Edward Brian ‘Tubby’ Hayes (30 January 1935 – 8 June 1973) was an English jazz multi-instrumentalist. One of England’s top jazz musicians of the 1950s and 1960s, he was a fine hard bop stylist on tenor sax and occasionally vibes and flute.
Hayes was born in London and his father, a BBC studio violinist, gave him violin lessons from an early age. By the age of 10, Hayes was playing the piano. He started on the tenor sax at 11 and began playing professionally when he was 15.
In 1951, when he was 16, Hayes joined Kenny Baker’s sextet and later played in big bands led by Terry Brown, Vic Lewis and Jack Parnell, among others. In 1955, he formed his own octet and toured the UK for 18 months. During this time, he took up flute and vibraphone but it was with the tenor sax that he made and retained his reputation.
From 1957 to 1959, Hayes joined Ronnie Scott to co-lead The Jazz Couriers. Subsequently, he formed his own quartet, toured Germany with bandleader Kurt Edelhagen, and made several trips to the USA to play in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. While in America, he recorded with Clark Terry, Eddie Costa and Horace Parlan, among others.
Back in London, Hayes formed his own big band, working in television, film and radio, and he even had his own television series in the early 1960s. In 1964, he sat in with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.
As well as leading his own bands and recording under his own name, Hayes also recorded with other UK jazz musicians, such as the Harry South Big Band, the Ian Hamer Sextet and later studio sessions by Ted Heath’s Orchestra. He was also a prolific session musician in many genres.
Hayes appeared in a number of films, including All Night Long (1961) with Charles Mingus and Dave Brubeck, and A King in New York (1957), The Beauty Jungle (1964) and Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965). He also played at a wide range of jazz festivals, including Reading, Windsor, Antibes, Lugano, Vienna and Berlin.
In 1969–1971, heart trouble forced Hayes to stop playing, and it was the cause of his death at the age of just 38.
In this 1965 clip, the Tubby Hayes Quintet is reunited with the big band from which it was formed to play Jimmy Deuchar’s ‘Suddenly Last Tuesday’.