Gilles Peterson: Impressed 2 (2004) Universal

To continue the theme of British Jazz, now expanded to 1963-74, the second double album compiled by DJ of French origin, Gilles Peterson, Impressed 2 released on vinyl in 2004. Nice cover segue, with a second thumb print, it’s all in the detail.

Selection: Don Rendell Ian Carr – Ursula (1967)

.  .  .

Artists (Michael Garrick Septet line up )

Michael  Garrick, piano, harpsichord and celeste; Ian Carr, trumpet and flugelhorn; Tony Coe, tenor saxophone; Joe Harriott, alto saxophone; Don Rendell, tenor and soprano saxophone;  Dave Green, bass; Trevor Tomkins, drums… additional drum and poetry, Colin Barnes. Eh? Poetry? As omniscient Google asks: Did you mean pottery?

Original title, on Decca label Argo:

.  .  .

Impressed 2 Bonus!: Harold McNair – The Hipster
The Groove is strong with this one . . .

. . .
Original title Harold McNair on B&C Records

“Beat and Commercial” Records, a label which existed 1968-75, whose roster included prog-rockers like The Nice, Van Den Graaf Generator and Atomic Rooster, prog-folkies Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne, and Spyrogyra (not to be confused with Spyro Gyra, easily done), all of which which I’m going to pretend I can’t remember because I was too young! Totally untrue of course, I remember them well, but not this one.

“The second self-titled album by Jamaican-born saxophonist and flautist Harold McNair, released posthumously in 1972. The album, which includes mixes taken from the earlier self-titled LP released on RCA in 1968, featured probably his most famous composition, “The Hipster”, which has become a perennial fixture on the playlists at jazz clubs and was included on Gilles Peterson’s recent Impressed Vol. 2 compilation of 1960s British jazz.”

I had never heard of Harold McNair until this volume came to my attention, just one of the many benefits of writing about something you know nothing about: it’s so educational. Harold McNair? Record store conversation with man-behind-the-counter pulled up the usual record-store anecdote.I sold Flute and Nut one time“. Me, blank look, Fruit and Nut? This is a sweet shop now? Got it, good British play on words. Yeah, of course, wow…(feigning hipness)

Sold it the same day I put it out, he added helpfully.

Desirable, but taking one look at it (above) I probably wouldn’t have expressed an interest at the time. Ignorance is a terrible thing, and in such plentiful supply. The label Vocalion Dutton has apparently put out a reissue of these two main albums, however a mere CD compilation, so once again, Gilles strikes gold again with vinyl.

Of McNair himself, his career was cruelly cut short by cancer at the age of only 39, in 1971, leaving a legacy of less than a handful of albums.

Other Impressed 2 artists tracks: Boom Jackie Boom Chick! (Paul Gonsalves, title track!),  Rendell Carr Garrick! The Tubster! Stan Tracy! Cream of British Jazz titles in the late ’60s. I have only two as originals, sad face…but they are both very very good, happy face… Starless and Bible-Black (Stan Tracy not the King Crimson album 1974)…yeah.


“The second volume of unique, rare and beautiful British jazz from the renowned BBC Radio One international DJ. This album sees him uncover more exceptional UK jazz, this time from the 60s and 70s. Featuring landmark recordings, elusive rarities and previously unreleased exclusives, Impressed Vol 2 builds on the success of the first volume, with many of the tracks reissued for the first time since their original release.” (Amazon official review)

“This was something of a golden era. What is interesting is that most of these musicians don’t sound American. This is jazz with an English accent.”

Speaking of English accents, several tracks feature the voice of Norma Winstone, voted top singer in the Melody Maker Jazz Poll of 1971, and a regular contributor to albums by Michael Garrick (pictured together on the insert).  Norma is still with us, not long ago awarded an MBE ( Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Shouldn’t that be MEOBE?

The Insert (Typical of its time, printed in coloured ink which does no favours to readability, I have darkened the text to improve this)

The Insert – where they put the actual information.


“Information” as to which tracks are on which of the four sides of vinyl is conspicuously absent. Apparently, information is old fashioned, nowadays you are lucky to know who’s album it is. You have to ask, then why tell us which record number and side number it is? There’s the tell. Information does matter, that white space is a modern conceit. Well, that’s how I read it.
Or can’t.

The pressing is stronger here than the first Impressed double, or at least my copy. More important, the engineering transfer quality is impeccable. Based on information surfacing as regards the first volume, original tape sources.

Collector’s Corner

I first stumbled on this (second) Peterson collection in a London record store, another of those joyous accidental discoveries, which led backwards to tracking down a copy of the first Peterson collection, previous post. As often, life rarely occurs in the correct order. “sat mat on the cat The” .

Looking back to buying records in my teens, let’s say a few decades ago, we all eagerly awaited the next new release by our favourite artists. Record collecting today is a quite different enterprise: you never know from one day to the next what will turn up, by whom.

As I have written before, the word “new”, which holds such influence over the music industry, has no force at all here – everything was new once. Now we have the entire historic musical canvas to look back over, and the joy of discovery, un-tramelled by the commercial conveyor-belt of newness.

Much British jazz was from this golden age is entirely new to me, fifty years later. What a great time to be a music-lover, all this wonderful stuff, and still much more to discover. All the while, still luxuriating in the heritage of America.

A real-life jazz DJ, Jean-Claude, explained to me where this stuff fits with the younger generation ( I paraphrase the conversation, as best I recall). “The kids  are brought up on grime, dubstep, hip-hop, rap, what  the industry produces for kids now. They have never heard “jazz” until stuff like The Hipster or Boom Jackie Boom Chick hits them. Its got a groove they can relate to, its just one small hop, and they are shocked, why don’t we know about this!? Some of the hipper are musicians themselves. The sharper ones go to Youtube – everything is there, every jazz artist of the golden era, they watch everything, but they have never experienced any of it except through mediocre MP3, grainy 260px footage. They know it all, but they have never experienced it, until you spin vinyl through a full sound system, like, they go mental!”

This is the spirit of DJ Jazz which Gilles and Jean-Claude represent. It seems a good spirit to me, an antidote to the jump-up-and-down mindless stuff.  There is an appetite for the good stuff, not just the new stuff.

Enough of the soapbox, LJC, time to move on.


15 thoughts on “Gilles Peterson: Impressed 2 (2004) Universal

  1. I missed out on that whole Giles Peterson and Patrick Forge Sunday lunchtime at Camden Lock thing. Don’t remember where I was exactly but clearly it wasn’t Camden.
    Jean Claude’s vinyl emporium I came across a few years later in Soho just before the district lost all of it’s independent businesses and 95% of its character. Far as I can see only Ronnie Scott’s and Bar Italia are still there. But then I rarely visit the smoke these days, perhaps they’ve also gone.
    Jean Claude sold me a lot of vinyl and I even tipped up at the jazz “night” that he helped put on with a friend in a converted church in Penge, or was it Elmers End? Says it all about London that the naff little suburb twixt Anerley and Sydenham that we’d laugh about as kids became the successor to NW1. a hood where the jazz glitterati hang out.
    Anyhow I’m very grateful to J-C because a lot of what he sold me I’ve been able to re-sell on discogs for a healthy profit to help finance my jazz habit. 7″ singles seem to be all the rage with younger buyers and I bought significant quantities from J-C.
    And of course he also helped shape my taste in music, which I think is possibly what he likes doing most of all. Hubbard, Silver, Morgan & Hutcherson are just a few of the artists that he turned me onto. Many thanks J-C. S


  2. Harold Mcnair, Bogey Gaynair, Dizzy Reece Joe Harriot and Ernest Ranglin all went to the Alpha boys school in Kingston Jamica where they were mentored by Sister Mary Ignatius Davis a jazz loving nun.


  3. Hello LondonJazzCollector, I have quickly looked over your latest post, will get back to reading in detail when I can. Thank you for all the information about Harold McNair. I knew of him through his work (flute) on Steamhammer’s first album (don’t remember if he played on their scond album M.K. II – both were on CBS in the UK, released here in the States on the Columbia’s subsidiary EPIC records).

    I’ve read that Ginger Baker helped out his wife, when he was ill.

    I’ll look for some of those albums you cited on youtube. Also would like to find some of Michael Garrick’s albums as well. Best regards, Ed “from New York” Edward Fenning


  4. On a vaguely related note I heard a segment from John Mayer’ s Dhammapada on radio 3 recently which piqued my interest. CD only 2016 issue on firsthandrecords from a 1976 Denis Preston recording at Lansdowne Studios. Fantastic music, great recording and combined with two unreleased pieces from 1974. Recommended!


    • Dutton Vocalion put the ‘Dhammapada’ out on CD about a decade ago so strange that it appeared again. Maybe the John Mayer estate was behind the second release? Like everything by John Mayer (including the ‘Indo Jazz Fusions 2’ CDs and ‘Etudes’), definitely worth hearing.


  5. Minor correction: You referenced Spirogyra. They were a somewhat obscure UK progressive rock/folk band featuring Barbara Gaskin. Spyro Gyra is a popular US “fuzak” band.

    LJC responds: That’s a relief! Certainly obscure enough for me to be unaware of them. Thanks for the redirection.


  6. The ‘Mike Taylor Remembered’ session with ‘Timewind’ was put out on CD and LP by Trunk Records some years ago. Worth seeking out !


  7. I am a big Norma Winstone fan.I have a copy of her first solo album on Argo ZDA 148 stereo from 1971.Its called Edge of Time and features her great jazz vocal,sometimes very free and experimental in style.Jazz musician peer recognition is always a good test of musical talent and everyone is on this album e.g. Skidmore, Themen,Lowther Ricotti,John Taylor,Lawrence, Osborne ,Wheeler and more.NW performs a beautiful reading of Mike Taylors haunting Song of Love arr by Neil Ardley on the last track.

    For a more “straight down the middle” approach from NW on an album including some jazz evergreen standards, try her excellent ECM album A Place Called Home.

    I must track down these Gilles Peterson albums as in many years record collecting,including British jazz, I haven’t even seen some of the albums from which the tracks are taken!



    • Correction – NW album on ECM is Somewhere Called Home – must be the heat!
      Some great playing on there from John Taylor and Tony Coe as well



  8. Norma Winstone has the voice of an angel, LJC. Check out her work with Kenny Wheeler [another UK treasure, by way of Canada], especially on his finest hour, the 1990 ECM, ‘Music for Large & Small Ensembles’.


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