THE ORIGINAL LP SCX 6003 (1965) STEREO
Paul Gonsalves & Tubby Hayes
Tupa (Hayes; Gonsalves)
Amber Mood (Deuchar)
Just Friends (Klenner; Lewis)
Pedro’s Walk (Hamer)
Baby Blue (Tracey)
Mini Minor (Hamer)
THE ORIGINAL LP TWO 118 (1966) STEREO
The Johnny Scott Orchestra
Let’s All Go Down the Strand (Castling; Murphy)
They’re Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace (Fraser; Simpson)
Chelsea Bridge (Strayhorn)
Knocked ’em in the Old Kent Road Wotcher (Ingle; Chevalier)
The Trees in Grosvenor Square (Whittam)
Limehouse Blues (Braham)
London By Night (Coates)
Greek Street, Soho (Scott)
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Sherwin; Maschwitz)
Covent Garden Starts Early (Scott)
Springtime in Piccadilly Circus (Scott)
London Bridge is Falling Down (Trad arr Scott)
Two tenor sax colossuses – Paul Gonsalves and Tubby Hayes – join forces on ‘Just Friends’, a rare EMI album recorded in 1965, which here makes its first appearance on CD. Gonsalves, best-known as a member of Duke Ellington’s orchestra, and Tubby Hayes, long since regarded as one of the UK’s greatest tenor saxophonists, finally made time in their hectic schedules to record this album, decamping to the Lansdowne Studios in Holland Park to lay down seven superb examples of modern jazz. Apart from one standard number (the title track), the music comes from the pens of several premier British jazzers including Ian Hamer, Stan Tracey, Jimmy Deuchar and Hayes himself. In the band are such luminaries as Jackie Sharpe (baritone sax), Les Condon (trumpet), Stan Tracey (piano), Lennie Bush (bass) and Ronnie Stephenson (drums). In contrast is ‘London Swings’, the second album compiled on this release, a swinging, jazzy, big band affair conducted and arranged by Johnny Scott, erstwhile leader of British jazz group The Johnny Scott Quintet. Recorded in Abbey Road Studio No.2, the music is centred on the city of London, and Johnny Scott comes up with inspired arrangements of famous numbers including Chelsea Bridge, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and London By Night as well as a light sprinkling of original compositions.
Remastered from the original stereo analogue tapes.
"Many now sought after jazz recordings were made at EMI’s Landsdowne Studios in London, often referred to in the same esteem as Blue Note’s Rudy van Gelder Studio productions during the late ‘50s and ‘60s. Landsdowne output included Stan Tracey Big Band and Quartet, Tony Coe, John Mayer and Joe Harriott and the Indo Jazz Fusion recordings.
As well as the legendary Tubby Hayes. 'Just Friends' is the album re-issued by Vocalion, the follow up to the celebrated 'Change of Setting,' which was recorded with The Paul Gonsalves All Stars, who were in effect; British session guys with the one Duke Ellington side man – Ray Nance on violin and trumpet.
On 'Just Friends,' Hayes, the only British tenor sax player to play with Duke Ellington, is joined by American sax star Paul Gonsalves on this rare EMI album recorded in 1965. Making its first appearance on CD. The Holland Park studios saw these two giants meet up in a packed schedule, to lay down seven tracks, superb examples of modern jazz. Apart from the title track standard, the compositions all come from British premier jazz players. Ian Hamer, Stan Tracey, Jimmy Deucar and Hayes himself.
Heavyweight musicians included Jackie Sharpe on baritone sax, Les Condon on trumpet, Stan Tracey on piano, Lennie Bush on bass, Ronnie Stephenson on drums. Two albums on one disc, the second album is Johnny Scott’s 'London Swings,' a sparkling big band offering. Conducted and arranged by Scott, an arranger for EMI at Abbey Road and prolific TV score composer. He also recorded a respected quintet album in ‘67 at Abbey Road, produced by Ron Richards who produced 'London Swings.' Using the same rhythm section as the big band album here, with Duncan Lamont on tenor sax, and the addition of David Snell on harp. London Swings was recorded in Abbey Road’s number 2 studio, with a musical theme of the city of London, with inspired arrangements of such famous numbers as: 'Chelsea Bridge,' 'London By Night' and 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,' plus some original compositions."
Simon Redley, www.bluesandsoul.com
Another rewarding Hayes session, Just Friends – a 1965 collaboration with Duke Ellington’s famous tenor man, Paul Gonsalves – has just been reissued (Hayes deputised for an ill Gonsalves in Ellington’s sax section at a Festival Hall concert the previous year). Hayes features on vibes as well as sax, with Stan Tracey on piano. A bonus album on the disc is a session from the same timeframe, London Swings, a vividly etched portrait of The Big Smoke by The Johnny Scott Orchestra.
Charles Waring, Record Collector, September 2011 (four stars out of five)