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Friday, 13 September 2013

Elvis and The Beatles were rubbish!

In the 60s musicians’ unions allowed American jazz performers to visit the UK. In Bradford we saw most of the celebrated American jazz bands and performers at St George’s Hall, and we had the Students’ Club in an atmospheric cellar where individuals from the American groups came afterwards playing with local jazz guys into the early hours.
We mixed those enthusiasms with rock climbing at weekends, and for some, earnest and voracious discovering of “good books”. We all had collections of jazz LPs, which were lent and swopped. Jack, not one of the readers, was a wool-sorter riving apart sheeps’ fleeces by hand and his fingers were like forty grit sandpaper - that combined with a lack of any feeling for the delicate vinyl was a death sentence by scratching, to any treasured LP lent to him -  that was if you were “lucky” enough to have it returned.

My walking friend Pete was part of all this. Recently we reminisced and Pete lamented the non-return of a treasured LP.  

I  bought the remastered cd version of Pete’s favourite: Sonny Side Up, featuring Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, and Ray Bryant.  We now wallow in nostalgia playing this driving to and from our walks.

There are fiercely competitive solos between Rollins and Stitt and in the fourteen minute track, After Hours, a long piano solo from Ray Bryant invoking visions of an empty jazz cellar and an old guy sweeping up as the lone pianist and bass player indulge in a haunting exploration.

Sonny Side Up, along with, Kind of Blue (Miles Davis), are two of the all time greats of jazz recordings.


Verve - 314 521 428-2
Columbia CK 64935


Roderick Robinson said...

I seem to remember your Rollins LP, Out West, where he's photographed (next to a cactus?) and wearing a gun belt. He's looking thoroughly ashamed. I have two or three dozen jazz CDs but rarely play them, not out of apathy but because they have become distant - a bit like Pomp and Circumstance.

Your profile has you down as an outdoor enthusiast. You might consider having a visiting card made with a strapline beneath this designation. Choose from two:

(a) Especially when the house is burning down.

(b) Indoor misanthrope.

Rouchswalwe said...


Rouchswalwe said...

Especially Miles and his magical trumpet!

Sir Hugh said...

RR - Way Out West - no cactus, but there is the bleached skull of a longhorn lying in the desert behind him. The tracks include "Solitude" so that may be appropriate for the misanthropic, but I reckon I'm only a part-timer in that respect.

Rouchswalawe - Good - sounds like you are a true jazz fan.