The Quintet & Jazz Five Studio and Live Recordings 1959-1961
Catalogue Number: ACMCD4382
“We were hailed as the best modern jazz outfit in Britain since the Jazz Couriers,” Vic Ash proudly remembers of The Jazz Five, the quintet he co-led with baritonist Harry Klein during 1960-62. However, for many of the group’s fans the biggest surprise lay not in how successfully the band had taken on the mantle of its celebrated predecessor, but in how its formation had prompted Ash into a seemingly overnight reinvention as a funky, Hard Bop tenor saxophonist. For close to a decade he’d been widely regarded as the UK’s top modern jazz clarinettist and was a perennial poll-winner on his chosen instrument: this new step seemed to come from out of nowhere, and as critics lined up to compare his work with that of American tenorists like Hank Mobley and Harold Land, even old friends were taken aback. “I never knew you played tenor like that!” Tubby Hayes told Ash during this period, expressing the thoughts of many. This new Acrobat release tells the whole story of this remarkable transition, containing two PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED broadcast recordings from 1959 and 1961, adding both a prelude and postscript to The Five of Us, the Jazz Five’s sole release for Tony Hall’s famed Tempo label. Throughout the album Ash demonstrates his world-class skills on both his instruments alongside fellow British jazz luminaries including baritone saxist Herry Klein, trumpeter Ian Hamer, pianists Harry South and Brian Dee and drummer Bill Eyden. Complete with rare period photos and press cuttings, the compilation also features an extensive booklet essay by saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett, co-author of Ash’s autobiography I Blew It My Way.