own “wine committee”, of which Benny Green made a puzzled secretary. Ronnie's was by no means the only London modern jazz spot doing well. Regardless of Scott's jibe, The Flamingo continued to pull the punters, pressed into what one magazine called its “dark, Turkish-bath, but always swinging, atmosphere.” Further afield there was success too; opened in January 1961, by November of the same year Klooks Kleek in West Hampstead boasted a membership of 1600, no mean feat for a venue promoting solely local attractions. On the touring package front, things also looked to be on the up. A welcome relief from what had already begun to seem like a veritable carousel of mainstream and big band artists, the visits of Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk and Coltrane had shown a distinct shift towards the modern, with their respective bands introducing then largely unknown new stars such as Elvin Jones, Eric Dolphy and Wayne Shorter to local audiences. Each of these visits caused moments both controversial and thought-provoking, some less well-publicised than others, including Elvin Jones' memorably Dadaist sit-in at Scott's, which brought delight to some (Tubby Hayes) and dismay to others (a well-known British trumpeter who was moved to scoff “that man can't count four bars!”). Another US visitor that year – bassist Charles Mingus, in England to appear in the jazz-does-Shakespeare film novelty All Night Long – hung around long enough to get more of a measure of the parochial scene, holding court in a series of interviews which found him unafraid to confront what he saw as the failings of the UK's jazzmen. “The trouble here, so far as I can see, is that everyone's listening to records and taking their cues from these,” he remarked perceptively. “It seems to me if our records weren't issued in Britain, the British cats would have to think for themselves.” Balancing this critique, Mingus had been quick to praise those local players who he did think were onto something of their own, including Ronnie Scott and Joe Harriott (“he's got a good sound”) in whose free-form experiments he recognised the spirit of a fellow maverick . As cutting as Mingus was, his remarks about “our records” had an almost laughable irony to them. The label to which he was then signed – Candid – hadn't yet found a UK distributor. Indeed, local modernists weren't nearly as up-to-date as their album-chasing legend might have us believe, something rammed home early in 1961 by the arrival in the UK of the Blue Note catalogue, arguably the finest on-record representation of modern jazz to date. If the label had long exemplified the height of hip to US jazz listeners, its message had taken an age to find English ears. Hitherto available as super-inflated imports or sailor-smuggled luxuries (Tony Hall recalls paying an astronomical £4 per LP in the late 1950s), a deal struck with Central Record Distributors meant that from February 1961, Blue Notes were now regularly available in the UK for the first time. Regardless of a still-expensive price tag (49/9 each, 12/- more than an average British 12” LP), the demand was ridiculous, with Doug Dobell's famed London record shops' initial stock selling out in less than ten days. Within seven months, Blue Note had sold four times as many albums as they'd budgeted for, good news for record retailers and fans but a further kick in the teeth to those trying to sell local modern jazz on record. The timing couldn't have been more bittersweet. Shortly after Blue Note began to appear in the racks, Tony Hall finally threw in the towel at Tempo, the label that had almost single-handedly documented the harder end of UK modernism for close to five years. Tempo's final modern jazz release – The Jazz Five's The Five Of Us – had received good press, but as a commercial commodity it had been a dead loss. “When you can buy a Miles Davis LP for a couple of bob less, can you really afford to buy, say, Tubby Hayes' latest, however much you dig British jazz?” Hall had asked ruefully in Jazz News. If the question was somewhat academic, there were nevertheless some signs of a welcome change of pace. At the eye of the Trad hurricane, in February 1961, Johnny Dankworth's incessantly catchy African Waltz three-foured its way into the popular charts, selling a staggering 24,000 copies in a month. Barely had this news broken than Tubby Hayes put his moniker to a contract with Fontana, “the first British modernist to be signed to a major label in some years,” reported Melody Maker excitedly. Indeed, the big noise in British modernism that year wasn't in the clubs, at festivals or on the radio - it was on record. And, like all things in British jazz, it was a tale of equal parts triumph and disaster. The latter were all too easy to under-sensationalise: the end of Tempo, Blue Note's dismissal of its one ex-British artist (Alfred Lion: “the public did not really take to our recordings of Dizzy Reece”), the Musicians' Union putting the block on Dizzy Gillespie recording in London. After all, hadn't this been the story for years now? But, for once, the triumphs seemed to be coming in greater numbers; that year the US Riverside subsidiary Jazzland licensed recordings by The Jazz Couriers, The Joe Harriott Quintet and The Vic Ash-Harry Klein Jazz Five for Stateside release (“MUST HAVE!” Jazzland's Bill Grauer had cabled Tony Hall on hearing the Ash/Klein tapes); pianist Dave Lee's album 'A Big New Band From Britain' spent six weeks in the famed US 'Cash Box Top Ten'; and Don Rendell found himself the first British modernist signed exclusively to an American label - also Jazzland - (“Forgotten Jazzman nets big disc deal” Melody Maker), effectively resuscitating his career. Rendell wasn't the only beneficiary. Almost overnight, it was as if the lifeblood had been pumped back into British modernism. Cool, it seemed, was well and truly out. “Filling the void is something which should inject a new life into the whole modern scene,” wrote Melody Maker's Bob Dawbarn that summer, “- excitement”. It was hard not to sense a burgeoning confidence beginning to infuse the music. All of a sudden, local modern LPs began to receive rave reviews, with one – Tubby Hayes' initial salvo for Fontana, Tubbs – named Melody Maker's Jazz LP of the Month in July 1961, succeeding none other than John Coltrane's Blue Train. There was even sign of an end to the closed shop mentality that had for so long kept British bop hemmed in. Hot on the heels of signing Tubby Hayes, Fontana had also bagged twenty year old Dick Morrissey, a saxophonist whose precocious ability came close to that of Hayes himself. “I'm still trying to find a really serious grouse with the whole thing,” wrote Jazz News's Kevin Henriques reviewing Morrissey's debut disc, as if it just wasn't cricket to favour the local lads. Even those not generally sympathetic to contemporary jazz styles had at last begun to yield. In late 1961, Denis Preston – Lansdowne studio’s maven of mainstream and a leading architect in building the Trad Boom – recorded the Emcee Five, a frighteningly accomplished “territory band” from Newcastle upon Tyne, the mere existence of which said everything about how deeply modernism had taken root throughout the UK. Where it should venture next was obvious. Having successfully exported recordings by its leading exponents – Harriott, Scott, Dankworth – to the US, it was now only a matter of time until we exported the real thing, a pipe-dream that became a reality in September 1961, when Tubby Hayes inaugurated a UK/US soloist exchange deal enabling American players to appear at Ronnie Scott's club while their English opposites played New York. Earlier that year, Hayes had complained, “the British scene is very limiting. It is difficult to get beyond working around the Wardour Street-Gerrard Street area.” Now, he was working Hudson and Spring, attracting audiences including Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, a sure fire sign that British modernism had finally made the biggest leap of its short-life – one as much cultural as artistic. The story of this transatlantic détente was set out on record for all to hear: Hayes recording in New York with a band including Clark Terry, while Zoot Sims was taped over several nights at Ronnie Scott's club, sounding just as comfortable with his English accompanists as Hayes had with his US ones. It was the ultimate victory. “Even five years ago, [this] would have seemed like wishful thinking,” summed up Benny Green in his sleeve note to Tubbs in N.Y. “Even after hearing [this record] I find it all a little difficult to grasp.” What Hayes and has colleagues had grasped though – in essence the nettle of opportunity – was to prove particularly awkward to hang onto in the year ahead. Indeed, far down among the provincial undergrowth lay a threat few would have thought serious at the time. Yet it was there all the same. Reviewing the club scene in Liverpool at the end of 1961, Jazz News cautioned “you would be quite surprised at the 'jazz section' of the evening paper. Some of the groups that appear are called The Beetles [sic.], Undertakers and the Galvanisers...” The Beetles? The name said it all: this was to be one hard-shelled opponent. RANDB042
  • As the UK fired up to the 'White Heat' predicted by its new Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the nation's jazz scene was already aglow with talent, both established and up and coming. Indeed, London was a boiling crucible of jazz invention, mixing R&B, Hard Bop and a pinch of the Avant-Garde to forge its very own alchemic brand of jazz. Soho Scene '64/'65 captures this moment perfectly, a time when The Beatles and Bond were both new and fresh and when Brit-Jazz sounded as colourful and swinging as anything sashaying down Carnaby Street. Booklet notes by Simon Spillett RANDB058 I love this series. Since every track is different, dynamic and tasty, you can listen straight through without ever looking up… Where American big-band jazz trailed off in the early 1960s Britain continued to develop the genre further and with gusto… the U.S. sides are funky and off the beaten path, making for a wonderful juxtaposition between jazz evolution in London and the U.S. during the exact same two-year period. It's all here on this new set and series. Grab your Lambrettas! Marc Myers