Various: Soho Scene ’58 – Jazz Goes Mod

Compilation evokes the late 50s London scene in tracks from locals such as Rendell, Ross and and Reece and Americans who visited, including Blakey, Burrell and Basie


This is the latest addition to the absorbing Jazz Goes Mod series from R&B Records. To clarify something which has confused a few, the series title is nothing to do with mods as manifested in 60s/70s youth culture but refers to the short-hand for modern jazz. Six other releases in the series depict the burgeoning growth of this music during the years 1959 to 1967.

Soho Scene ‘58 comprises two CDs – the first spotlights British bands and the second their visiting American counterparts at the time. In all there are 31 tracks recalling the year when London began its shift away from postwar austerity towards the swinging 60s. The first CD encompasses the leading British jazz lights of the time such as the Dizzy Reece Quintet, Don Rendell’s Jazz Six, the Jazz Couriers and Jimmy Deuchar Sextet. Alongside these are one or two bands who, whilst being equally proficient, are perhaps not so well-remembered now, such as the Melody Maker’s All Stars and blind pianist Eddie Thompson. Thompson’s Eddification, from his trio’s LP His Master’s Jazz, is actually one of the highlights here.

American bands could be seen playing in London’s clubs in 1958. Some of their recordings have since become classics and several are represented on the second CD. These include Cannonball Adderley’s Autumn Leaves, Moanin’ by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Ahmad Jamal’s Poinciana. The two last tracks, along with Count Basie’s Lil’ Darlin, are the original versions that were issued on 45rpm singles. This selection of American jazz heard “over here” in 1958 is highly listenable although in one track, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Harold Land’s tenor is too strident for these ears.

The album is accompanied by an interesting booklet with an eight-page exposition from Simon Spillett. He exposes the myth that nothing much happened in British jazz prior to the 60s and demolishes the belief, held by some, that American musicians considered themselves superior to so-called “copycat” jazz artists from Britain.

[British Jazz] (1) Eddification; Johnny Comes Lately; Mirage; Ninth Man; Morning Fun; Hard Dog; The Serpent; Jak-Jak; Just For The Boys; Tickletoe; Close Up; Slidin; Fishin’ The Blues; Jim & Andy’s; The Serpent; Heather Mist; Autumn In Cuba (79.47)
[Jazz USA] (2) Guys and Dolls; Moanin’; There Will Never Be Another You; You Don’t Know What Love Is; The Man I Love; The Seventh Son; Quintet Blues Walk; Tenderly; Autumn Leaves; Poinciana; Milestones; Freight Trane; Pyramid; Lil’ Darlin’ (79.45)

(1) Eddie Thompson Trio; Don Rendell Jazz Six; The Jazz Couriers; Tony Crombie; Alan Clare Trio; Melody Maker All Stars; Ronnie Ross Quintet; Jimmy Deuchar Sextet; Vic Ash Sextet; Don Rendell Jazz Six; Dizzy Reece Quintet; Ronnie Ross Quintet; Ken Moule’s Music; Johnny Dankworth; The Jazz Couriers; Jimmy Deuchar Sextet; Tony Kinsey Quintet. UK, 1958.
(2) Eddie Costa Quartet; Art Blakey Jazz Messengers; Hampton Hawes; Harold Land Quintet; Kenny Burrell Septet; Mose Allison Trio; Lou Donaldson Quintet; Bill Evans Trio; Cannonball Adderley; Ahmad Jamal Trio; Miles Davis; John Coltrane/Kenny Burrell; Horace Silver Quintet; Count Basie Orchestra. USA, 1958.
Rhythm & Blues Records RANDB079