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Tubby Hayes

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Tubby Hayes: How The Little Giant Conquered The Big Apple

You know you’ve got something when Miles Davis turns up to catch your opening night. Why the famously anti-social trumpet legend had decided to spend his evening off atop a bar stool in a tiny Manhattan club was down to the pull of one man; the stout, cheerful-looking 26-year-old tenor saxophonist squeezed alongside three other musicians onto the venue’s bar-level stage. The Half Note club itself was already becoming a noted New York night spot, its jazz policy having begun four years earlier in 1957. Since then, bands led by Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Bob Brookmeyer and others had been regular attractions, and within a short time the club would become widely regarded as a spiritual home for another saxophonist’s band – the quartet of John Coltrane. But tonight, Tuesday 19 September 1961, belongs to one man: Edward Brian ‘Tubby’ Hayes, British modernism’s brightest light, whose arrival in the Big Apple that autumn was making headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.
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