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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Jack Ashby




drums@martindrew.co.uk

 

Celebrating the Jazz Couriers

Volume 2

Through The Night

…roared the overland express, the bridge was out, a madman at the wheel

TRIO RECORDS TR561

 

 


  1. Cheek to Cheek
  2. The Serpent
  3. Through The Night
  4. This is All I Ask
  5. Pint of Bitter
  6. What is This Thing Called love
  7. 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!

Don Mather

Volume 1

 



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