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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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The Collection 1953-61

Acrobat ACSCD 6001



1. Deep Purple
2. Waxing With Whittle [Take 3]
3. I'm Beginning to See the Light
4. I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me
5. Waxing With Whittle [Take 2]
6. Zoot's Suite
7. Symphony
8. Deed I Do
9. Zoot's Suite
10. Frenesi
11. I Can't Get Started
12. Last Resort
13. Best Behaviour
14. How Deep is the Ocean
15. Get Happy
16. Jump for Me
17. Can't We Be Friends
18. Raymond
19. Nice Work if You Can Get It
1. Chirracahaua
2. Teddi
3. The Song is You
4. It Don't Mean a Thing
5. Introduction
6. Harlem
7. She's Funny That Way
8. Fascinating Rhythm
9. That Old Black Magic
10. Guilty
11. Don't Worry About Me
12. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
13. Too Marvellous for Words
14. I Don't Want to Walk Without You
15. The Nearness of You
16. You'll Never Know
1. Close Your Eyes
2. Pierrot
3. Makin' Whoopee
4. Hey There
5. Starboard Bow
6. Ballet
7. Body and Soul
8. Stompin' at the Savoy
9. China Boy
10. Isolation
11. Lullaby of the Leaves
12. A Smooth One
13. In a Ditch
14. Love for Sale
15. Wednesday Night Special
16. Supper Party
17. Mean to Me
18. Supper Party
19. Mean To Me
20. Supper Party
1. Caravan
2. Cambridge Blues
3. Love for Sale
4. In a Mellow Tone
5. You Are Too Beautiful
6. Nice Work if You Can Get It
7. Sweet and Lovely
8. No Name Flyer
9. Take the 'A' Train
10. Hi Ya
11. Fishin' the Blues
12. I'm Beginning to See the Light
13. Picts Lament
1. The Mystery of the Marie Celeste
2. Just Goofin'
3. Blue Eyes
4. The Midgets
5. I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
6. Wouldn't it Be Luverly
7. I Could Have Danced All Night
8. On the Street Where You Live
9. Show Me
10. Get Me to the Church on Time
11. Three Moods
12. Satin Doll
13. Autumn in Cuba
14. Twinkle Toes
15. I Didn't Know What Time it Was
16. Cool Me Madam
1. Hallelujah
2. Time Gentlemen Please
3. Blue Shoes
4. Moon Clouds
5. Bass Time
6. Pandora
7. Stew Pot
8. J's Blues
9. Blue Lament
10. Foursome
11. The Campbells Are Coming
12. Mooching
13. Uh Oh
14. Band Stand
15. Man From Ghana
16. Weber the Great
17. Girl in Blue
18. World of Blues
19. Bassman
20. Beethaven
21. What a Gas
22. Runnymede Groove
23. Portrait

Collective personnel
Tony Kinsey - Drums
Tommy Whittle - Tenor sax
Dill Jones - Piano
Stan Wasser - Bass
Sammy Stokes - Bass
Joe Harriott - Alto sax
Bill Le Sage - Piano, vibes
Jimmy Deuchar - Trumpet
Eric Dawson - Bass
Lita Roza - Vocals
Ronnie Ross - Baritone sax
Don Rendell - Tenor sax
Pete Blannin - Bass
Alan Clare - Piano
Bob Efford - Tenor sax, bass clarinet
Les Condon - Trumpet
Dave Willis - Bass
Ken Wray - Trombone
Kenny Napper - Bass
Christopher Logue - Narration
Alan Branscombe - Alto sax
Jack Fallon - Bass
Tubby Hayes - Tenor sax, flute
Lennie Bush - Bass


After the Second World War, you could often hear jazz fans say that Britain didn't have any drummers capable of matching their American counterparts. Yet there were a few excellent drummers, including Phil Seamen and Tony Kinsey. Recorded between 1953 and 1961, this collection of six CDs proves that Kinsey was one of our finest drummers. As a jazz-mad youth, I bought a single of Kinsey's quartet playing Ballet because of its tuneful theme and definite swing. Tony Kinsey, now in his eighties, helped to put together this almost complete compilation of recordings by his trio, quartet and quintet.

Kinsey polished his skills in bands on the Queen Mary as it made voyages to America, where he received drum lessons from Cozy Cole and Bill West. Tony was a founder member of the Johnny Dankworth Seven but he left after two years and led a trio completed by pianist Dill Jones and bassist Stan Wasser. Thus Kinsey, in his own words, became a bandleader by chance.

These recordings suggest that Tony was a valued bandleader, whose small groups included such famous names as Joe Harriott, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Ross and Jimmy Deuchar. Thus this collection provides not only a survey of Tony Kinsey's work in the fifties but also examples of some of Britain's top jazzmen during that period.

The first eleven tracks feature tenorist Tommy Whittle with the Tony Kinsey Trio. Whittle's smooth tone is reminiscent of Lester Young, as is his style of delivering a tune. The next 16 tracks feature altoist Joe Harriott with the trio. Several of these tracks were included on a Properbox devoted to Harriott which I reviewed a while ago. The Harriott tracks mark a noticeable change of gear from the Whittle cuts, with generally much more extrovert playing.

The rest of CD2 features vocalist Lita Roza, best known for her work with Ted Heath's orchestra. She could hardly be called a jazz singer (her biggest hit was How Much is That Doggie in the Window?), but Joe Harriott is still present on these recordings, which are lifted by some thoughtful arrangements - possibly devised by Bill Le Sage, who was Kinsey's steadfast colleague on many of these recordings. Le Sage had been a member of the Johnny Dankworth Seven at the same time as Kinsey.

The third CD consists of the Kinsey Quartet with Bill Le Sage on piano and vibes, Eric Dawson on bass, and a choice of three guests: Ronnie Ross, Dave Shepherd or Don Rendell. Ronnie Ross was probably the finest British baritone saxist, and he could certainly swing on the cumbersome instrument, as he does, for example, in Close Your Eyes. Dave Shepherd is a clarinettist in the style of Benny Goodman, and he only appears on tracks 8 and 9 of CD3. Three of the last five tracks on this disc come from a BBC Jazz Club broadcast and they have tenorist Don Rendell added to Ronnie Ross to make up the Tony Kinsey Quintet, which has a modern feel.

The same line-up is heard on the first nine tracks of CD4. Don Rendell is heard to advantage in his solos on Bill Le Sage's Cambridge Blues and Tony Kinsey's No Name Flyer. Sweet and Lovely has an unusual arrangement, with the two saxists stating the theme slowly while Tony Kinsey punctuates it with the drums. The next six tracks come from a revised version of the Quintet, with Joe Harriott returning and tenorist Bob Efford replacing Don Rendell. Efford contributes some first-class solos on tenor sax and bass clarinet. Trumpeter Les Condon replaces Harriott in tracks 3 to 16 of CD5. The presence of a trumpeter allows the group to play The Midgets, a Count Basie favourite. The other items include several short tracks which Decca asked the Quintet to record in 1957 for an EP of music from My Fair Lady.

Tracks 3 to 9 of the final CD reflect the interest in "poetry and jazz" which was fashionable in the late fifties. Christopher Logue reads his translations of poems by Chilean Pablo Neruda, accompanied by music written by Kinsey and Le Sage. One can understand why the craze for poetry and jazz didn't last for long! The sixth CD is completed by six quartet tracks (with Alan Branscombe on alto sax) and eight quintet tracks (with Tubby Hayes and Jimmy Deuchar). Tony Kinsey wrote many of the pieces on this final disc, proving that he was a considerable composer as well as drummer. And his drumming on tracks like Weber the Great shows how clean and precise his playing had become.

Paul Watts contributes a useful sleeve-note, filling in the background to Kinsey's career, despite a few misprints. The sound quality on these recordings is variable - some of them have been cleaned up very successfully but some others are decidedly fuzzy. However, these six CDs comprise a remarkably generous tribute to a musician who could make modern jazz in Britain proud of itself in the 1950s.

Tony Augarde

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