Jimmy Deuchar

Jimmy Deuchar
The Complete Tempo Recordings 1955-1958
Acrobat ****

Anyone interested in the early homegrown modern jazz of the 1950s will need to be aware of this reissue and snap it up.

It's a valuable reminder of what is generally seen as the best years of the flickering legend that was trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar, or “Jimmie” Deuchar, as the Scot preferred, according to Simon Spillett’s interesting notes.

The ‘supervisor’ (producer, in other words) of the sessions was Tony Hall, the Alfred Lion of British jazz, the first CD featuring eight of the 12 tracks that were compositions from the pen of Deuchar the trumpeter clearly a modernist and hard bopper to his bones captured at Decca studios in West Hampstead. The Scot is in fine company on these particular tracks with trombone player Ken Wray, saxists Derek Humble and Tubby Hayes, pianist Victor Feldman (later of ‘Seven Steps to Heaven’ fame, and also on vibes on the Feldman/Deuchar co-led tracks here), bassist Lennie Bush, and drummer Phil Seamen.

There’s a little tinkering about with line-ups that include cameos by other luminaries of the scene notably Stan Tracey, Deuchar usually finding himself inside a sextet or quintet. But there is a uniformity in the tightly arranged sound and ferociously swinging approach even when a player or two is different, and the sound quality is excellent, never a given with reissues from this period.

The second CD has fewer of Deuchar’s own compositions, and Wray switches to valve trombone on some numbers, but you will find Deuchar’s own compositions ‘Heather Mist’, ‘Jak-Jak’, the splendidly titled ‘Pal Jimmy’, and ‘Split Second’ on it as well as the likes of ‘Opus de Funk’ by Horace Silver, and ‘Milestones’ by Miles Davis. Step back in time.