Tubby Hayes: Rumpus

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Tubby Hayes
LABELS: Savage Solweig Records
ALBUM TITLE: Rumpus
PERFORMER: Tubby Hayes, Peter King (saxophone), Kenny Wheeler (trumpet) etc
CATALOGUE NO: SS003CD

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This third release, by the Savage Solweig label, of previously unissued material drawn from Hayes’s personal archive of tapes, features the 1969 edition of his big band, which squeezed its 14 members into the Torrington Arms in North Finchley, London. The sound is, unsurprisingly, somewhat boxy, but you should be listening to the music rather than the acoustics, and that comes over strongly, leaving no doubt that this was an exciting gig and that the star-studded group was on excellent form.

The programme confirms what a fine composer and arranger ‘Tubbs’ was. His writing sets up stimulating material for distinguished soloists such as alto saxist Peter King, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, trombonist Keith Christie and, of course, for Hayes’s own remarkable tenor sax. At this time some of them were flirting with the avant-garde, and there are episodes of quasi-free jazz in this session, but mostly it’s gorgeously hard-driving, hard-centred hard-bop.

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Barry Witherden