|British modern jazz - from the 1940s onwards...|
British modern jazz began in the early 1940s and by 1948/49 our bebop had begun in the London clubs as an imitation of the American bebop developed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and others. It proved difficult for many musicians and the public to get to grips with and soon moved into a less frenetic 'post bop' phase that lasted for fifteen years or more and, at its peak of popularity, attracted a good following...
This website contains discographies for the major musicians and one of the main aims of this website is to indicate where the music of the period can be found now on CD. A number of companies have re-issued some of this classic jazz. Several smaller companies have issued a number of old Esquire recordings but a large chunk of Esquire's mid 1950s recordings have not been re-issued in CD format and maybe never will.
The site will contain biographical details of the pioneer musicians as well as others who came to prominence in the 1950s...Tony Hall writing in 1958 said that he has spoken to many musicians, asking for the names of those who played the most important roles in the development of British bebop. Five names figured on everybody's list: trumpeter/pianist Denis Rose (top of everybody's list), guitarists Pete Chilver and Dave Goldberg, pianist Ralph Sharon, and pianist/drummer/leader Tony Crombie...
Recording opportunities were few and far between for jazz musicians in the 1950s. Fans with money to buy jazz records chose American music. Only small independent labels such as Esquire, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and Tempo in the mid and later 1950s were issuing records of the British jazz. By the mid 1950s only Tempo were recording significantly and they went out of business in 1960.
The website was created in 2005 and is updated and expanded regularly. I regard the website as a tribute to the music and musicians of a somewhat forgotten period of British jazz. With the exception of Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott the musicians have faded from the memory of many who enjoyed the music live. If you can add information or photographs or correct anything on the website please contact me (David Taylor).
This year sees the landmark 60th anniversary of the opening of the iconic London jazz club ronnie scott's.
The club, founded by Ronnie and Pete King, opened on the 30th October 1959 and the October 2019 issue of the jazz magazine Jazzwise contains articles and a free CD in recognition of the anniversary. The CD contains audio anecdotes from those who were there, and some fine music.
Pages on this website are updated regularly when new information becomes available or new CDs are issued. Any information on these topics is always welcome...
Recent updates have included:
A Keeper of the Flame has been defined as someone who keeps alive a tradition, belief or practice that would otherwise be lost. Britain's bebop Keeper's of the jazz flame including Clark Tracey, Alan Barnes and others are briefly introduced here... More will be added later plus recording details...
Big Bear Music, publishers of The Jazz Rag have announced the winners of their 2018 British Jazz Awards poll.
Previous years results 2017... and 2016...
Lost records - 1
Tommy Pollard was the first, and probably the best bebop pianist on the post-war British jazz scene. A chaotic and unreliable drug related life style led to his early death in 1960 at the age of 37.
His record legacy is small but between December 1954 and July 1955 he recorded ten tracks with The Victor Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet that are a wonderful example of his skill. They have never been re-issued in any format.
It would be nice to have these available again instead of yet another long lost Tubby Hayes date.