Major Surgery
The First Cut
Next! ****
Very much meat and potatoes pub blues-jazz-rock The First Cut was only ever really available to the followers of this sax/guitar/bass guitar/drums combo who built strong word of mouth in the Croydon area in the 1970s. Malcolm Mills, now long time Proper records head honcho, put the recording out after producing the band in 1976, following years of tracking the band’s progress in local pubs, and he evokes the era in a vivid sleeve note, while this welcome reissue on CD also serves as a testament to the late Tony Marsh who died last year, his passing mostly met by moving tributes from musicians who play the improv scene in which the drummer in recent years became a key part. The First Cut is a world away from the Oto of trendy post-millennial Dalston. Don Weller’s blood and guts tenor saxophone sound (think Stanley Turrentine-meets-Dick Morrissey) and the spirited livewire guitar of Jimmy Roche channelling John McLaughlin and British blues-rock are a veritable wake-up call to today’s cosseted frequently over-educated young jazzers. The spirit of the Hogarthian Surrey Street Market lives on remarkably in this life affirming and, despite appearances, sophisticated release that may well get you up on your feet punching the air and raising a glass. Bonus track ‘Calypso Reg’ is a likeable extra, with Bruce Collcutt underlining his vital contribution to the band’s indomitable spirit captured throughout the six tracks.
Released on 29 July