Various: Soho Scene ’59-’60 – Jazz Goes Mod


A four-CD compilation aimed at conjuring up the atmosphere of Soho at a time when modern jazz was its fashionable background music. Or, to put it slightly more accurately, when many lively and attractive young people styled themselves “modernists” (later shortened to “Mods”), with modern jazz as their music of choice and Soho as their patch  – those who were able to get there, anyway. Colin MacInnes portrayed this same scene, exaggerated more than somewhat, in his 1959 novel Absolute Beginners

Two of the discs are devoted to British recordings and two to American ones. The latter are of two kinds: there are very well known pieces – Charles Mingus’s “Boogie Stop Shuffle”, Horace Silver’s “Sister Sadie”, John Coltrane’s “Naima” etc, and undistinguished tracks by Bo Rhambo, Herman Foster, Larry “Wild” Wrice et al. Maybe they were on juke boxes in coffee bars. The British selection, on the other hand, is full of interest, not to say astonishment at times. Naturally, Tubby Hayes turns up quite often, as do Tommy Whittle, Joe Harriott and others. But Pete Pitterson, Tommy Watt, Bogey Gaynair, and the ever-changing Jazz Inc, with Leon Calvert, Al Newman and Bobby Wellins among those present – that’s a very hip selection. A few of them come from BBC broadcasts, the most startling being a blues by the Jazz Couriers with Dizzy Reece added. Broadcast in December 1959, that must have been one of the Couriers’ last sessions, recorded some months earlier. They had broken up by the time Ronnie Scott opened his club on 31 October .   

According to a handy catalogue enclosed in the pack, there are (or will be) three more Jazz Goes Mod packages, covering the following three years. I think we should look out for them. And, speaking of  enclosures, this set comes with copious notes by Simon Spillett (who else?) and a rather fetching snatch of imaginary narrative and dialogue, by one Paul “Smiler” Anderson.

CD1: [British Jazz 1959] Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair: Wilton’s Mood; Eddie Thompson Trio: Mine Still; London Jazz Quartet: London Lament; Jack Parnell Orchestra: The Golden Striker; Tommy Watt Quartet: Embargo on Escargot; Joe Harrriott Quintet: Señor Blues; Vic Lewis All-Stars: Beaulieu Blues; The Jazz Makers: The Real Funky Blues; Tommy Whittle Quintet: New Horizons; Dizzy Reece & the Jazz Couriers: Blues in Trinity; Pete Pitterson Quintet: The Willow; Stan Tracey: We’ll Call You; Johnny Dankworth Orchestra: Dauphine Blues; Jazz Inc: Jamba; Vic Ash Quintet: Cobwebs; The Jazz Couriers: In Salah; Tubby Hayes Quartet: Blue Hayes; Kenny Baker: Too Cool for the Blues; The MJ6: Tracy’s Theme
CD2: [Jazz USA 1959] Art Blakey & the Afro-Cuban Boys: No Hay Problema; Harold Land All-Stars: Blowin’ the Blues; Barney Kessel: Night Cry; The Mastersounds: Golden Earrings; Charles Mingus: Boogie Stop Shuffle; Horace Silver Quintet: Sister Sadie; Jimmy Smith: The Sermon; Bobby Timmons: This Here; Ray Bryant: Little Susie pts 2&4; Billy Paul: Go to Hell; Gerry Mulligan: As Catch Can; John Coltrane: Naima; Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Grand Central; Bill Doggett: Backwards; Oscar Brown Jnr: Three Squares & a Bunk; Googie Rene: Caesar’s Pad; Bo Rhambo: Two for the Blues; Viper’s Blues: Herbie Alpert & his Quintet; Harvey Anderson: Monday Night at 8pm; Mr Lee: Mr Lee’s Plea.

CD3: [British Jazz 1960] Harry South Big Band: Southern Horizons; Tony Crombie Orchestra: Samba de Janero; Ernest Ranglin: One for Picka; Dill Jones Trio: Threesome; The New Jazzmakers: I’m Gonna Go Fishin’; John Dankworth Orchestra: Treasure Drive; Vic Lewis All-Stars: Little Darlin’; London Jazz Quartet: Mirage; Joe Harriott: Tuesday Morning Swing; The Jazz Five: Still Life; Victor Feldman Quintet: Something Blue; Wilton Gaynair/Shake Keene Quintet: Kingston By-Pass; Dizzy Reece: The Rebound; The Jazz Couriers: Too Close for Comfort; The Jazzmakers: The Moonbather; Tubby Hayes Quartet: St Vitus Dance; Little John Anthony: Midnite Jump; Big Doll: Swingin’ Preacher; Ken Jones & His Orchestra: Bluesville.
CD4: [Jazz USA 1960] Oscar Brown Jnr: But I Was Cool; Lennie McBrowne & the Five Souls: Saudi; Helyne Stewart: & Teddy Edwards Septet: Why Don’t You Do Right?; Nat Adderley/Wes Montgomery: Sack o’ Woe; Quincy Jones: G’wan Train; International All-Stars: African Dance; Larry “Wild” Wrice: Husky; Maxine Dixon/Dorothy Ashby Trio: Double Talkin’; Armando Peraza Trio: Triste; Lee Morgan: Terrible T; Billy Higgins: Me and My Loved; Sunny Harris & the Three Orbits: Sad Sacks; Lionel Hampton: Wailin’; Rune Overman Trio: Funky Festival; Herman Foster: Herman’s Blues; Larry Young: Young Blues; Jimmy Smith: Back at the Chicken Shack; Ram Ramirez: Twist This; Ernie Andrews: West Coast Blues; Willis Jackson: Cool Grits.

Rhythm & Blues Records RANDB049

Review overview
Reviewer rating
Previous articleBix Beiderbecke: The Bix Beiderbecke Legend
Next articleDhafer Youssef: Sounds of Mirrors
"A four-CD compilation aimed at conjuring up the atmosphere of Soho at a time when modern jazz was its fashionable background music".various-soho-scene-59-60-jazz-goes-mod