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Chiltern Hundreds Area

LIVE @ Thame Snooker Club
St Andrews Court
Wellington Street

- was on14th Feb 07
Remember Tubbs!
The Quartet will be played a "Tribute To Tubby Hayes" programme, including many of Tubby's own compositions. This will also include music written by Tubby which was never recorded on commercially issued albums - something of a coup!

Featuring :-
Simon Spillett - Tenor Sax
John Critchinson - Piano
Alec Dankworth - Bass
Spike Wells  - Drums

Reviewing Simon's quartet for The Evening Standard, Jack Massarik observed that "though born in 1974, a year after Hayes death at 38, Spillett has absorbed the master's saxophone style to an uncanny degree" and encountering the quartet and "hearing them play Tubby Hayes originals like Off The Wagon and Song For A Sad Lady was like time-travelling back to the future" as Simon "produced a whole compendium of high-precision Hayesian licks". 

Simon Spillett - Musician, Tutor, Composer and Jazz Writer
has been described as "a fiery saxophonist in the mould of the late Tubby Hayes", and it is Hayes who his work is most often said to recall, observers noting that Simon shares a fondness for fast tempos and sheer desire to create exciting no holds barred jazz. Indeed, Simon's quartet pays tribute to Tubby's genius at its club and concert performances, reprising some of Hayes own compositions, those associated with him and originals written by Simon dedicated to the spirit of the late great saxophonist. Tubby remains Simon's favourite jazz musician but he also loves and admires the work of many other saxophonists, including John Coltrane, Evan Parker, Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Dick Morrissey, Don Byas, Peter King, Stan Robinson, Branford Marsalis, Danny Moss, Sonny Rollins, Paul Gonsalves, Wayne Shorter, Alan Skidmore, Hank Mobley, Johnny Griffin, Zoot Sims, Joe Henderson, Bobby Wellins, Dexter Gordon, Al Cohn, Ronnie Scott, Junior Cook, Stanley Turrentine and Bob Berg.

There has also been praise forthcoming for Simon's skills as a composer; ALAN BARNES has called Simon's compositions "really good bebop and hard bop lines". Simon's favourite composers make an eclectic bunch; Tubby Hayes (inevitably), Horace Silver, Kenny Wheeler, Mike Pyne, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter.

Whether with his own quartet or as a guest, Simon's gigs promise an always energetic programme built around his own compositions and those by musicians he admires as well as choice standards. Also, he introduces both his fellow musicians and the music they play in a witty articulate manner, and presents himself, in the words of one veteran British jazz figure, "the way we used to!" Simon delivers a high energy evening of straight ahead jazz which all will enjoy

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"Simon Spillett is the kind of big toned wailing tenor player that I like. The influences of Tubby Hayes and Johnny Griffin are clearly discernible in his sound, harmonic thinking and in his direct no-nonsense determination in getting things swinging. This refreshing attitude is also in evidence in his composing. He has written a whole raft of catchy hard bop tunes which are great launching pads for the soloist and that never fall into the trap of complexity for complexity's sake. A great player"  ALAN BARNES 

"Sounds uncannily like Tubby Hayes, which I never thought I'd say about anyone!" MARTIN DREW

"Simon is a tenor player with his own style heavily influenced by Tubby Hayes. It is a pleasure to hear such a successful follower of this style of music, making it possible for it to be developed further" TONY LEVIN (Drummer with the Tubby Hayes quartet 1966-68)

"Spillett has absorbed the master's saxophone style to an uncanny degree" JACK MASSARIK, THE EVENING STANDARD

"It is a joy to discover Simon Spillett. He is to Bebop what Harry Allen and Scott Hamilton are to Mainstream" STEVE VOCE, JAZZ JOURNAL

"I have heard no-one in years who compares to tenorist Simon Spillett, a miraculous player" JOHN MARTIN, THE JAZZ RAG

"To say that he's one of Britain's finest musicians, writers and composers is almost an understatement" PETERBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB REVIEW OF SIMON'S QUARTET

Simon Spillett - Tenor Saxophonist, Writer and Composer

Described in "Jazz Review" magazine as " a formidable musician and composer playing and writing in an uncompromising hard bop style", Simon Spillett was born in Buckinghamshire in 1974 and played several instruments before settling upon the tenor saxophone in his late teens. He began his jazz apprenticeship virtually straight away, "sitting in" at various local venues with musicians such as DICK MORRISSEY and SPIKE ROBINSON before spending two and a half years studying with the legendary British jazz saxophonist and clarinettist VIC ASH.

Simon turned to music as a profession in 1996 aged 21 and has since led his own groups, from duos to larger units, and has performed as such venues as RONNIE SCOTT'S (Birmingham), THE 606 CLUB, THE BULLS HEAD (Barnes), SMOLLENSKYS, THE 100 CLUB and THE JAZZ CAFE in London.

For any saxophonists who've hit this page, Simon's set-up is as follows;
SELMER MK 7 Tenor Saxophone
OTTO LINK "9" Metal Super Tone Master Mouthpiece (I sometimes use an Ebonite Berg Larsen 130/3 M)
RICO Jazz Select 2 Soft Filed Reeds

Alec Dankworth  JAZZ PHOTO

British Jazz Awards winner Alec Dankworth has worked with artists as diverse as Stephanne Grappelli, Abdullah Ibrahim and Van Morrison. After studying at Berklee Colledge of Music, Alec became a member of various groups, notably Clark Tracey, Julian Joseph and Nigel Kennedy. During a period of residency in New York he played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Alec has since rejoined his parents' group and leads the Alec Dankworth Trio. His recent recordings have been with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and the Bill Lesage Trio. In May 2001 Alec left the Brubeck Quartet, and is based in London. He is now working once again with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, and with the Tina May Quartet.  In 2002 The Alec Dankworth Trio was formed – an acoustic trio performing an eclectic mixture of originals and standards by composers ranging from Dave Brubeck to Abdullah Ibrahim. Featuring Phil Robson on guitar and Julian Arguelles on saxes.
Alec Dankworth also has connections with Tubbs. His father and Tubby Hayes recorded together on the classic Dankworth LP "What The Dickens" in 1963.


John Critchinson
Born a true Cockney but spent his formative years (until aged 44!) in the West Country, around the Bath area. Worked with Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Jimmy Deuchar, Major Holly and many others in the early 1950s at a weekly jazz club, The Icebox, in Chippenham, Wiltshire, whilst an apprentice electrician in his 'teens.  After apprenticeship, worked as a semi-pro in and around Bath, including 2 years with the Bristol-based Avon Cities Jazz Band, then moved via Bridport (Dorset) to Torquay (Devon). After 18 months running a Quartet at the Imperial Hotel, in 1978 with the valued help of his friend and teacher, pianist Bill le Sage, he moved to London and joined Ronnie Scott's Quartet and was with the band until it ceased working in 1995.  Whilst with Ronnie's various groups, John also spent 3 years with the Morrissey Mullen Band and worked with many great American players including Chet Baker, George Coleman, James Moody, Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin. He also recorded 2 Trio LPs 'Summer Afternoon' and 'New Night' on the CODA label.  In 1995 John and Saxophonist Art Themen formed a Quartet with Dave Green, Double Bass and Dave Barry, Drums, who appear regularly at UK and European jazz festivals and venues. Their CD- 'First Moves' is to be re-released on TRiO Records.  After the untimely death of Ronnie Scott in 1996, John formed the 'Ronnie Scott Legacy' with Sax/Flautist Pat Crumly which for 3 years, toured the UK and New Zealand plus a Cunard Mediterranean Jazz Cruise.
Veteran John reached the 70 year milestone in 2004 and is planning to be around for the 80th.

First worked with Tubby in the 1950s and then again shortly before Tubby's death. He then went on to have a lengthy association with the "other" Jazz Courier, the late Ronnie Scott.

Spike Wells, phenomenal sympatico drummer who seems to read the soloist's mind.  Has worked with the best of British and American Jazz exponents during his career and now is being rediscovered in the company of our youthful talent such as Gwilym Simcock - Pianist and cooking authoritatively with Malcolm Creese - Bass at the Swanage Jazz Festival.
Of special note is the fact that drummer Spike Wells worked as a regular member of Tubby's quartet and big band from 1968 to Tubbs death in 1973.  Late in the autumn of 1968, Ron Mathewson the bassist arranged an "audition" for Wells to be held at Sinclair Road. "I just had a short time to get my head around the fact I was having the opportunity to join the leading jazz group in the country. I wood shedded a lot, particularly on fast tempos, which was the one thing I knew he would be merciless about".
The “audition” had got no further than the second number before Tubby turned to Wells to offer him the job. Again, he had found what he was looking for and in the star-making way which had benefited previous “discoveries” like Mike Pyne and Tony Levin, Spike Wells had got the Hayes seal of approval. He told me in 2004; “It was an intuitive thing, a bit like people say about Miles Davis. He hired you because he heard something about your playing that he wanted, and as long as you provided it, he let you do what you wanted”.  The “something” Tubby heard in Wells was a refreshing reflection of the changes which had taken place in jazz drumming over the preceding few years. The innovations of Elvin Jones and Tony Williams work with John Coltrane and Miles Davis respectively had transformed the idea of a jazz rhythm section, as Wells explained;
“There were new freedoms opened up in the concept of how to play together rather than just accompanying. We were all spinning ideas off each other in a rather more democratic way and that was what Tubby liked to get into at that point. I think he was intent of freeing up the overall concept. And he found that inspired his own playing”.
As Tubby told Charles Fox in an interview for the Radio Times in 1969; “What I really like is the way the rhythm playing has broken up; more varied, not just the old ching-ching-ching.”
Endorsement by Tubby led to a rapid overnight career change for Spike Wells and within weeks of joining the saxophonists quartet he was also working with Ronnie Scott and touring with the blind reed virtuoso Roland Kirk. - contributed by Simon Spillett.

"Playing with Simon now is a real buzz for me because it really is like having Tubby on the stand againSPIKE WELLS (Drummer with the Tubby Hayes Quartet and Big Band 1968-73)

Concert Programme included
First Set
In Walked Tubbs - Simon Spillett original
Off the Wagon - Tubby Hayes
Siroya - Tubby Hayes
Grits, Beans & Greens - Tubby Hayes
Nobody Else But Me - Tubby Hayes
Dear Johnny B - Tubby Hayes
Second Set
Mini Minor -
Tubby Hayes
Spring Can Really Hang You Out The Most -
Fran Landesman (lyrics) and Tommy Wolf (music)
A Song for a Sad Lady - Tubby Hayes
Take your Partners for the Blues  - Tubby Hayes
Ricardo - Tubby Hayes
Cherokee - Ray Noble


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Hi Ed, Just wanted to let you know that last night was fantastic!  Really enjoyed it!  I think a lot of people enjoyed the evening!  Well done.  Keep up the good work. Jill

I thought it was a great gig, well worth the journey from Southend!  Good venue, good sound, shame about the beer but I really enjoyed the evening!  RD

More Vibrant , Better, Cheaper & Much Safer Than a Trip to London's Jazz Haunts
Venue Details

Simon Spillett - I am very pleased to tell you that I have won the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards Rising Star category!  Highlights of the awards presentation and interviews with the winners will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 "Jazz Line-up" on Saturday 14th July at 5pm
The complete awards concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Monday 16th July at 10pm


Musicians and Deputies
The line-ups as listed are correct at the time of Publication and are those given to us by the leader of the group, and information is as accurate as we can make it. With the Music business being what it is, inevitable changes happen, and we amend the listings except for those that happen on the night. We have been very fortunate, as the substitutions made by the groups have often been surprise upgrades. Nevertheless, the situation is not one we can control due to the fallibility of the ever sensitive musicians.  Blessed as they are - they are not invulnerable.

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Last modified: 18/02/2012