Too Young To Go Steady

Artist: Tim Whitehead

Date of Release: 12/12/2007

Catalogue no: HMR 051

Label: HomeMade Records

Price: £12

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Track Listing







Too Young To Go Steady




Happy Birthday To Me




Colour Fast




Love Fool




Race Against Time






HomeMade Records is proud to announce the release of ‘Too Young To Go Steady’, the latest album from eminent UK saxophonist, Tim Whitehead. The album, recorded live at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on Friday 13th July 2007, will be officially launched on 12th December (Tim’s birthday) at WayOutWest at the Ram Jam Club, Kingston-Upon-Thames.

The album is a 47 minute first set in its entirety and witnesses characterful and challenging performances from Tim’s longstanding quartet. It features BBC Best Instrumentalist nominee Liam Noble (piano), Milo Fell (drums) and Oli Hayhurst (double bass). The musicians create a fascinating narrative which is developed throughout the set, revealing the ever-shifting dialogue and sensitivity between them.

Tim has been described as “one of the most creative, exciting and passionate saxophonists in Europe” (Ian Carr, A Rough Guide to Jazz) and “The finest tenor player in Britain today” (Jazz Review). During a career that spans over 30 years, Tim has played with the cream of British jazz, both at home and abroad, including Ian Shaw, Django Bates, Ian Carr, Gwilym Simcock, Denys Baptiste, Jim Mullen and John Parricelli, as well as Italian pianist Giovanni Mirabassi. He has been involved in some of the most groundbreaking creative projects, from the anarchic big band, Loose Tubes, in the 1980s, to his ongoing collaborations with Colin Riley and the Homemade Orchestra in more recent times. He is also a respected educator and a committed activist within the field of jazz.

In Tim’s own words, “The playing captured in this live recording comes a step closer to the qualities I have been aiming at throughout my career: telling our stories, together, and revealing something of the moment in which we are playing with a real passion, dialogue, development and humour.”




15/02/2008 Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post

Whitehead is one of the indefatigable warriors of British jazz, and this live session captures him at his inventive best. It's a record of a single set at a London club, and it must have been a terrific gig. Whitehead steams through four originals and a standard with wit and elan, backed by a fizzing rhythm section. One of the delights is the interplay between the members of his quartet. Whitehead's exchanges with pianist Liam Noble on Colour Fast are among the highlights, but there isn't a dull moment.


01/02/2008 Peter Vacher, Jazz UK

The musicians – pianist Liam Noble, Bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Milo Fell – are evidently all on the same wavelength, and acutely sensitive to the direction of the leader’s ideas here. Over the years Tim Whitehead has become one of the most compelling of UK saxophonists, his sound dry but tough, and with the sort of ability to tell a story that is reminiscent of the late Dexter Gorden. Another strong performance from him and his excellent group, and Liam Noble’s stunning performance here is world-class.


01/01/2008 Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

Album Interview

A marvellously warm, attractive album recorded at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London’s Dean Street. Perhaps, I’d expected something a little more “out” but this will do nicely. I like the way Whitehead’s slightly gruff tenor rides over a backing as light as air on the opening title track and then later on the lovely Jarrettian ‘Love Fool’. But then on the closing, driving ‘Race Against Time’, he leads from the front with a spiralling, spinning solo. No one gets to stay in their comfort zone and you’ll hear Liam Noble, one of our finest pianists, in a whole new, highly-charged guise. Every time he solos, something magical happens. Of course, it must help having a rhythm section as dynamic as Hayhurst and Fell – their work on the opening of Whitehead’s ‘Happy Birthday To Me’ is simply magnificent. Not perhaps, the most ambitious record you’ll buy in 2008 but one that will linger on your deck.

Jazzwise talks to Tim Whitehead about his album

Your new record offers the listener a powerful, driving set of tunes and performances

A week before we recorded the album I was feeling a particularly liberating energy passing through my playing. I think the powerful, driving nature of the performance which you refer to, derives from the big dynamic contrasts between, for instance, the very reflective, intimate duo of Liam and I at the beginning of “Too Young” and the New Orleans shuffle celebration that develops out of it. And I think that comes out of our enjoyment of playing together in this band. I also think we all played with what Ian Carr calls a criminal intent to make music.

You are clearly well-served by Liam, Oli and Milo. What do you feel they have contributed to this album?

Well, there’s Liam’s huge and intelligent perception in making development a first priority in his playing and amazing tenacity in hanging on to that and abandoning other, less important, though tempting, issues. Mile is a bit the same, his drum solos are studies in taking one idea and giving it a good shaking, with a self-deprecating humour that always makes me laugh out loud on the stand. Oli is a dark horse, a man who has quietly flowered as a player over the last four years to a point where his solos have that same commitment to development and a real authority, while his ensemble work gets ever more acutely perceptive to the collective need.

Your next release is a new record with the HomeMade Orchestra using settings of Michael Rosen’s “Nonsense” poetry. How did this project come about?

Colin Riley, who co-leads the HomeMade Orchestra with me, and i decided we wanted to collaborate with a poet and we both likes Michael Rosen’s work, both for childrena dn the so-called grown-up stuff. We saw real possibilities in working with his two Nonsense Poetry volumes. He’s been very pleased with the demos Liam, Colin and I have put together so far. We really go for the humour and social commentary in his work. As well as recording, we’re also going to perform it with Michael this year, which should be both funny and dangerous.


07/12/2007 John Fordham, The Guardian

British saxophonist Tim Whitehead not only suggests a little of Sonny Rollins' brusque lyricism at times (as well as plenty of John Coltrane's headlong energy) but also the living legend's inviting inclination to spin long improvisations off simple, even cheesy, song hooks. This live set (a single 47-minute episode caught at the Soho Pizza Express last July) features the 1950s hit of the title track, three originals that take in a soul-jazzy Happy Birthday to Me and some jittery, stop-start Coltranesque postbop, and an initially wistful and then increasingly funky account of the Cardigans' Love Fool. Whitehead's tough-talk sound, melodic spontaneity and the momentum of a brisk rhythm section (plus the audible enthusiasm of the audience) would make this a fine example of local contemporary jazz at full throttle. But the big bonus is an absolutely inspired performance from Liam Noble, whose piano links touch on Keith Jarrett's songlike phrasing and McCoy Tyner's thunder - except that his playing all over this set supplies a constantly changing stream of personal variations on those methods, and plenty more.


06/12/2007 Alan Brownlee, Manchester Evening News

IT's a live set, and not overlong (47 minutes), but TYTGS achieves jazz perfection of sorts. Tim Whitehead has been around long enough to qualify as a veteran (the title has an ironic tinge), but his is a case where unassuming authority co-exists with enduring passion and zest.

His tenor saxophone sings! And the consummate rhythm section - driving, splashing pianist Liam Noble, drummer Milo Fell (almost playing his kit like a melody instrument) and full-bodied, nimble bassist Oli Hayhurst - are manifestly having a lot of fun. Exceptional.


05/12/2007 Chris Parker, Vortex website

Recorded live (from one unedited set) at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho in July 2007, this quartet album (tenor player Tim Whitehead joined by pianist Liam Noble, bassist Oli Hayhurst, drummer Milo Fell) necessarily betrays all the judicious programming appropriate to the occasion, consisting of an accommodating standard (the title tune), three Whitehead originals and an 'escape' from popular music, the Cardigans' 'Love Fool'. Whitehead has been in the front rank of UK saxophonists since he first came to public attention with Loose Tubes in the 1980s, and this absorbing album, on which he himself notes that the band is captured 'telling our stories together and revealing something of the moment in which we are playing with a real passion, dialogue, development and humour', he thoroughly justifies this status: his is an attractively sinewy yet characterful, occasionally fruity tone, and the imaginative vigour with which he approaches his material is simply exemplary. In Noble, he has a fine foil, a pianist capable of producing economical, highly individual – even quirky – solos that contrast tellingly with the saxophonist's more straightforward blowing. Whitehead has always been a tasteful selector of bandmates – his albums with the late lamented Pete Jacobsen, Arnie Somogyi and Dave Barry are well worth seeking out – and this is a highly listenable sample of the work of another great working band in action. Recommended.


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