Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers feat. Ronnie Scott (1957) Tempo

Over sixty years old, seen better days, and not at all in very good shape. But that’s enough about me, lets get on and talk about this Tubby Hayes Tempo.


Selection 1 : Cheek to Cheek  – Tempo 1957

Selection 2: Reunion (Mobley) Tempo 1957


Ronnie Scott (tenor saxophone), Tubby Hayes (tenor saxophone, vibes), Terry Shannon (piano), Phil Bates (bass) and Bill Eyden (drums), Jimmy Deuchar (trumpet) recorded  London, August 1957


Ronnie Scott often pushed forward as the tenor voice, whilst Tubby returns often to vibes. I guess vibes were  thought of as the height of jazz sophistication at the time, less so in retrospect.  Tubby’s tenor voice glitters like gold. This smacks of confusion in the early days of what was what –  MJQ, cool jazz, who knew which direction to take?

I’ve selected the tracks that feature Tubby on tenor, my gaff my rules. Ronnie Scott is the more measured tenor soloist, Tubby is altogether more acrobatic, described once in the lightening-bolt accuracy of the right words, as “cockney garrulous

British jazz in the late ’50s was indeed a niche, not really known to the mass audience. This isn’t to my mind the best of Tubby’s Tempos, though it has its moments. I wished that it had more Tubby tenor, but in 1957 perhaps the best was still to come.

Vinyl: Tempo TAP 15

This is the story behind the post:  if you were able to have a “piece of  jazz history” albeit dishevelled and poorly cared for like this original Tempo, or you could have a pretty acceptable excellent condition ’80s re-issue, how much is “sentiment” important to you?

It’s a real dilemma, because a top copy of these Tempos is serious money.

TAP 15 Popsike

Up to £1200 for a high quality copy – if you are lucky. Tempos were allegedly sold only in one London store, Dobells (see Simon Spillettt’s comments at the foot of the post, this is often repeated but may not be true – beware the internet echo chamber) and pressed in runs of less than a thousand, I read. That is Mobley 1568 territory (only 800 copies pressed)

But how do you separate out the “ownership” of a historically important item, with its condition? Jasmine copies are indeterminate origin, typically found in record store racks for £10-£15. People have told me they “got rid of their Jasmines”

This Tempo has some lack of care issues, but it is a piece of history, and despite the surface issue, sounds as it should, superb (apart from the surface noise) And the top half of the label is a fine shade of purple.


The back of the cover shows significant wear, including what looks like it might be a Tippex repair. My God, when did you last use a bottle of Tippex? Or maybe just off-white paint. If the Jasmine cover was in this condition you would toss it, but this is a distressed antique, different standards apply.


Reissue: Jasmine 80’s


What on earth prompted Jasmine to overlay that monotone purple on the picture of Tubby? It locks it into ’80s photo-trickery and looks cheap, (which of course it is).

I have heard the Tempo tapes were lost by Decca  in 70’s, though I have also been told that’s not true. However no one has turned up with any tapes and Sawano Brothers admit to dubbing their Japanese Tubby releases from vinyl. No-one seems to know anything definitive.

The test that mater are whether Jasmine reissues offer an acceptable listen, whether  original Tempo worth the pain and cost to track down, and how important is owning an original cover, that piece of history.

 Sound Comparison: Reunion (Jasmine reissue)

Vinyl: JASM 2004 The Jazz Couriers – 1980’s reissue

Tubby-Hates-and-the-Jazz-Courriers-Jasmine-label-1000-LJC Tubby-Hayes-Jazz-Courriers-with-Ronnie-Scot-Jasmine--backcover-1800-LJC

Collectors Corner

This is the moment of truth: “I’m only interested in the music (quality)” versus the antique collector :


This is one of those unsettling things, where find you need to go back on what you have always said. “The only thing that matters is what it sounds like”….”covers aren’t important, it’s the vinyl you play”…” Are you a music lover or an antiques collector?”

I’m happy to own a “piece of history”, perhaps because it has a special place in our hearts for being British and its home in the mid-50s, something I never really experienced., being a decade too late, rather than it being “nostalgia”.

When it comes down to deciding which to play, it’s the Tempo every time. I don’t believe in sentiment, but I find it has its place for a collector. Anybody else chime with this?


Apologies for light blogging of late , the Prestige Research Project is consuming copious amounts of my time. Visitors might want to delve back into the 600 odd previous records posted. It’s all there for the taking.

2 thoughts on “Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers feat. Ronnie Scott (1957) Tempo

  1. The famous “you could only get them in Dobells” myth stems from a comment Tubby made to journalist Les Tomkins in 1963 and was a gross exaggeration. albeit an understandable one given the anti climatic end of his time with Tempo. Decca had never really warmed to the idea of recording British modern jazz and as the 1960s dawned its specialist British modern jazz operation was grinding slowly to a halt. This situation irked “producer” Tony Hall as much as it did Hayes, although he was more than a little surprised when Tubbs jumped ship with nary a word of warning. In the end, Hall conceded defeat too, the crunch coming when he was unable to persuade the label to fork out £19.00 to record pianist Terry Shannon.
    Perhaps the biggest irony was that, although Fontana initially promised Tubby a fresh start, with a more sympathetic studio environment, a bigger budget AND better distribution, his efforts were soon to be sidelined by the Beat Boom. In fact, the end of Hayes’s Fontana contract had a deja vu ring to it – a reluctant parent label, releases kept in the can for years and, finally, the swift and total axing of his back catalogue.


  2. Thanks for the post. Maybe it’s because I am on the other side of the pond, but I have always had a fascination with British and European Jazz, trying to play my own game of figuring out how British and European musicians take a very original form of American music and make it their own. As for Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers, perhaps they owe a larger debt to American musicians than some other British jazz musicians in my opinion, but I have always loved Tubby’s tone. In any event, there is a THIRD reissue option, as there was no way that I could afford the reissue. It is this one, which i my mind sounds really nice, though I have nothing to compare it to:



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