Culture, Multiculture, Music, Our People, Uncategorized

The British jazz explosion

Lansdowne Jazz Series, via Decca Records UK, recently released five legendary albums digitally for the first time by “The Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet”.


Alastair Steel


Remastered at Abbey Road from the original master tapes, these will also be available as high-definition, 24-bit downloads.

Rebecca Allen, President of Decca Records, said “With the exciting resurgence of the British Jazz scene, now feels like the right moment to celebrate the musicians who paved the way. We are thrilled to have unearthed and remastered some of these iconic recordings and catalogues”.

During their seven-year history with the label, Rendell and Carr created five landmark albums with loyal contributions from many highly-regarded musicians including British pianist/composer Michael Garrick.

Their music explored new directions in jazz, producing a sound quite unlike anything released by American artists of the same era.

These highly-sought-after tapes, along with many others from the Lansdowne Jazz Series, are regarded as the crown jewels of 1960s British Jazz, a style that resonated around the world.

There are echoes here of the current UK scene, described by The Guardian in 2018 as ‘The British Jazz Explosion’, with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and others calling the shots.

The ‘60s UK jazz scene was certainly energised by these Rendell/Carr recordings – a Lansdowne jazz sampler LP was even released with almost the same name as The Guardian headline: Jazz Explosion.

The Lansdowne label was founded by British producer and music writer Denis Preston, once described as “Europe’s first independent record producer”. A Sunday Times obituary described him as “probably the most important figure to emerge from the British jazz business”.

In 1956, Preston set up Lansdowne Studios in West London and in the same year also produced Humphrey Lyttelton’s “Bad Penny Blues” (which inspired the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”), working with the young engineer Joe Meek. As well as recording many landmark jazz albums at Lansdowne, the likes of John Lennon, Queen, Shirley Bassey and even the Sex Pistols were visitors to the studio.

Preston’s production company, Record Supervision Ltd, licensed his records to major labels including EMI, who released them in the 1960s and ‘70s via the EMI Columbia imprint.

Many of these original LPs have been changing hands for in excess of £1,000 – a complete set of Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet LPs would cost a small fortune if bought today.

Other notable jazz artists who recorded for the Lansdowne label include Joe Harriott, Amancio d’Silva, Stan Tracey, Guy Warren and The Mike Taylor Trio.

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(Photos: BaxterPR)

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