Tubby Hayes - Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Session 1969
MQA-CD 2CD set
Two-CD deluxe edition featuring 18 tracks, in date and master tape running order. That configuration includes studio chatter, alternative takes and false starts.
Previously assumed to be lost or destroyed, the sessions represent some of Hayes’ best-ever work.
His biographer, the award-winning British jazz saxophonist Simon Spillett (The Long Shadow Of The Little Giant: The Life, Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes, 2017) says: “Sometimes when tapes than have been lost or rumoured to exist finally surface there is a touch of anti-climax or the need to ‘spin’ them in a way that makes them more important than they are.
“These sessions, on the other hand, are absolute classics in every regard. It’s an album that can sit equally alongside the best Coltrane, Rollins or Dexter Gordon LPs. It really is a lost masterpiece, make no mistake.”
Tubby HayesBy the time of the Grits, Beans and Greens sessions, the London-born Edward ‘Tubby’ Hayes had been a significant name in jazz for many years. He toured and recorded with his own big band, had his own television series and amassed a vast canon of albums from 1955 onwards. He also worked with such American titans as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington, and was admired by Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and Sonny Rollins.
At the time of the 1969 sessions, Hayes was also working on a more commercial project called The Orchestra, in which he aimed for the pop and easy listening market with covers of The Beatles, Burt Bacharach and Nancy Sinatra. The album fared relatively poorly, and with his health faltering, the saxophonist ceased recording. He died after open heart surgery at just 38, in 1973, and the Grits, Beans and Greens tapes were filed away and later mislaid.
Their rediscovery came about when the late jazz writer and Polygram catalogue manager Richard Cook saw entries in Hayes’ diary that detailed a number of recording sessions. Cook trawled through the Polygram archives and, in one of the great “finds” in jazz history, unearthed the 1969 tapes. Cook then left the company and it was only in 2018 that awareness of their existence resurfaced.
“It’s hard to believe that this music has lain unheard for fifty years, it’s so fresh,” says Spillett. “There’s no doubt in my mind that had they been issued at the time, these recordings would have been seen as Tubby’s last great album.”
|Brand||Decca / Universal|
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