BBC Jazz Club (1956) Gearbox Records


Time-taxis (we serve all era’s) : When to Guv’?

BBC Jazz Club, a stones throw from Piccadilly Circus… we’re late! …Ronnie Scotts, 1956 please cabbie, and step on it!!


“Sorry guv, Health and Safety. Time Travel speed humps don’t permit me to “step on it” any more. What do you think this is, an episode of The Sweeney? If you wouldn’t mind putting in this hi-visibility jacket, and fasten your time-travel restraint buckles, we’ll be off in an orderly manner. A “stones throw”, you say? I’m afraid throwing stones was outlawed under the Dangerous Projectiles Prohibition Act – unless  for religious reasons, you understand”. 

Thank you for choosing to travel with Time Taxis. We honour Uber-app discounts. Don’t forget to rate us on Time-TripAdvisor. Now, if you would kindly  like us on Face Book, we’ll be off.

Introduction : David Jacobs, LJC Radio


Selection: Poinciana – Phil Seamen Quintet – 320kbps



Phil Seamen Quintet   

Dave Goldberg (guitar) Joe Harriot (alto sax) Johnny Weed (piano) Major Holley (bass) Phil Seamen (drums)

Ronnie Scott Quintet

Lennie Bush (bass) Ronnie Scot (tenor sax) Terry Shannon (piano) Alan Ganley (drums)  Trumpet (Jimmy Deuchar)


I’m taking a post break from the hothouse of chasing US vintage pressings, and people falling over themselves to point out my treasured “original” isn’t. This is a modern pressing of a recorded for BBC Radio, 1956, the golden era of British Jazz – Joe Harriot, Ronnie Scott, Phil Seaman, all the glorious names riding the British Jazz wave.

Gearbox have accessed the treasure trove in the BBC Radio archives, and made these available on vinyl. As a life long BBC license fee payer (on pain of a criminal record for non-payment) I “paid ” for these recordings, or at least my parents did. However bless Darrel Sheinman for unearthing them, and making them available again. Joe Harriot is especially something to be treasured.

Vinyl: Gearbox 1508; limited edition first 500 (it says in the runout, business is business)

180 gram vinyl – silent –  and a nice pressing. The audio-quality is how BBC engineers recorded in the studio in 1956. It is good, and sounds a lot better than radio as I can recall. What it does is bring is the sense of listening to radio into your living room, in 1956 but at much higher quality than you would ever have done at the time. True to the original, you can expect no more.


 Collectors Corner

50s radioset1950s radio set – tune in to Jazz Club

 I listened to something like the above as a child in the ’50s. Polished walnut cabinet, bakelite volume knobs, analog tuning dial, it was magical really. I was listening to Radio Luxembourg,  though I  had no idea where Luxembourg was. Somebody called Horace Bachelor kept promising to tell me how to win the pools if only I would write to him, but I wasn’t old enough to write.

I strolled past Ronnie Scott’s in Soho just the other day. I swear I could feel a temporal vortex dragging me back. Gearbox have  a special niche with this material, and, it seems, with Time Travel. A taste of jazz this side of the pond. If I had any quibble it would be this – no laminated cover guys?

9 thoughts on “BBC Jazz Club (1956) Gearbox Records

  1. A reference is made to Phil Seamen ‘being on something’ – may I add a postscript? I was a copper in London from 1963 onward and a member at Ronnie’s (still have my membership card from that date: witnessed Roland Kirk). By 1972 I had been transferred to Wimbledon CID and whilst waiting to process a prisoner one day in the charge room there, I happened to look at the charge sheet which had been prepared for a guy who was sitting upright on the charge room bench but looking ‘out of it’. It read – amongst other things; ‘Phil Seamen, musician’ and arrested for ‘being drunk’. Sadly, I suspected it was something other and told the Sergeant of my suspicion that he possibly wasn’t drunk. The Police Surgeon (as they were known) was called and he confirmed what I’d suspected. Phil was medically treated accordingly (and wasn’t charged). A short time later I read that Phil had died. I seem to remember it was Valerie Wilmer who once pondered how Lem Winchester could be an eloquent vibes player AND a copper; she thought it counter intuitive. Maybe – although I was a member of what we, at the time, laughingly called ‘a jazz band’. I was the drummer but the only two guys who were real musicians (8 of nine were coppers) were the trombonist and the pianist. We, almost fraudulently I have to say, got to play the Royal Festival Hall in front of a full house. Memorable.

      • Thanks. I got to hear of you on a visit to Ray’s shop in Foyles a couple of weeks ago. The guy at the till gave me your details after I enquired how they could be selling Blowing The Blues Away for £120 !! I have a vinyl copy and many others from the Blue Note 4000 series (my first was Moanin’ BLP 4003). Around the time I bought it I was still living in Gloucestershire and besotted (mainly) with Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band but my next door neighbour put paid to that and played me said Blue Note: I was sold and have been ever since. My friend is a remarkable guy; he named his house ‘Ellington’ and has a fantastic collection of vinyl, CD’s and 78s (all under lock and key in a special music room) and he plays me selections once a week – I do my best to keep up. He went to many (if not most) of Ted Heath’s Sunday Palladium concerts when he was a squaddie and used to spend his holidays/some retirement time with his darling wife on the West Coast at annual events where he mingled and spoke with American big band alumni of yesteryear. We still go to small group gigs in our village even now. A friend of his is a long time drummer and lives in the next street. Two other items then close! After my trip to Foyles I got on the coach to return home when the driver, Peter, commented on the shop’s bag I was carrying. Our conversation then revealed that he is a jazz pianist from Cheltenham, as is his son Reuben Stone. Must get to hear him. Bob Scobey eventually played Britain at Wembley when they toured Europe as support for The Harlem Globe Trotters. A good gig but their sound wasn’t really suited to big arenas. I must now find time to explore your site more fully! Thanks again.

  2. These are beautifully produced records, LJC, but those I have looked at don’t seem to be essential purchases… Or is that unfair? And the new stuff seems to be mainly jazz-life stuff with beats and vocals… I wish there was something I wanted to buy — but in the meantime I suppose I can satisfy by just browsing the company’s impeccable website…

    • Personally, 90% of their catalogue falls outside my musical interest but there are some nice Tubby Hayes and Joe Harriot titles which are not available in any other form. The current title was by way of an experiment to check out what they sound like. I am on record no fan of modern reissues as a genre but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard with the BBC material. Enough to consider them. Try bidding on a vintage Joe Harriott title. I have, and it goes “wooooosh”, Same is true of most Tubbs originals. Credit where it’s due, Gearbox is a niche label for fans of vintage British Jazz, and that’s no bad thing.

  3. It was1963(ish) – some friends and I decided that we would become “night club owners” and found a suitable property to hire in Greenland Mews (?), Camden Town, London. We got about £400 together and booked said premises and then hired “Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames” to provide the music. They turned up (I seem to remember they were 7 or possibly 8 strong) and to our surprise Phil Seaman was in the drum chair! He was well known to us as a regular in various groups that were featured at The Downbeat club in north London and at Ronnie Scott’s. Seaman was something of a cult-Jazz-Mod-hero-figure. He typified everything that we thought of as being super cool about modern jazz. There was a popular idea around at the time that he was always “on something” and he certainly had a “far out” sharp-suited cool persona that demanded respect from those who were around and were “part of the scene” in those long gone days. I remember Seaman sat in the drum chair and just played – eyes closed, head looking down to the ground towards the right (or was it left?) – a master musician who seemed to be able to play everything without effort, probably sitting in with “The Blue Flames” for that one night only. We lost money on the gig but had a great evening of music. BTW, nice sample track – I must try to find this disc, or the music on it, somewhere……Jazz in London in those days was special and “Nice……..” (as someone once said).

    • Correction here – we have always known him as Phil Seaman – he was of course Phil SEAMEN…..but hey, we all know who we mean don’t we LJC.

  4. I like the 1950’s radio, complete with the built-in 7×5 inch TV screen- can’t see where you plug in your iPad or iPod though. Oh, right, yeah, it has wireless capabilities. I was also amused by your monologue from the driver of your horseless carriage- faith validated stonings indeed!
    Good for you striking off into territory that you want to explore for a bit of a change- and it must be great to have a new record that probably didn’t need a good wash. I’m at the other end of the spectrum this evening (perhaps in the land beyond the Pale for some) listening to Grant Green ‘Live at Club Mozambique’ from January 1971, through the headies and watching Ghana v USA on what used to be referred to as ‘the box’.

  5. First time for me to hear this, but it’s superb. Clocking in at 3’26” the sampled track here may not be that long, but still it gave me a reason to light up a magnificent Cuban and play it three times more. Love the alto and guitar bits. Relaxing and, in a way, very classy sounding recording. You just know that the people attending were all dressed in their finest, politely applauding and enjoying a great night out.

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