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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Just Friends/London Swings

Vocalion CDSML 8482



1. Tupa
2. Amber Mood
3. Just Friends
4. Pedro's Walk
5. Baby Blue
6. Souraya
7. Mini Minor

Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax
Tubby Hayes - Alto sax, tenor sax, vibraphone
Jackie Sharpe - Baritone sax
Jimmy Deuchar - Trumpet, mellophone
Les Condon - Trumpet
Keith Christie - Trombone
Stan Tracey - Piano
Lennie Bush - Bass
Ronnie Stephenson - Drums

8. Let's All Go Down the Strand
9. They're Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace
10. Chelsea Bridge
11. Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road Wotcher
12. The Trees in Grosvenor Square
13. Limehouse Blues
14. London By Night
15. Greek Street, Soho
16. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
17. Covent Garden Starts Early
18. Springtime in Piccadilly Circus
19. London Bridge is Falling Down

Johnny Scott - Leader
Leon Calvert, Greg Bowen, Ray Davies, Eddie Blair, Ian Hamer - Trumpets
Don Lusher, Jock Bain, Maurice Pratt, Jackie Armstrong - Trombones
Roy Willox, Al Newman, Bob Efford, Duncan Lamont, Ronnie Ross - Saxes
John Marson, Michael Jefferies - Harps
Alan Branscombe - Piano
Judd Proctor - Guitar
Arthur Watts - Bass
Barry Morgan - drums
Strings led by Tony Gilbert


This CD comprises the contents of two apparently unconnected LPs, although they were recorded respectively in 1965 and 1966. The first was by a nine-piece group led by two tenor-saxophonists: Paul Gonsalves and Tubby Hayes. The two had met one another when Duke Ellington's orchestra was performing in London in 1964 and Hayes deputised for Gonsalves in Duke's band because Paul was unwell. They got together again the following year with some of Britain's top jazzmen, recording seven tunes of which all but one were composed by members of the group.

The two tenorists are well contrasted, with Gonsalves' mellow, swirling tone set against Hayes' harder sound. The opening Tupa illustrates their differences, with Gonsalves' smooth relaxation against Hayes' more assertive style. They composed the tune jointly and gave it a title consisting of the first two letters of their first names. As the honoured guest, Gonsalves gets most of the solo space. The title-track is a showcase for Paul with his seemingly inexhaustible fund of improvisatory ideas, and Stan Tracey's Baby Blue is a nicely relaxed outing for Paul. Tubby switches to the vibes for his gentle composition Souraya.

Johnny Scott was a man of many talents: multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer. One of my all-time favourite albums is by his quintet which daringly included harpist David Snell. Scott's LP of songs about London uses two harpists and a string section as well as some of the top British session players. His arrangements on London Swings illustrate his versatility and imagination, from the subdued sentiment of London By Night to the roaring London Bridge is Falling Down. Let's All Go Down the Strand incorporates the sound of a barrel organ, while They're Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace has an undercurrent of the Pink Panther theme. Several other tracks have echoes of the music hall or Cockney London. Covent Garden Starts Early foreshadows the melodrama of the many film scores that Johnny Scott went on to write. An uncredited vibes player adds to the effect of some numbers - I guess it is Alan Branscombe. Benny Green's sleeve-notes refer to four bassoons, which are also not credited.

These two albums may be unrelated but they make a melodious and well-remastered programme of mid-sixties British jazz.

Tony Augarde

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