- Cheek to Cheek
- The Serpent
- Through The Night
- This is All I Ask
- Pint of Bitter
- What is This Thing Called love
- Blues Walk
Martin Drew – Drums
Mornington Lockett – Tenor
Nigel Hitchcock – Tenor
Steve Melling – Piano
Andrew Cleyndert – Bass
Celebrating the Jazz Couriers is now firmly established on the
scene and has been heard all over the country. They obviously
enjoy the live performance as this disc amply demonstrates; it
was recorded at The Fleece in Boxford, East Anglia. The cover
design by Jack Pennington compliments this excellent second album
by the band, Ronnie Scott is caricatured driving the Overland
Express with Tubby in the tender and the New Couriers hanging
on for dear life in the trucks behind!
One of the things that made the original band so fascinating,
was the empathy between Tubby and Ronnie at the front of the band
and Mornington and Martin have carried this on. That does not
stop them trying to ‘blow one another away’ at times, but that
all adds to the excitement. The discussions that were held years
ago about whether UK rhythm sections swing like their US counterparts,
are now safely put to bed, but if any argument remains, this album
shows that this rhythm section is as good as anything you will
here anywhere in the world.
Ronnie Scott was not a prolific composer and it is good that
his ‘Through the Night’ composition is included as well as ‘The
Serpent’ from Tubby Hayes.
Through the Night is a feature for Mornington Lockett and This
is All I Ask a feature for Nigel Hitchcock, they both perform
brilliantly and I find it easy to tell them apart even though
there is a certain similarity of style. It is also worth noting
that it was Mornington who undertook the major task of copying
the original Couriers arrangements from recordings, that in it
self must have been a major undertaking.
Cheek to Cheek starts things of at a fast pace with good solos
from everyone on this great Irving Berlin standard. The last time
I heard the band they kicked off with this one and it certainly
has everyone on their toes for the rest of the set.
Pint of Bitter comes from Clark Terry and the two tenors state
the tune followed by one of a number of great solos from pianist
Steve Melling on this disc. Martin Drew and Andrew Cleyndert ensure
that this one grooves along from start to finish. Nigel takes
the first tenor solo on this 32 bar ‘bluesy’ sequence. It reminded
me of the Basie favourite ‘Two for the Blues’
What is This Thing is back to up-tempo, this time Mornington
is the first soloist and everyone contributes brilliantly. The
rhythm section make playing at this sort of tempo sound easy,
which of course it isn’t and the two tenors demonstrate why they
are both held in such high regard.
The last track is Clifford Brown’s Blues Walk, Tubby and Ronnie
used this as an end set marker, but here the New Couriers give
us a full and exciting version.
The overriding impression you get from this disc is of something
which everybody enjoyed, musicians and audience alike, and it don’t
get much better than that!