The EmCee Five...
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The EmCee Five...
Thanks to Richard Hazlewood who supplied the pictures and record/cd reviews on this page...
EmCee Five The EmCee Five enjoyed great popularity in the Newcastle area in 1960 but by late 1961, when they made the Columbia record, were virtually inactive and the break-up began. The group had made great strides in their short working life and had outstanding soloists in Gary Cox, Ian Carr and Mike Carr. Malcolm Cecil, (whose initials the group were named after), and Ronnie Stephenson moved to London and Ian Carr followed in 1962. With the exception of the Columbia record date all their records were made in Newcastle. The group never came to London although many feel they were just as good as the top London names of the time.

EmCee Five - June, 1961 (Private recording made in Newcastle)
Ian Carr (tp), Gary Cox (ts), Mike Carr (p), John O'Carrol (b), Ronnie Stephenson (d).
Theme/Blowin' The Blues Away (3)/John O'Groats/Downbeat After Dark/The One That Got Away/Blue Sue/Lefty's Tune (1)(3)/Dobson's Choice (1)(2)/The Bridge (1)(2)/Blues For Monk(?) (2).

EmCee Five - December 14th, 1961 (Let's take five - Columbia SEG8153)
Ian Carr (tp), Gary Cox (ts), Mike Carr (p,vibes), Spike Heatley (b), Ronnie Stephenson (d).
The One That Got Away (1)(2)/Stephenson's Rocket (1)(2)/Preludes* (1)(2).
(*Acrobat CD - British Modern Jazz Singles, EP tracks & Rarities 1960 - 62)

EmCee Five - October 15th, 1962 (Volume 1 - Alpha-International DB/92)
Ian Carr (tp), Gary Cox (ts), Mike Carr (p,vibes), Midge Pike (b), Johnnie Butts (d).
John O'Groats* (1)(3)/Northumbrian Air (Groovin' At The Downbeat) (1)(3)/Blues For Lou(?)(3)/Mikes Dilemma (1)(3)/Prayer To The East (GC out)(unissued).
(*Acrobat CD - British Modern Jazz Singles, EP tracks & Rarities 1960 - 62)

The EmCee Five did not record again for nearly four years and by then had become a trio without Ian Carr or Gary Cox...
EmCee Five - 1966 (Birdland MC587)
Mike Carr (p), Malcolm Cecil (b), Ronnie Stephenson (d).
Cox's Pippin' (1).

EmCee Five - 1967 (Birdland MC587)
Gary Cox (ts), Mike Carr (org), John McLaughlin (g), Jackie Denton (d).
Bells Blues (1).

These EmCee Five recordings were issued on a number of LPs as detailed below:
(1)Bebop from the East coast - Birdland MC587
(2)Bebop from the East coast - vol 1 (a 10" LP from Japan) - Birdland NLP013
(3)Bebop from the East coast - vol 2 (a 10" LP from Japan) - Birdland NLP014
(Birdland MC587 was issued in CD format by the Japanese Birdland/Celeste label in 1996. Titled "Bebop From The East Coast - 1960/62", it is long out of print but worth looking out for...)

Gary Cox was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1934 and spent four years until 1955 as an Army bandsman. He then gigged in London with Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes and others before returning to Scotland. He eventually came to Newcastle with Don Smith's band in the early 1960s and became a founder member of the EmCee Five. From 1963 to 1974 he was with the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra, also playing lead alto in Maynard Ferguson's Band in 1968. During 1975 to 1993 he did four long spells with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra. Through the 1980s and '90s played many jazz gigs, led his own quintet and worked with drummer Tony Richards. His only other recording was with the Jimmy Deuchar Quintet in 1979 on the LP The Scots Connection...

From an article about Ronnie Stephenson...
In 1958 he (Ronnie Stephenson) moved to Newcastle and put the "EmCee Five" together with brothers Mike and Ian Carr, bassist Malcolm Cecil, (who later went on to produce some of Stevie Wonder's brilliant Albums) and the incredible Scottish saxophonist Gary Cox. That band was described as the best jazz group ever put together outside London, and had the distinction of being one of the very few provincial bands to sign with a major label...

From a web article about Maynard Ferguson...
Later, (Maynard) Ferguson met up with Ernie Garside, trumpet-playing owner of Manchester's Club 43, who helped him put together a new band. In March 1969, the band, which included Garside and Hank Shaw on trumpets, Danny Moss and Gary Cox on saxophones and Kenny Napper on bass, played the Bergamo Jazz Festival in Italy and won great public and critical acclaim...

More about Ian Carr

EmCee Five CD
The records were not re-issued until 1996 when the Japanese Birdland/Celeste label issued a CD. The jazz press has always been enthusiastic...

A little bit of history! One of the most important bands to ever emerge from the regions - a kind of British territory band. Newcastle's EmCee Five originally featured the Carr brothers - Mike (piano) and Ian (trumpet), the fluent saxophonist Gary Cox, bassist Malcolm Cecil and drummer Ronnie Stephenson... there's excellent soloing all round, but most remarkable is how completely the contemporary American music had been absorbed in to the sound of the band. The ensembles would do any Blue Note session proud. Indispensable!
Jazz UK November/December 1996

This album, issued on CD for the first time, shows how advanced the Carrs were. Their music, with its turbo-charged drive and impeccable handling at high speed, still sounds fresh today. Tenorist Gary Cox's solos also wear well and one interesting track features a teenage guitarist named John McLaughlin. Whatever became of him?
Jack Massarik London Evening Standard 21st November 1996

It is patently absurd to assume that the best jazz in Britain is to be heard only in London. Just to prove the point here is a record by a quintet from Newcastle upon Tyne which contains some of the most exhilerating jazz I have yet heard played by a British band... the writing and playing is reminicent of the Horace Silver quintet and one of the most immediately striking aspects of the music is the intelligent, helpful support provided by Mike Carr. Ian Carr and Gary Cox have already reached the incredibly high standard and if I were a well known West End jazz musician I think I would be extremely worried by the frightening level of competence and invention shown by this out-of-Town band. Cox is all over his instrument like a seasoned professional (he deservedly earned the praise of the Basie musicians when he played at a jam session with Frank Foster and Al Grey in June, 1960); Ian Carr has more to say on trumpet than almost any other British jazz musician...
Alum Morgan Jazz Monthly or The Gramophone c1962

A great set of Brit jazz from the early 60s... with that sense of tightness that made the British scene so great at the start of the 60s.
US CD internet site "Dusty Groove"...

This page was last updated during February, 2015.
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