Selection: What’s New (Haggart/Burke)
. . .
Jazz standard What’s New?” was a 1939 popular song composed by Bob Haggart, with lyrics by Johnny Burke, and written with a trumpet solo.
How is the world treating you?
You haven’t changed a bit
Lovely as ever, I must admit
How did that romance come through?
We haven’t met since then
Gee, but it’s good to see you again
Probably I’m boring you
But seeing you is grand
And you were sweet to offer your hand
I understand. Adieu!
Pardon my asking what’s new
Of course you couldn’t know
I haven’t changed, I still love you so
Guest: Jon Eardley, trumpet (Side B only); Ray Warleigh, alto sax; John Burch, piano; Danny Padmore, bass; Tommy Chase, drums; recorded at Konk Studios, Crouch End, North London, England (side B) June 27 & (side A) October 8, 1978; recording/mixing house engineer John Rollo, cutting engineer George Peckham., producer for Spotlite Records by Tony Williams.
Jon Eardley, a prominent figure in the evolution of bop, playing extensively with Phil Woods and Gerry Mulligan in the mid 50s. Eardley was one of the many US musicians who fled to Europe in search of a better life. He moved to Belgium in 1963, then Cologne, Germany, where he remained obscured from view, aside from flying visits such as this. He recorded several other titles for Spotlite, including Two of a Kind with Mick Pyne (Spotlite, 1977) Namely Me (Spotlite, 1979) and Stablemates with Al Haig (Spotlite, 1979). Eardley finally stepped off the stage in 1991, too soon at 62.
Alto and flautist Ray Warleigh was a 1960 Australian import, a prominent figure in the 60’s British jazz and blues scene, a member of the 70’s Latin fusion band Paz, and later a career in session music contributing to many iconic pop recordings over the years.
Tommy Chase was “a forceful drummer very much in the hard hitting style of Art Blakey” active mostly in the ’80s, but who quit the music scene early in 1999.
Not stridently separatist “British Jazz”, nor slavishly beholden to the American Jazz model, a mellow hybrid homage to the genre set in 1978, battle-hardened UK professionals accompanied by one of the prominent voices of early 50’s bop, Jon Eardley.
Tony Williams Spotlite label has parallels with Bob Sunnenblick’s Uptown label, keeping jazz and jazz musicians alive in the desert years
Vinyl: SPJ 510 recorded at Konk Studios, North London.
Konk Studios was founded in the early 70s by Ray Davies, of The Kinks (You Really Got Me) and house engineer John Rollo recorded many of The Kinks albums here. Konk boasts a custom Neve mixing console and a full range of vintage valve microphones, vintage compressors and EQs, which goes some way to explain the high quality of this recording.
Lacquer-cutting and mastering by engineer George “Porky” Peckham, widely recognised as among the most accomplished British record engineers known as “Porky” (as in “a Porky prime cut”) with an illustrious career, including work on The Beatles, Genesis, and Led Zeppelin catalogues
Harry, the Jazz Paparazzi strikes again. Ray Warleigh at Jazz Expo, 1968. (Magnificent shot, Harry!)
Photo Credits: © Harry M
This record was like many on the shelf, picked up for a song some years ago but sadly neglected, until an unexpected revival of interest in the Spotlite label brought it back to my attention. I was shocked to find a fine recording, satisfying jazz, and sounding a lot better than many records recently spinning on my turntable.
What is happening to the promise of our iconic Decca jazz label? Perhaps the executives have been too busy partying with the other music-media elites at Glastonbury Music Festival, a former hippies graveyard, now the elite alternative to Wimbledon tennis.
You got the “rainbow” typography of DECCA ARTISTS AT GLASTONBURY. And the reference to “contemporary performing arts” – i.e. no “dead people”, who seemingly don’t count. We do full inclusivity here at LJC, we include dead people. In fact they are mostly dead, but their music lives for ever.
Anyway, 200,000 people had a good time. Personally I watched the tennis.
For the Jazz Collector: On The Shelf
Unusual sight in a London store, nestled among a wall of Japanese pressings, rare to see an original Blue Note, but at an eyewatering price.
BLP 4112 Dexter Gordon: Go (1962) < LJC Review, 2011
Current asking price £520 (around $630) According to my notes, I paid £64 at auction in 2011 for the same mono first edition.