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The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet: Warm Up

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The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet: Warm Up
British modern jazz was gaining new confidence in itself in 1965, when Warm Up, subtitled The Complete Live At The Highwayman 1965, was recorded. It needed to be. As Simon Spillett writes in his liner notes, at the time "British jazzmen bravely fought a battle on two fronts, one against the stranglehold of American influence, the other against the Beatles." British jazzwomen, of course, were fighting on three fronts; but we can discuss that another time. A fourth front, fought by males and females in most fields of non-classical music, was the one against British audiences' still widespread prejudice in favour of American musicians. That is something the Fab Four were actually largely responsible for demolishing.

Anyway, circa 1965, British hard bop started taking on a distinct character of its own, as a generation of world-class jazz composers emerged alongside a generation of world-class improvising musicians, the two groups overlapping. A stellar example was tenor saxophonist Don Rendell and trumpeter Ian Carr's Quintet, which recorded its first studio album, Shades Of Blue (Columbia), in 1964. In Rendell, Carr and pianist Michael Garrick (who replaced Colin Purbrook in 1965), the band had three superb and singular composer / performers.

The 2 x CD Warm Up captures in its entirety, and in more than passable audio, a two-hour gig the Quintet played in the back room of The Highwayman pub in Camberley, a dormitory town south of London, in November 1965. Shades Of Blue had been completely composed of in-band originals, with the exception of the title track, which was written by British fellow traveller, the great Neil Ardley. On Warm Up, on the other hand, around half the material is standard issue covers, from Miles Davis's "No Blues" through Rodgers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine." Such was still the reality of attracting an audience in Britain in 1965 (see "battle fronts" above).

The venue and location of the gig are significant. In his assiduously researched liners, Spillett refers to "the Gerrard Street mafia," meaning the musicians who were part of the circle supported by Ronnie Scott's first London club and from which the musicians in the Rendell / Carr quintet were pretty much excluded (as was the aforementioned Neil Ardley). The West End of London was effectively off-limits for such musicians, who for one reason or another found their faces just did not fit. These musicians secured most of their work outside London or in its suburbs, typically in the back rooms of pubs. The politics of British jazz in the 1960s is of historical interest and Spillett could be the person to chronicle it. Any author would have to move fast, however, before all the protagonists leave town.

Meanwhile, Warm Up is another important Rendell / Carr Quintet release from Jazz In Britain, joining the label's Blue Beginnings (2021), recorded live in 1964.

Track Listing

Disc One: Blues By Five; Jonah And The Whale; The Sixth Seal; Shades Of Blue; Hot Red; No Blues. Disc Two: Garrison ’64; Promises; Ursula; Autumn Leaves; When I Fall In Love; My Funny Valentine.

Personnel

Don Rendell
saxophone
Ian Carr
trumpet
Dave Green
bass, acoustic
Trevor Tomkins
percussion
Additional Instrumentation

Don Rendell: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute; Ian Carr: trumpet, flugelhorn.

Album information

Title: Warm Up | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Jazz In Britain


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