Joe Harriott: Southern Horizons (1959-60) Jazzland

LJC: 1,000th post!!

Selection 1: You Go To My Head (Coots, Gillespie)

.  .  .

Selection 2: Southern Horizons (Harriott)

.  .  .

Track List (Wiki links)

  1. “Still Goofin'” – 2:45
  2. “Count Twelve” – 3:38
  3. Señor Blues” (Horace Silver) – 4:00
  4. “Southern Horizons” – 6:33
  5. “Jumpin’ with Joe” – 3:28
  6. “Liggin'” – 5:48
  7. Caravan” (Duke Ellington, Juan Tizol, Irving Mills) – 5:40
  8. You Go to My Head” (J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie) – 6:32
  9. “Tuesday Morning Swing” – 3:00

Artists

Joe Harriott, alto saxophone; Hank Shaw, trumpet (tracks 1–3, 5); Shake Keane,  trumpet, flugelhorn (tracks 4, 6–9); Harry South, piano; Coleridge Goode,  bass; Bobby Orr,  drums; Frank Holder, bongos (tracks 4, 7); recorded at  Lansdowne Studios, London, England, May 5, 1959, April 8, 1960; engineers: Joe Meek, David Lazenby.

Another frightenly premature departure at the age of 44, Joe Harriott in 1973,

Music

Joe Harriott arrived in England from Kingston, Jamaica in 1951, age 23, part of a wave of Caribbean jazz musicians  which included Dizzy Reece, Harold McNair, Harry Beckett and Wilton Gaynair. Harriott was quickly recognised as one of Britain’s leading alto players.

On Southern Horizons Harriott delivers some arresting Parker-inspired solos in a tonally expressive style, with a solidly swinging rhythm section . The tunes are fairly short, in the manner of the day, and range from hard bop to tender ballads. There is no sign yet of Harriott’s move into abstract free-form music, or his subsequent Indo-fusion explorations.

Vinyl: Jazzland JLP 37 US deep groove

Recorded at London’s premier Jazz recording studio – Lansdowne – and this US pressing looks like Abbey Mfg, but marred by excess reverb on Harriott’s alto, worse on some tracks than others. I can only conclude someone in the recording booth thought wrongly that was how Harriott was supposed to sound, for US ears.

Update: Joe Meek at the controls explains all that reverb on the horn.  Remember the 1962 #1 hit Telstar by The Tornados? A pop genius he may have been, but hard to imagine anyone less suitable to be recording Harriott. Bob has the Joe Meek story in the Comments, Meek came to an unsavoury end.

 

Art Director’s Tea  Break

What has the model on the cover to do with the music? A model-agency stock photo, which I guess  represents an English rose.(Update: Jean Shrimpton)  Not so much New York cheesecake , more tea and cucumber sandwiches, a girl you can take home to meet mother.

Collector’s Corner

Colorized cover

I’m not sure the US was ready for “British Jazz” in 1959, after all, they had plenty of their own. 

Southern Horizons is another of those exasperatingly hard to find albums, where scarcity suggests relatively small sales. Who in the US knew who Joe Harriott was?  It was released soon after another Jazzland toe in the water of British jazz,  Tubby Hayes Message From Britain (Putting you on hold, caller)., and a Savoy album of Tubby with Dizzy Reece.

The packaging, like the Savoy album,Tourist Board stock imagery

Dizzy Reece, another British/Jamaican export,  had more success breaking into the US, with albums on Savoy, Prestige New Jazz – the fabulous NJLP 8274 Asia Minor, and three highly sought-after Blue Notes: 4006 Blues In Trinity4023 Star Bright  (Mobley!) and 4033 Soundin’ Off.

Effectively, early British Jazz was American jazz played by British musicians. What Britain had was a few exceptionally talented players like Tubby Hayes, who could hold their own against their American peers, looking unsucessfully for recognition in the US market.

British Jazz  as a distinctly independent form was to emerge only a couple of years later in the mid-Sixties, with the likes of Rendell-Carr , Michael Garrick, Mike Westbrook, and Graham Collier Music, plenty more to add to the list,  an awesome beauty was born, just now seeing light with audiophile reissues mastered from the original tapes, good times.

Discovered late,  the Jazz In Britain label, vinyl  limited to 500 copies, mostly sold out,, some just download and cd.

Blue Beginnings  (with 7 minute sample of Garrison 64)Some remarkable titles here including two Joe Harriott sessions. The source appears to be the hundreds if not thousands of BBC Jazz programme recordings in the British Jazz Sound Archive, which holds a variety of jazz broadcasts over the last fifty years, some recorded at venues in London’s West End, and live jazz recordings in front of studio audiences recorded at BBC’s Maida Vale Studios.

Recordings made for radio broadcast have a spotty track record on audio quality, found also in some Gearbox BBC recordings – not unlike listening to the radio, which is what they were intended for. The material could be of significant interest especially the Rendell-Carr Quintet.

Jazz in Britain Ltd incorporating the British Jazz Sound Archive

A not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to collect, curate, preserve, celebrate and promote the legacy of British jazz musicians. 

 

The archive collects, curates and preserves off-air and other recordings of British jazz performances.

We publish books, release vinyl, CDs and downloads, working in partnership with musicians and their families.

The source material will either come from musicians’ own archives, or from the collections of fans who had the foresight to preserve copies of off-air recordings.”

Jazz In Britain Ltd.  Woking, Surrey

Professor Jazz

LJC Soapbox Alert! Nothing wrong with making a profit. Being non-profit never made music sound better. You can’t buy many of these titles because they are sold out, no incentive to increase production. Profit incentive usually results in more product being made available to more people, resulting in more happy people. Mind you, LJC is a non-profit website, actually loss-making, so nothing wrong with that either.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Joe Harriott: Southern Horizons (1959-60) Jazzland

  1. Congratulations on your 1000th post! Keep ’em comin” for all us keeners. You are one of the undisputed PhD’s of jazzology and as solid as Encyclopedia Britannica!

  2. Congratulations on this milestone!

    [part of wave = part of a wave; apears = appears; especially Rendell-Carr Quintet = especially the Rendell-Carr Quintet]

    • Thank you Mary, you provide an invaluable service to those who might be lead astray by errant spelling and grammar. I was brought up with the idea content beats spelling, but correctly spelled content may be better still.

  3. Thanks for this, LJC. So pleased to see Joe Harriott getting some much-needed love, no matter when or how. When I began to “discover” British jazz (a weird phrase; it had always been there) Harriott shot to the top of my wants list. His record with Amancio D’Silva is one of the more sublime recordings ever. Along with his LPs I found that he released a number of EPs and 45s on labels both big (Columbia, EMI) and small (Nixa, Jazz Today, Argo). I spent most of the first decade of the 00s hunting them down and I think I have all of them now. Some of these EPs (e.g. “Harriott with Strings”) deserve to be better known but as far as I know they have not been available in any format, analog or digital, since their initial release. Does anyone know if this is still the case? Is a big beautiful multi-disc Harriott career retrospective in the works–and, if not, doesn’t this great man finally deserve one?

  4. I remember seeing Joe Harriott walking down Wardour Street in Soho,London and I seem to recall that Janet Street Porter was his girlfriend back in the day.
    Guess the recording engineer, Joe Meek, was the same guy who recorded the pop group that I was part of in 1963 ( Ray Vince and The Fairways ). Meek loved echo/reverb to such an extent that some of his recordings sounded distorted and had a sort of hollow sound to them. He ran his own recording “studio” in his flat above a leather-goods shop in Holloway, North London ( I remember playing rhythm guitar, miked-up in his bathroom, to get a sort of acoustic echo sound!). One of his best known productions was “Telstar” by the Tornados. He committed suicide in 1967, after killing his landlady.

    • Engineer Joe Meek: ” pioneered space age and experimental pop music, assisted the development of recording practices like overdubbing, sampling and reverberation. One of the first to develop ideas such as the recording studio as an instrument, and becoming one of the first producers to be recognized for his individual identity as an artist.” (Wiki)

      You have nailed it.

  5. The Jazz in Britain label has been a bit of a Goldmine recently. I’ve purchased quite a few of these, though mostly on CD as there are sometimes additional tracks. As you’d expect, the quality varies as there was never an intention to release these commercially, so tape storage has been haphazard at best. However, a couple of outstanding releases have been Group Sounds Four & Five, and the Neil Ardley one – great quality, fine performances.

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