Tubby Hayes Little Giant of Jazz (1955) Imperial

Track Selection 1:  Opus de Funk

Selection 2: Straight Life

Selection 3. Peace Pipe


Tubby Hayes (ts) Harry South (p) Pete Blannin (b) Bill Eyden (d) recorded at Decca Studios, Hampstead, London, England, July 29, 1955


Recorded at the incredibly young age of only twenty, this must have been his first proper LP, predating the Tempo recordings. Less fiery than some of his later works, more Rollinesque, and tracks very short 3-4 minutes in the manner of 1955, hence three selections.

Vinyl: US Imperial LP 9046

Imperial: US label Imperial was formed in 1947, and throughout the 1950s, issued a vast quantity of R&B and Country, featuring artists like  Fats Domino and  Slim Whitman ..You might be forgiven for thinking there was a size agenda here, which is perhaps where the Little Giant fitted in.  It worked for Cannonball Adderley,  the speak-your-weight machine “Ok, one of you two get off the scales” size musician.   By 1970 the Imperial label had become part of Liberty’s merger with United Artists, and is today all owned by EMI, the litigious hedge fund-owned  company with a mountain of debt and a small sideline in selling records

If it was not already obvious from the photograph, a previous owner has helpfully added the word “Sax” to the top of the cover. Like you would be flicking through a pile of jazz records, looking hard for one with saxophone playing on it.

The Matrix:

Doesn’t register anything with me, apart from the rune-like “x”

Source: Ebay Record Location: US

Sellers Description

“Mega Rare LP of Tubby Hayes – Little Giant of Jazz (Imperial 9046 – mono)  Original black label edition with deep groove on both sides – NOT a current re-issue!  Extremely rare U.S. release for Hayes is a rare classic that no serious jazz collector can be without. 

The LP is in VG+ condition with some marks and much if not most of the original shine – not for the audiophile, but still really nice for an LP of this vintage – still, you may hear some noise.  The cover is in VG+ condition with a bit of staining (visible on the back) and tape on the upper seam.  There is a small bit of writing on the front cover.  Not perfect, but how many of these do you see at any price”

You wouldn’t expect to look for British jazz located in the US. The person whose gets the blame credit for me bidding  is Simon Spillett, master saxophonist and Tubby’s biographer. Thanks for the tip, Simon.

According to Popsike only eight copies of this record have ever come to market, since 2005, so another record that earns the description “rare” though the most it has ever sold for is about $170. In the American market, Tubby was “not from round these here pards” as the barman would say in wild-west movies. Perhaps it doesn’t register on the big boys scales, so the price remains modest.

The vinyl certainly is shiny, but I have never found a relationship between the sound of a record and how shiny the vinyl is. Sellers wax lyrical about how the vinyl retains much of its original gloss. I have seen guys in record stores polishing stacks of second-hand vinyl with a lint cloth, basically pushing dust and grit down into the groove. The surface is shiny alright, and about as relevant as a wax polish to an old car with a dodgy engine. Vinyl can be shiny or mottled with grey patches, and seems to play equally well.

The collection of Tubby originals is beginning to look quite respectable, apart from the very nice Jasmines that are unlikely to turn into original Tempos any time soon.

1 thought on “Tubby Hayes Little Giant of Jazz (1955) Imperial

  1. Aha! You got it! Fabulous album culled from two sessions originally taped at Decca, West Hampstead for the Tempo label. The quartet titles had come out on 2 EP’s (The Swinging Giant, Volume 1 and 2) and were licensed to Imperial, who wanted more tracks (unaccountably they didn’t want Evil Eyes, the remaining quartet track from July 1955). Producer Tony Hall then fixed a quintet for a session on July 17th 1956 and Imperial took the majority of that material for the balance of the album. The two remaining quintet tracks (Hall Hears The Blues and Nicole) were licensed to Savoy and given the Van Gelder remaster treatment for the deliciously titled album Changing the Jazz at Buckingham Palace (shared with a Dizzy Reece session). That’s worth hunting down too…..

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