Personnel: Dave Goldberg (guitar); Cliff Townsend (alto saxophone); Frank Reidy, Freddy Gardner, Henry MacKenzie, Aubrey Franks, Tommy Whittle (tenor saxophone); Dave Shand, Bill Lewington (baritone saxophone); Max Goldberg, Dave Wilkins, Stanley Roderick, Harry Hall, Alan Franks, Maurice Miller, Leslie Hutchinson , Bobby Pratt (trumpet); Jackie Armstrong, Jack Bentley, Les Carew, Jimmy Coombes, Woolf Phillips, Maurice Pratt (trombone); Norman Stenfalt, Ralph Sharon (piano); Jack Parnell (drums).
Liner Note Author: Paul Pelletier.
Recording information: London, England (12/18/1944-10/27/1949).
Ted Heath was one of the very best British big band leaders of the 1940s and '50s. In 2000, Jasmine Records unleashed a 24-track Ted Heath retrospective that should be counted among the very finest in his entire discography. This chronologically stacked anthology opens with "Opus One," a punchy delight that comes from his second-ever recording session, a Decca date that took place on December 18, 1944. Heath's progress is neatly mapped with solid selections including a big band adaptation of Fats Waller's "London Suite," a lovely rendering of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" and well-executed melodies by bop innovators Tadd Dameron and Charlie Ventura, recorded during the spring and autumn of 1949. This is the best imaginable introduction to Ted Heath, and is highly recommended for anyone who loves big band jazz and wants to tap into the English wing of the tradition. ~ arwulf arwulf