Here and Now and Sounding Good
THE ORIGINAL LP 20093 MCL (1967) STEREO
Off the Wagon (Hayes)
Don’t Fall Over the Bridge (Hayes)
Sunday Lunch (South)
Little Miss Sadly (Tracey)
El Schtuck (South)
THE ORIGINAL LP 20077 MCL (1966)
Storm Warning (South)
What is there to Say? (Duke; Harburg)
Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen; Mercer)
Wind of Change (South)
Get out of Town (Porter)
March On (Morrissey)
The late Dick Morrissey was one of the finest exponents of the tenor sax ever to emerge from the ’60s British jazz scene – a player whose prowess placed him on a par with such British sax geniuses as Tubby Hayes, Alan Skidmore, Tony Coe and Pete King. Therefore, Vocalion is more than proud to present on this 2-CD set two of The Dick Morrissey Quartet’s greatest recordings. Hailing from the latter half of the ’60s, both ‘Here and Now and Sounding Good’ (1967) & ‘Storm Warning!’ (1966) were recorded for the Mercury label and find Dick in his mid-twenties, a fully-fledged jazz tenor player in the company of Harry South, the first of several musical partners, mentors and guides who enhanced Dick’s career. Phil Bates (bass) and Bill Eyden (drums) are fine players and Phil Seamen (drums) is indeed the stuff of legend. Pianist-composer Harry South’s presence is keenly felt throughout both albums, contributing four original compositions. The remainder of the material comprises music by Tubby Hayes, Stan Tracey, Ian Hamer and Dick Morrissey himself, which sits nicely alongside a few well-chosen standards.
Remastered from the original stereo analogue tapes.
"I was the journalist who broke the big story at the time, that Dick had split with guitarist Jim Mullen, to disband the wonderful Morrissey Mullen jazz-funk outfit. I remember calling Jim one day for a chat, and he seemed upset. He told me Dick had just that minute put the ‘phone down after breaking the bombshell news he was done with Morrissey Mullen. His reasons were simple...
He just wanted to go back to playing jazz to pub and club audiences, to enjoy his playing again, rather than being part of a hip chart band playing in huge venues to thousands. From selling out several nights at Hammersmith Odeon, to the backroom of a smoky pub on a Sunday night, with bass and drums as a jazz trio, playing to a few dozen people, often for little more than beer money after the band and travel/B&B costs were covered. But in his element. Dick loved his jazz and jazz fans loved him.
I recall photographing him at the start of the '80s, when he was backing blues legend Jimmy Witherspoon in 'Our Band.' Great memories of a tremendous player and a very nice bloke. Now two of his seminal albums are available on one CD. 'Here And Now And Sounding Good' (1967) and 'Storm Warning' (1966). Perhaps never quite widely recognised as the great player he was, a listen to either of these two albums on one CD, confirms that as a statement of fact, not just a suggestion.
Recorded for the Mercury label, Dick in his mid '20s and in good company, with mega drummer Phil Seamen, Bill Eyden also on drums (he of Whiter Shade of Pale fame, for which he got a £15 session fee), Phil Bates on bass. Pianist and composer Harry South, who helped guide Dick’s career enormously over the years. He contributes four originals here. The remainder of the material comes from the pens of Tubby Hayes, Stan Tracey, Ian Hamer and Morrissey himself, alongside some well chosen standards. Come Rain or Come Shine a pleasing offering.
Dick lost his battle with cancer in 2000, aged just 60. But he was a fighter to the end, and spent the last few months of his life sat in a wheelchair in his local pub in Kent, playing sax to a packed room with what little breath he had left. His work with early jazz-rock band “If” was some fine, fine playing and arrangements. Worth checking out. Maybe Vocalion can get hold of those recordings and bring them out on CD. I’ll be first to order them if they do. Meantime, get this CD of Dick’s and enjoy one of the great communicators of jazz, who straddled jazz and rock with ease and opened the door for many jazzers of the future to do the same, without fear of accusations of selling out. Bless you, Richard Edwin "Dick" Morrissey. RIP."
Simon Redley, www.bluesandsoul.com
2 CD SET - 2CDSML 8479