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Bebop Spoken There

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

CD/LP Review: Tubby Hayes Quartet - Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Sessions

Tubby Hayes (tenor sax); Mike Pyne (piano); Ron Mathewson (bass); Spike Wells (drums).
(Review by Lance)

Even if someone were to discover the mythical Buddy Bolden cylinder tomorrow or find a photo of Robert Johnson shaking hands with the devil they would count for nothing beside these 50-year-old recordings by Tubby Hayes - the story of their discovery is related here

Hayes was, arguably, the UK's greatest jazz musician and certainly, during his lifetime, this country's finest tenor player. In his heyday he wasn't given his due -  at the time, if it wasn't American it was inferior - and, bearing in mind his contemporaries across the pond included Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt and John Coltrane, to name but a few, the competition was tough. We were brainwashed by the jazz press, few of whom waved the union jack. Drummers came off the worst and the best any British player could hope for was "pretty good for a Brit." 
In retrospect, listening to these recordings it could be said that Sonny Stitt was pretty good for a Yank!

The other three were of a stature that befitted the leader with Pyne, Mathewson and Wells giving the great man the perfect launching pad - British drummers don't swing? Bollocks!

Paradoxically, it was probably The Beatles, who hadn't an ounce of jazz in them, that opened up America's eyes and ears to the fact there was, and still is, music to beat them at their own game. Certainly Tubby did just that and, at this late stage of his sadly short life when he was Tubby no more, he was still doing it. I can't visualise there being a better record this year - I say 'record' as CD doesn't equate with my memories of such a great man even though my copy is a CD - in my mind though it's an LP. In actual fact it is available as a CD, an LP, a download or a double CD deluxe version complete with alt. takes, a hardback book and the kitchen sink from the studio canteen.
I'll stick with the CD.
I usually wax eloquent about albums I review - the ones I don't praise get shuffled to the bottom of the pile and become history. However, I rarely go so far as to describe an album as 'a must!'
This is 'a must'!
Lance.
For Members Only; Grits, Beans and Greens; Rumpus; You Know I Care; Where Am I Going?

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