Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief if you're not careful. Sometimes, however, they can be the start of something truly special. A year or so ago, Nick Duckett (pictured, above left), founder of the History of RnB Records label, was having a chat in The French House pub, a regular Soho haunt. One of the barmaids turned out to be Harry South's daughter and she mentioned that there were some old recordings of his knocking around the house.

"It took nearly six months of my life," Duckett explains over a sun-kissed lunchtime half at the French. "Harry wasn't one for documentation, so it meant a lot of listening, sending things off to different people, 'have a listen to this, who do you reckon is on this one?' There are few tracks where I couldn't find any info at all."

The result of all this diligent detective work is the recently released Harry South – The Songbook, a fine tribute to one of this country's greatest composers, bandleaders and arrangers. Duckett, like many of us, first became aware of South through Georgie Fame's 1966 Sound Venture album, recorded with the Harry South Big Band, and then via the Tubby Hayes connection. Both the Fame LP, finally issued on CD in 2015, and the Hayes documentary, A Man In A Hurry, from the same year, have done much to wave the flag for British jazz.

"There's a niche market of a few thousand fanatics that maybe wasn't there 10 years ago," Duckett says. "It's quite accessible for non-jazz nuts and it's a really good way into the wider culture." Like a British Quincy Jones, South continued to make a name for himself throughout the following decades working as an arranger and composer for television (and the occasional, ahem, adult film). But it's his work with Hayes, Joe Harriot, Dick Morrissey and other post-war Brit jazz heroes that's The Songbook's big pull.

Duckett's History of RnB Records has been busy making a name for itself with its wonderful Soho Scene series (currently up to 1963). Like all the best labels from times past, there's a real love of detail at work, from the stand-out cover designs to the extensive sleeve notes. The concept, one disc British, one disc American, provides a neat comparison of how the music was evolving on both sides of the Atlantic.

Future plans include a companion compilation to the BBC4 2008 documentary series Jazz Britannia, a Jazz Europa album and, possibly, a Jazz Japan release. Anything else? Duckett smiles and takes another sip of his beer. "I'm thinking about something on Johnny Birch. There's a tape knocking about..."

– Matt Barker

For more info visit www.rhythmandbluesrecords.co.uk

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Shake Stew release video ahead of new album Rise And Rise Again featuring Shabaka Hutchings

Shake Stew release video ahead of new al…

Seven-piece Austrian newcomers Shake Stew are set to release their...

Read More.....
Rising star trumpeter Keyon Harrold powerful and political at The Jazz Café

Rising star trumpeter Keyon Harrold powe…

It seems like every time I pick up a great...

Read More.....
Jean Toussaint gets arty with Blakey

Jean Toussaint gets arty with Blakey

Renowned expat US saxophonist Jean Toussaint makes an emphatic return...

Read More.....
Beast Is Back: Return Of The Sloth Racket

Beast Is Back: Return Of The Sloth Racke…

  UK improvising quintet Sloth Racket – led by baritone saxophonist...

Read More.....
Dame Cleo Laine and George Benson to receive special honours at Jazz FM Awards

Dame Cleo Laine and George Benson to rec…

With this year's edition of the Jazz FM Awards set...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington gets epic again with Heaven & Earth double album and world tour

Kamasi Washington gets epic again with H…

Los Angeles sax star Kamasi Washington is set to return...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia, Ivo Neame Quartet and Ariwo head to Jazz Stroud Festival

Nubya Garcia, Ivo Neame Quartet and Ariw…

The third edition of the Jazz Stroud Festival takes place...

Read More.....
Cecil Taylor 1929 - 2018

Cecil Taylor 1929 - 2018

With the passing of Cecil Taylor it could be argued...

Read More.....
Pharoah Sanders, Chris Dave’s Drumhedz and Lalah Hathaway added to Love Supreme

Pharoah Sanders, Chris Dave’s Drumhedz a…

The heavyweight jazz quotient at this year's Love Supreme Jazz...

Read More.....
Drummer Andrew Bain takes Embodied Hope on tour

Drummer Andrew Bain takes Embodied Hope …

Emerging Scottish drum talent Andrew Bain hits the road with...

Read More.....
Timeless New York Tribute As All-Star Line-Up Gathers In Celebration Of John Abercrombie

Timeless New York Tribute As All-Star Li…

  ECM Records chose experimental arts venue Roulette, in Brooklyn, to host...

Read More.....
Darius Brubeck for Studio Jazz Thursdays at the Other Palace

Darius Brubeck for Studio Jazz Thursdays…

The new monthly concert series, Studio Jazz Thursdays, continues its...

Read More.....
Snowpoet's Folkish Flurries Send Experimentation Into Deep Freeze At Bristol Jazz & Blues

Snowpoet's Folkish Flurries Send Experim…

On the last day of Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival...

Read More.....
J to Z replaces Jazz Line as BBC Radio 3 refreshes weekend programming 

J to Z replaces Jazz Line as BBC Radio 3…

A new weekly jazz show, J to Z, is to...

Read More.....
Jazz Em Agosto Hits 35 With Special John Zorn Edition

Jazz Em Agosto Hits 35 With Special John…

Annual Lisbon jazz adventure, Jazz em Agosto, celebrates its 35th...

Read More.....
Harpist Alina Bzhezhinska evokes the spirit of John and Alice Coltrane on tour

Harpist Alina Bzhezhinska evokes the spi…

Harpist Alina Bzhezhinska was one of the stars of last...

Read More.....
Orphy Robinson’s Astral Weeks, Youn Sun Nah, Myra Melford and BBC Young Jazz Musician for EFG London Jazz Fest

Orphy Robinson’s Astral Weeks, Youn Sun …

This year's EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs from 16...

Read More.....
All-Star Miles Electric Band powers-up 15th PDX Jazz Fest

All-Star Miles Electric Band powers-up 1…

The last weekend of the 15th Portland Jazz Festival was...

Read More.....
Southampton’s Turner Sims receives funding boost for jazz in southern England

Southampton’s Turner Sims receives fundi…

Concert venue Turner Sims Southampton, which is part of the...

Read More.....
Evan Parker, Peter Evans and Sam Pluta rocket to the stratosphere at The Vortex

Evan Parker, Peter Evans and Sam Pluta r…

Returning to the place of their 2012 debut performance and...

Read More.....
Phil Meadows Project trip-hops for UK dates

Phil Meadows Project trip-hops for UK da…

Multi-award winning saxophonist and composer Phil Meadows hits the road...

Read More.....
Harpist Esther Swift awarded Irwin Mitchell commission for Manchester Jazz Festival 2018

Harpist Esther Swift awarded Irwin Mitch…

The Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf) returns this year from 20...

Read More.....
Van Morrison teams up with Hammond hero Joey DeFrancesco on new album You’re Driving Me Crazy

Van Morrison teams up with Hammond hero …

Iconic Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison makes a dramatic return with...

Read More.....
Zara McFarlane's Jazz-Funk Jousts Bite Deep Into The Frost At Brighton's Komedia

Zara McFarlane's Jazz-Funk Jousts Bite D…

The night outside may be freezing, but there's already a...

Read More.....
Wynton Marsalis' JLCO Red Hot & Retro At The Barbican

Wynton Marsalis' JLCO Red Hot & Retr…

The 1938 Carnegie Hall concert that brought together Benny Goodman's...

Read More.....
Thundercat, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia among Jazz FM Awards nominees

Thundercat, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Shab…

The nominees for the fifth edition of the Jazz FM...

Read More.....
Stańko's Horn Hymnals Hamstrung By Candy-Coated Symphonics At NFM, Wrocław

Stańko's Horn Hymnals Hamstrung By Candy…

A grand occasion for a towering figure in Polish music...

Read More.....
Elaine Mitchener Delivers Dramas Of Defiance At St. George's, London

Elaine Mitchener Delivers Dramas Of Defi…

This Hawksmoor church in Bloomsbury is by no means familiar...

Read More.....
Peter Lemer Quintet revive Local Colour at Pizza Express

Peter Lemer Quintet revive Local Colour …

When composer and pianist Peter Lemer recorded Local Colour in...

Read More.....
Dave Holland and Evan Parker line-up for Vortex Fundraiser ahead of new album

Dave Holland and Evan Parker line-up for…

Two of British jazz's biggest names – former Miles Davis...

Read More.....
Get The Blessing’s ‘Bristopolis’, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Pee Wee Ellis for Bristol Jazz & Blues Fest

Get The Blessing’s ‘Bristopolis’, Dame E…

The programme for the sixth edition of the Bristol Jazz...

Read More.....
Courtney Pine, Zara McFarlane and Evan Parker added to full Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

Courtney Pine, Zara McFarlane and Evan P…

The full programme has been revealed for this year's edition...

Read More.....
Daring Dutch drummers Han Bennink and Joost Lijbaart for UK dates

Daring Dutch drummers Han Bennink and Jo…

Heavyweight Dutch jazz bands Quartet NL and Under the Surface...

Read More.....
GoGo Penguin bring the beats to the Roundhouse

GoGo Penguin bring the beats to the Roun…

GoGo Penguin, the Blue Note-signed Manchester piano trio whose fusion...

Read More.....
Sugimoto Activity Surge: Studio News and UK Dates

Sugimoto Activity Surge: Studio News and…

Phantasm of fragmentary restraint, Japanese guitarist Taku Sugimoto, jostles with...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@kanyewest Talkin', talkin', talkin', talk... So I got something new to see And you just goin' keep hatin' me And we just goin' be enemies
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
O, beautiful death. Superb funeral brass sounds from Port Au Prince put together by Félix Blume @Discrepants… https://t.co/YEMd9qjkaY
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA