This recording session was brought about mainly by mutual admiration - mutual admiration of two top tenor saxophonists, each for the other. When the Duke Ellington Band played England and the Continent in 1964, it was unfortunate that Paul Gonsalves, a real cornerstone of the organisation, was taken ill immediately prior to the bank's opening concert at the Festival Hall. It was extremely fortunate for Duke Ellington that, seated in the stalls that night, eagerly waiting to hear the show, was Tubby Hayes. He was spotted, his help solicited, and the band took up the state with Mr. Hayes occupying the vacant seat in the saxophone section. At the end of the concert 'Tubs' rightly received a standing ovation for a difficult job expertly handled, but nowhere was the acclamation stronger than from the Ellington musicians themselves.
A few days later, Paul Gonsalves, now completely recovered, took the opportunity to pay a call upon Tubby Hayes at the club where he was working. They played a set or two together and before Paul left made a friendly resolution that one day, come what may, they would somehow make a record together.
The opportunity occurred sooner than they expected, for the following year, whilst the Duke Ellington Orchestra were touring the Continent, they met up with Hayes once again. To get Paul and Tubby into a recording studio looked impossible, but the sterling efforts of Jackie Sharpe who personally, and at no small cost to himself, undertook to arrange the recording, made it possible. He hired the services of some of Britain's best musicians, got them all to a studio, and supervised the complete session. The results are here for you to hear.
As usual, when musicians of a like calibre get together, the music flowed freely, and the session went through without a hitch. The other British musicians were all keenly in sympathy with the two principal soloists and provided a solid foundation for them to work on. The front line worked exceedingly well together: as Deuchar, Condon and Sharpe were all members of Hayes' first small band, and were easily familiar with each other's methods. Stan Tracey, the pianist, was also completely conversant with their ways, having played with all the rhythm section from time to time at Ronnie Scott's Club, where he is the resident pianist. It was exceedingly fortunate that Sharpe was able to obtain the services of Lennie Bush and Ronnie Stevenson, for these two members of the Jack Parnell Orchestra are always in such great demand, that to find them both with time to spare for such a recording at the same time was lucky and unusual.
The scores are, except for one tune, original manuscripts by British musicians - so too are all the arrangements The opening track TUPA is an original composition by Gonsalves and Hayes - the title being derived from the first two letters of their names. Paul takes the first solo, Tubby the second. The eight bar exchanges between the two, give way to four bar exchanges, until the theme is faded out.
AMBER MOOD is a lovely melody composed and arranged by Jimmy Deuchar. Paul is the soloist throughout, except for eight bars from Deuchar's trumpet. JUST FRIENDS is another Jimmy Deuchar arrangement. A bright, swingy tune, Paul comes on first, followed by Deuchar on mellophone, with Paul again to finish it off. Side Two opens with a new composition by Ian Hamer, PEDRO'S WALK.
A Stan Tracey introduction leads to Paul and 'Tubs' swapping sixteen and then eight bar phrases. BABY BLUE was composed by pianist Tracey. It features some wonderful bass playing by Lennie Bush, and solos from both Paul and Tracey.
SOURAYA is another Hayes original. He opens playing vibes, the only other soloist being Gonsalves.
The final track, MINI MINOR, is another arrangement and composition by Ian Hamer. After a twenty-four bar introduction by the rhythm team the soloists are Paul, Keith Christie and Stan Tracey, in that order.
Paul Gonsalves - Tenor Saxophone
Tubby Hayes - Alto / Tenor Saxophone, Vibraphone
Jackie Sharpe - Baritone Saxophone
Les Condon - Trumpet
Jimmy Deuchar - Trumpet / Mellophone
Keith Christie - Trombone
Stan Tracey - Piano
Lennie Bush - Bass
Ronnie Stephenson - Drums
1. Tupa (Gonsalves)
2. Amber Mood (Deuchar)
3. Just Friends (Klenner & Lewis)
4. Pedro's Walk (Hamer)
5. Baby Blue (Tracey)
6. Souraya (Hayes)
7. Mini Minor (Hamer)
Recorded February 1965, London, UK
EMI SX 6003 (Stereo SCX 6003)
Reissued 2011 - Dutton Vocalion CDSML 8482