Blues At The Manor 1959-60
Tubby Hayes & The Downbeat Big Band
Catalogue Number: ACMCD4385
Formed in 1956 by a group of prominent London-based British modern jazzmen including trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar, The Downbeat Big Band soon entered the annals of UK jazz history as not only the finest unit of its kind – fiercely dedicated to musical modernity at a time when many other parochial big bands trod an awkward path between purism and commerce – but also as a proving ground for the arranging skills of a musician who would eventually rise to be its unofficial 'leader' – Tubby Hayes. Indeed, the potent mix of in-house writing talent, all-star cast, razor’s-edge repertoire and the leader’s own multi-instrumentalism made the Downbeat band something a prototype for later incarnations of Hayes' own big band, and for close to five years, its sporadic existence delighted scores of British jazz fans. However, despite its formidable reputation and glittering list of alumni – including such legendary Brit-jazzers as Ronnie Scott and Phil Seamen – the band was long thought to have left nothing recorded in its wake. This new Acrobat CD proves otherwise by making available two PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED sessions recorded during 1959 and 1960.The first was recorded under studio conditions at Ronnie Scott's then-new Gerrard Street club and is thought to have been possibly recorded as an audition for radio, while the second marks the band’s sole broadcast appearance, aired in 1960, with the added attraction of star guest Victor Feldman. Covering a repertoire drawn from some of the finest composers in modern jazz – Horace Silver, Tadd Dameron and Benny Golson among them – and with arrangements by Hayes, Jimmy Deuchar and Harry South, Blues at The Manor not only uncovers a key document of British jazz history, but also offers yet another reminder of the genius of the late, great Tubby Hayes. Complete with a fascinating booklet note by Hayes's biographer and saxophonist Simon Spillett, rare photographs and press clippings, this album is an unmissable treat for all Brit-jazz fans.