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Tubby Hayes Quartet: “Commonwealth Blues”

(Art of Life AL1016-2)

Digital Downloads | About the Music | Selected Quotations

Tubby Hayes Quartet: "Commonwealth Blues"

Tubby Hayes: tenor saxophone, flute, vibes
Gordon Beck: piano
Johnny Butts: drums
Jeff Clyne: acoustic bass

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Tubby's Blues

The Song Is You
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The More I See You
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Speak Low
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Tubby's Blues

Tubby's Blues

Bluesology
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Detour Ahead
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Who Can I Turn To?
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Tubby's Blues

Tubby's Blues

Alone Together
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I Never Know When To Say When
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A Taste Of Honey
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Tubby's Blues

Tubby's Blues

Bye Bye Blackbird
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Time After Time
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In the Night
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Tubby's Blues

All 20 tracks are previously unreleased.

The complete unedited and previously unreleased 1965 BBC transcription recordings.

Digital Downloads {top}

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About the Music {top}

Recorded in the summer of 1965 at Kensington Studios in London, England by the BBC and subsequently sent to Spanish radio stations as Radio Transcription discs to be broadcast only on Spanish radio in the late 1960's. These previously unreleased studio recordings feature pianist Gordon Beck, drummer Johnny Butts and bassist Jeff Clyne. The Tubby Hayes Quartet is presented in a series of four seperate programmes designed to showcase Tubby's unprecedented talents on tenor saxophone, flute and vibes. Each of the four programmes begins and ends with the theme, Tubby's Blues, a song later retitled by Tubby as Commonwealth Blues. Art of Life Records, along with the assistance of Gordon Beck, has obtained the exclusive licensing rights from the British Broadcasting Corporation to make these recordings commercially available for the first time!! The CD comes with a 16-page booklet containing 12-pages of detailed and insightful liner notes which includes a historical overview of Tubby Hayes' recording career as well as how this classic British Jazz recording came to be. A must have recording for all Tubby Hayes fans as well as fans of British Jazz!! All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit digital technology.

Selected Quotations {top}

Tubby Hayes was one of the greatest Jazz musicians to emerge from England. A hard bopper who kept his mind open in later years towards freer sounds, Hayes is best known for his tenor-saxophone playing but was also quite skilled on vibes and flute. This set of previously unreleased recordings is very valuable. The four sets of radio transcriptions for the BBC feature Hayes on all three of his instruments (a set apiece focusing on each of his axes and all three employed on the final songs) and also give listeners an early sampling of pianist Gordon Beck. The many versions of "Tubby's Blues" were used as opening and closing themes for the shows. Tubby Hayes was in prime form in 1965, making this CD a must for hard bop collectors.
Scott Yanow All Music Guide

Apart from the Tempo albums mostly now reissued on Jasmine and some of the 'lost' Fontana masterpieces reissued in Japan only, this is perhaps the first studio album to emerge of mid-period Tubby Hayes. It's also a real cracker. Recorded in London in 1965 for broadcast in Spain, this CD comprises 20 tracks of which 8 are intros complete with Spanish voiceover. The intros are of Tubby's Blues which was later renamed Commonwealth Blues by Hayes. The set, taken from BBC transcription discs El Cuarteto De Tubby Hayes (catalogue numbers 117037, 117040, 117044 and 117048) under license from the BBC, is stunningly played by an all-star quartet with Hayes on tenor saxophone, flute and vibes, Gordon Beck on piano, Jeff Clyne on acoustic bass and the late Johnny Butts on drums. The recordings also allow Tubbs to be heard playing much more on flute and despite his constant self-deprecation regarding his ability on any instrument other than the tenor sax, Hayes was a virtuoso both on flute and vibes. Listen to the beautiful, haunting A Taste of Honey or his hauntingly lovely composition, In the Night if you needed 300% proof. Equally, the groovy Bluesology was a brilliant showcase for his vibes work. It's impossible to find a mediocre track on this 54 minute treat. All the tunes are just excellent. It's a pity that the set wasn't recorded in stereo but you can't have everything and the recording quality is so high you don't notice the mono much at all. The packaging includes great photographs of Tubbs, Johnny Butts and Gordon Beck (who co-produced this CD) by photographer Freddy Warren. There are also some very extensive and useful sleevenotes by Richard Hyla and a great label on the CD iteself replicating a BBC transcription disc. All credit must go to Art of Life's Paul G. Kohler who negotiated permission from the BBC to re-issue these sessions. This is simply a must for any Tubbs fans. Very highly recommended.
Roger Farbey Remember Tubbs - Tubby Hayes Tribute Web Site

Tubby Hayes was the first modern English Jazz soloist to make a name for himself abroad. A self-taught musician best known for his tenor sax stylings, Hayes later added the flute and, unusually, the vibes to his arsenal. "Commonwealth Blues" is a record that's made to order for Hayes collectors who already have records like "Late Spot at Scott's" or "Tubby's Groove". Recorded in London in the mid-60's for broadcast in Spain, it has never been issued until now. This release presents the material exactly as recorded, with numerous short versions of the theme "Tubby's Blues" and short announcements in Spanish intact. The rhythm section is the Gordon Beck Trio of the time, with Jeff Clyne on bass and Johnny Butts on drums, a most sympathetic threesome indeed. It will surely please his fans, not least for the excellent notes and sound quality that is amazing.
Duck Baker Coda Magazine

Tubby Hayes essentially put British jazz players on the map. In his short life and career he actively pursued excellence on his instruments (tenor sax, flute and vibes) and as a composer. Aficionados are finally discovering or re-discovering this icon. "Commonwealth Blues" consists of BBC radio transcriptions that were originally intended for broadcast overseas. They contain announcements in Spanish and are programmatic in nature, with sections devoted to Hayes on his three instruments. Though the band is called - in Spanish - El Cuarteto de Tubby Hayes - it's actually the Gordon Beck Trio led by Hayes. Four vinyl transcription discs were originally made, each leading off with Tubby's Blues, with the leader demonstrating his skill with this most basic of forms. Beck on piano, Jeff Clyne on bass and Johnny Butts on drums not only complement Hayes but also demonstrate why the group was so popular on its own, recalling Red Garland's group working with Miles and Coltrane as they wail their way through standards and blues. Among the gorgeous ballad readings here, the little-known classic I Never Know When to Say When (by Leroy Anderson for a 1962 show of Goldilocks) finds Hayes on flute gorgeously reading the lyrics and plaintively reflecting a sad innocence. Much of the music here was coming to be known in the mid 60s, when songs from shows were still very much before the public. Two here - A Taste of Honey (from a movie, actually) and Who Can I Turn To had actually been pop hits. Hayes' interpretations show how a great jazz player can transform even seemingly common material.
Donald Elfman All About Jazz New York

Congratulations from one very satisfied customer. I grew up in London and had the chance to be a Tubby fan from the very early days and used to hear him at the Marquee and the Festival Hall. I was even in the audience for the taping of the "Jazz Couriers In Concert" when they opened for Dave Brubeck. So I love my Tubby tapes etc and I'm delighted to see the surge of interest in what he produced. The sound balance on these transcriptions is excellent. On my fifth time through I find I'm listening very closely to Jeff Clyne. His choice of notes seems perfect. The liner notes are very informative. Congratulations on an all-round terrific production. All the best. Keep up the great work.
Ian S. - Canada

Really really wonderful work from Tubby Hayes! The tunes on the set were recorded for radio, it's true -- but they're far more than just rehashed album material, or live performances -- as they capture a really unique side of the Tubby Hayes genius, including some aspects of his playing that were not recorded that strongly in the 60s! First off, the sound is great, and done in an intimate studio session -- with a quartet that includes Gordon Beck on piano, Jeff Clyne on bass, and Johnny Butts on drums. Secondly, Tubby himself is really stretching out on flute and vibes -- two instruments that featured more in his stripped-down 50s sessions, but which don't show up that often from this period. His work on both is great on the set -- and Tubby comes across with a gentler, more soulful approach than even on his excellent Fontana albums from the time -- a style that's almost a back-to-basics of his late 50s years, but which is inflected here with much deeper feeling. The album features original tunes "In The Night" and "Tubby's Blues", the latter of which is done in a number of versions -- plus versions of "The More I See You", "Bluesology", "A Taste Of Honey", "Who Can I Turn To", and "I Never Know When To Say When". A really great album -- essential Tubby Hayes from the 60s!
Rick Wojcik - Dusty Groove America

Wow! Having been a fan for a modest, but firm 15 years, I must say I remember a time when all I had to listen to was the Columbia set with Clark Terry and it had always been my favorite, until I discovered "Mexican Green". Today, with over 50 references available, a "new" Tubby Hayes CD, be it unreleased or re-released, should no longer be a miracle, but this is... a new step: Tubbs on Tenor AND on vibes AND on flute, on the same album, is quite rare. And with this sound, and this quartet, featuring the incomparable Jeff Clyne (The best bassist Tubby ever played with, probably, with all due respect to Ron Mathewson) and this repertoire... Of course we are used to hearing Tubby Hayes stretching out apparently effortlessly on 10-plus minutes improvisations, but here, very much is said in the tighter time-span of all these wonderful miniatures, ranging from 3 to 5 minutes, all of which reminds me of the very first of Tubby's quartet dates, in 1955. Another proof of his consistency; and another great album to add to his now impressive list of masterpieces, simply.
Francois M. - France

The sound reproduction is astonishing. Thanks very much for your corporate time, effort and expense to seek out this particular music. You have provided the "art of life" to my aged memory bank. Thanks so much!!!
Don C. - Canada



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