Harry Beckett ‎– Flare Up (Full Album)

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Flare Up is the debut album by Caribbean trumpet player Harry Beckett. It remains an occasion to celebrate decades after its initial release during the golden age of British jazz. Beckett had been a member of the various big bands of the era, such as Graham Collier’s, Mike Westbrook’s, and John Surman’s, preparing him well for this first date as a leader. It does take some cues from the late Miles Davis Quintet sides like Filles de Kilimanjaro and Directions, but it’s also funkier, brighter, and freer simultaneously, owing to the great explorations in improvisation taking place in Great Britain and in Europe in general, as well as the late-era modal jazz of Miles. The lineup on this session is quite impressive: the triple-sax front line is comprised of Surman, Alan Skidmore, and Mike Osborne, with Chris Laurence and John Webb on bass and drums alternately, Frank Ricotti on vibes and congas, and John Taylor’s uncredited Fender Rhodes piano. Beckett composed four of these pieces, Collier another four, and Surman (who had been flown in from Belgium for the date) one. The feel is brash in places, but there are grooves even in the more abstract spaces of tunes such as “Go West” and “The Other Side.” With a three-sax front line, Beckett is uncaged to roam throughout the arrangement and accent the gritty and gruff, making his horn both a seductively mysterious element as well as a more elaborate extension of the rhythm section — and Webb’s drumming in places is absolutely unhinged (check the Beckett pieces like the title track and “Flow Stream Flow,” as well as Surman’s signature piece, “When Fortune Smiles”). This date was reissued by Jazzprint in 2005, and contains brilliant liner notes by noted British critic Richard Williams. This is essential for anyone interested in British jazz from its most creative period (AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek, https://goo.gl/C82WR8 ).

Track listing:

A1 Flare-Up 0:00
A2 Go West 4:01
A3 Where Fortune Smiles 10:36
A4 Scarlet Mine 14:13
A5 Third Road 18:07
B1 Flow Stream Flow 23:37
B2 The Other Side 27:21
B3 Rolly’s Tune 31:23
B4 Fools Play 37:42


Mike Osborne – alto saxophone
Graham Collier (tracks: A2, A5, B2, B3), Harry Beckett (tracks: A1, A4, B1, B4), John Surman (tracks: A3) – arranged by
John Surman – baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone
Chris Laurence – bass
John Webb – drums
John Taylor – piano
Alan Skidmore – soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Harry Beckett – trumpet, flugelhorn
Frank Ricotti – vibraphone, congas [conga drum]

Written-By – Collier (tracks: A2, A5, B2, B3), Beckett (tracks: A1, A4, B1, B4), Surman (tracks: A3)


  • Released: 1970
  • Duration: 44:06
  • Recorded: 1970
  • Producer: Terry Brown
  • Label: Philips ‎– 6308 026