Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tubby Hayes: A Biography, A Discography and A Documentary

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

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

Charles Thomas Davis sent the editorial staff at JazzProfiles the following message about a new discography that covers the recording career of Tubby Hayes, the dazzling tenor saxophonist who also played flute and vibes and was a composer-arranger of some originality.

We thought we’d post his announcement along with a brief annotation of Simon Spillet’s biography of Tubby and the official video trailer of a documentary entitled Tubby Hayes: A Man In A Hurry.

I met Tubby in the mid-1960’s when he appeared at Shelly’s Manne Hole in Hollywood, CA with pianist/vibraphonist Victor Feldman along with bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey. Victor introduced us describing Tubby as a mate from their days together on the London Jazz scene.

What was most memorable to me about that gig was the amount of pure energy that Tubby and Victor generated playing off one another with Monty and Colin booting things along.  Everyone in the audience knew how good it was, too: the waitresses stopped serving; no one talked; people started to giggle at the sheer brilliance of the music.

About eight years later, Tubby was gone; dead at the age of thirty-eight.

All deaths are tragedies, but given the genius of his art and the very short time he had to display it, Tubby’s was all the more so.

C. Tom Davis

“I'm very pleased to announce the publication of 100% Proof: The Complete Tubby Hayes Discography, a collaboration between jazz tenor saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett and me.

This new 240 page volume covers sessions for commercial album release, radio broadcasts, television appearances and private recordings made between 1951 and 1973.  It also includes an overview of Hayes's film work.

The book is published by Names and Numbers, highly regarded discography specialists based in the Netherlands, and is available direct from their website:

Of course, the above and enclosed are the 'official' announcements - it was in fact printed yesterday - so it's not quite 'now' but 'soon'.  Also coming soon is the film documentary of Hayes, A Man in a Hurry, launching at the London Jazz Festival in November, and earlier this year was Simon's bio of Hayes, so it's a bumper year for Tubby, the 80th anniversary of his birth.

I wonder if it might be possible to get a name check somewhere on Jazz Profiles, or perhaps you'd like to do/like us to do something more substantial? - Cheers”

The Long Shadow of the Little Giant: The Life , Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes - By Simon Spillet
“Forty years have elapsed since the death of the British jazz legend Tubby Hayes and yet his story still continues to captivate. Beginning as a precociously talented teenage saxophonist, he took first the local and then the international jazz scene by storm, displaying gifts equal to the finest American jazzmen. He appeared with none other than Duke Ellington and proved almost single-handedly that British jazz need not labour under an inferiority complex. Hayes’ triumphs during the 1950’s and 60’s enabled still later generations of English musicians to take their music onto the world stage. However his story, distorted by the folklore surrounding his tragically early death, aged only 38, has rarely been accurately recorded. Much of what has been written, broadcast and recounted about Hayes has added only confusion to our understanding of his short but brilliant life.
In this book, award-winning saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett, widely regarded as the world’s leading authority on Hayes and his work, painstakingly outlines a career which alternated professional success and personal downfall. Using credible eye-witness recollection, drawn from conversations with Hayes’ family, partners, friends and musical colleagues, unique access to Hayes own tape, photographic and personal archives, and extensive contemporary research material, Spillett has reconstructed the trajectory of his subject’s life both candidly and respectfully. Hayes’ meteoric musical rise from boy wonder to youthfully mature virtuoso, from saxophonist to multi-instrumentalist and composer is faithfully documented, as is his struggle for relevance as rock, pop and the avant-garde took over the musical landscape in the 1960s. For the first time, the opaque world of his inconsistent and troubled personal life is recounted in full. His unsettled childhood, his battles with addiction and ill-health and his difficult personal relationships are all exposed, and the confused accounts of his final days are unravelled and made clear as never before.

The Long Shadow of The Little Giant also traces Hayes’ path through one of the most vibrant periods of history, beginning in the austerity of post-World War Two London, through the “never had it so good” 1950’s, the “Swinging Sixties” and into the privations of the “State of Emergency” early Seventies, and outlines the cultural and musical developments of the times which underpinned the life of arguably the UK’s finest ever jazz musician.”
Here’s a link to order information for Simon’s book.

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