Between 1954 and 1960, the British Tempo label probably did more than any other recording imprint to document the rapid progress of local modern jazz. Poorly funded, and run almost exclusively on the irrepressible energy of Tony Hall, otherwise part of Decca's exploitation team, its catalogue of EP's, 10” and 12” LPs captured the early steps of such soon-to-be legends as saxophonists Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott and Don Rendell, multi-instrumentalist Victor Feldman, trumpeters Dizzy Reece and Jimmy Deuchar and drummer Phil Seamen, all of whom effectively entered a rotating stock company, operating in much the same way as Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Hank Mobley were then doing on the fabled Blue Note label.
Keen to introduce his roster of artists to as wider audience as possible, Hall however did something Blue Note's bosses never tried: during 1957 and '58 he released three multi-artist anthologies, each with the aim of drawing in new listeners via specific thematic angles, sometimes spicing the mix with material not available elsewhere in Tempo's output. Cool Music For A Hot Night promised a programme of ballad performances: Speak Low delivered a sequence of largely grooving medium-tempo material and Swingin' The Blues found Tempo's stars tackling funky, blues-related themes by the likes of Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt and Horace Silver. Each album also had the considerable bonus of striking cover art featuring the then young-starlet-cum-model Jackie Collins, later to become a celebrated author. Since their initial release, all three albums have gone on to become rare collectors’ items, prized as much for their sleeve imagery as their musical contents.
This new Acrobat 4-CD contains all three LPs in their original running order, restoring material that was sometimes edited out in order to fit the original playing time. Featuring the collectable cover art, rare photographs of many of the participating musicians, reminiscences by Tony Hall and a detailed booklet note by award-winning saxophonist and author Simon Spillett, this release makes an ideal introduction to a record label once dubbed “the Blue Note of British jazz.” A further bonus CD assembles a similar mood music programme from Tempo's later 1957-60 catalogue, including performances by Tommy Whittle, Eddie Thompson and Tony Crombie.