|My baby likes to bebop... and I like to bebop too! - 1|
In the late 1940s a number of clubs were open, among them: Cuba (Denman Street), Jamboree (Wardour Street), Bag o'Nails (Kingly Street), Nuthouse (Regent Street), Casablanca (Gerard Street), The Moffat Club (Mac's Rehearsal Rooms - Great Windmill Street), TheBebop Shop (Tottenham).
A popular club was the Fullado. It was originally called the Bouillabaise, a drinking club run by a West Indian. It's main clientele at that time was the London West Indian community although it was also an attraction to the many black US servicemen arriving in London in 1945. It was a free and easy place for musicians to drop in and jam and where 'off the cuff' bands would be formed. The club was in full swing in 1947 although most of the music played there was still swing with bebop gradually making it's way in.
Records 1946 to 1949
This period in British jazz recording history was all about the British musicians getting to grips with bebop. Many of the local musicians, including Ronnie Scott and Tony Crombie worked on the Trans - Atlantic liners to get to New York to hear the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie playing on 52nd. Street, New York. They returned home with lots of records and then people like Denis Rose and Dave Goldberg set about unlocking the harmonic secrets of the new jazz. The public was slow to respond and not many records were made, and without the Esquire records there would be virtually no music from the pioneering Club XI scene.
Not everybody went the bebop route. Until 1949 the Harry Parry Sextet continued to record regularly and Vic Lewis by-passed bebop entirely, getting involved with Stan Kenton's 'Progressive' music.
In 1970 Jim Burns wrote an article for Jazz Monthly magazine titled after a 'hip' novelty vocal, (popular at the time), My baby likes to be-bop. In this article he listed, in date order, the first recordings by British bands that could be classed as genuine bebop records. Luckily we can hear many of these early records on CD now but when this article was written it would have been very difficult to hear most of them. A lot of old 78s would have needed to be tracked down.
Besides the records mentioned in My baby likes to be-bop a number of other interesting recording sessions, having a bebop connection, took place in the years between 1946 and 1949. I have therefore added them to Jim Burns list below prefaced by .
Much of this music is now available on CD, details are available on the individual musicians discography pages.
Bebop: first steps...
(A link is given to the full recording session data where necessary...)
It is possible to hear some slight bop mannerisms in one or two of the solos. I don't want to over exaggerate the bop influence, the music is mainly swing, but George Shearing and Leo Wright do hint at more modern things...
Harry Hayes and his Band - October 7th, 1946 (HMV) Full session details...
Leo Wright (tp), Harry Hayes (as), Tommy Whittle (ts), Bill Lewington (bs), George Shearing (p), Alan Ferguson (g), Bert Howard (b), Billy Wiltshire (d).
High As A Kite/A Flat To C.
Jack Parnell was the next one to put some bop on record. He took a small group drawn from the Ted Heath band into the Decca studios. 'Old Man Rebop' was, I think, the first genuine British bop record. Listening to it now one is concious of the cliches and the over deliberate 're-bop' sound but it still comes along as being near the real article...Tommy Whittle tenorist on the Hayes sides is again present and seems to relate to bop on an emotional level without changing his basic style...
Jack Parnell and his Quartet - cApril, 1947 (London) Full session details...
Tommy Whittle (ts), Norman Stenfalt (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Charlie Short (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Old Man Rebop.
Tommy Whittle had left to join Ted Heath but the most signifiacant change was the inclusion of drummer Norman Burns. One can hear him dropping bombs and accenting in a very boppish way. Apart from a few touches from Shearing and Burns the solos are still swing with bop trimmings...
Harry Hayes and his Band - April 24th, 1947 (HMV) Full session details...
Leo Wright (tp), Harry Hayes (as), Aubrey Frank (ts), Bill Lewington (bs), George Shearing (p), Alan Ferguson (g), Arthur O'Neill (b), Norman Burns (d).
With the increasing interest in the new modern jazz sounds at this time, the 'Melody Maker' and 'Columbia Records' held a joint jazz rally at which the Harry Hayes Band and the Woolf Phillips group played. 'Blue Moon' includes a relaxed flowing solo from Ronnie Scott (then a big toned tenorman), and good contributions from Pete Chilver and George Shearing. Reg Arnold played a solo hinting at something different to his usual swing sound.
Melody Maker's Jazz Rally - June 29th, 1947 (All issued on Columbia) Full session details...
Reg Arnold (tp), Woolf Phillips (tb), Frank Weir (cl), Ronnie Scott (ts), George Shearing (p), Pete Chilver (g), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d).
Blue Moon (part 1)/Blue Moon (part 2).
Frank Weir, Carl Barriteau (cl), Harry Hayes, Bertie King (as), Tommy Whittle (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Jack Collier (b), Jock Cummings (d).
Thriving On A Riff.
That bop ideas were spreading rapidly is demonstrated by two titles from the Jive bombers. Resident at the Ilford Rhythm Club they won a recording contract by winning a Melody Maker competition and produced two first rate sides. Correspondence in Jazz Journal between those who had heard the records produced the opinion "that they were musically superior to anything in the bop line by British musicians at that time"...
Jive Bombers - October 25th, 1947 (Regal Zonophone MR3799) Full session details...
Kenneth Sommerville (tp), Kenneth Franklin (as,cl), Stanley Walker (p), Stanley Musgrave (g) Ronald Arrowsmith (b), Sidney White (d).
Jive Bombers Re-bop/Groovin'High.
The first bop recordings for the newly formed Esquire record label. For the first time musicians begin to appear on record with groups primarily made up of their contemporaries. Ronnie Scott's playing is a mixture of modern and late swing, Pete Chilver is convincing as a soloist and Ralph Sharon is the most impressive soloist, his playing is well developed and not a succession of bop cliches. He appears to have adapted to the idiom without any strain...
The Esquire Five - January 13th, 1948 (Esquire) (JJ1) Full session details...
Ronnie Scott (ts), Pete Chilver (g), Ralph Sharon (p), Jack Fallon (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Boppin' At Esquire/Idabop.
The personnel for this recording is not known. What is known is that Tito Burns' groups around this time included Pete Chilver, Ronnie Scott, Tommy Pollard, Johnny Dankworth and Tony Crombie although not all at the same time. The band at this time played bop but to earn a living they had to become more commercial, this was when the boppers started to quit the band. Sadly this record was never issued and as far as I know has never appeared in any format...
Tito Burns Septet - January 18th, 1948 (? Label unknown)
Tito Burns (acc), rest unknown.
I Like To Riff/Oop BopSh'bam.
Victor Feldman was only 14 years old when these records were made. Johnny Dankworth was 21 and still playing clarinet, Eddie Thompson was on his first record date. Although the music was designed to feature Feldman's impressive Gene Krupa style drumming prowess the music does reflect the changes that were coming in. Mop Mop was almost bop and the other titles with solos from Dankworth and Thompson revealed their leanings towards the new bop...
Victor Feldman Quartet - February 17th, 1948 (Esquire)
Johnny Dankworth (clt), Eddie Thompson (p), Bert Howard (b), Victor Feldman (d).
Mop Mop/Ladybird/Quaternity/Moonlight in Vermont/Gone With The Wind
Interest in the new 'bop' was now spreading beyond London and a concert was held at the Birmingham Town Hall. Carlo Krahmer of Esquire transported recording equipment from London and captured the event for posterity. As is to be expected recording quality was poor and because of this only two titles were issued. What stands out most of all is Denis Rose's angular and inventive piano work. The rhythm section charges along with a great deal of enthusiasm...and there is a sense of excitement generated by the group as a whole that carries the music through one or two rough spots...
Jazz At The Town Hall Ensemble - March 30th, 1948 (Esquire)
collective personnel:Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Reg Arnold (tp), Dennis Rose (p,tp), Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Bernie Fenton (p), Joe Muddel (b), Jack Fallon (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Buzzy/How High The Moon. (Take The A-Train/Exactly Like You/Now's The Time/Body And Soul were never issued. Two vocals recorded at the same concert by Cab Kaye were issued.)
Esquire recorded eight more sides designed to feature pro bop musicians. One has to realise how mixed the scene still was because men like Aubrey Frank and Reg Arnold although sympathetic to the new were still basically swing stylists. Alan Dean vocalises on a number of tracks but what strikes the listener is the enthusiasm of all the participants and the above average talents of a handful of them. Ralph Sharon and Tommy Pollard are exceptionally good...
Alan Dean and the All Star Sextet - April 29th, 1948 (Esquire)
Aubrey Frank (ts), Reg Arnold (tp), Ralph Sharon (p), Tommy Pollard (vib), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Galaxy/I Can't Get Started/First Gear/Confirmation.
May 8th, 1948 (Esquire) Full session details...
Personnel as April, 29th
Fallonology/Disc Jockey Jump/My Baby Likes To Bebop.
c.May, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April, 29th
In his article Jim Burns mentions a recording session by the George Shearing Trio, but he did not include full details on the basis that Shearing quit the UK in 1949...
George Shearing Trio - November 26th, 1948 (Decca) Full session details...
George Shearing (p), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d).
The Nearness Of You*/Someone To Watch Over Me*/Consternation*/The Fourth Deuce*/The Man From Mintons*/To Be Or Not To Bop/Poinciana.
To deviate slightly it is worth including a record which indicates how confusion about bop still existed. This group was a unit under the direction of Howard Lucraft. Apart from the titles which made reference to bop the music, although pleasant, had little relationship to the sounds being produced by other boppers such as Ronnie Scott and Johnny Dankworth...
Bosworth Modern Jazz Group - March 14th, 1949 (Bosworth) Full session details...
Freddie Gardner (ts), Johnny Douglas (acc), Howard Lucraft (g), Steve Race (p), Micky Rome (b), Roy Cooper (d).
Rebop Rebels/Boppin' The Boogie.
Club Eleven was now open and public interest (in bebop) was at the highest peak of enthusiasm in the history of British modern jazz. As their fame spread the Club Eleven musicians started to undertake provincial engagements. This concert at King George's Hall in London was meant to create the atmosphere of a club session. The two groups appeared as they did in the club except that Denis Rose replaced Hank Shaw in the Scott group. The location recording is poor but the music is superb with Scott and Pollard outstanding.
Ronnie Scott Boptet (Live, Club XI concert) - April 9th, 1949 (Esquire) (JJ3) Full session details...
Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Rogers (as), Dennis Rose (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Lennie Bush (b), Tony Crombie (d), Ginger Johnson (bongoes).
Norman Stenfalt replaced Bernie Fenton in the Dankworth Quartet. Their music was less frenetic than the Scott group but nevertheless came up with some exciting music...
Johnny Dankworth Quartet (Live, Club XI concert) - April 9th, 1949 (Esquire) (JJ3) Full session details...
Johnny Dankworth (as), Norman Stenfalt/Tommy Pollard* (p), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d).
Lover Man/Night in Tunisia.
Bop and the musicians playing it had become popular enough for a major record label to take a chance on recording examples although they played safe by getting a vocalist to front the band. A great deal of care seems to have gone into this date, Barbados was probably one of the most successful records by a British bop group. The relaxed tempo produces thoughtful and unflustered solos from all. Johnny Dankworth as composer, arranger and soloist compared well with similar things being produced for American recording dates around this time...
Alan Dean's Beboppers - April 29th, 1949 (Decca)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Reg Arnold (tp), Bernie Fenton (p), Pete Chilver (g), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Gone With The Windmill (take 1)/Gone With The Windmill (take 2)/Barbados/Elevenses/Ool-Ya-Koo.
Tito Burns Septet - June 7th, 1949 (Decca)
Al Hall (tp), Jimmy Chester (cl,as), Rex Morris (ts), Tito Burns (acc), Ronnie Price (p), Frank Donnison (b), Derek Price (d), Terry Devon (vocal).
Bebop Spoken Here/I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles/The Hucklebuck/September In The Rain.
This was very much Johnny Dankworth's date, both arranging and playing and he is well supported by Pete Chilver and Leon Calvert. Steve Race plays well and the whole group has a cohesive and bop leaning sound...
Steve Race Bop Group - August 31st, 1949 (Paxton)
Johnny Dankworth (as), Leon Calvert (tp), Steve Race (p), Pete Chilver (g), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d).
Vertigo/Marzipan/Bugle Call Bop/Microcosmo.
These titles are a re-run over the air, with the addition of Alan Dean's Galaxy, of the same titles, under Dean's name, recorded for Decca earlier. Hank Shaw and Tommy Pollard replaced Reg Arnold and Bernie Fenton, and there are on form solos from everybody. All arrangements were by Johnny Dankworth and were a precursor to the more advanced and meticulously crafted scores on which he had already begun work for his later 'Seven'...
Alan Dean's Beboppers - September 17th, 1949 (Esquire)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Hank Shaw (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Pete Chilver (g), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Gone With The Windmill/Barbados/Elevenses/Ool Ya Koo/Galaxy.
Although not strictly bebop these titles feature Tommy Pollard and Ralph Sharon, two of the top bebop musicians and are beautifully played - outstanding is Sharon's delicate sure piano work.
Keith Bird and The Esquire Six - October 13th, 1949 (Esquire)
Keith Bird (cl), Tommy Pollard (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Cab Kaye (voc-1).
How High The Moon(1)/Esquire Blues/Tom's Tea Party/Revol.
So popular had bebop become that Ted Heath felt obliged to record some titles. Tommy Whittle was in the band at the time and beside his tenor sax solos there were contributions from pianist Dave Simpson and trombonist Jackie Armstrong. Johnny Dankworth did the arrangement for Move, the others were by Tadd Dameron. These were almost certainly the first big band recordings of British bebop styled music.
Ted Heath Orchestra - September 2nd, October 27th, and November 3rd, 1949 (Decca)
Bobby Pratt, Stan Roderick, Stan Reynolds, Ronnie Hughes (tp), Jackie Armstrong, Maurice Pratt, Jack Bentley, Jimmy Coombes (tb), Les Gilbert, Reg Owen (as), Tommy Whittle, Henry Mackenzie (ts), Dave Shand (bs), Dave Simpson (p), Jack Seymour (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Ralph Sharon Trio - Late, 1949 (Technidisc)
Ralph Sharon (p), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d).
Lady Bird/September In The Rain/Sweet Lorraine/Shaw 'Nuff.