Simon Spillett at Jazznights – The Bell, Clare on Sunday 15th May

(Click on pictures for larger images)

"Rising Star" in the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards and Jazz Journal’s "Record Of The Year" in 2009 – Simon’s star has well and risen. "Those of us who have heard him…have been left blinking in disbelief…mastery of the tenor saxophone…absolute conviction of his playing is so impressive" DAVE GELLY, THE OBSERVER

Jazznights Simon Spillett 150511 (18)"His sound is his own, as is his approach to phrasing…..he operates in the same high energy hard bop territory that Hayes did"
PETER VACHER – JAZZWISE May 2008 (Review of "Sienna Red")

"I have heard no-one in years who compares to tenorist Simon Spillett, a miraculous player who sounds like a reincarnation of Tubby Hayes but with his own personality. Catch him wherever he is. Astounding!"
"Such a terrific tenor player. I was astonished by what I heard. At times, it was like Tubby coming back!".
TONY HALL, (Veteran club compere and DJ, Hall produced Tubby’s Hayes recordings for the legendary Tempo label from 1955 to 1959)

With quotes such as these, what else is there to add? Simon was joined by the Roger Odell Jazznights Trio and our resident songbird Larraine Odell.

The Jazznights Trio & Larraine Odell:
Roger Odell Drums Jazznights Roger Odell 150511 (1)
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.
Chris Ingham – Piano
Chris trained as a drama teacher at Warwick University before succumbing to the music, he played guitar in misunderstood art ‘n’ b combo The Jazznights Chris Ingham 150511 (6)Locomotives and was pianist/vocalist in the Flanagan Ingham Quartet who released two albums (Zanzibar and Textile Lunch) and were described by The Observer as ‘one of Britain’s most original bands’. He is jazz piano and jazz voice tutor at Anglia Ruskin University
Bernie Hodgkins5 String Double BassJazznights Bernie Hodgkins 150511 (8)
Inspired by an uncle, who played and recorded with Django Reinhart and Stephane Grappelli in the legendary Quintet de Hot Club of France, Bernie grew up in a Jazz-oriented family. Their influence led him to become a respected bass player behind such people as Matt Munroe, Dickie Valentine and Dennis Lotus, in the early stages of his career. Bernie is particularly acknowledged as being one of the few players to bring an authentic, driving jazz feel to both the double bass and the bass-guitar, and for his fluent and creative soloing. Tonight Bernie was playing his his 5 string double  bass
Jazznights Larraine Odell 150511 (5)Larraine Odell – vocals
Beginning her professional singing career with the group CMU with whom she recorded two albums, Larraine performed at numerous venues throughout the UK and Europe, including the Purcell Room, RFH, Boxford Fleece & Ronnie Scott’s.Larraine possesses a unique smouldering tonal quality and a subtle jazz phrasing style that has elicited great praise from two of her own vocal mentors, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan

Our MC’s for the evening were the articulate and very jazz knowledgeable Donald Muir and Gareth Williams-James.

Larraine opened her set with Cole Porter’s 1936 I’ve Got You Under My Skin (The lyrics of “I’ve Got You under My Skin” relate to an infatuation “so deep in my heart, you’re really a part of me.” One of Cole’s neatest rhymes, “use your mentality, wake up to reality,” conveys the message “a warning voice that comes in the night.”) This was an unusual Latin arrangement by Roger Odell on which he used the mallets to great effect. The 1946 Old Devil Moon with music by Burton Lane and Lyrics from Yip Harburg followed (“Some popular songs have evolved from lyrics that were thrown out and replaced by other lyrics. This is one example,  it was originally written for Lena Horne with the title ‘This Is Where I Came In’.” A lovely medium tempo number which also featured all the members of the trio.

Larraine’s third song was Cole Porter’s 1939 I Concentrate On You which was originally introduced in the film Broadway Melody of 1940. This was a lovely slow number in another unique arrangement by Roger.

The next number was Glad to Be Unhappy (1936 – music by Richard Rodgers Jazznights Larraine Odell 150511 (8)and Lyrics Lorenz Hart) This was featured by Billie Holiday in her acclaimed album Lady In Satin. This was sung beautifully and was a sensitive rendition of a Billie Holiday number. Another Cole Porter number ended Larraine’s set – the 1932 Night And Day. (On November 29, 1932, Gay Divorce opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The show marked a departure for star Fred Astaire as it was his first appearance without his sister Adele. That night, teamed instead with Claire Luce, Astaire introduced Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” Gay Divorce would continue for another 247 performances, distinguishing itself as Fred Astaire’s last Broadway appearance). This was an up tempo number which was a lovely finale and again illustrated Larraine’s versatility.

Simon Spillett opened his first set with the Tubby Hayes composition No I Wouldn’t  which was featured on Tubby’s Little Giant Album. What a fantastic opening – up tempo in the time honoured Hayes tradition. Close your eyes and you are immediately transported down stairs at Ronnie Scott’s old place in Gerrard Street with Tubby at the mike. Simon ensured that all the band were featured with solos by Chris Ingham and Bernie Hodgkins as well as 8 bar trades between Jazznights Simon Spillett 150511 (23)Simon and Roger on drums. The second number was Jimmy McHugh’s 1936 Where Are You? ("from Lord Lucan The Musical!") – quite a contrast from the last number as this was a lovely melodic tune with a tender slow solo from Simon. Illustrated perfectly Simon’s great versatility and interpretation ability. Where Are You? was the eleventh studio album by Frank Sinatra and was the first album Sinatra recorded at Capitol without Nelson Riddle, as well as the first he recorded in stereo.

Cole Porter’s 1937 In The Still Of The Night concluded the first set. Tubby Hayes played this on his last appearance on television with Bruce Forsyth on piano on a Saturday night – can you imagine this on X Factor today?. This was not played in the the melodic slow manner that Cole Porter intended but at a very fast rumbustious pace. Roll on the second set.

Following the Jazznights raffle of two jazz Cd’s and a bottle of Merlot, Simon opened the second set with the last song that Jerome Kern wrote: the 1946 Nobody Else Jazznights Simon Spillett 150511 (17)But Me. Written as a slow tune but not played that way tonight. A very up tempo number featuring a solo by Chris Ingham and 8 bar trades between Simon and Roger Odell – a great opening. Bass House the 1955 number written by Jimmy Deuchar followed. Bass House does not stand for double bass house! It was one of several numbers written by Jimmy which included Treble Gold, IPA Special and Final Selection. All written with the the allegedly wealth of experience that Jimmy Deuchar had of these establishments!. Played at a medium tempo and did feature Bernie Hodgkins on the double bass.

Jazznights Simon Spillett 150511 (32A)Jimmy Van Heusen’s All This And Heaven Too came next which Simon first heard on a Ronnie Scott recording. Chris Ingham followed an intro from Simon leading into a solo from Bernie. A beautiful tender number supported sensitively by all members of the trio. Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo’s late 1940’s Afro Cuban Tin Tin Deo was played at a medium tempo and featured Chris Ingham which led into a superb solo from Roger Odell on the drums showing why he was such a respected drummer by his peers – as if his expertise as the drummer with Shakatak didn’t illustrate this.

A pretty ballad I Never Know When To Say When came next. This was written for the 1958 Broadway musical Goldilocks. Even though it earned two Tony awards, Goldilocks did not achieve commercial success. Anderson never wrote another musical, preferring instead to continue writing orchestral miniatures. This led to a Jazznights Simon Spillett 150511 (34)great finale from 1954 – Sonny Rollins Oleo. This was introduced in a June 1954 recording session for the Prestige label by Miles Davis’s Modern Jazz Giants. Sonny Rollins got the title from oleomargarine, which was a big thing then, a cheap butter substitute. This was a superb up-tempo which concluded a wonderful and most enjoyable gig. A night  to remember. The only disappointment of the evening was the relatively small turnout but as Simon Spillett said " It may be small but it is perfectly formed"

For further information and future gigs at Jazznights – go to

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