Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tubby Hayes and Tin Tin Deo

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

While the editorial staff prepares a more detailed feature on Tubbs and his music, we thought we’d revisit “how it all began” by using his performance of Tin Tin Deo as the soundtrack to the following video montage which salutes some of England’s earlier Jazz record companies.

Recorded in London in December, 1959 and subsequently issued on CD by Jasmine records as Tubby Hayes – “The Eight Wonder” [JASCD 611], the idea, according to Tony Hall who produced the date, “was to use pianist Terry Shannon, bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer Phil Seamen in their primary role as an accompanying rhythm section thus allowing Tubby to stretch out and just blow with no restrictions whatever on the time.”

Richard Cook and Brian Morton had this to say about Tubby’s efforts on “The Eight Wonder” [JASCD 611], in the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, 6th Ed.:

“The Eight Wonder gets top rating [4 stars]… it is perhaps Hayes’ most eloquent showcase. It’s true that the virtuosity of Tin Tin Deo comes out of his horn all too easily; almost as if it were a routine that he’d mastered without thinking, but it’s hard not to enjoy the spectacle of … the tough-minded improvising.”

Hayes recorded prolifically, but the quality of these recordings are uneven at best.

Cook and Morton perhaps offer an explanation for this paradox when they observe:

“Tubby Hayes has often been lionized as the greatest saxophonist Britain ever produced. He is a fascinating but problematical player.

Having put together a big, rumbustious tone and a deliv­ery that features sixteenth notes spilling impetuously out of the horn, Hayes often left a solo full of brilliant loose ends and ingen­ious runs that led nowhere in particular.

Most of his recordings, while highly entertaining as exhibitions of sustained energy, tend to wobble on the axis of Hayes's creative impasse: having got this facility together, he never seemed sure of what to do with it in the studio, which may be why his studio records ultimately fall short of the masterpiece he never came to make.”

While I agree in the main with Cook and Morton’s assessment of Tubby’s frequently unrealized potential due to what they describe as his “creative impasse,” there are no road blocks or detours ahead in the solo he lays down on Tin Tin Deo.

See what you think.

[Incidentally, for those of you interested in such things, Tin Tin Deo is in the minor with a Latin Jazz feel to all but the bridge. It is of an unusual construction – 48 bars in length comprising two 16 bar sections, a middle 8 in 4/4 time and a final 8 which reverts to the second 8 measures of the 16 bar sections.]


  1. Excellent pairing of music and image, as always!

  2. Thanks, Jim. It's nice to have the "Comments" section of the postings working again. I hope other visitors will follow suit and share their thoughts about these features.


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