Sunday, 30 May 2010

Paul Gonsalves & Tubby Hayes - Just Friends (Columbia, 1965)

When Duke Ellington's band played the Royal Festival Hall in 1964, star saxophonist Paul Gonsalves was suddenly taken stoned, leaving a massive gap in the Ducal front line. A dep was needed urgently, and Tubby Hayes was the natural choice. He overcame the small obstacle of Gonsalves having no band parts (he'd memorised the lot) by transposing Jimmy Hamilton's clarinet scores, and aced it when Mrs Clinkscales' best known pupil called him forward for Gonsalves' feature on 'Diminuendo in Blue' and 'Crescendo in Blue'. When he'd recovered, Mex, as Gonsalves was known, vowed to make a record with his stand-in, and Just Friends was the result. Back in the days when I had more money than sense, I spent £75 on this bugger, but I don't regret a single penny of it. Apart from the principals, it's got four of my all-time favourites in the personnel: Jimmy Deuchar on trumpet and mellophonium, Keith Christie on trombone, Stan Tracey on piano and Ronnie Stephenson on drums. It also has some fine interpretations of numbers like 'Pedro's Walk' from Tubbs' Tours and the Stan Tracey original 'Baby Blue'.

If anyone has a clean copy of the follow-up Change of Setting and the means to make a good transfer, please get in touch.

Personnel: Jimmy Deuchar (tp,mell), Les Condon (tp), Keith Christie (tb), Tubby Hayes (ts,vib,as), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Jackie Sharpe (bs), Stan Tracey (p), Lennie Bush (b), Ronnie Stephenson (d).

1. Tupa
2. Amber Mood
3. Just Friends
4. Pedro's Walk
5. Baby Blue
6. Souriya
7. Mini Minor

Multi-part RAR download links - FLAC - 211MB
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Wally Stott - London Pride (Philips, 1958)

Growing up in a Goon-fearing household, I've been a fan of Wally Stott/Angela Morley from childhood. However, those early stings and punctuations barely prepared me for the depth and breadth of Stott's work. Writing for Bluebottle and Scott Walker with equal conviction takes serious talent. I don't think Stott's talent was ever better displayed than on the 1958 album London Pride, later reissued as London Souvenir. It had been commissioned by Stott's US label Columbia, flushed with the success of Michel Legrand's microgroove tribute to Paris. Columbia's UK affiliate, Philips, for whom Stott had been a musical director since the company's inception in 1952, wanted to record it in mono at their own studios, but the Americans (and Wally/Angela) wanted stereo. So, with hired equipment, the production decamped to Walthamstow Town Hall, with the results you'll hear below.

Back in the days before I knew what I was really doing, I let a 1958 first pressing Philips stereo copy slip through my hands. Not literally. I just didn't buy it, and when I realised my mistake (about 10 minutes later), it had gone. I made do with a terrible-sounding Columbia mono, but things like the version of 'British Grenadiers' (with anonymous piano soloist), the Bobby Pratt trumpet feature 'Chelsea' and Lad Busby's sublime close-miked trombone on 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square' shone through the grotty pressing. Some years later, after regular abortive searches, I found a stereo copy on eBay, and, best of all, it was a Buy It Now. I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice, so I leaped on it. When it arrived, it looked pristine, but the aural experience was underwhelming. The EQ didn't bring out the best in the music. So, I transferred it to CD, addressing the EQ as I went, with results that I hope you'll like.

The rule of this blog is that the recordings offered for your delectation must be out of catalogue. Something called London Pride by Wally Stott is available for sale in MP3 download format. Listening to the sample files, it appears to be a ham-fisted vinyl dub of a mono copy using a stereo cartridge (when remastering from a mono LP, summing the channels gives an instant reduction in surface noise). Very poor. This is proper 1958 Walthamstow Town Hall stereo. Is it jazz? It's a tricky one. Elements of it are, but equally a lot of it could be classified as light music. Either way, it's a stunning album.

Links to multi-part RAR - total size 220MB:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Clarke-Boland Big Band - Volcano/Rue Chaptal - Live at Ronnie's 1969 (Polydor, 1969)

The big band formed by Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland was the United Nations of jazz. Some hold to the view that if they'd been allowed to replace the conventional UN Security Council, the world would be a more harmonious place. Whether the world would have been more peaceful or not is debatable, as when this band was going all-out, it made a mighty fine racket. This racket was rarely captured as well as on the two LPs recorded during the band's fortnight at Ronnie Scott's club in February/March 1969. Unaccountably, these records appear not to be available in any shape or form right now, so I've taken the liberty of digitising my well-played vinyl. I've also taken the liberty of cleaning up the pops and clicks, but nothing too obtrusive. I find on a lot of reissues, I can hear the noise reduction at work, which defeats the object slightly. The download is multi-part RAR - just download them all into the same directory, open part 1 and Robert should then be your father's brother-in-law. In the RAR, you'll find lossless FLAC files and PDFs of the album artwork, sized to fit a CD jewel case. Let's be having the line-up and tracklisting, then. Note the presence of Ron Mathewson on bass, deputising for an indisposed Jimmy Woode. That Mathewson nails such a high-pressure gig at short notice shows how good he was at his peak. He wasn't too well last time I saw him, but I hope he's OK now.

Personnel: Kenny Clarke (drums, co-leader), Francy Boland (piano, co-leader); Benny Bailey, Idrees Sulieman, Dusko Gojkovic, Tony Fisher (trumpets); Ake Persson, Nat Peck, Eric van Lier (trombones); Derek Humble, Johnny Griffin, Tony Coe, Ronnie Scott, Sahib Shihab (saxophones); Ron Mathewson (bass); Kenny Clare (drums) - recorded 28 February 1969.

1. Box 703
2. Griff's Groove
3. Volcano
4. Love Which To No Loved One Permits Excuse For Loving
5. Now Hear My Meanin'
6. And Thence We Issued Out Again To See The Stars
7. Rue Chaptal
8. I Don't Want Nothin'
9. Sax No End
10. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
11. Fellini 712
12. The Girl & The Turk
13. Kenny & Kenny

Links to multi-part RAR - total file size - 480MB:
RAR part 1:
RAR part 2:
RAR part 3:
RAR part 4:
RAR part 5:
RAR part 6:

The bother begins here

Good day to you. When I were a lad, the choices for jazz lovers were simple, if limited. If a record was in catalogue, you could buy it, or more likely order it, from your local Our Price. If deleted, you could scour second-hand shops for ages, often paying through the nose for a copy when it finally turned up, or you could find someone with a copy and a cassette deck to make a copy for you. Being a purist, I always turned my nose up at the cassette dub option, except in cases of dire emergency. This meant that I spent far too much money on records that I wanted desperately, without a single penny of it benefiting the artist.

Time and technology have moved on, but record company attitudes haven't. There's still a lot of great music that needs to be reissued, but nobody seems to have the will to do so. Meanwhile, the modern equivalent of a cassette dub is a vinyl transfer to a digital format, ideally CD-R or a losslessly compressed file type like FLAC. This means that dubs can sound as good as playing the original LP, sometimes better if restored with care. So, this blog exists to make available some classic deleted jazz albums (with the odd venture into other genres) that would otherwise cost a fortune on eBay or elsewhere.

Now read on...