With Harkit's Live in London series, it can be heard what musicians like Sonny Rollins to Stan Getz sounded like on tours to Europe, where presumably they made much of their money and played with an abandon unfit for American audiences. The period recordings were done by British jazzer Les Tomkins. Two entries into the series though provide insight into what the burgeoning native jazz scene in England was like. Tubby Hayes and the Ian Carr/Don Rendell Quintet were exponents of early English jazz that predated, but in some ways made possible, work by Evan Parker to John Surman. Given Europe's rich military tradition, most non-classical music was derived from marching bands, mixed with jazz from the States through visits by American musicians.
Live In London
Tubby Hayes was one of England's most well-known players and first with an international reputation. His sound here recalls that of Hank Mobley but as if played by Rollins. He and the rest of his band (only Jimmy Deuchar, Jeff Clyne, Rick Laird and Gordon Beck may be known) were excellent technicians, easily adapting the form and spirit of the hard bop prevalent a few years earlier in the States. The tracks, all American covers, plus an interview excerpt, are from January 1964-December 1965. Without knowing, the groups presented here could be any competent small combo from New York playing tunes of the era. And this was precisely the point. It would take another generation to imbue the culture with individuality.
The disc has moments of greatness, usually in the form of Hayes' extended muscular solos. It was no surprise that he was able to apply his technical facility to playing successfully with more experienced American musicians. What may have been more inter-esting is material presumably played at these sets written by Hayes that would demonstrate where British jazz composing, always strong, was born. Sadly Hayes died young, inactive not long after these tapes.
Live in London
The Ian Carr/Don Rendell Quintet came on the heels of Hayes and already showed the early promise of English jazz. From one set in November 1965 and with mostly original music (including a track by Brit Neil Ardley), even from the opening "Blues by Five by Red Garland, this sounds like a band in a way the Hayes material didn't. Rendell and Carr were no Joe Harriott and Shake Keane but they gel nicely over the undercurrent of a firm, confident rhythm section, particularly pianist Michael Garrick, himself a leader. The three originals that end the set are wonderful examples of early British expressionism, marked by the masterful brass arranging that marks most English jazz of any period. What's most important here is that one wouldn't write this group off as derivative as one would the Hayes; this is crisp, original music. This group was in existence for five years and recorded several albums, all out of print until a series of recent reissues. Carr would form Nucleus and then become a biographer. Rendell continues to play and the group was reunited in 2002. This session is both a valuable document in their catalogue and in the larger tapestry of British history. Cheers!
Tubby Hayes - Live in London
1. Introduction by Ronnie Scott, 2. Opus Ocean, 3. A Weaver of Dreams, 4. Nobody Else But Me, 5. On Green Dolphin Street, 6. By Myself, 7. Interview With Les Tomkins
Tubby Hayes, tenor saxophone; Jimmy Deuchar, trumpet; Terry Shannon, piano; Freddie Logan, bass; Allan Ganley, drums, on 31st January, 1964. Tracks 3 and 4, Tubby Hayes, tenor saxophone; Terry Shannon, piano; Jeff Clyne, bass; Benny Goodman, drums, on 23rd March, 1965. Track 5, Tubby Hayes, tenor saxophone; Johnny Fourie, guitar; Kenny Napper, bass; Johnny Butts, drums, on 13th September, 1964. Track 6, Tubby Hayes, tenor saxophone; Gordon Beck, piano; Jeff Clyne, bass: Johnny Butts, drums
Rendell/Carr Quintet - Live in London
1. Blues By Five, 2. Jonah And The Whale, 3. Shades Of Blue, 4. Hot Rod, 5. Garrison '64, 6. Promises
Don Rendell, tenor saxophone; Michael Garrick, piano; Dave Green, bass; Ian Carr, flugelhorn; Trevor Tomkins, drums