The Late Great Phil Seamen

Track 2: Times Getting Tougher Than Tough, by Jimmy Witherspoon & Dick Morrissey Quartet

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The Late Great Phil Seamen

Recordings from between 1953 and 1972

Phil Seamen was arguably the greatest jazz drummer Europe has ever produced. He was up there, alongside such contemporaries as Kenny Clarke and Philly Joe Jones – creative, and with a wonderful feel for time, a true personality with a recognisable sound and approach. A legend in his own lifetime, he died in 1972. Some only know his name for being Ginger Baker's mentor, but this album of highlights of Phil's playing is a salute that is long overdue. Ladies and Gentlemen, dinner is finally being served! Total time: 71'26". 24 page booklet.

Tracklist: 1. I Started Playing The Drums (Phil Seamen talks 1972), 2. Times Getting Tougher (Jimmy Witherspoon & Dick Morrissey Quartet 1966), 3. Tangerine (Harold McNair Quartet 1961), 4. Free (Stan Tracey Trio 1959), 5. Tonal (Joe Harriott Quintet 1961), 6. Abstract (Joe Harriott Quintet 1960), 7. Big Top (Victor Feldman Big Band 1956), 8. Kick Off (Jack Parnell Big Band 1954), 9. Main Title Nowhere To Go (Dizzy Reece Quartet 1958), 10. The Escape (duet with Dizzy Reece 1958), 11. Question And Answer (drum solo 1961), 12. Boo-Bah (Stan Tracey Trio 1959), 13. One Four (Kenny Graham and his Satellites 1956), 14. Five Four (Kenny Graham and his Satellites 1956), 15. Haitian Ritual (Kenny Graham's Afro-Cubists 1953), 16. Seamen’s Mission (Ronnie Scott Orchestra 1954), 17. Formation (Joe Harriott Quintet 1960), 18. Bongo Chant (Kenny Graham's Afro Cubists 1957), 19. Reza (Tony Coe Quartet 1971).

The video clip is from some corny film called 'The Golden Disc' from 1958. The sound is not wholly synchronised with the video, but we get a good glimpse of Phil's soloing – first playing an intro and then again after the theme before getting faded out.

Jazz Journal 2009 (GB): "Throughout, Seamen is on top of his game, driving big bands of various hues, firing hard bop groups, producing African and Caribbean pulses, comfortably holding free jazzmen to a recognisable beat and at the opposite end of the spectrum punching home the blues. A powerful force, whose fast mind and hands make what would have been good music into music that is strikingly and lastingly exceptional."
Dusty Groove 2009 (USA): "An amazing tribute to one of the hippest drummers ever – the short-lived late Phil Seamen. Phil had an undeniable groove that was evident from his very first recordings – a bad-snapping sense of rhythm that made him one of the most in-demand drummers during the key Brit bop years of the 50s and early 60s, a time when Seamen's drumming could really transform the sound of a tune!"
Jazzwise 2009 (GB): "Congratulations to Michael Baird for compiling and producing this very well researched retrospective of a legendary drummer. Baird has concentrated on the numerous aspects of his playing – his versitality, technical brilliance and a remarkable ability to supply exactly what was needed at any given moment. Every stick-stroke is pin sharp, every roll as smooth as a flying carpet."