From the purlieus of Moribundia...
Harkit Records specializes in reissues from the treasure trove of 1960s film music, 50s/60s British Jazz, and American archive jazz. Much of it is eminently cafe-friendly; heavy on Dudley Moore Trio vibes, and with a general Municipal Lite UK Jazz leaning.
Municipal Lite Jazz is the kind of buoyant, peppery post-Miles Davis neo-bop that used to run with 50s/60s British public info film: often about New Towns, social issues, pop-science or local government. Trading on Davis's pure tone and his 'uncluttered, ageless, epigrammatic' style [© Brian Case], British Municipal Jazz was often used as incidental music to indicate that highminded, progressive points of view were about to be presented to the citizenry.
John Dankworth's Tomorrow's World theme bears the classic Municipal signature - an all-out homage to the textured arrangements of the Davis/Evans Miles Ahead album of 1957: 'which make manifest the neo-classical leanings of such previous ensembles as the Birth of Cool nonet' [© Richard Cook]. (Note especially the John Carisi tune 'Springsville', Brubeck's 'The Duke', Evans' 'Blues For Pablo' and Jamal's 'New Rhumba'.)
Michael Fishberg started Harkit as a remedy to the frustration he'd experienced in trying to locate copies of his favourite soundtracks which had long ago disappeared from the racks and seemed doomed to oblivion.
An avid collector of film music for over thirty five years, he founded the label in 2000, and it is now in international distribution. Michael is currently working on a book detailing the history of the post war movie soundtrack.
Using highly detailed liner notes from the very best contributors, along with frequently previously unseen photographs and high impact graphics, Harkit's CDs are remastered digitally to give the best sound possible and making classic and cult soundtracks available again to a demanding audience. Many of the releases are also available as limited edition vinyl LPs.
Of particular note is the label's 'Live In London' series. In the Sixties, saxophonist Ronnie Scott and Pete King were both running their own London clubs where American jazz stars were making their first UK appearances. Avid young jazz devotee Les Tomkins began amassing an archive of these jazz greats in concert (with the aid of a professional Ferrograph Mk.2 tape recorder) and this momentous sound archive has been licensed to Harkit.
Another motherlode of material was presented several years ago when Harkit brought out a CD of Dudley Moore's* fabled Bedazzled soundtrack mastered from vinyl, as well as other rare Dudley Moore Trio LPs: 30 Is A Dangerous Age Cynthia and Authentic Dud. After wrangles with Moore's estate however all had to be recalled. A tragedy. (Moore, a musical prodigy, attended the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Magdalen College, Oxford University. He left school to perform as part of the Johnny Dankworth Seven and tour the United States with the Vic Lewis Band. By the late 1950s he had established himself as a first-rate jazz pianist and entered into a long collaborative partnership with Peter Cook.
In the Sixties he formed the acclaimed Dudley Moore Trio who performed regularly on British TV, made numerous recordings, and had a long-running residency at Cook's Establishment Club. Cook, Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller took their comedy revue Beyond the Fringe to London and New York, and won a Tony Award. Moore debuted on the big screen in The Wrong Box (1966) and got his first starring role in 1968's 30 Is A Dangerous Age, Cynthia. Check out Les Tomkins' extensive Dudley Moore interview from 1966...)
With Municipal vistas and Dudley Moore very much in mind, we insist that you purchase the following CDs for iPod playlisting; and listen to them religiously whilst following the Classic Cafes tour round London.
British Jazz - Johnny
"One of the finest arrangers [in the UK municipal jazz lite genre], Johnny Keating taught himself how to arrange and compose in his teens. He went to work with British big band leader Ted Heath in 1952 as a trombone player, but within two years Heath asked him to become his primary arranger. Forty years before the Beatles led the British Invasion of the American musical scene, there was a similar American musical invasion of the UK jazz. Sidney Bechet, one of the earliest and most enduring jazz expatriates, toured England in the mid-1920s, sparking a rush of interest in early jazz. And playing alongside Bechet was one of the most enthusiastic converts, Ted Heath.
Inspired by Glenn Miller's big band sound, Heath formed his own group in 1944, and it became the dominant swing group in the UK until his death (and beyond). Heath attracted many of the best performers and arrangers. Johnny Dankworth*, Ronnie Scott (who went on to own the most famous jazz club in London), Jack Parnell and Johnny Keating. In the early 1960s, Keating and songwriter Johnny Worth (writing as Les Vandyke) masterminded the career of a minor British pop star, Eden Kane. The team wrote and produced a string of British top 10 hits for Kane in 1961-63. Keating then arranged and conducted a series of albums for London's Phase 4 series. Keating tosses a bit of everything into his arrangements - strings, percussion, rock rhythm section, brass, vocal choruses with and without words." (SpaceAgePop)
All Night Long
"The action takes place against a backdrop of almost continuous jazz sessions, which seems to involve almost the entire upper echelon of the contemporary jazz scene: Dave Brubeck, Johnny Scott, Johnny Dankworth, Tubby Hayes, Stan Roderick to name but a few. The fantastic music played by this wealth of talent was written mostly by Philip Green (he appears on the credits of all but three of the tracks), Dave Brubeck and Johnny Dankworth with other credits to Sonny Miller, Kenny Napper and Tubby Hayes.
'Overture' is a wonderful roaring trumpets introduction rooted firmly in the 1960s, but has a timeless energy. For 'Noodlin'' and 'Saphire' the mood is more intimate with Tubby Hayes stroking the vibes in the first track and Johnny Scott oozing the alto-sax in a smooth romantic fashion in the second. John Dankworth's composition, 'Fall Guy', gives the saxes and the trumpets an opportunity to compete in successive frenzied solos while in 'The Chase' massed saxes and trumpets combine to create musical mayhem... the music is brilliant, natural and fresh... For any fan of 1960s jazz this is a must-have CD." (Music From The Movies)
"Goodbye Gemini is typical of the cross-pollination of the [70s]... The era was one of juxtapositions - rock bands were borrowing more and more from jazz and classical to create 'prog', and it worked the other way too. Likewise, whilst horror movies were borrowing from the 'beat' films of the era left right and centre... Where the horror stems from, apart from one's revulsion at the incestuous gropings of Julian (Martin Potter) towards his 'identical' sister Jacki (Judy Geeson), is the idea that we are unwelcome guests in a strange world we have no place in...
Part of the strength of Gemini lies in its soundtrack. For once, the standard Hammond 'n' guitar twang of most Brit horror club scenes of the period has actually been jettisoned in favour of proper songs... 'Goodbye Gemini' itself is a beautiful, Joni Mitchell-style ballad perfectly evocative of the scenes it accompanies, as a barefoot Geeson trudges the streets of London in varying stages of disarray, stopping only briefly to buy a sweater from Hilda Barry (later to play Anthony Sharp's invalid mum in Pete Walker's 1975 classic House of Mortal Sin.) In addition, there is some beautiful Bacharach style trumpet-led loungecore, which is particularly effective in the closing scene." (Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television)
"The claustrophobic nature of the movie is amply captured in John Hawksworth's score. Hawksworth also wrote a few scores for documentary films, the theme for the television series 'George And Mildred', and the score for the sci-fi soft-porn film, Zeta One. The music for The Penthouse is a wonderful mixed bag of jazz styles whose upbeat and sometimes humorous character contrasts alarmingly with the sexually charged hostage plot...
Lisa Shane's rendition of 'The World is full of Lonely Men' is a poignant reminder of the suspended normality in The Penthouse, but it is the magnificent jazz cues from John Hawksworth that stand out and make this a score well worth savouring. 'The Main Theme' is a brief introduction to the film's theme that is taken up more extensively in 'Dance' an exciting trumpet and saxophone driven jazz cue, which is firmly placed in the 1960s by the electric organ backing, but has a classic British jazz atmosphere. 'Think I'll Close The Curtains' is the first cue to show suspense and a touch of horror, albeit by a muted trumpet. The soundtrack of The Penthouse is a great jazz score from a talented composer. The brilliant music is an important foil to the menacing dialogue cues... Harkit have exhibited their usual meticulous re-mastering of a long lost gem." (Music From The Movies)
You Only Love Once
"Tu Seras Terriblement Gentille (You Only Love Once), directed and written by Dirk Sanders, and starring his wife Karen Blanguernon, is a French love story set in the swinging Paris of the late 1960s and has a wonderful swinging score to match. The main theme, 'You Only Love Once', is a superb combination of jazz and strings, a sort of Gallic lounge music, that sets a style of melody and swing that permeates through the rest of the album. As the score develops, Jacques Loussier does what he does best: experiment. The composer's jazz roots are never far below the surface with outstanding trumpet solos and tremendous upbeat saxophone and electric organ combos. Other cues like 'Coming Out Of The Metro' and 'Kam-tcha-tka' have the sense of fun and humour that were the hallmark of Henry Mancini. You Only Love Once is a fantastic varied mix of sounds and instruments that hang together as an excellent zany collection of 1960s jazz and lounge music with an infectious simplicity that makes it essential listening for all fans of the 1960s." (Music From The Movies)
Man From Interpol
"In Britain commercial television initially launched in September 1955, but most regions away from London had to wait until the early 1960s for their own transmitters. The infant television network was desperate for new, audience grabbing programmes and in the scramble to fulfil this need many gems were born; Man From Interpol was one the first. Airing in 1960. The thirty-nine episode series was based around Commander Anthony Smith, an Interpol agent based with Scotland Yard. The music was very bold move for the time - a stunning collection of jazz cues, with roots firmly planted in the 1960s jazz scene, which have been wonderfully captured and assembled on this Harkit album.
The series' short but explosive 'Main Title' is a delicious combination of big-band brass and jazz bravado built around a kettledrum motive. For the 1960s this was trend setting, the forceful jazz gave an instant international feel at a time when overseas holidays for most viewers were merely a dream. Most of the album's tracks are in the same vein, full of dynamic, exciting and swinging jazz often with the roaring impact of a big-band approach, but just as often with the intimacy of a small group of jazz musicians, as in the swinging xylophone and piano solos of 'Big Ben Bounce', the flute led vibrant 'Cheekie Chappie' and cool flute solo of 'Interpol Cutie'... The tracklist reads like a 1960s Thomas Cook travel guide with the wonderful saxophone based Brazilian styled 'Samba De Janeiro', a carefree visit to the Caribbean in 'Autumn In Cuba', the contemporary 1960s Latin dance rage 'Interpol Cha Cha Cha' and some exotic belly-dancing in 'London Lament'." (Music From The Movies)
Bill Evans: Live in
"It holds the magic of an ultra-special occasion. 'Beautiful Love' is an example of Bill's choosing songs that are more likely to be sung than played, and extracting his own beauty from them... On 'Some Day My Prince Will Come', Evans' high spot pushes hard up to the beat all the way, erupting into a moto perpetuo of scurrying runs that are all tortured shape and meaning... 'Detour Ahead' has some evocative words, but the Trio do wonders with its melody. Above all, these tracks illustrate the fertile imagination of a jazz genius, and the remarkable rapport of an exceptional Trio." (More on the genius of Bill Evans here...)
Tubby Hayes: Live in
"Tubby turned professional at 16, and spent a year with the Baker Sextet. It was in 1961 that Tubby started a series of successful trips to the States. He was invited to play and record with some of the very best: trumpet giant Clark Terry, saxophone aces Roland Kirk, James Moody. Paul Gonsalves and Benny Golson... Nevertheless, he consistently voiced his strong allegiance to his British session-mates... Tubby, in a quartet setting, could take major standard songs and fashion immensely personal jazz out of them, usually giving the actual melody no more than a token reference... Hayes was only 38 when the British jazz world was robbed of his genius. These tracks remind us of what we had, and are part of his valuable legacy."
The ECM-sound is, at least in part, attributable to Komeda: in particular his composition 'Astigmatic' which, through ECM, influenced many North American musicians. The 'Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD' (Richard Cook and Brian Morton) notes that: "Komeda is the Lost Leader of Polish Jazz. A brilliant composer rather than a virtuosic player, he remains best known in the West for his film music... his masterpiece, 'Astigmatic' is not just one of the best Polish or European jazz records, but quite simply one of the best jazz records, full stop. Komeda was at the height of his powers when he made the disc in 1965... 'Kattorna' and 'Svantetic' are both highly original, combining jazz tonality with folk and classical idioms; however, it is 'Astigmatic' itself, a swirling, multi-part suite with a skewed, elusive quality, that represents his masterpiece..." (Komeda Pages)
The Rendell/Carr Quintet
Live in London
"a previously unreleased live recording, from without doubt the UK's greatest ever small jazz group. Capturing the group in a very intimate session in front of a small audience, 'Blues By Five' starts the evening at a mid tempo pace, with a fluid solo by Tenor player Don Rendell, over a brisk rhythm section. 'Shades Of Blue' composed by Neil Ardley, is a modal classic... Miles Davis himself would have been proud of this... slow, haunting and played with perfect execution... 'Hot Rod' penned by Ian Carr and Michael Garrick lets the whole band rip into a highly charged number... 'Garrison 64' finds Don Rendell on soprano deep into another modal piece composed by himself. 'Promises', the title tune from one of Garricks own albums, closes the gig with its very British college sound." (EuroClubdeJazz)
Stan Getz: Live in London
"Getz, the perennial cool customer, free of the limitations that a recording session might possibly impose, plays on this session like a man possessed. One finds oneself wishing that 'Here's That Rainy Day' would never end... 'Little Girl Blue' weaves an intricate web of a lullaby that is breathtaking in its compassion... He hits 'All God's Children' like a fierce hot desert storm - a nonstop display of technique and harmonic wizardry that goes on for five searing minutes until he stops to allow Stan Tracey to put his word in. This recording is sheer delight from beginning to end. And here's the really good news - there are still more cuts from these sessions that may well be released in the future." (Jazz Professional)
Stan Getz: Live in London
Yusef Lateef Live in
of The Dudley
"The first jazz that really knocked me potty was Erroll Garner. Prior to that, I used to go to a little shop in Ilford, buy sheet music of George Shearing's arrangements and play through those... And one day a friend of mine played me a record of Garner playing The Way You Look Tonight. I was just bowled off my feet by it-I'd never heard anything like it before. There's something so complete and rounded in his playing that it struck me immediately I heard it. In fact, he is, and will probably continue to be, one of the most complete of all pianists.
I remember the first time I got a glimpse of the style - how it felt to play it. The action of the right hand dragging behind the left, then the left dragging behind the right had sort of evaded me for a long time. But I was playing in a room in the Edinburgh Festival one day, for about an hour continuously - just the same sort of tempo - and suddenly it seemed to come. And it was almost as if I could see both hands doing separate things at the same time, which I hadn't been able to until then. I got very excited by it, went on playing and I had my first success at gaining something from his style.
My ideal of jazz is a very heavy beat going on, with very relaxed, melodic work on top. Which makes the beat both heavy and light at the same time. It seems to sort of froth over. When you get that kind of combination of tremendous heaviness and tremendous lightness, I think you get real swing. Stomping-but not in the sense that it's just banging your foot through the floorboards. It's a sort of incredible floating feeling that one gets.
And I think Garner and Peterson
both get this sometimes. Not all the time - I mean, there are
times when they do it better than others. I can't recall Peterson
doing anything as fluid as that record: The Jazz Soul Of Oscar
Peterson or the Stratford Shakespearean Festival record with
Herb Ellis, which was marvellous for the spirit and feel.
As for Garner - Concert By The Sea stands out, and some of the
earlier records. I don't listen that much to him now, because
as you get your own style, I think you tend to just forge ahead
in your own way."
* John Dankworth Notes
John Dankworth showed an early proficiency on the clarinet and by the age of 17 had entered the Royal Academy of Music. In the mid-40s he studied at the Royal Academy of Music and extended his knowledge of jazz by taking work on transatlantic liners so that he could hear leading jazzmen in New York. Among his influences at this time was Charlie Parker.
Dankworth was an active participant in the London bebop scene of the late 40s and early 50s, often playing at the Club 11. In 1950 he formed his own band, the Johnny Dankworth Seven, which included Jimmy Deuchar, Don Rendell and Dudley Moore. (Dankworth was named Musician of the Year by The Melody Maker Jazz Poll every year from 1949 until 1955 - the only jazz artist ever to achieve this level of recognition.) Three years later he formed a big band, playing his own innovative arrangements. The band's singer was Cleo Laine, whom Dankworth married in 1958.
During this period, John scored in both pop and jazz circles: 'Experiments with Mice' (1956) and 'African Waltz' (1960) both hit the British Top Ten. In 1958, director Karl Reisz engaged Dankworth to compose his first film score, commencing a flourishing career which included soundtracks for 'The Criminal', 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', 'The Servant', 'Darling', 'Accident', 'Morgan', 'Return From The Ashes' and 'Modesty Blaise'. During this time, Dankworth also served as Musical Director for the British visits of Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Sophie Tucker and Oscar Peterson.
* The Prisoner: TV soundtracks
#1) 'Patrick McGoohan's successful TV series 'Danger Man' was followed in 1967 by 'The Prisoner'. Ron Grainer's opening music for the series was one of the highlights of sixties television, a rousing, staccato brass and guitar theme played over insistent bongo-led percussion framed by thunder, leaking gas taps and the throaty roar of a Lotus Seven. However, Ron Grainer was not responsible for much of the music on the File #1 album, which contains music from three of the episodes. Besides adapted pieces, a number of composers contribute cues, including Robert Farnon, Wilfred Josephs and J. Beaver. 'Arrival', the first episode, has three military band cues from the Village band, including Strauss' 'The Radetski March', along with some more melodic cues by a variety of composers including an exciting action cue, 'Helicopter Escape Bid', from Wilfred Josephs. Wilfred Joseph also wrote an alternative, unused title theme that is included with the music for the second episode, 'The Chimes Of Big Ben'. The music for this episode has its roots based in the Sixties using twangy electric guitars and bongo drums to give the cool-decade sound, but the brass band is never far away, maintaining a flavour somewhere between military and circus. The third episode, entitled 'A, B and C', contains more romantic music orchestral music, with a wonderful jazz flavour, mixed with a brilliant big band cue. The music used in The Prisoner is a wonderful eclectic collection of music that is always interesting and often unexpected...' (Music From The Movies)
#2) 'the second CD in this set covers seven episodes with music that at times has a very evocative sixties feel and at other times a neo-classical feel. The CD opens with an extended version of Ron Grainer's theme for the series played by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Theme. Most of the music in the seven episodes featured was either composed or arranged by Albert Elms whose music is ideal for the surreal atmosphere created around Number Six and The Village. In many of his cues, Albert Elms merges references to children's traditional nursery rhymes somehow adding a touch of horror. The episodes 'The General' and 'Many Happy Returns' have an eclectic selection of music from the eerie atmospheric to oompah big band, as does the episode 'Dance Of The Dead' which takes on a baroque for the first cue but turns to a carnival atmosphere for the next, followed by a carefree dance. The other three episodes, 'Checkmate', 'Hammer Into Arrival' and 'Change of Mind' maintain the mix of exciting sixties music and semi-classical music...' (Music From The Movies)
#3) 'The music covered in this third album is somewhat different to the others, mostly following a lounge style. The CD opens with the full version of Ron Grainer's theme for the series, chosen over the original, less distinctive theme composed by Robert Farnon, although other tracks by the composer do appear on this album. The episode 'Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling' has three cues which range from lounge, through French café accordion to alpine polka, all with the usual sense of bizarre that typified the series. 'The Girl Who Was Death' continues the wonderful sense of bizarre with nursery rhyme references mixed into eerie atonal sequences, Turkish belly dance music, a jazz sitar and a touch of the vaudeville. Add to this 'Car Chase', a wonderful light-hearted romp played on a hunting horn and 'Lighthouse Fort', an infectious marching jazz piece, you have a dichotomy of sounds and textures which only 'The Prisoner' could support in an episode. The final two episodes, 'Once Upon A Time' and ' Fall Out' both contain a less varied selection of music, more in a lounge style, but maintain the feeling of the surreal... The sleeve notes interestingly reprint the explanation that ATV would send to those who wrote complaining that they could not understand the series.' (Music From The Movies)