Tubby Hayes (ts,f) Mick Pyne (p) Ron Mathewson (b) Tony Levin (d) Recorded 2nd February and 7th March 1967, London. Mastered by Ray Staff at Trident Studios, pressed by Nimbus Records, London
First track and Track Selection is dedicated to Johnny Butts, drummer with the Tubby Hayes Quartet who died in a car crash the previous year. For every jazz musician conspicuously lost to heroin I am convinced as many fell prey to the abysmal road safety record of the automobile and its’ incompetent (or inebriated) drivers. However car crashes were “accidents” whilst heroin overdoses were…a drug problem.
Mexican Green is critically acclaimed as Hayes most important work and it is solidly a quartet piece. A lot of Hayes’s recorded work featured his big band. Whilst this provided steady good employment for a lot of jazz musicians through recording for TV and radio, especially the BBC, you don’t always want to sit down and listen to twenty piece jazz orchestral arrangement, so his small quartet and quintet performances are particularly prized.
Plenty of Tubby’s lightening fast tenor flow to keep boppers happy and Mick Pyne is no slouch on the piano, with plenty of solo space.
The Fontana original 1967 pressing is fiendishly difficult to get hold of. Twice it’s slipped through my fingers on eBay as collectors will throw money at it just to have it, partly as it is pretty rare, but also the “Tubby Hayes Factor” which leads to prices beyond what is reasonable given its age and condition. Initially I resorted to the CD below, which shows off the lovely original cover of the Fontana.
Then to the not terribly rare Mole Jazz re-issue of 1981 as in the top of post. The Mole Jazz re-issue has a “rubbish cover” (a technical term which will be familiar only to those within the record collecting fraternity) by one Judy Bould and as is often the case, one of the re-issue producers was a Peter Bould. The design job goes to a relative – girlfriend/ wife/ daughter with no design ability, and it is approved because no-one dares to say “sorry boss, but it’s rubbish”
London’s famous Mole Jazz Records store, gone from its
Euston Kings Cross home perhaps 15-20 years, re-issued a handful of most-desirable records in its heyday. This one is clearly a labour of love, pressed by “Nimbus Records” and sounds a very acceptable for a re-issue.
Getting fed up with not finding a decent quality original pressing on eBay, and certainly none in the second-hand shops, not wanting to lay out for a Japanese copy at around £35, this modest pressing at £12 fits the bill admirably until the real thing turns up.
Lets hope 2012 will be a good year for record buyers and sellers alike, and bloggers too. And God rest your soul, Tubby, we will not hear your like again. Happy New Year from LondonJazzCollector.