August 11, 2019
(Fontana/Decca)
Tubby Hayes Quartet: Grits, Beans and Greens review – intense and absorbing
Come summer, come the time for unearthing long-lost jazz masterpieces. This time it’s four 50-year-old reels of tape, bearing the final studio recording of tenor saxophonist Tubby Hayes (1935-73). Despite his nickname, he wasn’t fat, just stocky. Entirely self-taught, Hayes was a genuine prodigy – a professional musician from the age of 16. His endless flow of musical invention was delivered with almost contemptuous ease. Through the late 1950s and early 60s he was the brightest star of British modern jazz, and even caused a stir in the US. By 1969, however, ill health and drugs had derailed his career, and in an effort to get back he was dabbling in easy listening.
But his main goal was to make an album with his new young quartet. After several false starts they made one, and this is it. Forget easy listening; this is an intense and absorbing experience. It’s a product of its time, certainly, but it was an exciting and often bewildering time, and the Tubby Hayes Quartet caught its essence perfectly. Available in CD and other formats, including a deluxe double CD with extra material.
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