The hits, as various unimaginative DJs keep reminding us, just keep on coming. So, tooor so it appearsdo new albums of material from the late Tubby Hayes. Some of these Hayes albums are re-releases, some are "special editions" and some present us with previously unreleased tracks. Split Kick -Live In Sweden, 1972 is an example of the latter: six tunes which Hayes recorded for broadcast by Sveriges Radio. No hits in a "pop music" sense, but the tunes and Hayes' performances certainly hit the spot.
Split Kick -Live In Sweden, 1972 is released on Savage Solweig Records, a label dedicated to releasing previously unissued Hayes recordings. The tunes come from two distinct concerts with different rhythm sectionsthe first four are from Gothenberg in February, the last two from a Stockholm concert of 18 December. The Gothenberg tracks mix tenor saxophone and flutethey include Horace Silver's "Split Kick" and Hayes' "Off The Wagon." The Stockholm tunes, both with Hayes on flute and including his own "Trenton Place"which, like "Off The Wagon," appeared first on Mexican Green (Fontana, 1967)are comparatively laid-backslower-paced and more romantic. Of the two rhythm sections, the Stockholm trio of Staffan Abeleen on piano, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on bass and Alex Riel on drums seems the sharper, working in sync with Hayes and generally showing more subtlety than the Gothenberg musiciansbut neither combo disappoints.
Hayes' playing shows a gratifying combination of strength, swing and sensitivity. The quality of his playingon tenor and fluteis all the more remarkable when compared to his between-song announcements in Gothenberg, which betray extreme shortness of breath. In his sleeve notes Simon Spillett, Hayes biographer and fellow saxophonist, comments that Hayes' choice of reeds and mouthpiece "betrays a player retaining bags of oomph." A great player needs more than bags of oomphand Hayes' playing shows, even at such a late stage in his life, that he still had all the necessary qualities.
Six months after the Stockholm performance Hayes died at the age of 38. Over 40 years later there's still plenty of interest in the work of this great British musicianand albums like Split Kick -Live In Sweden, 1972 do a terrific job in reminding us of his talent.
Split Kick; Off The Wagon; Autumn Leaves; I Thought About You; Someday My Prince Will Come; Trenton Place.
Tubby Hayes: tenor saxophone, flute; Bengt Hallberg: piano (1-4); Georg Riedel: bass (1-4); Egil Johansen: drums (1-4); Staffan Abeleen: piano (5, 6); Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen: bass (5, 6); Alex Riel: drums (5, 6).