|Ted Heath and his Music... the 1960s and '70s|
This is not a complete discography. It concentrates on recording sessions during the 1960s and '70s that showed off the bands ability to play jazz. It has to be said that from the 1960s, particularly after the death of Ted Heath the band was in decline and made some very ordinary records. At their best the Heath band were a swing band in the style of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. They also played a bit of dance music, a bit of jazz and other more popular music that is of little interest to the jazz lover. Heath biography...|
The start of the 1960s saw a number of jazz musicians in the Heath band, including Eddie Blair, Keith Christie, Ronnie Chamberlain, Bob Efford and Ike Isaacs. But the records produced were of little interest to jazz followers and included "Max Bygraves and Ted Heath, the hits of the thirties", "West Side Story and other Broadway hits", and in early 1961 "Ted Heath goes Latin". By 1962 Bert Courtley had replaced Bobby Pratt but the records were still dire, (although beautifully played) - "Georgia Brown sings a little of what you fancy" until May when they recorded "Satin Saxes and Bouncing Brass" by no means jazz but good big band music...
"Ted told me that he’d been using Bert Courtley on lead trumpet after I’d left. Bobby Pratt had finally succeeded in killing himself. Apparently, after his wife Tina left him he had sunk ever lower into an alcoholic nightmare. The rest of the guys had kept on booking him on sessions out of sympathy - this shows just how great all these people were. He could hardly play, but they stuck him down on fourth or fifth trumpet and told him to play it cool. Stan Reynolds had gone to pick him up one morning and smelled gas. He broke into the kitchen and rescued Bob, who was laying on the floor with his head in the oven. It was a waste of time, because he did it again a short time later, and this time there was no one there to stop him. Ted said that Bert Courtley had a lot of trouble with the lead parts, which were too high and too strenuous for him. When he did manage, though, it sounded great. I could never understand why Ted didn’t give the lead book to Bert Ezzard, who was, as far as I was concerned, a far better player than all the rest of us, technically, and who could play every bit as high as Bobby Pratt, who was generally supposed to be the highest player in the country in his hey-day." (Ron Simmonds)
Ted Heath and his Music - May, 1963 (Satin Saxes and Bouncing Brass - Decca)
Bert Courtley, Bert Ezzard, Duncan Campbell, Eddie Blair (tp), Johnny Edwards, Keith Christie, Ted Barker, Ken Goldie (tb), Dennis Walton, Ronnie Chamberlain (as), Bob Efford , Henry Mackenzie (ts), Ken Kiddier (bs), Derek Warne (p), John Hawksworth (b), Ronnie Verrell (d).
You Stepped Out Of A Dream*/I Had The Craziest Dream*/Sentimental Journey*/Moonlight Serenade*/Mirage*/I Got It Bad*/Tumbling Tumbleweeds*/Close Your Eyes*/At Last*/Egyptian Night*/They Didn't Believe Me*/Ebb Tide*.
(*Vocalion CD - "The big ones / Satin saxes and bouncing brass")
In 1964 there was a collaboration with Edmundo Ros that combined the two orchestras and a big band spirituals LP before...
Ted Heath and his Music - October 24th, 1964 recorded at Kingsway Hall (Palladium revisited - Decca)
Bert Ezzard, Eddie Blair, Duncan Campbell, Bert Courtley (tp), Johnny Edwards, Keith Christie, Ted Barker, Ken Goldie (tb), Dennis Walton (as), Ronnie Chamberlain (as,sop), Bob Efford (ts), Henry Mackenzie (ts,cl), Ken Kiddier (bs), Derek Warne (p), John Hawksworth (b), Ronnie Verrell (d).
The Man I Love*/Hawaiian War Chant*/Holiday For Strings*/Send For Henry*/Georgia On My Mind*/Flying Home*/Ol' Man River*/Memories Of You*/Peanut Vendor*/Lullaby Of Birdland*/Bass In The Hole*/Taboo*.
(*Vocalion CD - "Palladium concert / Palladium revisited")
More pop, film and show business LPs of no jazz value followed through 1965, 1966 and 1967 until the band reverted to swing. Jazzmen Kenny Baker, Keith Christie, Alan Branscombe, Dave Goldberg and Lennie Bush were included ..
Ted Heath and his Music - September 27th and 28th, 1967 (Swing is King - Decca)
Kenny Baker, Stan Roderick, Tony Fisher, Eddie Blair (tp), Don Lusher, Johnny Edwards, Keith Christie, Jackie Armstrong (tb), Roy Willox, Ronnie Chamberlain (as), Keith Bird, Bob Efford (ts), Don Honeywell (bs), Alan Branscombe (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Lennie Bush (b), Ronnie Verrell (d).
Flying Home*/Cherokee*/Begin The Beguine*/One O'Clock Jump*/Song Of India*/Woodchopper's Ball*/Elks' Parade*/In The Mood*/Two O'Clock Jump*/Take The A Train*/String Of Pearls*/Opus One*.
(*Vocalion CD - "Swing is King / Swing is King volume 2")
The previous album was a success because within a few months a second volume was recorded. Ted Heath died in 1969 so this was the last recording under his leadership...
Ted Heath and his Music - May 30th and 31st, 1968 (Swing is King Volume 2- Decca)
Kenny Baker, Stan Roderick, Bert Ezzard, Eddie Blair (tp), Don Lusher, Johnny Edwards, Keith Christie, Jackie Armstrong (tb), Roy Willox, Ronnie Chamberlain (as), Keith Bird, Bob Efford (ts), Don Honeywell (bs), Alan Branscombe (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Lennie Bush (b), Ronnie Verrell (d).
Skyliner*/South Rampart Street*/Intermission Riff*/Jumpin' At The Woodside*/Oh, Lady Be Good*/Don't Get Around Much Any More*/Jersey Bounce*/Harlem Nocturne*/Sing, Sing, Sing*/Contrasts*/Long John Silver*/Apple Honey*.
(*Vocalion CD - "Swing is King / Swing is King volume 2")
Following the death of Ted Heath, Roland Shaw took over the direction of the band, and during the early 1970s the band continued to record swing based records. There were two volumes of "Big Band Themes Remembered", salutes to Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman as well as a "Beatles, Bach and Bacherach", none of which were of any interest to jazz lovers, but most are available on Vocalion CDs...
Johnny Keating was briefly involved with the band but by 1977 trombone player Don Lusher had taken on the job of directing the band, a job he did with some distinction until the Heath band's final concert in 2000. Decca recorded a live concert at Fairfield Hall, Croydon in 1977 and the LP is worth looking out for...
Ted Heath Band - 1977 (The Ted Heath Band in concert - Decca)
Kenny Baker, Albert Hall, Duncan Cambell, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Don Lusher, Wally Smith, Maurice Pratt, Keith Christie, Bill Geldard (tb), Roy Willox, Ronnie Chamberlain (as), Danny Moss, Henry Mackenzie (ts), Ken Kiddier (bs), Norman Stenfalt (p), Lennie Bush (b), Harold Fisher (d), directed by Don Lusher.
Listen To My Music/The Champ/Dark Eyes/Hot Toddy/My Funny Valentine/C Jam Blues/All The Time And Everywhere/Tonight/It's Easy To Remember/Lush Slide/Baby Blue/Hawaiin War Chant.
Over the years the number of concerts played became less and less and the decision was taken to play the final concert at the Royal Festival Hall in year 2000. The farewell appearance was an emotional occasion and a number of veterans from the 1940s made it into the final lineup. The event was captured for posterity on a two CD set...
Ted Heath Band - December 4th, 2000 (The Farewell concert - Avid)
Tony Fisher, Derek Watkins, Duncan Cambell, Ronnie Hughes (tp), Don Lusher, Jackie Armstrong, Ted Barker, Johnny Edwards, Bill Geldard (tb), Roy Willox, Ray Swinfield, Tommy Whittle, Peter Hughes, Eddie Mordue (saxes), Brian Dee (p), Lennie Bush (b), Jack Parnell (d), Dennis Lotis (vcl), directed by Don Lusher.
Introduction/Listen To My Music/Opus One/Baby Blue/On With The Don/Swingin' Shepherd Blues/Get Happy/My Romance/Medley (Nevertheless/I'm In The Mood For Love/Walking My Baby Back Home)/How High The Moon/Memories Of You/Let's Do It/Tribute To Past Members/East Of The Sun/There's No Business Like Show Business/Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey/Girl From Ipanema/Tequila/When Your Smilin'/Eloquence/I'm Old Fashioned/On Ilkla' Moor Baht' At/Georgia/When The World Was Young/Mack The Knife/Have You Met Miss Jones/Hot Toddy/Thanks To All/That Lovely Weekend/One More Hit/Auld Lang Syne/Farewell Blues/Listen To My Music.
(Avid 2CD set - "Ted Heath - The Farewell Concert)
Following the final concert Don Lusher continued to lead his own big band playing music from other bandleaders as well as Ted. A number of ex-Heath musicians worked with Don and although the number of concerts dwindled the band continued until Don's death. A final memorial concert, directed by Tony Fisher, was played in 2007 and included ex-Heath musicians Ronnie Hughes, Bill Geldard, Roy Willox, Tommy Whittle and Eddie Mordue. The Don Lusher Big Band recorded a number of very fine CDs.
Records from the 1940s...
Records from the 1950s...
My initial effort at a Ted Heath discography lacked many details that were included in Max Gray's superb discography covering the entire Ted Heath recording career. Anybody needing information from 1950 onwards could do no better than consult his work. I freely acknowledge the help I have received from it... Max Gray discography...