During the time that Tony Coe worked with Humphrey Lyttelton he concentrated on playing alto sax and clarinet, so that it came as a surprise to me to find that on all but one track of this album he is featured on tenor. The change of instrument was obviously neither a difficult nor painful one for him, and it seems to have broadened his horizons in some unaccountable way. At any rate some of his solos, notably in Cannonball Adderley’s “Sack Of Woe”, seem to be further out than anything he has previously put on record.
The quintet sounds as if they had been working together for years, not months, and with one notable exception they produce some really swinging jazz. The odd one out is “Stomping”, where just about everything sounds wrong, to the extent that I believe that a wrong master was edited into the album!
John Picard blows some fine trombone, and sounds particularly fluent during his exchanges with Tony on alto in the opening “Sunday Morning”, Colin Purbrook, pianist with the quintet, contributed most of the arrangements, whilst Spike Heatley and Derek Hogg provide a sound rhythmic backing.
Full credit to Tony for the excellent choice of material, especially Rollins’ “St. Thomas”, a seldom heard piece with a lilting rhythm. This is one of the most exciting LPs of British origin that I have heard in a long time. I hope we shall be allowed to hear more of them soon.
Sunday Morning; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; Not So Blue; I Can’t Get Started; Sack Of Woe (24¼ min) – Stompin’ At The Savoy; Swingin’ Till The Girls Come Home; Blue Lou; St. Thomas (18 min)
Tony Coe (ten/alt); John Picard (tbn); Colin Purbook (p); Spike Heatley (bs); Derek Hogg (d). 10th July, 1962.
(Philips B 10784 L 12inLP 36s. 9d.)