Dick Heckstall-Smith – You Don’t Know Dick (2004)

DHSFrontCover1This book is a fascinating read and well worth the cover price of £16.95, because it includes a CD of 7 previously unreleased examples of Dick’s playing, with bands that cover a large spectrum of jazz and blues. The book shows Dick to be a well educated and highly intelligent individual, equally at home in Blues, Jazz and Contemporary Music bands.

In the semi-pro world where I played during the same period, it was the guys who could not hack the Jazz or Dance Band scene that formed the blues bands. The London scene must have been very different however, Dick and his contemporaries would have been capable of holding their own in any scene.

The life and times of musicians in any touring band are always interesting and Dick’s tales of his adventures, musical and otherwise, with The Graham Bond Organisation, Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, John Mayall’s Bluesbrakers and Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum make for a most interesting read.

Dick’s commentaries on his life and times are frank and detailed, but interestingly although he opens up to his readers on some matters, there is a reserve that somehow prevents the reader from getting a real measure of Dick until the whole of the book has been read. Whether this is intentional or it just happened that way I don’t know.

I have known other very highly talented musicians who have difficulty in coping with those things that us mere mortals find easy, one who springs directly to mind and may have been known to Dick was Brian Gray Brian was an enormously talented saxophone player but he struggled to make a living and eventually gave the business up. Dick on the other hand has ploughed on but always had to live from hand to mouth.

DHS3

 

Pete Grant’s part of the book attempts to analyse why this should have happened to someone as talented as Dick. His conclusion that the public are never sure whether he is in the blues world or the contemporary music world is probably correct. Before the UK public hand over their money, they want to be more certain of what they are going to get. The fact that a very large sector of the public prefer the Tenor playing of Stan Getz and Zoot Sims to that of John Coltrane, may also be a contributing factor.

The clearest insight into Dick that we get is where he writes about racism and proves quite rightly in my opinion that there can be no alternative but to classify people as those we like and those we don’t, colour race and creed have nothing to do with it. Having said that however people like people like themselves! (by Don Mather) (*)

CDNotes

And here´s this very rare CD (“not for sale seperately from the book”). Maybe I will scan this book later ..

And this is not onyl a very rare CD, bit a great tribute to one of he finest Bristish Jazz musicians ever: Mister Dick Heckstall-Smith.

Listen and enjoy !

DHS1

Tracklist:
01. The Deluxe Blues Band: Heatwave (McGrath/Heckstall-Smith) 4.10
02. Dick Heckstall-Smith: Aquamarine (1) (Heckstall-Smith) 10.46
03. Jon T-Bone Taylor’s Bop Brothers: Try (Green/Plotel) 5.13
04. Dick Heckstall-Smith:  Il Collingdale (1) (Heckstall-Smith) 20.26
05. The Hamburg Blues Band: Woza Nasu (2) (Heckstall-Smith) 16.14
06. The Wentus Blues Band: Looking Back (3) (unknown) 4.38
07. The Graham Bond Organisation: Only Sixteen (4) (Bond) 3.20

(1): previously unreleased live recording, Newcastle, 1991 (Heckstall-Smith)
(2): previously unreleased live recording, Flensburg/Germany, 2002
(3): previously unreleased live recording, Helsinki/Finland, 2002
(4): previously unreleased live recording, Broadcat, 1965

CD1

*
**

 

(*) Don Mather plays Tenor Sax and Clarinet and runs a Big Band and a Quartet and Quintet in Coventry, he was for five years Chairman of the Coventry Jazz Festival Committee, during which time the festival joined the big league. Don is a member of the Musicians Union and a Coventry Branch Committee man. His jazz tastes are catholic, but he confesses to be sometimes bemused by some so called ‘contemporary jazz’.

Advertisements

Wentus Blues Band & Dick Heckstall-Smith – Man Of Stone (2015)

FrontCover1Dick Heckstall-Smith was much more than “only” the Saxophone Player for one of the best Jazz-Rock bands, we ever had … Colosseum !
He was an extraordinary solo Artist and session Player, too. Here we can hear him with the Wentus Blues Band from Finland !

What can I say about Dick Heckstall-Smith? Brilliant jazz and blues sax player, composer and owner of the largest tea cups in history, and most importantly for me, my friend.

In 1998, I first met Dick Heckstall-Smith, at a recording session for his “Blues And Beyond” album. Soon afterwards I started running his official website, and soon after that, Dick asked me to be his manager. Dick lived to play on stage. He had semi regular gigs with The Hamburg Blues Band, then there were Colosseum tours, a jazz gig here and there, but that still left a lot of time to fill, gig wise.
In 2002, Dick wanted to put a blues based live band together. His ideal line-up would have included Clem Clempson on guitar and Gary Husband on drums. There hadn’t been much movement on this when we were contacted by Robban Hagnas of The Wentus Blues Band. They hailed from Kokkola in Finland. An accomplished blues act, they had found a unique way round the limited touring opportunities in Scandanavia by touring with classic blues artists such as Mick Taylor, centering their sets around each special guest. That way, they could tour several times a year, rather than just once.

DHS01

It was agreed that Dick would go out on a Scandanavian tour with them, and and he was as excited by the prospect as I had ever seen him. I remember him dragging me around pretty much every army surplus store in North London one Saturday afternoon in order to find enough cold weather clothing to combat whatever conditions might be faced on the road. I was very aware that my main role with Dick was to maintain a level of hope in the future for him, and this tour constituted the most hopeful he had been for some time.
Once Dick had travelled to Finland for rehearsals and the tour itself, I got daily updates from him by phone. He was particularly impressed by The Wentus Blues Band guitar attack which reminded him of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac. They had tailored their set to him, with numbers associated with Blues Incorporated, Graham Bond ORGANization and The Bluesbreakers, as well as numbers from Dick’s jazz orientated solo work, such as the song that had become something of a signature for him, “Woza Nasu.” Dick enjoyed the tour immensely, and felt, (as I did when hearing the live recording) that his playing was near his best. I recall one particularly “up” call from Dick. He was staying in an isolated hotel not a million miles from the Arctic Circle, and raved about His ride there, via Reindeer and Sleigh. Dick came back from the tour as invigorated and enthused as I ever saw him in those later years, and I will always thank Robban Hagnas and his band for that.

DHS02

A few months later, I got to see Dick in action with the Wentus boys in action at a one off gig in Oxford. Dick drove myself and Pete Brown there, via Canada it seemed. Dick could be directionally challenged now and then. However, we did get there in time for the show, and it was wonderful how the band interacted with a true master of his instrument. This live album is testament to that wonderful interaction. (by Pete Grant; taken from the original liner-notes)
Such a great concert … including one of Dick Heckstall-Smith´s masterpieces … his own composition “Woza Nasu ” … Listen !

Recorded live in Helsinki at Cantina West April, 5th, 2002.

Booklet01A

Personnel:
Mikael Axelqvist (drums)
Robert Hagnäs (bass)
Nike Riippa (guitar)
Anders Sjöberg (vocals)
Kim Vikamn (guitar)
+
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
BackCover1
Tracklist:
01. Key To Love (Mayall) 3.46
02. Missing You (Everton/Edward) 3.53
03. You Got Me (Where You Want Me) (Robey) 5.23
04. Suspicions – Part 2 (Mayall) 6.34
05. Woza Nasu (Heckstall-Smith) 17.04
06. Man Of Stone (Kirkland) 8.16
07. Have You Heard (Mayall) 8.41
08. Pretty Things (McDaniels) 3.06
09. Before You Accuse Me (McDaniels) 5.02
10. Looking Back (Watson) 4.25
CD1
*
**