Tubby Hayes: No Blues, Complete Hopbine ’65

High-energy north London date with Tommy Whittle provides a comprehensive illustration of the saxophonist's ability and style


In the excellent accompanying booklet, Simon Spillett outlines the chequered background of the music on this double CD, in terms of its release both in bootleg and legitimate format. He is well known for his admiration for Tubby Hayes and every superlative he may have written about that fine musician is born out by these mid-60s recordings. He also refers to Tubbs being impressed by the young Ron Mathewson, then a member of the Alex Welsh band, who clearly had to step up his game for this particular gig.

The Hopbine was a pub next to North Wembley station (now a Tesco’s) which put on regular jazz gigs in the 60s and 70s, organised by saxophonist Tommy Whittle, invariably presenting name musicians. The nights were recorded by a gentleman by the name of Ted Lyon, a semi-legendary sound man who was responsible for the results we got from this live date.

The visiting tenor man was undoubtedly up for this occasion ripping through a number of choruses on Night And Day, making demands on the rhythm section in terms of unerring pace. All the Hayes devices are on display, his articulation impressive, a chance taken here and there in range, backed up by a genuine fieriness that creates a tangible excitement.

The ballad It Never Entered My Mind could come as a surprise for anybody who believed the saxophonist was all about technical presentation, for this is a wonderfully lyrical performance, even with touches of Getz around the edges. I Remember You is a pleasant enough outing for the trio, giving way to some great stuff from the two tenors taking On Green Dolphin Street apart both individually and in tandem. Whittle impressively fights his own corner as the Hayes whirlwind leads the way.

The second CD is no less enjoyable with the Miles Davis tune No Blues running close to 20 minutes as Tubbs puts his own stamp on the much-recorded piece. The trio led by actor, pianist and composer Kenny Powell give a decent rendition of What’s New?, heralding a final chance for the tenor saxophonists to send the patrons home with a smile on their faces as they give it a blast on Have You Met Miss Jones? Both men relish the possibilities in the tune’s structure.

Any jazzer out there who wishes to understand the Hayes legend a little better or simply requires a great example of his live persona, should go out and purchase this release immediately.

CD1: (1) Night And Day; It Never Entered My Mind; (2) I Remember You (3) On Green Dolphin Street (51.37)
CD2: (1) No Blues; (2) What’s New; (3) Have You Met Miss Jones? (44.02)
(1) Hayes (ts); Kenny Powell (p); Ron Mathewson (b); Dick Brennan (d). The Hopbine, North Wembley. 1965. (2) as (1) but omit Hayes. (3) as (1) but add Tommy Whittle (ts).
Jazz In Britain JIB-53-M-CD