(limited edition 12” 180g vinyl LP, Gearbox GB 1512)
It’s great to see this record pressed by Gearbox Records, specialists in vinyl releases, exclusively on 180g vinyl, and this music, steeped in 1950s and ’60s bebop as it is, deserves to be heard in the format of the time.
Simon Spillett is known for his extensive knowledge of the ’50s/’60s British jazz scene and his admiration of Tubby Hayes. Indeed his last record was something of a tribute to that great white hope of British bebop and there’s still plenty of links to Tubby Hayes on this latest release. For this outing Spillett is accompanied by an outstanding band of luminaries composed of John Critchinson on piano, Alec Dankworth on bass and Clark Tracey on drums.
The record kicks off with a dynamite, ridiculously funky version of Dizzy Reece’s tune Shepherd’s Serenade from his Blues In Trinity LP, which originally featured Hayes on tenor and was released on the Blue Note label. Indeed this record is, in places, a bit like listening to a long-lost Blue Note record, and Spillett’s own excellent bluesy tune Square One does nothing to dispel this feeling.
The delicate ballad Yesterday I Heard the Rain slows things down and the second side springs into life with a no-holds-barred take on A Night in Tunisia. The ale-loving Jimmy Deuchar’s nonchalant sounding Bass House features some incredibly nimble bass by Alec Dankworth and classy keyboards by John Critchinson.
Cole Porter’s In the Still of the Night closes the record, Clark Tracey responding, with on-the-button percussive pulses, to Spillett’s trade-mark powerful high-speed tenor solos.
Categories: LP review