C L A R K  S O R L E Y

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It’s amazing just how accomplished British jazz was in the 1960s. Tubby Hayes was as good as they come. Yet these guys paled up against the American legends: Armstrong, Davis, Coltrane, Gillespie, Parker, Monk and the rest. It wasn’t that the legends were so much better it’s just that the story of jazz belonged to them, the originals, the ones that blazed the trail.

The spotlight moved to Britain when The Beatles became kings. It must have been tough for the British jazzers then, playing second fiddle to the Americans in their own genre, then seeing home-grown pop, which most of them probably hated, come to dominate the era.

I had the privilege of recording some of these great players thirty years ago and maybe didn’t fully appreciate their high value. In aid of name-dropping I'll list a few: Jimmy Deuchar, Bobby Wellins, Stan Tracey, Tommy Whittle, Mike Westbrook, Keith Tippett, Don Weller, Dick Morrissey, Elton Dean, Roy Babbington, Henry Lowther. Respect!

I had the privilege of recording some of the great British jazzers


music • 06.11.10