SIMON SPILLETT (sax) at Jazz Nights on Sunday at the Bell Hotel Clare 17th January 2016 An amazing gig with the Roger Odell Jazznights Trio and vocals from Larraine Odell.

(click on images for larger pictures)

Currently touring the UK with his band celebrating the music of Tubby Hayes, Simon has Jazznights Simon Spillett 170116 (68)recently penned the definitive biography of this late, great saxophonist

Simon Spillett has recently penned the definitive biography of the the, great saxophonist Tubby Hayes. Simon’s own saxophone playing has often been compared to that of Tubby. “An extraordinarily talented tenor player” Tony Hall – Jazzwise. This has now been published as The Long Shadow of the Little Giant: The Life, Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes. An amazing book on the life and music of Tubby.

In addition, Simon is a major contributor to the DVD “Tubby Hayes – A Man in a Hurry” an  absolutely must for any any aficionado of the tenor sax and British jazz,

“I’m very proud to wear the label of jazz musician. It’s the greatest music in the world for me. I just want to play straight-ahead acoustic jazz. Four guys – me and a rhythm section – that’s what I do. Or a quintet, or whatever Bebop-based jazz, straight-ahead – it’s the thing I want to do and the thing I do best.” Simon Spillett, The Jazz Rag.

Originally influenced by the great Tubby Hayes, Simon has since forged an original style which adds a contemporary touch to the grand tradition of modern jazz saxophone. A winner of the British Jazz Award for Tenor Saxophone in 2011 he had already won Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards for 2007 and his CD “Sienna Red” won the Jazz CD award in 2009 – Simon’s star has well and truly 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 OBSERVERJazznights Simon Spillett 170116 (89)

“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!”

“He’s stood old head and young shoulders above many of his contemporaries as a live performer for several years. Five stars for knowing how to play jazz when so many of his generation think they can but can’t.”

“This is saxophone playing of the highest order. Consistency of tone throughout the range of the tenor, the infallible note production irrespective of tempo and the ability to think a long way ahead so there are no loose ends to Simon’s improvising. ”

“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)

“Spellbound! That’s all I can say! I went to see one of the UK’s leading saxophonists tonight and it was a sheer delight. Simon Spillett hit town with all the force of a force gale. His dapper look was a throwback to the days of Tubby Hayes and Zoot Sims and his two sets went by in the blink of an eye.”
Chris Dunkley of Leicester Saxophone group, review of guest appearance at The Crumblin’ Cookie, Leicester, May 23rd 2013

Jazznights Simon Spillett 170116 (124)“An evening that positively bristled with high-octane, swinging jazz, executed with a fiery passion and proving that this is indeed the music he does best. An interesting mix of ballad/jazz standards was on the agenda, the music firmly rooted in the classic sound of British jazz in the 1950’s and 60’s. The opener Secret Love was taken at a breakneck pace and a lively rendition of In The Still Of The Night, which I am sure if Cole Porter had heard, he would have changed the title immediately – nothing still about it! – prompting Simon to say, ‘I don’t think we had many casualties.’ It wasn’t all fire and brimstone;  Simon proved he could do the sensitive with a lovely interpretation of Yesterday I Heard the Rain. This was an evening of unpretentious swinging jazz – four excellent musicians enjoying themselves every bit as much as the audience. The finale just had to be Ray Noble’s Cherokee, the stunning tempo leaving both audience and players quite breathless.” review of guest appearance.

Simon Spillett played with the Jazz Nights trio who were:

Roger Odell – Drums

Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak and the forerunner band Tracks. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.

Simon Brown – Piano
Leading UK Jazz innovator and musical entrepreneur Simon Brown is a highly respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. His bands include the  quintet Beyond Cantaloupe featuring the music of Herbie Hancock, as well a the very popular Simon Brown Trio and Quartet.  He is also a stalwart of the Jazznights Trio with Roger Odell and Bernie Hodgkins.

Jazznights Roger Odell 170116 (87)      Jazznights Simon Brown 170116 (129)
Steve Cook – Double Bass

Steve has a wonderful rounded tone with great clarity. In the 1960s and 70s Steve Cook played with many leading jazz artists including Don Rendell, Art Themen, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Alan Skidmore, Pete Jacobsen, Michael Garrick and numerous others.  He was in several of Barbara Thompson’s bands including the Quintet, Jubiaba and Paraphernalia. He may occasionally be seen with the Harmony in Harlem band and the Cambridge Sinfonietta.  He has also had a 35-year career as a professional software engineer.

Larraine Odell – Vocals

Larraine began 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, Royal Festival Hall. Boxford Fleece & Ronnie Scott’s

Jazznights Steve Cook 170116 (77)       Jazznights Larraione Odell   Jazznights Trio 170116 (86)

Master of Ceremonies for the evening was the erudite Gareth Williams-James

Larraine Odell opened the first set with some great jazz standards including:

Lullaby of Birdland is a 1952 popular song with music by George Shearing and lyrics by George David Weiss
Falling in Love with Love, a show tune from the Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys from Jazznights Larraione Odell   Jazznights Trio 170116 (90)Syracuse
Wait till You See Him is a popular song written by Richard Rodgers, the lyrics by Lorenz Hart
For All We Know is a popular song published in 1934. The music was written by J. Fred Coots and the lyric by Sam M. Lewis
Weaver of Dreams is from an album by guitarist Kenny Burrell recorded in 1960 and 1961 with lyrics from Nat King Cole.

Simon Spillett then joined the band to an amazing set which included extended versions of:

Nobody Else But Me, sometimes called “Nobody Else But You”, is a 1946 jazz standard Jazznights Simon Spillett   Jazznights Trio 170116 (128)composed by Jerome Kern. “As you know this is a beautiful ballad but as you know, I don’t do beautiful ballads”. This was of course a steaming up-tempo version from Simon.
Alone Together is a song composed by Arthur Schwartz. The first jazz artist to record the song was Artie Shaw in 1939.
Saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ composition Oleo was introduced in a June 1954 recording session for the Prestige label by Miles Davis’ Modern Jazz Giants. Rollins got the title from oleomargarine, which was a big thing then, a cheap butter substitute.

Following the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz cd’s we had the traditional Jazznights sitting in spot which is open to all musicians who have an  opportunity to play  with the band. Tonight we had Carol Bliker singing with Mike McGibney on Double Bass No More Blues

    Jazznights Carol Bliker   Mike Mcgibney  170116 (105)       Jazznights.Carol Bliker 170116 (101)


Simon Spillett then re-joined the Jazznights Trio to play:

The Serpent written by Tubby Hayes, this was dedicated to Bix Curtis’s manhood. Bix being the long time MC at The Flamingo Club.
You’re My Everything is a 1967 hit single recorded by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label.
Jazznights Simon Spillett   Jazznights Trio 170116 (129)Opus Ocean written by Clark Terry for Tubby Hayes for the 1961  Tubby Hayes With Clark Terry – The New York Sessions album.
Surea  (query spelling) written by Tubby Hayes and dedicated to his pet name for his wife.
Sonnymoon For Two is a 12 bar blues written by the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins.

What a fantastic ending to this marvellous gig with the Jazznights Trio. The audience certainly gave a huge appreciation to this superb master craftsman of the tenor saxophone. Simon has made regular visits to Jazznights over the years which we are certain will continue in the future.

trudySunday 31st January 2016 TRUDY KERR (voc) will be at Jazz Nights
Trudy Kerr is renowned as one of the UK’s finest jazz vocalists. Mojo Magazine says of her singing “Trudy Kerr is the genuine article – she is a Joy!” All About Jazz has described her as “100% real jazz musician with fluid phrasing and a mellifluous, warm and sensuous tone.” One of the great UK jazz singers.

THE BEST IN BRITISH MODERN JAZZ is at  Jazznights, Clare, Suffolk.

Admission £10. Doors open 7.00 pm. Music 7.30 – 10.00 pm.

Reserve seating on 01787 237653 or email
Pay on the night.

You can join us at facebook, read reviews of previous performances on more opinions blog or tweet at

Pictures from past gigs can also be seen HERE

For further information on future gigs go to

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