Eddie & Dave Thompson & Lee
Catalogue Number: ACMCD4378
Exporting British jazz to the United States during the late 1950s and early 1960s often had the air of sending coals to Newcastle. However, when the American Vox and Top Rank labels commissioned special projects aimed solely for the US market, the efforts of two of London’s best known jazz pianists were given a rare boost of recognition. Headed by the blind virtuoso Eddie Thompson, the 10” Vox LP ‘London After Dark’ centred the action on themes dedicated to the capital – ranging from Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Chelsea Bridge’ to such unlikely fare as ‘Underneath The Arches’ – demonstrating Thompson’s uncanny knack for making good jazz out of all manner of material, while the second, John Dankworth associate Dave Lee’s ‘A Big New Band From Britain’, showcased not only the Englishman’s inventive piano playing, but also the writing skill of top US arranger Manny Albam. American listeners clearly loved Lee’s smooth blend of dance music and jazz as, in an unprecedented coup, the album spent six weeks in the coveted Cash Box Top Ten. As well as featuring the instrumental skills of the two leaders both these albums boast rare cameo appearances by the ultimate British jazz legend, Tubby Hayes, playing tenor saxophone and vibes. The new Acrobat release marks the first complete appearance of either album on CD and includes fascinating booklet notes by noted saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett.