Dick’s Picks: Dizzy Reece Quartet/The Jazz Couriers Monster Rare 1958 BBC Jazz Club Acetate


Dick’s Picks: After last week’s disco shenanigans our resident ‘vinyl guru’ has reached back further into the past and uncovered this rarer-than-rare Dizzy Reece/Jazz Couriers/Tubby Hayes BBC Jazz club acetate, needless to say, you don’t see many of these….

What’s an acetate?


Acetates are a type of phonograph/gramophone record, in common use from the late 1930’s thorough to the late 1950’s, they were mainly used for recording and broadcast purposes, and are still in limited use today. They differ from ordinary vinyl records in that they are created by using a recording lathe to cut an audio-signal-modulated groove into the surface of a special lacquer-coated blank disc. They can be played on any normal record player but will suffer from wear more quickly than vinyl. Some acetates are highly prized for their rarity, especially when they contain unpublished material…..which leads us neatly on to the acetate in question…..



This one-off 1958 UK 12″ double-sided acetate, contains a unique & unreleased recording of the March 27th, 1958 BBC radio ‘Jazz Club’ broadcast, introduced by Dill Jones & produced by Jimmy Grant.

Dizzy who?

Born in Jamaica in 1931,  jazz trumpeter Dizzy was another ex-pupil of the Alpha Boys School, a Catholic school for ‘wayward boys’ that offered musical instruction to the children in an effort to keep them away from temptation, boy were they right! Alumni include fellow Jamaican music legends Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Rico, Yellowman, Joe Harriott and Cedric Brooks to name but a few!

Moving to London in 1948, most probably as part of the ‘Windrush’ generation, Dizzy would spend the ’50s working throughout Europe playing with some of the very best jazz bands including Kenny Clarke and Thad Jones. He led several sessions in London in 1955-1957, even completing his first Blue Note session with Donald Byrd and Art Taylor at this time. Dizzy also played with some of finest Brit-jazz players of the era, including Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. Below is a version of Shepherd’s Serenade, a version of which can be heard on the acetate…

The acetate itself is housed in a reference sleeve stickered ‘Couriers’ & has a blank Pretex manufacturing label. Considering it was common practice at this point for the BBC to wipe & re-use tapes for other programmes, the fact that this acetate has survived for almost sixty years makes for quite a discovery to say the least….


The disc also includes a Jazz Couriers session featuring Tubby Hayes & Ronnie Scott taken from the same broadcast, a version of ‘What Is Thing Called Love’ can be heard on the acetate…

This acetate was obtained from the private archive of a jazz enthusiast of the era, the recordings contained on this disc sound much closer to the original source than mere armchair length, essentially it’s about as close as you can get without the need for time travel, and consider this, if the original BBC master tapes are deemed lost forever then this humble disc is probably the ONLY surviving example…..historic ain’t the word….

The session details are as follows:

BBC broadcast recording for the ‘Jazz Club’ radio show from March 27th, 1958.

The Dizzy Reece Quartet – Dizzy Reece [t], Norman Stenfalt (p), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).

Setlist: The Shepherd’s Serenade/ I Had The Craziest Dream/ Stella By Starlight/ Star Eyes/ Tune Up/ Sweet & Gentle

The Jazz Couriers -Ronnie Scott (ts), Tubby Hayes (ts), Terry Shannon (p), Phil Bates (b), Bill Eyden (d).

Setlist: What Is This Thing Called Love/ Love Letters/ Some Of My Best Friends Are Blues/ The Serpent

To see the full info click here

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