Keepers of the flame...
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Keepers of the Flame...
A Keeper of the Flame has been defined as someone who keeps alive a tradition, belief or practice that would otherwise be lost. British jazz has a number of musicians undertaking this role and a brief introduction to their work is shown below - the outstanding Keeper of the Flame is of course alto saxophone player Peter King...
Andy Panayi plays flute, alto, tenor and baritone saxes as well as being a talented arranger and composer. He has led his own groups as well as working with Alec Dankworth, The BBC Big Band, Stan Tracey seven and eleven piece bands and many others.
For several years he played baritone sax in a quartet with trombone player Mark Nightingale evoking memories of a much earlier Gerry Mulligan Quartet.
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Drummer Clark Tracey has worn many musical hats over his thirty-five year career. Having long been regarded as the UK's most accomplished straight-ahead jazz drummer, alongside that considerable achievement he's also a composer, arranger, educator and talent spotter par excellence. All of these skills come together in another of his passions: band leading. Clark's been fronting his own units since the early 1980s, in effect creating a finishing school for three generations of British jazz talent. (liner notes to 'meantime...')
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The Osian Roberts / Steve Fishwick Quintet made it's first recording in 2003 and up to 2015 has produced a number of fine albums very much in the style of the Blue Note tenor/trumpet sessions from the 1950s and '60s. Record reviewers have put Roberts in the style of Hank Mobley while Fishwick makes no secret of his allegiance to Kenny Dorham. Two recent CDs have added baritone sax player Frank Basile to form a sextet.
The Quintet play regular club dates - if they appear near you make the effort to hear them!

Albums include "Too Much" (2003), "On the Up and Up" (2006), "With Cedar Walton" (2009), with Frank Basile "When Night Falls" (2014) and In the Empire State (2015).

Their music, on the "Hard Bop Records" label, is available direct or via Amazon in CD or MP3 format and it is interesting to read the reviewers on Amazon, all of whom rate the quintet very highly.
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Reed player Alan Barnes is a popular figure on the jazz club and festival scene. Playing mainly alto and baritone saxes he also plays tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet and flute. He is a versatile musician in most jazz styles but in the right setting he is an undoubted be-bopper.
From 1983 to 1986 he was with drummer Tommy Chase's Bebop quartet and the CD Hard comes from this period.
He had a long spell with Humphrey Lyttelton's mainstream group from 1988 to 1993 and has worked with many top names including Mike Westbrook, Kenny Baker, Don Weller as well as leading his own quartet and octet.
A look at the Amazon website will show a long list of Alan's available CDs, many may be more mainstream than modern but all demonstrate what a versatile musician he is.

Quartet albums shown here are "One for Moll" (2015) - a tribute to Art Pepper "The Art Trip" (2012) - with Tommy Chase "Hard" (1984). "Oh Gee!" (2015) features Alan as part of a five piece sax section plus rhythm.
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Tenor saxophone player Simon Spillett is probably the best known "keeper of the flame" although in his case it is the Tubby Hayes "flame".
His unstinting efforts have brought Tubby's music back into the jazz spotlight with a wealth of previously unheard music from Tubby's own archive now available on CD.
It should not be overlooked that Simon himself is a very fine exponent of the tenor saxophone and the music from Tubby's era. His quartet, often with John Critchinson, has been a popular attraction on the club scene for some years.
One of Simon's achievements is as author of The Long Shadow of The Little Giant, on the life, work and legacy of Tubby Hayes. The book has a wealth of detail about the British jazz scene of the 1950's and 1960's and is essential reading for anybody interested in this period.

Simon Spillett is not a prolific recorder. Quartet albums shown here are "Introducing... Simon Spillett" (2007) - Sienna Red" (2008) and a vinyl release "Square One" (2012).
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Don Weller is a veteran of the British jazz scene as a tenor sax player, composer and band leader.
He is a festival favourite and his big band has to be heard. Besides leading his own groups he began a long association with Stan Tracey in the 1970s which continued through the 1990s, and he has worked and recorded with Alan Barnes and Bobby Wellins.
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Pianist Dave Newton is well known on the club circuit, usually leading the rhythm section accompanying a named horn player but he is an accomplished leader in his own right with a string of superb trio CDs to his name, often with Andrew Cleyndert.
A number of his lesser known earlier albums from the 1990s are now being re-issued as interest in this talented artist grows.
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Trombone player Mark Nightingale has played and recorded with many top jazz names as well as appearing at clubs and festivals around the country. He has had a long association with Andy Panayi in a pianoless quartet featuring the music of the Gerry Mullligan Quartet. A recent CD The Sound of Jay and Kai, with fellow trombone player Alistair White, recalls the music of J.J.Johnson and Kay Winding who led various size trombone groups to much acclaim through the 1950s. He has recorded with Tommy Whittle, John Dankworth, Kenny Wheeler, Stan and Clark Tracey and Alan Barnes among others. More...



This page was last updated during November, 2016.
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