The Jazz Legend that Never Was

The Mutant Phase

Back in my late teens/early twenties I took up playing the Saxophone as a hobby and once I had forward motion facilities I became a regular attendee of the Shrewsbury Jazz Club and Jazz Club 90 and while watching the many bands the seed of forming a jazz band was planted and began to grow. Now doubt partially fuelled by the brief emergence  of a new generation of Jazz singers and youth jazz bands attacking the mainstream hit parade, though the world of  modern regarded these new arrivals much the same way that the Trad movement did the “Archer’s Street Jazzmen” in the 1950s.

So while I mused about it, how the line up would work,  what would the band play etc the thought of a name for the band hit me. Even just a working title as it were… I flicked through the Jazz Guide looking at the band adverts for a little inspiration and the names were quite generic ‘Wabash Jazz Men”, “Heart of England Jazz Band”, “Severnside Jazz Band”, “Sussex Jazz Kings”etc so I did toy with the Proud Salopian Jazz Band and variations of it, but again  I felt it a bit ordinary and probably would give the impression that we would be full of middle aged and semi-retired men so I knew it had to be a little more iconoclastic. Two of the most talked about bands on the then new scene were Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear who still now cause a split of opinion on them, but what struck was they didn’t sound like Jazz Band names and I went with that approach. So after a bit of brain wracking I toyed with The Quatermass Experiment which to me would be a marketing ploy as if I decided to front a big band I would be able to call it Quatermass 2 to illustrate it was the same person fronting it. I then toyed with The Mutant Phase and er, Eaters of Wasps, I chatted with my mate Shaggy who was in an indie band called 1952 about the names and the first thing he said “I say old chap, I am intrigued to know where you originated those names”, well that may not be the exact phrasing he used but that was the gist. After a pause he did shared his thoughts and concluded that the first two were good names… for a rock band and the that Eaters of Wasps sounded like the name of a sinister heavy metal or grunge group, I guess he was right on the later but since I didn’t want a jazz sounding name I settled on The Mutant Phase,  a name I borrowed from an excellent Big Finish audioplay featuring the Daleks.

Of course the band didn’t happen as I really didn’t know where to begin in getting a group together, I didn’t know anyone into Jazz around my age and I was a bit to shy to ask to sit at the Harp, so it became a pipe dream. It is a pity the lovely Jadene Ryder was not a contemporary of mine as I think something could have started there… but then again considering the whole Andrea issue perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.

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That is a young Sandman with my Alto sax and Tenor resting next to me, this was pre-Clarinet and bass guitar so this was my musical instrument ensemble.

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7 thoughts on “The Jazz Legend that Never Was

  1. Just love that photo, real cool. Interesting article and those names can present problems. As far as I remember, when Mr. Swiss started to play some of the names were the Magazine. Afterwards it was the Friday Groove Trio because they rehearsed on Friday, and then it became the Monday Groove Quartet, because someone else joined and they rehearsed on Monday. Somewhere on the way was a Swing Project and now there is a Solothurn West Coast Jazz Quartet, but now they are mostly golden oldies except for the guitarrist that is full profi and music teacher in various schools.
    By the way, don’t know if you are interested but I mainly listen to an app on my iPad “Radio Swiss Jazz”, don’t know if you can get it, but is my sort of thing. A lovely mixture, some trios, big bands, singers a bit of everything. From a jazz apprecntice english lady somewhere in Switzerland I can recommend it, Mr. Swiss also listens so it must be good.

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    • Thanks for the heads up I’ll go check it out later. I imagine had anything gone with the band idea none of my proposed names would have been used but I think would have still pushed for a less jazz group sounding name. Occasionally I did sit in jam sessions at Upton Jazz Festival and after hours at Jazz Club 90 when Terry and later Wink ran the shop. I think the Mutant Phase was still probably the best of the names I came up with….

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  2. Pingback: The Fats Show | Sandmanjazz

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