Ronnie SCOTT and Tubby HAYES – The Jazz Couriers in Concert 1958

Ronnie SCOTT and Tubby HAYES – The Jazz Couriers in Concert 1958
MFP 1072. February 16 1958.

Jazz

Although the Jazz Couriers are widely held to be the finest and most influential of British bebop/hard-bop bands, little recorded material by the group has been available in recent years. Add to this the paucity of available solo releases by the two men who led the Couriers, tenor saxophonist and vibraphonist Tubby Hayes and fellow tenor player Ronnie Scott, and you have two good reasons why this reissue from Ember Records, which pairs the band’s debut studio session from August 1957 with a live recording from February 1958, is so welcome.
It’s no secret that Hayes and Scott modelled their band on Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
He furnishes with a shimmering solo. Of the live tracks, “Some of My Best Friends Are Blues” is an instantly memorable 12-bar blues by Scott, who contributes a couple of frenzied solo choruses. Pianist Terry Shannon raises his game in response and his solo is fluid, intelligent and soulful. “The Serpent” crawls on its belly, its Latin rhythms helping it insinuate itself in the mind after just one listen. The album closes with Hayes’ witty, blaring arrangement of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek”, in which the whole outfit breathes fire.

No mere Messengers clones, the Couriers took Blakey’s hard-bop template and stamped their own identity on it, aided by Hayes’ fresh compositions and arrangements and the judicious use of Tubby’s vibes. Today, Hayes is credited with a crucial role in establishing British modern jazz as a credible force. Although similarly fêted, Scott is known more as a club owner and jazz proselytizer than as a superb player and composer of talent.
**
Ronnie Scott- Tenor
Tubby Hayes- Tenor
Terry Shannon- Piano
Phil Bates- Bass
Bill Eyden- Drums
**
A1. What is This Thing Called Love
A2. Some of My Best Friends are Blues
A3. The Serpent
B1. Guys and Dolls
B2. Time Was
B3. Speak Low
B4. Cheek to Cheek
**


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