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Warleigh, Ray - First Album (CD)


Jazz / Rock / Folk


Sunbeam Records





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When Scott Walker was at the peak of his British pop stardom in the late '60s, his label, Philips, gave him the chance to produce albums by other artists. Rather than produce singers similar to himself, he opted to record instrumental jazz albums by members of his band, including guitarist Terry Smith and saxophonist Ray Warleigh. So those who seek this album out based on Walker's credit as a producer might be disappointed, or at least surprised, to find that it's an orchestrated instrumental jazz record wholly unlike Walker's music. Too, those familiar with Warleigh through his recordings with the likes of Alexis Korner, Nick Drake, Donovan, John Mayall, Charlie Watts, Mike Westbrook, and Gavin Bryars might be surprised, and maybe even a little disappointed, to find this to be a big band-oriented outing with fairly lush orchestration. No Warleigh compositions are among the eight tracks, which combine standards with covers of songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dory Previn, and André Previn (You're Gonna Hear from Me), and Bacharach/David (The Look of Love), the last two specifically suggested by Walker (according to Warleigh's recollections in the liner notes to the CD reissue). It might be a little more pop and mainstream than some listeners will expect, but it's an attractive record as far as that goes, despite (or, depending on your taste, because of) some late-'60s easy listening romantic mood music trappings in the arrangements. Warleigh does blow pretty soulfully and spontaneously, for one thing, and the swooping strings and gossamer flourishes of the orchestra are actually pretty seductive, albeit in a charmingly corny and dated way. A modestly enjoyable footnote in the careers of both men, this rarity was reissued on compact disc by the Sunbeam label in 2006. ~ Richie Unterberger

Firmly-established as one of Britain’s leading saxophonists and flautists, Ray Warleigh is perhaps best-known for his contributions to albums by Nick Drake, Elton John, Paul McCartney, U2 and many others. This 1969 bachelor pad classic was produced by Scott Walker (for whom he acted as musical director), and features a plethora of renowned musicians, including Gordon Beck, Harry South, Terry Cox and James Galway. Never previously available on CD, it comes complete with rare photographs and comprehensive liner notes, making it an essential purchase for all lovers of jazz.

Recording information: 11/26/1968/12/13/1968.

Arrangers: Harry South; Jimmy Deuchar.

Personnel: Dave Goldberg , George Kish (guitar); Ronny Stephenson (drums); Gordon Beck (piano); Terry Cox (drums); Harry South, James Galway.