|Snapshot from the Melody Maker (1955)...|
|The "Melody Maker" was the leading weekly music paper and the clips below from September to December give an essence of the jazz scene of the day. "Trad" jazz was taking a bigger share of the jazz audience than it had done in the early 1950s...|
Melody Maker September 24, 1955|
(Extract from the review, by Tony Brown, of the debut of Ronnie Scott's ill starred big band...)
BAND'S IN PARTICULAR
"You're not going to review us," wailed the bandleader. "we're playing strictly commercial tonight - director's orders. Pity," he sighed, "that you have to review this tonight."
Ronnie Scott himself doubtless felt the same - and that wasn't defeatism. He knew that his band hadn't leaped magically into form. He hadn't even expected it. Arrangements had been slow in arriving. Many of them were tough to play, anyway.
Another week of rehearsal and the story would have been different.
A band that hasn't mastered it's scores becomes a nervous band; a nervous band is accident prone. so there were mistakes at the Ronnie Scott band's opening at the Samson and Hercules Ballroom.
There was that determination to put on a show that frequently induces a band to over-blow. Over-blowing upsets balance within the sections and between them. Bad balance robs dynamics of their force, sometimes destroys them utterly.
The Scott band, it is certain, will never again play as badly as it did on that first night in Norwich. Let's put it this way: It was a painfully premature delivery; but the infant was lusty enough; it will thrive.
The sections had the faults of any that have yet to blow themselves in. The trumpets, forcefully led by Jimmy Watson, finished phrases raggedly. So did the trombones. The saxes were, on the whole, clean in execution.
Let's not dwell on it. These are growing pains.
The arrangements are a mixed bunch, varying from the simple and swingy, through the melodious and interesting, to the downright bewildering.
Some of the latter may improve with the hearing, but at a single playing one gets the impression of cleverness for it's own sake.
In sheer volume, the sound we heard was impressive. Dynamics in some of the quick steps were more hinted at than achieved. Whether marks on the orchestrations were simply missed or whether they just weren't there, I don't know.
A large band playing quietly gives a wonderful feeling of controlled power. More, its forte attacks mean so much more because of it's sub-tone confidence. And a band capable of it's pianissimo is nearly always well balanced and musicianly throughout. The Scott band is going to be really good to listen to when it demonstrates the truth of this.
For, make no mistake, Ronnie's new band has the material and the enthusiasm. Many thoughtful people would select Ronnie Scott, Douggie Robinson and Joe Harriott as among the best dozen saxophonists in the country today. A section that contains this trio has boundless possibilities.
Phil Seamen is regarded in the profession as our most swinging drummer. With the Scott band he produces a prodigiously loud beat - but a beat none the less.
The Scott vocal department is capable of development. Art Baxter seems disposed to fool for the benefit of a few easy front - of - the - stand laughs... Lynda Russell is a versatile and competent singer who doesn't fully project her personality at the moment... Steve Curtis has an agreeable appearance...but still has to learn how to phrase a lyric intelligently...
Soloist of the evening was unchallengeably Joe Harriott. Every time he rose to play Joe was urged by the noisy enthusiasm of onlookers. He didn't allow this to upset his musical poise. Right at the end of the evening he played a long "Lover Man" that was full of ideas, some new, but all of which built up to a sensitive whole. Harriott seems destined to rise to heights in the Scott ranks.
A band should be judged only when it is fully rehearsed and playing confidently. The Scott boys are too important a unit to be dismissed with a few scathing words. They must be heard again.
As we said, something should be done about these ill - timed band debuts. Photographs...
MONDAY, NOV 21st. 8 - Midnight
AL MARTIN presents EXCITEMENT IN MUSIC
The RONNIE SCOTT ORCHESTRA
with singing stars ART BAXTER, LYNDA RUSSELL, STEVE CURTIS
with JOE HARRIOTT, PHIL SEAMEN, HENRY SHAW, KEN WRAY, DOUGIE ROBINSON
Tickets 6/- from Frasers. 6/6 at door. Coaches arranged.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19th, at 7.30pm.
Artur Howes presents
JOHNNY DANKWORTH BAND SHOW
Cleo Laine * Frank Holder * Tony Mansell
2/6 to 5/-. Waddington's, Northumberland Road. Tel : 2427
SUNDAY, 16th OCTOBER, CONCERT at 2pm
LONDON DEBUT of TWO GREAT ATTRACTIONS!
The Sensational New
PLUS! Poll - Winning tenor Sax Star
and his ORCHESTRA
THE NEW JAZZ GROUP
ALLAN GANLEY (Drums), HARRY KLEIN (Baritone)
DEREK SMITH (Piano), SAMMY STOKES (Bass)
PLUS! THE VIC ASH QUARTET
Tickets: 7/6, 6/-, 5/-, 3/6, (Gallery unreserved 2/6)
Obtainable from Royal Albert Hall (KENsington 8212), all leading
Theatre Ticket Agencies, or by Post Enc. remittance and S.A.E. to-
HAROLD DAVISON LTD., 116, SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, W.1.
There may be something in this. What was noticeable (and, I hope significant) was that the crowd at the Federation's first concert of the season, last Saturday at the Royal Festival Hall, seemed to have some real appreciation of the music played.
Our ears were not offended by shouts of "Go, Go!", nor was the music interrupted by shrill encouragement from exhibitionists aloft. Yet there was enthusiasm enough.
Apparently it didn't seem necessary to the promoters to open proceedings with a "crowd rouser". The stage was taken first by the New Jazz Group which, specialises in quiet, musicianly playing.
It was a well-balanced performance from four men whose talents are highly complementary. There is no conscious assertiveness from any one of them, though perhaps, Derek Smith registers just that bit more than his companions because of his natural happy enthusiasm and attack.
A quiet opening indeed, but it made for very enjoyable listening.
Editor: Pat Brand
Melody Maker September 24, 1955
NEW DOWNBEAT (TUBBY HAYES) CLUB
Manor House N.4. (opposite Tube), presents THE BEST IN JAZZ, Trumpet star JIMMY DEUCHAR plays with the TUBBY HAYES QUINTET, Dickie Hawdon, Harry South, Pete Blannin, Bill Eyden. Also TERRY SHANNON QUINTET, with Mike Senn, Jackie Sharpe, Lenny Bresslaw, Eric Peters. Licensed bar 7.30-11.
at the Studio '51, September 27th 8-11. Featuring Pete Warner, Laurie Monk, Kenny Clare and all-star rhythm section, plus guests Benny Goodman, Kenny Napper, Stan Tracey, personal appearance of JOHNNY DANKWORTH. Members 2/6, non members 3/-.
Cafe Anglais, Leicester Square
SATURDAY (24th): 7.30-11.30
TONY KINSEY QUARTET
featuring Ronnie Ross; Tony Hall
KENNY GRAHAM GROUP
Terry Brown; Eddie Thompson Trio.
10/11 Great Newport Street W.C.2 open at 7.30. FRIDAY, SATURDAY, 7.30 Eddie Thompson Quintet. SUNDAY 3-6 Quintet. 7.30 Kathy Stobart Quintet. WEDNESDAY Joe Harriott Quintet, New Jazz Group (Harry Klein, Allan Ganley, Derek Smith, Sammy Stokes) at all sessions.
39, Coventry Street, Piccadilly
(beneath Mapleton Restaurant)
Open to capacity business as usual at London's only Jazz-night Club. Open 12 midnight until 7am every Saturday night. Cover charge 10/- (including three course dinner). LEON ROY QUARTET, host of guest stars. SUNDAY AFTERNOON 3-6pm. Admission only 3/-
At Jeff Kruger's
" JAZZ AT THE FLAMINGO "
beneath Mapleton Restaurant, Coventry-Whitcomb Streets, Leicester Sq. SUNDAY (13th) from 7.30...
TONY KINSEY QUARTET,
featuring Ronnie Ross, Bill Le Sage.
Festival Hall concert success
TONY HALL and the " Hall-Stars " featuring
DIZZY REECE, Kathy STOBART, Bogey GUINAIR
WEDNESDAY (15th) from 7.30 favourite tenor saxist
DON RENDELL GROUP, with Damian Robinson etc
TONY KINSEY QUARTET
featuring Ronnie Ross; Tony Hall.
Combined membership Flamingo and Florida clubs only 5/- p.a.
S.A.E. to 9, Woodlands, North Harrow, Middx.
NEW DOWNBEAT CLUB
Monday (14th), Manor House, (opposite Tube), N.4.
celebrating their first anniversary presents for the first time in any jazz club together, the excitement in music of RONNIE SCOTT AND HIS FULL ORCHESTRA, Joe Harriott, Phil Seamen, Ken Wray, Henry Shaw, Dougie Robinson and the " Little Giant " TUBBY HAYES AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Dickie Hawdon, Harry South, Bill Eydon. Sensational booking - lives up to the policy of giving you THE BEST IN JAZZ: 7.30-11.
Licensed bar. Members 5/-.
Cafe Anglais, Leicester Sq. SATURDAY (31st) 8 pm-2 am
NEW YEARS EVE GALA... featuring the entire
TONY CROMBIE ORCHESTRA
with Annie Ross, Johnny Grant, Jimmy Deuchar,
Derek Humble, Lennie Bush, Mac Minshull,
Rex Morris, Les Condon etc. Tony Hall