Rise And Fall Of Tempo Records

This is taken from the liner notes of Dizzy Reece Progress Report Tempo Records TAP 9 - Sawano Kobo Reissue in 2008.

Dream of Tony Hall by Yoshiki Adachi (Jazz Critic)

The greatness of analogue records is the sound, but not just the quality, but the "atmosphere" you feel while listening to it. All great Jazz recordings, labels had that unique "atmosphere".

Well, a minor label, Tempo Records in the UK is one of them. Sawano was astonished to listen to those Tempo sessions produced by an underrated legendary English producer, Tony Hall for the first time.
This reissue, Dizzy Reece Progress Report TAP 9 is the 4th reissue (out of 9 reissues) of Tempo by Sawano Kobo.

Dizzy is mostly known for 3 leader albums (Blues In Trinity, Star Bright, and Soundin' Off) recorded on Blue Note. And this Tempo session is not known to most Jazz collectors but is really intriguing.

Alphonso Son Reece was born in 1931, January 5th in Kingston Jamaica. He started playing trumpet when he was 14, and Joe Harriott (alto sax) and Wilton Gaynair (tenor sax) were his school mates and unique Jazz musicians as well. He moved to the UK in 1948 and started playing at local clubs. Although he was based in the UK, he also toured another European countries to play. In 1955, he was discovered by Tony Hall who just became the head producer of Tempo Records at that time.
His way of checking and digging details of sound making, changed the entire Tempo sound. Tony was not just a producer, he was a DEEP JAZZ FAN. At the same time, he had a lot of respect to Rudy Van Gelder and Blue Note. America is his big dream.
It is a known fact that it is Tony who mailed Dizzy's record with a letter to Miles Davis at that time and later on Miles acclaimed Dizzy. That incident paved the way for Dizzy to record on Blue Note.

Dizzy's 1st album on Blue Note - Blues In Trinity was recorded in Paris 1958. It is interesting to know that Donald Byrd and Art Taylor who played on Blues In Trinity were on the tour in Paris - well known session of Byrd In Paris Vol.1 and 2.
If you listen carefully to those 3 albums of Dizzy on Blue Note, he applied the recording style of Tony on Tempo Records.

Talking about this album, Progress Report, the concept and sound are well balanced and you would notice Tony's sense. While Tony was the head producer, Tempo released great albums. But sarcastically, the label itself became out of focus and diminished its unique "atmosphere" toward the early 60's.

I didn't know about this minor label, Tempo Records UK until recently. But thanks to Sawano Kobo, I was able to acquire this title and some others reissued by Sawano Kobo. As Mr.Adachi pointed out, this recording, the sound has its unique "atmosphere" other than the quality itself. It is always fun and exciting to discover a minor but great label like this! By Takashi

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  1. Hi Takashi,
    Another thing about this record is that it is one of the relatively few examples of just trumpet and rhythm section. There are tons of saxophone and rhythm but not so with the trumpet. I don’t know why that is. Of course there are some such as Candy, the Musings of Miles, Miles Davis volume 3, Quite Kenny, Blue Mitchell on Riverside, Clarke Terry on Riverside to name a few but I’ll bet it’s about twenty to one if you compared it to saxophone and rhythm so anytime we can add one more to the list it is a good thing. This makes me want to listen to Hush by Duke Pearson which has rhythm and two trumpets so does 2 Trumpets, Byrd and Farmer Prestige 7062.
    Peter Lambert

    1. Peter, that is a really interesting observation!! I never thought about that and didn’t know…Thanks for your great comment!

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