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The Long Shadow of the Little Giant

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Over forty years have elapsed since the death of the British jazz legend Tubby Hayes and yet his story still continues to captivate. Beginning as a precociously talented teenage saxophonist, he took first the local and then the international jazz scene by storm, displaying gifts equal to the finest American jazzmen. He appeared with none other than Duke Ellington and proved almost single-handedly that British jazz need not labour under an inferiority complex. Hayes’s triumphs during the 1950s and 60s enabled still later generations of English musicians to take their music onto the world stage. However his story, distorted by the folklore surrounding his tragically early death, aged only 38, has rarely been accurately recorded. Much of what has been written, broadcast and recounted about Hayes has added only confusion to our understanding of his short but brilliant life.

In this new, expanded paperback edition, award-winning saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett, widely regarded as the world’s leading authority on Hayes and his work, painstakingly outlines a career that alternated professional success and personal downfall. Using credible eye-witness recollection, drawn from conversations with Hayes’s family, partners, friends and musical colleagues, unique access to Hayes’s own tape, photographic and personal archives – including papers that have only recently come to light - and extensive contemporary research material, Spillett has reconstructed the trajectory of his subject’s life both candidly and respectfully.

Published: Jul 17, 2017

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Simon Spillett
Introduction Simon Spillett
Chapter 1
A Face not Built for Gloom (1935-1951) Simon Spillett
Chapter 2
Boy Wonder Terrorist (1951-1955) Simon Spillett
Chapter 3
’56 not ’45 (1955-1958) Simon Spillett
Chapter 4
The End of the Old Order (1958-1959) Simon Spillett
Chapter 5
Now its Who have They Got? (1959-1961) Simon Spillett
Chapter 6
Down in the Village (1961-1962) Simon Spillett
Chapter 7
Tubby Hayes Loves you Madly (1963-1964) Simon Spillett
Chapter 8
The Best of Both Worlds (1964-1965) Simon Spillett
Chapter 9
Addictive Tendencies (1966-1967) Simon Spillett
Chapter 10
The Other Scene (1967-1968) Simon Spillett
Chapter 11
The Beginning of the End (1969-1972) Simon Spillett
Chapter 12
It’ll be me Next (1972-1973) Simon Spillett
The Lost Leader – The Legacy of Tubby Hayes Simon Spillett
Notes Simon Spillett
Select Discography
Selected Discography Simon Spillett
Index Simon Spillett


First Edition Longlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Award 2016
Awarded a Certificate of Merit in Historical Research in Recorded Jazz in the 2016 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence

Reviews of the first edition:

A biography well worthy of his subject.

A fine work of jazz scholarship and a pleasure to read.
BBC Music Magazine

Sir John Dankworth described Tubby Hayes as a 'prime force' in the world of jazz saxophone playing. Maybe the full value of his talent never came to be realised, but he was a tremendous musician on flute, saxophone and vibes, and we were privileged to work with him at the peak of his powers.
Dame Cleo Laine

This magnum opus is a triumph and perfectly complements Simon Spillett’s renowned musical homage to the master. I knew Tubby Hayes very well towards the end of his life on and off the bandstand and I can tell you Simon has done his subject more than justice. The writing is authentic, accurate, warm and very readable.
Spike Wells, drummer with Tubby Hayes, 1968–73

Spillet is himself an award-winning saxman, and has therefore been able to bring technical analysis into the pages of a book which absorbingly relates Hayes's professional endeavours and also tells of his personal life.
The Beat

Spillett's monumental biography of Hayes combines needlepoint research with a musician's judgment, true affection - plus a grace of expression - that sets him securely in the pantheon of great jazz biographers.
Digby Fairweather, jazz trumpeter

Spillett has created THE definitive Tubby Hayes book which will be essential to any old and new Tubby’s fan!
UK Vibe

One of the best biographies I’ve read in years.
Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online

For me, it is the definitive work on the subject and will always will be.
Mark Baxter, writer and filmmaker including a forthcoming Tubby Hayes documentary out in October 2015

This is a beautifully written and exhaustively researched volume.

[A] remarkable biography.
Blue Light

It's the first really rounded account of a British jazz musician I've read, and I think I've read most of them.
Dave Gelly

Simon Spillett has written a book about Tubby Hayes that tells us a great deal about the man and his music, and about British modern jazz generally. It’s closely researched, with ample notes and a useful discography.
The Northern Review of Books

What this book has successfully achieved is to paint a three dimensional portrait of a genius but, crucially, it's written by someone who's not merely a Hayes expert - very probably the Hayes expert - but also a professional jazz musician. Few books have been written about post-war jazz, and none concerning its most illustrious star, making this eminently readable biography a strong contender for jazz book of the year.
Jazz Journal

One of the finest jazz biographies of recent times. A big book in every way, it stands as a worthy tribute to a colossal talent.

This is a superlative biography and one that every jazz aficionado should read.
Soul and Jazz and Funk

With a sparkling turn of phrase and a spooky empathy for an era that may as well be the dark ages, so different is it to the present, Spillett makes Tubby walk again here, grinning, vibing (in every sense), blowing. It's a fine line, straight and true.
Record Collector

Vivid, richly detailed and based on a staggering amount of research. A real page-turner, eloquently and carefully written, and an essential read.
The Jazz Rag

This is a great, rich book of jazz writing which will stand comparison with any jazz biographies from the past.
Jazz Views

Very expertly written by another enormously gifted UK jazz tenor saxophonist. The finest piece of biographical writing I've come across in many a year. Very strongly recommended indeed.
Clarinet & Saxophone

A superb and very well researched biography.
LA Jazz Scene

A vital contribution to a subject Equinox are doing such a good job of chronicling: British jazz history.

Well-researched and well-written, Tubby Hayes is very fortunate to have had his story told by Simon Spillett. It isn’t often that the story-teller is as engaging as the story being told. The Long Shadow of the Little Giant: The Life, Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes (Second Edition) is one of those times.
Jazz Profiles