It’s been a remarkable year for the rise in profile of Tubby Hayes. Mark Baxter and Lee Cogswell’s film A Man In A Hurry received rave reviews and saw Tubby featured across a range of media outlets, not all previously known for a predilection in British jazz, and encouraged a whole new army of listeners, many who weren’t born when The Little Giant drew his last breath in 1973, aged 38.
Simon Spillett’s biography The Long Shadow of the Little Giant: The Life, Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes was published earlier in the year by Equinox and although received far less attention is the ideal next stop for anyone wishing to find out more. It’s a comprehensive account, written with obvious love of the subject but very even handed, offering different viewpoints. In addition to the engrossing central story, the portrayal of Britain and its jazz scene(s) from the late 50s is equally fascinating, as is how it changed with the emergence of the Beatles. It’s an often overlooked period of music in this country. Spillett has an admirably inclusive writing style: making the narrative accessible and informative to the jazz novice whilst, as an award-winning saxophonist, his discussion of the musicianship throughout Hayes’ career provides deeper analysis for the more seasoned jazz buff. It's an excellent book, meticulously researched yet still readable, which works both as a straight biography and for anyone wishing to learn more about jazz in general. It even opened my cloth ears to hearing things differently.
And now, once you’ve watched the film, listened to the albums, read the book, you might fancy hanging some art on your wall. Darren Draws (known on occasion as Darren Riley or Ballad) has produced a couple of interpretations of Hayes album sleeves: The Tubby Hayes Quintet’s 1962 LP Down In The Village, recorded live at Ronnie Scotts, and the 1958 Jazz Couriers’ LP, The Couriers of Jazz. Available as 12" x 12" giclee print on matt-finish smooth rag paper in a limited edition of twenty, each print is signed and numbered. Yours for thirty quid. More info at Stuff Darren Draws.