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Fast and Loose




Live in 1954
Fast and Loose (Ronnie Scott)

Body Beautiful (Tony Crombie)

Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker)

If I Should Lose You (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger)

In the Land of Nimbupani (unknown)

Laura (David Raksin, Johnny Mercer)

Oo-Shoo-Be-Do-Be (Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Carroll)

This Can’t Be Love (Richard FRogers, Lorenz Hart)

Dear Old Southland (Turner Layton, Henry Creamer)

El Sino (Leo Parker)

I Wished on the Moon (Ralph Rainger, Dorothy Parker)

Nemo (Harry Klein)

All except * combinations of:-

Ronnie Scott (tenor sax), Jimmy Deuchar (trumpet, mellophone); Ken Wray (trombone); Derek Humble (alto sax); Pete King (tenor sax); Benny Green (baritone sax); Victor Feldman (piano, vibraphone, congas, drums) Lennie Bush (bass); Tony Crombie (drums, piano)

recorded on March 17th 1954 at the Criterion Restaurant London

plus –

Sunshine on a Rainy Day * (Eddie Carroll)

Fools Rush In * (Rube Bloom, Johnny Mercer)

Poor Butterfly * (John Golden, Raymond Hubbell)

Perfidia * (Alberto Dominguez Borras, Miltion Leeds)

* Ronnie Scott (tenor sax); Victor Feldman (piano); Lennie Bush (bass) Tony Crombie (drums

recorded at Esquire Studios, London on April 28th 1954


Talented, handsome, articulate and witty, sexy, self-effacing, always wanting to praise his colleagues, Ronnie Scott was a legend in British jazz circles. This recording from 1954 features his nine-man band generally referred to as the nine-piece.

Simon Spillett’s erudite booklet notes spread over 16 informative pages with press cuttings and band and player photographs, covers Scott’s and the band’s activities in detail. This detail ranges from the early 1950s when Scott left Jack Partnell’s band to go freelance, first forming a quintet specialising in modern jazz before its expansion to the nine-piece with three members of the splitting Parnell orchestra - and Benny Green.

The philosophy of the band was to be a co-operative, a democratic outfit enjoying equal profits and musical inputs but with Scott’s final say on musical policy. The band was highly popular. It was commercial in its basic dance band format but with a definite forward-looking jazz idiom and the sense to look smart and sophisticated in its uniforms and insignias. Spillett does not shrink from including adverse press coverage from misinformed, misunderstanding or just biased critics.

To mention a few of the tracks of this album. The extrovert opening track ‘Fast and Loose’ is where Bop-meets-Rhythm and Blues; it’s a joyful outpouring played, yes, fast and loose. The gently modulating ‘Body Beautiful’ that follows is slow and slinky while the ‘Yardbird…’ is cool and sophisticated. ‘If I should Lose You’ is sexy and melancholically expressive, and ‘In the Land of Nimbupani’ is hot and exuberant. Passing on there is the slightly blousy ‘El Sino’ the hot, racy ‘Nimo’ and the romantic ‘I Wished Upon the Moon’ but there is also the extraordinary almost 7-minute treatment of Richard Roger’s ‘This Can’t be Love’ featuring the amazing talent of Victor Feldman on vibes and conga drums over Tony Crombie on piano.

Looking at the second session, there are two takes for three numbers – ‘Sunshine on a Dull Day’, ‘Fools Rush In’ and ‘Perfida’ – the master and an alternative for each. Listening to them one wonders in one or two cases which is best. (‘Poor Butterfly has only one take.) Interestingly, ‘Sunshine…’ and ‘ …Butterfly’’ allow Scott to show off different aspects of his expressive talent.

A terrific album commemorating the relatively short life of Ronnie Scott’s 9-Piece modern jazz dance band.

Ian Lace

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