In October 1984 John Jack/Cadillac records made possible the second UK tour of the Billy Bang Quartet, known as The Jazz Doctors for the purposes of the recording they made whilst in London.
The tour incorporated three elements. First, participation in Anthony Wood’s Actual Festival at the Bloomsbury Theatre London on Monday Oct 15th. Second, a Jazz North funded tour: Wed Oct I7 at Leadmill Arts Centre, Sheffield; Thu Oct 18 at Band on the Wall, Manchester; Fri Oct 19 at the Bradford Hotel, Liverpool; Sat Oct 20 at Leeds Trades Council. The third section was I think organised by Hazel Miller (Ogun Records) and John Jack and visited the 100 Club, London on the 21st, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, on the 26th, and Norwich Arts Centre on Sat Oct 27. Tuesday 23rd October was slated for recording the second Jazz Doctors album at Peter Ind’s Wave Studios in Hoxton, London – the recordings were made but not released at the time due to unspecified technical issues. More on this in a future blog.
We’ve collected together some material related to the tour to flesh out the story of the band and their involvement with Cadillac Records.
In rereleasing the classic Jazz Doctors session LP Intensive Care, Cadillac unearthed a wealth of additional material. Photos flyers, memories from contemporaries – see our dedicated Bonus Material page for the collection, which will expand in the coming weeks.
Today we have some selections from a Manhattan photoshoot of 1984, kindly provided to us by the photographer Alan Nahigian. Read on for Alan’s memories of the shoot, and what came after.
Photos taken originally for the release of the second Jazz Doctors album, released now for the first time by Alan Nahigian
“The photo shoot was taken at East River Park in Manhattan. I believe it was near [Billy] Bang’s apartment on east 14th street. Frank Lowe told me that The Jazz Doctors name and being dressed in the medical scrubs was inspired by Lester Bowie. As I mentioned before, I saw the band perform at the Picnic House in Prospect Park Brooklyn as part of the MOBI (Musicians of Brooklyn Initiative) series that was curated by Lester Bowie.
I visited John Jack [Cadillac Records founder], I believe at the Shaftesbury Ave location in 1988. He still insisted that he had enough of the recording to release an album so I let him keep the photos. Over the years he still insisted that he was going to issue a release, I finally gave up and had someone pick up my photos at the Tileyard Road office in 2007.
In 1985 The Jazz Doctors performed at The Picnic House in Prospect Park Brooklyn. I believe that the concert was recorded by Lester Bowie who produced the show. I assume his brother Joe has the tapes or knows where they are.“ – Alan Nahigian
April 5th 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Cadillac Records, the DIY label set up by John Jack and Mike Westbrook in 1973 to release Mike’s album Live! (SGC1001). To commemorate this momentous event ace designer Frode Sorensen has reworked the famous Cadillac logo for the anniversary – cleaning it up and giving it a modern spin – and the label will celebrate with a selection of reissues from our back catalogue and a live event at Cafe Oto on 28th September 2023 with our sister label Ogun Recordings.
Schedule for the first half of 2023:
SGCS1023 Younger Zen – Oy Me Redentor – Third digital single from Trinidad steel pan project.
SGC020 Jazz Doctors – Intensive Care: Prescriptions Filled – The Billy Bang Quartet sessions 1983/1984. Reissue of the 1984 LP for the first time on CD including a whole new session. Featuring Frank Lowe, Billy Bang, Rafael Garrett, Dennis Charles, Wilbur Morris, Thurman Barker.
SGCLP020 Jazz Doctors – Intensive Care. The original 1984 album, remastered and reissued on vinyl.
SGC022 Joy – Joy. First time on CD, remastered from the tapes with extra tracks and new notes. Brilliant lost recording from great 70s British band featuring Chris Francis, James Dvorak, Frank Roberts, Ernest Mothle, Keith Bailey.
SGCLP022 Joy – Joy. Reissue of the 1976 LP remastered from the tapes and including extended versions of 2 tracks.
SGCLP023 Johnny Dyani – Rejoice. Reissue on vinyl LPSGCLP024 Johnny Dyani – Together. Reissue on vinyl LP.
Cadillac Records was founded by John Jack and Mike Westbrook in 1973. It was a DIY label before the term was invented, a vehicle initially intended to release Mike’s albums when, as part of a wider malaise that affected jazz in the mid 70s, the major labels that had supported the new generation of artists withdrew into the conservative, money-minded cul-de-sac that has in retrospect proved their downfall.
John Jack took the opportunity offered and ran with it in characteristic fashion, fashioning a boutique label that reflected his wide tastes and anarchic personality. From his old friends Ken Colyer and Stan Tracey, to albums by modern tyros Frank Lowe, David Murray and up and coming UK artists Joy, Andy Sheppard & Hornweb, the only rationale was the musical one.
When Cadillac Music & Publishing owner John Jack died on 7 September 2017 he was still working on a number of projects for release on the label. In order to bring some of these projects into the light Cadillac will continue to trade as a label, reissuing out of print recordings and bringing out never before issued gems from Cadillac’s dusty archive.
“UK journalist/broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre’s occasional Now’s the Time compilations continue with Fresh from Finland (Cadillac), a raft of Finnish new music from lyrical folk-jazz to funky electronica, free improv and adventurous pop/jazz vocalising. The 13 tracks include a wailing opener from Finland’s famous UMO orchestra, two appearances from prizewinning pianist/harpist Iro Haarla (she’s on piano with folk/improv trio Hot Heros and spacey harp with 86-year-old Finnish reeds great Juhani Aaltonen), and some ruggedly exhilarating piano/sax postbop from Riitta Paakki’s quartet.”
Kevin LeGendre, journalist, presenter, author, fell in love with Finnish music following his many visits to the rich musical festivals of that country. It seemed a logical step to compile an album of the best Finnish music for his long-running, occasional series of albums based on the radio show that he presented some years ago. Fresh from Finland joins critically acclaimed collections of contemporary Jazz, French music and fusion sounds. Fresh from Finland is a powerful selection of music from a number of different genres, often, as the best music is, uncategorisable.
Featuring the music of:
UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, JAF Trio, Plop, Kahden Miehen Galaksi, Superposition, Emma Salokoski Ilmiliekki Quartet, Mikko Innanen Autonomus, Hot Heros, Iro Haarla, Riitta Paakki, Halme Prospekt, Quartet Ajaton, Juhani Aaltonen, Iro Haarla, Kari Ikonen
Released on digital, CD and limited edition double LP.
It’s with a real sense of loss that we learned of the passing of our great friend Victor Schonfield. Victor was a presence of enormous significance in the world of improvised music, as a teacher, a promoter, a fund of knowledge, a generous and open man. He was kind and always ready to help. Everything he did, and Victor’s range of activities were extraordinary, was done for the love of the music, and to support the artists he loved. From promoting the very first Sun Ra concert in the UK to championing great British musicians such as Bobby Wellins and Stan Tracey, he was indefatigable. We will miss him. Our thoughts are with his family.
– Hazel Miller, Mike Gavin, on behalf of Cadillac Records and Ogun Recordings
“the most outré title I’ve come across recently and also one of the year’s most unexpected joys was Matthew Wright’s brief and marvellous Jazz and Cricket. Any book that gives Frank Parr his due and mentions the other Charlie Parker is to be welcomed. ‘Oh, play that thing!'” – Paul Edwards
How’s that! The Cricketer (the world’s No.1 cricket magazine and winner of the ECB Outstanding Coverage of Domestic Cricket award for four consecutive years) have included Jazz and Cricket on their book of the year list! Available from all good cricket book shops and our online shop.
Cadillac Records is delighted to share Peter Vacher’s review of our recent rerelease Albert’s Blues & the 44 Gerard St Session, published in the upcoming issue 267 of Jazzwise Magazine.Read more Jazzwise here, and buy your copy of the record here.
“What with detailed notes, good sound, and distinctive graphics, this has to be one of the reissues of the year” – 4/5 STARS
Cadillac Records are delighted to announce the upcoming reissue of jazz originator Albert Nicholas’ classic album ‘Albert’s Blues’, alongside a previously unreleased live session recording. This is a reissue of an original album on Doug Dobell’s legendary 77 label, based at the famous Charing Cross Road Record Shop. Albert ‘Nick’ Nicholas was a favourite of Doug and John Jack, Cadillac founder, and one of the great jazz originators – he played with Jelly Roll Morton and others before settling in Europe. This release includes unissued material, and a complete live session, never before released, recorded on acetate by Doug, of Albert and the Humphrey Lyttelton Band playing at an all night dive in London’s China Town in the ’50s.
“This record is full of such good things. Cuff Billetton trumpet lays down a firm lead with a nice fat tone and takes some inventive solos, and Richard Simmonds provides some two-fisted piano backings. But this, as I am sure they all agree, is Nick’s record.”
Ian Christie, from the original 1977 sleevenote to Albert’s Blues