Tubby Hayes Biography

Edward Brian Hayes, 30 January 1935, London, England, d. 8 June 1973, London, England. Born into a musical family, Hayes studied violin as a child but took up the tenor saxophone before reaching his teens. He matured rapidly and at the age of 15 became a professional musician. In the early 50s he played with several leading jazzmen, including Kenny Baker, Vic Lewis and Jack Parnell. In the mid-50s he formed his own bop-orientated group and later in the decade was co-leader with Ronnie Scott of the Jazz Couriers. In the early 60s he continued to lead small groups for clubs, concerts, record sessions and tours of the UK and USA. By this time Hayes had become adept on other instruments, including the vibraphone, flute and most of the saxophone family. He occasionally formed a big band for concerts and television sessions and was active as arranger and composer. Towards the end of the 60s Hayes’ health was poor and he underwent a heart operation. He returned to playing, but early in the 70s a second heart operation was deemed necessary and he died on the operating table.

A virtuoso performer on tenor saxophone, Hayes was a fluent improviser, and through his energy, enthusiasm and encouragement he created a new respect for British musicians, especially in the USA. Hayes was a world-class player almost from the outset of his career, and his death in 1973, while he was still very much in his prime, was a grievous loss. In 2005 a number of old Hayes’ albums were reissued on CD. Any aspiring musician with a penchant for British jazz should be pointed in the direction of the magnificent Hayes. Just about every significant UK jazz musician from that era either gigged or recorded with him, and as such, his catalogue is an important body of work, quite apart from his wonderful playing.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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