October 23, 1968
GIGS: Scott Walker – 4 October to 20 October 1968. Scott Walker’s backing on his 17-day UK tour was Ronnie Scott & The Band with additional members including Terry Smith (guitar) and (possibly) Tubby Hayes;
John Surman Trio – 11 October, London Jazz Centre Society, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square;
Ronnie Scott & The Band – 21 October, one week residency at Ronnie Scott’s club (see album entry below);
Mike Westbrook Concert Band, Ronnie Scott & The Band – 23 October, Jazz Expo ’68, Hammersmith Odeon, London. Jazz Expo ’68 reviewed by Barry McRae in Jazz Journal 21/12 (December 1968): “This year’s British contribution was larger than last and gave reason for continued optimism. I missed the Rendell-Carr set and thought that honours were divided between the Ronnie Scott Band and the Mike Westbrook Concert Band. Scott’s, the more confident and the more carefully arranged, offered fine solo work by Kenny Wheeler, John Surman, Ray Warleigh and the leader himself. The style might be described as mid-Atlantic hard bop with modern overtones but the result was stimulating.
Westbrook’s policy is more advanced and slightly more ambitious. At Expo, however, the band was not at its best. There seemed to be an air of nervousness amongst them and only the ubiquitous Surman and trombonist Malcolm Griffiths came near to their normal form. The collective passages by the band were good and a Shepp-like atmosphere created, as the moods were quickly changed – moving away from an r&b type stomp or tasteful balladeering by altoist Mike Osborn, to a raving flying home.”
Steve Voce reviewed Ronnie Scott & The Band in the same issue: “When it was announced I looked forward to Ronnie’s new band (with Kenny Wheeler, John Surman and Ray Warleigh), but suspected the idea of Tony Oxley and Tony Crombie on drums… I first heard the band on BBC 2 when it suffered the disadvantage of having to play a Glenn Miller number (to tie in with the Glenn Miller film which had just been shown). The noise was suitably daunting, primarily because I had been expecting the group to produce merely an up-dated version of earlier Scott band sounds. In the event Scott had given the younger musicians their head, with the result that the sound was undigestible at one brief hearing. However, reports say that, with reservations about the two drummers, the band is exciting and purposeful.”