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Bebop Spoken There

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

LP Review: Tubby Hayes Quartet - Live at the Hopbine 1968 Vol. 1. "The Syndicate"


Tubby Hayes (ten); Louis Stewart (gtr); Kenny Baldock (bs); Spike Wells (dms).
(Review by Lance.)
I try to avoid review discs "jumping the queue" - first come first served  has always been my motto  -but there are times when those values get thrown out of the window.
This is one such occasion.!
In my younger days, living, as I did for awhile, in Edgware/Harrow, I'd drop by Tommy Whittle's gig at The Hopbine in Wembley, Apart from Whittle, a fine tenor player who guested many times up here at Blaydon Jazz Club, there were other featured jazz musicians, I recall Ronnie Ross on one occasion but, I don't think I ever caught Tubbs there. If I'd been there when this session took place I'd've remembered it!
Tubby the Tenor, Louis Stewart, Kenny Baldock (depping for Ron Mathewson), Spike Wells - giants all!
This was a band!
As Fats Waller once, reportedly said, when Art Tatum entered the club, "God is in the house". Well, tonight, God is on my turntable.
Yes, turntable. An LP!
The current wave of vinyl as pioneered by Gearbox, means you are getting the real McCoy or. in this case, the real Tubby Hayes.
Will there be a better vinyl jazz release this year? They ain't offering odds at Ladbrokes and wisely so - the bookies ain't daft!
This is Tubby in his later years (he was 33 at the time and died 5 years later) but don't let anyone tell you he was coasting! He had so much still to give. He'd shod the Getzian mantle of his early years and was now blowing Coltrane but not the 'outside Trane'. The hard bop tone, the virtuosic technique heard here provides the proof of his world standing. Will there ever be a greater British jazz musician than Tubbs? - not in my lifetime unless I exceed the longevity records by a decade or two.
Then again, will there ever be a better Irish (southern) jazz guitarist than Louis Stewart? I doubt if Ladbrokes will take bets on that either although you may manage to back a few contenders each way!
In short, this is as good an example as any of Hayes, who, at this stage of his tragically short life, was more tubular than tubby.
Two compositions by Tubby - The Syndicate & The Inner Splurge - along with Jimmy Heath's Gingerbread Boy and Luis Bonfa's The Gentle Rain make this an album comparable with anything Blue Note or Prestige was releasing at the time.
Solid hard bop on a solid piece of 12" vinyl. Not the pliable lampshade material discs the majors were releasing in the pre CD days but, to reiterate, solid.
And, of course, being an LP you don't need a magnifying glass to read the notes which are, not surprisingly, by Simon Spillett the world's greatest authority on Tubby Hayes and author of the recently reviewed The Long Shadow of the Little Giant. 
Buy.
Lance.

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