On first site, this is a strange
album; the cover design has a large thumbprint on a white background,
with a piece of brown tape stuck on it giving the title and the
name Gilles Peterson. I have to confess it meant nothing to me
and I wondered whether my editor had sent it to the wrong reviewer!
What a pleasant surprise I had, the disc contains the music I
grew up with. As an avid visitor to The Marquee, The Flamingo
Club and Ronnie’s Old Place in London, what a delight to hear
again the bands which were also presented in the Midlands, where
I live, by the Late Harry Flick.
I find today’s jazz scene nothing
like as stimulating as those times, there were weekly sessions
in Coventry and most other cities, where the musicians and bands
heard on this record performed to packed enthusiastic audiences.
Today it is more likely to be one session a month and even that
requires an Art’s Council Grant to make it viable. The quality
of the bands and musicians the UK has produced has not decreased
but the audience has particularly the young audience. The reasons
for this could fill up a book, but this is a record review!
On the disc we realise just what
a golden era the sixties and early seventies was for jazz in the
UK. The talents of the musicians on display are astonishing for
that time, or should I say, someone who did not know of them,
should prepare to be astonished. Michael Garrick has always had
a good band and he is a very fine pianist, the likes of Joe Harriott
would surely have been an international jazz figure if he had
chosen the USA instead of the UK to move to from his native Jamaica.
Ronnie Ross must surely be the finest baritone player the UK has
produced and Tubby Hayes, I am amazed at the number of local musicians
who are digging around in record shops trying to find anything
Tubby recorded. The example on this record, with the superb Jimmy
Deuchar on trumpet is one of the best and is worth the price of
the record on it’s own!
Don Rendell I count as a friend,
even though I have not seen him for a while, his contribution
to the UK jazz scene has been immense. He was a founder member
of the Johnny Dankworth Seven and has worked tirelessly in the
cause of British jazz. In more recent times, as well as performing
up and down the country, he has also been teaching in a London
University, helping along a new generation of jazz musicians.
As Gilles Peterson says, Black marigold as another superb track
featuring Don, with trumpet player Ian Carr.
If you are from the era, you will
love this record, if you came in later, listen to it and be prepared
to be surprised at what you hear, A volume two is mentioned, lets
hope it comes out soon.