Tubby Hayes

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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Tubby Hayes: Free Flight

Tenor saxophonist, flautist, vibraphonist and composer Tubby Hayes, who died at the unconscionably young age of thirty-eight in 1973, was that rare thing among the first generation of British jazz musicians in the 1960s—a player who was taken seriously by the hippest American musicians and audiences. He visited New York in 1961 and 1964 for well-received seasons at the Half Note, and went to Los Angeles in 1965 for a run at Shelley's Manne-Hole. An uplifting player, a gifted composer and technically advanced on each of his three instruments, Hayes first encountered his life-long friend and mentor Ronnie Scott when, aged 15, he asked Scott if he could sit in with his band. "This little boy came up, not much bigger than his tenor sax," said Scott years later. "Rather patronisingly I suggested a number and off he went. He scared me to death."

10 Tracks by Tubby Hayes I Can’t Do Without… by Simon Spillett

In our series in which musicians do a “deep dive” into the music of their inspirations, Simon Spillett writes about ten of his favourite tracks by Tubby Hayes:. 1. If This Isn’t Love – The Jazz Couriers (‘The Last Word’, 1959) As with all the pieces chosen for this, I’ve...