Voodoo Session Tubby Hayes Trunk Records

Voodoo Session. If your anything like me, the word ‘Voodoo’ will instantly conjure up Baron Samedi, New Orleans, or maybe Papa Shango from the old school days of the WWF. What won’t spring first to mind would be a legendary recording, lost to the mist of time by probably the greatest British jazzman of all time – Tubby Hayes. Tubby Hayes is regarded as the most successful and respected British Jazz export in the 1960’s. His albums showed off his extraordinary diversity and talent, moving from Tenor saxophone, to the vibraphone and the finally a distinguished flautist. His live albums Late Spot at Scotts (1963) and Down At The Village (1962) are immensely atmospheric, you can almost taste the cigarettes and the sound of illicit late night kicks in Soho of the 1960’s. It helps that the albums are beautiful examples of classic bop and modal jazz. Tubby tragically died in 1973 after a series of health complications (bought on by his years of hard drugs Jazz livin’)

By 1965, Tubby and his sextet had been asked to star in a feature film, this being Britain and of the more ‘low-budget’ end, it was inevitable that this would be a horror film. However, not from the more well known Hammer Horror studio, but the upstart Amicus Studios (there’s a great article on their story here). So off went Tubby and his band to star in Dr Terrors House Of Horrors – The story Tubby features in centres on an ambitious Jazz musician (played by Roy Castle of Record Breaker fame) tapping into the dark mystique of voodoo to further his jazz career, with deathly(!) results.

The subsequent Voodoo Session original masters were feared lost to time and misfortune. Enter the ever venerable and brilliant Johnny Trunk and Trunk Records. Through typical good fortune and some handy detective work, the masters were tracked down. Backed with the Kenny Lynch sung number ‘Give Me Love’ (The song that presages the Voodoo on the youtube video below.) It’s an absolute cracker, wild and frenetic but under total control from a brilliant master of the genre. Voodoo Session has been released on limited 7″ (In the handily devilish number of 666 copies) but I would urge anybody with a passing interest in discovering lost gems to seek out some of Tubby’s work, you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s the clip of Voodoo and Tubby’s band in full effect (the action starts around 4.50)

And as a little extra, here’s Tubby in his more natural environment…

One last one, Tubby Hayes and his Big Band, live at Ronnie Scott’s in 1969 (Note how everyone’s hair’s got that little but groovier and the music more ‘swinging’ LOVE IT!

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