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Jazz News Volume6 No5 0011

Jazz News Volume6 No5 0011

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Page 20
JAZZ NEWS—Wednesday, January 31st 1962
me jazz m/tee
ECENTLY I talked with Ted Heath
about the music scene as he sees
it today after forty years of expe-
rience in the musical profession. He
looked thoughtful when the subject
of traditional jazz cropped up in the
conversation.
“You know, it seems to me that
as quickly as the musicians move
forward the public move backward.
How can a nation go forward with
all these antiquated movements? We
don’t travel around in vintage cars
these days, why then do we have
these bands trying to recreate the
jazz sounds of forty or more years
ago? Most of the musicians I’ve heard
playing traditional jazz are not parti-
cularly good musicians by any stan-
dards. In most cases their playing
is marred by poor intonation and
many of them can’t even read music.
Do you call this progress? It cer-
tainly doesn’t help the younger gene-
ration forward musically speaking.
There are exceptions, of course. Ken-
ny Ball and Chris Barber are ex-
cellent musicians and could play in
any company. Also, I feel a lot of the
musicians are not being honest with
themselves musically in what they
want to play. What they may say in
public is one thing, but what they
really like — ah! that’s another
thing. Have you heard them discuss-
ing music in the bandroom? If you
have, you’ll know what I mean.
“In the hey day of the band bu-
siness—-in the thirties and forties
—you couldn’t say a musician wasn’t
leading a full musical life play-ng
in bands like the Dorsey’s, Miller’s,
James’, Shaiw’s, Goodman’s etc. The
real tragedy is that the younger mu-
sicians. coming into the profession
have no real training ground since
the dem'se of the big bands. Playing
rock ‘n’ roll is disastrous. Looking
back now over the past few years, I
suppose the worst thing that happen-
ed to popular music was the intro-
duction of programmes like “6.5 Spe-
cial” and “Oh I Boy” on T.V. It led
to the complete debasement of
music and dignity in the profession.
I hold the radio and recording execu-
tives responsible for this sad state of
affairs. When I started the band there
was a great deal more integrity in the
radio and recording industry than
there is today.”
TURN ON THE
HEATH
(The Second Part of Two Articles on Ted Heath and his
Music)
by John C. Gee
There was a momentary pause and
then Ted laughed. “I was just think-
ing hack to “6.5.' Special” because I
think that programme was my in-
truduction to a wonderful trombone
player in the band who took over
from Don Lusher. In my opinion he’s
one of the best trombonists in the
country — I mean Johnny Edwards.
As a rule though, it’s difficult to find
good replacements in a band like
ours. Deputies we’ve had from time
to time just don’t know how to start
the book.”
A note of nostalgia was sounded
as we surveyed the excitmg decade
from December 9th 1945 to August
21st 1955 during which time Ted
Health held sway on 109 occasions
at the London Palladium. The famo-
us series of Sunday “Swing Sessions”
which set a standard that I doubt
will ever be eclipsed.
“We played to Standing Room Only
every time during those ten years.
But we didn’t make much financially!
We had ten new arrangements on
most sessions and they were written
by the best arrangers money could
buy. I paid for all the extras includ-
ing advertising, guest artisKs, stall
etc. They were great days, but of
course we were lucky. We had re-
gular radio series which helped us on
our way, and some very successful
records. To start a big band these
days us very much more difficult.
Even in the States only Basie and El-
lington can manage to sustain them-
selves. Of course they have a jazz
policy, whereas we’ve never had that
100%”.
“We had a wonderful time in
the States. We played a concert
at Carneg:e Hall which was a tre-
mendous success, but the most en-
joyable tour we’ve ever done was
a package tour with Nat King Cole,
June Christy, and the Four Fresh-
men. It ran for five weeks and was
a complete sell-out. I’m not so an-
xious to go back there for the pre-
sent and play in Las Vegas till four
or five in the morning as most of
the bands seem to do. We did ex-
plore the possibility of playing in
the Soviet Union once upon a tme
but negotiations didn’t get very far.
A friend of mine in the British Em-
bassy in Moscow told me that the
Soviet Authorities considered my
band decadent. I thought at first he
was alluding to the recording com-
pany I work for!”
“Ambition? After all these years,
believe it or not, the band hasn’t
yet played in either Paris or Rome. I
hope that later this year we’ll be
able to play in both these beautiful
cities,” he added.
Let’s hope so too, Ted. In the
meantime and for many years to
come we’ll continue to accept your
invitation to' “Listen To My Music.”
JAZZ NEWS — Wednesday, January 31st 1962 Page 21
Fourth in the JAZZ NEWS series on the big names in British Jazz
BRUCE
¥>RUCE Turner is one of
the British jazz scene-
“characters”. His apparent
vagueness and off beat
sense of humour, his pas-
sion for anything sweet
and such comments as
“must save sixpence, dad.
For milk machines. Don’t
like milk, dad, but I love
the machines” and an out-
spoken attitude on British
jazz have all contributed
to what is almost a Bruce
Turner legend. Everybody
has stories to tell about
Bruce and more than one
person has thought of put-
ting them altogether into
a book.
The majority of jazz fans
only have contact with this
remarkable man through
his music, and his fans —
both musicians and non-
musicians are quick to pay
tribute to his distinctive
alto and clarinet playing.
Born in Yorkshire in 1922
his childhood was spent in
India. A self-taught musi-
cian he began with clarinet
in 1934 and added the alto
while in the RAF during
the war. His early musical
experiences were with t a
bop group, but he quit
music for the Civil Service.
In 1948, he joined the
Freddy Randall band
which was at the time
storming the country with
its own brand of Dixieland
TURNER I
jazz. During the year 1950,
Bruce went on the “Queen
Mary” with a group in-
cluding Dill Jones (pno)
and Peter Ind (bs). While
in America, he studied
with Lennie Tristano, re-
turning in 1951 to rejoin
the Randall band. For
four years, 1953-1957 Bruce
was with the Humphrey
Lyttelton band and since
’57, has led his own ‘jump’
band playing the often
neglected jazz of the thir-
ties with a repertoire of
such tunes as “Queen
Bess”, “Christopher Col-
umbus”, “Nuages”, “Opus
Five”, “Honeysuckle Rose”
mixed with standards such
as “Cushion Foot Stomp”.
A disciple of the Johnny
Hodges school of playing
Bruce Turner has some-
what formidable ideas on
jazz. He has been quoted
as saying such things as
“What about technique? If
you get a good technique
then look around for some-
thing to play, that is put-
ting the cart before the
horse. That is one reason
why I don’t practice. With
jazz, what is there to
practice?”
In the highly competi-
tive traditional jazz world,
Bruce Turner—who doesn’t
lead a trad, band — holds
his own. He is one of the
most popular bands in
by
FRED WYATT
those jazz clubs, which
pride themselves on hav-
ing members with a
reasonable level of mus-
ical intelligence.
Bruce is a frequent visitor
to Scandinavia where his
band is in constant de-
mand. As a guest solo
artist he makes periodic
excursions into small jazz
clubs, where local rhythm
sections have a ball accom-
panying him, for he is a
melodic player, simple but
interesting.
RAY CHARLES
Unchain My Heart/But
On The Other Hand Baby.
HMV 45-POP-969
Unchain My Heart which
is the “A” side is not li-
kely to interest jazz fans.
The useless Raylettes and
their dreary intrusions push
this side well beyond the
jazz fringe. It’s just ta-
1 anted Rock and Roll sung
by a first class blues singer.
But, On The Other Hand
Baby is an excellent piece
of blues singing and piano
playing which is worth
hearing. The Raylettes are
absent and in terms of
jazz this is the “A” side!
AL and SANDY’S ALL
STARS.
Yalknik/Blues March.
COLUMBIA 45-DB-4769
Yaknik is an uptempo
blues iwhich features the
Fair w e a t he r-Brown All
Stars at their best. The
tune is a Fadrweather ori-
ginal and the front line so-
los well. A m'xture of bar-
rel-house and high life jazz.
Should make the Top Ten.
Blue March compares
favourably with the Ben-
ny Golson/Art Farmer disc
of the same tune. The
front line and pianist
take solos. You can hear
the bass player on this disc
too.
played all over Europe and
toured with Sidney Be-
chet and Eddie Condon.
Whenever people talk of
the good qualities in
Brititsh jazz, they always
mention Bruce Turner. It
is doubtful whether the
general public will accept
the sort of jazz which
Bruce Turner offers these
days but then I don’t sup-
pose that worries Bruce
at all.
He’s simply content with
playing the sort of jazz he
likes. Eventually, people
will catch up with him.
Current Trad, has very
little left to offer.
ERIC ALLANDALE*S
NEW ORLEANS KNIGHTS
Dominican Carnival/Han-
shen Klein
COLUMBIA 45-DB-4773
Dominican Carnival is a
Kenny Graham calypso
tune with very little of
jazz interest.
Hanshen Klein (Little
Hans) if properly exploited,
is my bet for the Top Ten.
A German folk tune, jt fea-
tures well-played clarinet
from, I presume, W'll Has-
tie and vocals in German
by Eric Allandale. The
tune is pretty, competem-
tly played and catchy. I
shall watch its progress
with considerable interest!
TRAD PARTY Nos 3
and 4.
Big Ben Banjo Band
COLUMBIA 45-DB-4770
I won’t bore you with
the details of personnel (al-
though it’s mostly Alex
Welsh) or the tunes which
go to form two dreadful
medleys of pseudo — Di-
xieland jazz tunes. I’m sure
I oan hear about thirty-
seven banjos, and Arch:e
Semiple desperately t ly-
ing to disguise his own
unmistakable tone. I can
imagine the jazzmen invol-
ved having a wonderful
time recording this tripe,
but that’s probjahly their
only satisfaction.
During his career he has
SINGLE SPIN