“A total classic from back in the days!“ – Gilles Peterson
Recorded during the summer of 1980 and originally released in 1982 on Spotlight Records, ‘Paz are Back’ was the second (and arguably the finest) album by the London jazz collective, founded by vibraphonist, composer and arranger Dick Crouch. Known for their original jazz-funk and Latin stylings, the band held a weekly Sunday residency at The Kensington pub in Holland Park for over 8 years, becoming a fixture at many London venues throughout the 70’s and 80’s, most notably Ronnie Scott’s.
For Paz, band leader Dick Crouch assembled a group of the finest jazz musicians working in London at the time. Piano, keyboard and synth player Geoff Castle was a mainstay of the band throughout the years, as well as playing and recording with George Coleman, Ian Dury & Georgie Fame to name but a few. He also composed the highly original and energetic track ‘Moonchild’, featured on this album.
Sax and flute player Ray Warleigh enjoyed a successful three decade career (sadly, he passed away in 2015), playing alongside Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, Scott Walker and Stevie Wonder as well as 9 years with PAZ. The full breadth of his musical dexterity is on display here, from the gritty alto sax solos featured on ‘Laying Eggs’ to his eerie home-made panpipes on ‘Horrors’.
Guitarist Ed Speight also worked extensively with Ian Dury and the Blockheads, as well as performing ‘Tubular Bells’ with Mike Oldfield on the QEH and BBC2. Now an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, Ed taught guitar and keyboard harmony between 1988 and 2010.
Bass player Ron Mathewson is best known for his years spent working with Ronnie Scott, but he also recorded with Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Ben Webster and Bill Evans (to whom the stunning ‘I Can’t Remember’ is dedicated). His absence on one album track is noted in its title ‘Where is Ron?’, so called because he realised the song required no bass-line (as the original liner notes stated: “this awareness of when not to play is part of his genius”).
Appearing with the band for the first time on ‘Paz are Back’, drummer Frank Gibson was perhaps better known for accompanying Leo Sayer, David Essex and Dusty Springfield, although jazz was always his first love. Following his time in the UK and touring the world, Frank returned to his native New Zealand, where he won three ‘Best Jazz Album’ awards and performed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
Capturing a group of prodigiously talented musicians at the height of their powers, ‘Paz Are Back’ features timeless original compositions from almost all the band members, as well as a unique cover of ‘Everywhere Calypso’ by Sonny Rollins and a truly frenetic, heavily improvised version of jazz standard ‘Dancing In The Dark’. A band who remained steadfastly resistant to being pigeonholed, incorporating a multitude of influences before ‘fusion’ became fashionable, Paz’s music stands the test of time magnificently, as evidenced by the staggering demand for original copies of this album.
Remastered and packaged with the original artwork, BBE are excited to make the magic of Paz available to a new generation of fans.
A1 Laying Eggs
A4 Where Is Ron?
B2 I Can’t Remember
B3 Iron Works
B4 The Everywhere Calypso
B5 Dancing In The Dark