Shocking, isn't it the way local talent gets taken for granted. Take pianist Tony legend of much Sunday lunchtime. Recorded live at Jagz Club, hard by Ascot railway station- "the finest jazz venue outside Central London", his trio makes swing sound simple.
Because Tony has treated generations of jazz-and-beer-loving Londoners to his seemingly casual expertise, he seems to have been pigeonholed as a mere pub pianist. That’s a mistake. Behind his Dickensian side-whiskers and unassuming manner, the self taught Mr Lee has move artistry than many an inflated concert artiste. He attacks the keyboard with zestful wit that recalls his main influence, the great Erroll Garner. Though capable of several jazz-piano styles, it’s the Garnerisms solid left hand jabs and funkily delayed right hand phrases that suit him best, listen, too bass of Tony Archer, a Lee regular Their teamwork runs deep. Veteran drummer Ronnie Verrell, making one of his last recordings, just enjoys the ride.
‘All The Things You Are’, ‘Laura’ and ‘Stomping At The Savoy’ are outstanding tracks. So is 'Cry me a River', a solo piano gem. The producer includes too much boisterous applause for the trio. But they're are worth it.
Jack Massarik - Evening Standard March 2003
Allan Ganley is to my mind the closest living stylist to the great Shelly Manne. He has always seemed to fit the title 'A man for all seasons' with his ability to play with imagination, taste and drive in every varied jazz situation. He gives vent to each of these qualities with his tight group of high-class musicians. Dave
Green, a regular partner in many of Allan's musical adventures, lays down a carpet of sound under all the proceedings. Apart from his immaculate solos, one is constantly aware of his solid playing which emanates through the open backing of Dave Cliff's guitar comping. This Dave's delightful playing is on a par with Jim Hall, who has stated in the sleevenote 'I love this music'. There are many reasons to share in Jim's opinion as Dave plays solos and backings that are ideal for this super quartet. The group is completed by Geoff Simkins's lyrical saxophone which conjures a marriage of Paul Desmond and early Lee Konitz. He weaves his cool improvisations around a varied selection of jazz related compositions. He is superb and should have world recognition. Jazz doesn't come any better than this-and it's British.
Al Merritt - Jazz Journal April 2003
*ALLAN GANLEY QUARTET - LIVE AT THE STATION
OK, it's completely straight -ahead bebop played by a journeyman quartet of British jazz veterans live in Ascot. Would anybody other than an audience member who cheered every solo in the heat of that moment heed a recorded memento of the occasion? Well, the answer's yes, because this is the classic bebop style revisited with immense affection, and the players are far clones of departed giants.
Drummer Ganley has been an unobtrusive force as a player and arranger on the straight-ahead scene in the UK for half a century. Here, as ever, his coolly ticking cymbal beat and excitable high-hat clap is as devoted to driving the band rather than advertising himself. Guitarist Dave Cliff, combining Wes Montgomery's chord-playing with a harder-struck, long-lined sound, is on sharp form. Saxophonist Geoff Slmpkins mingles Charlie Parker with the imperturbable Cool School sax sound, and bassist Dave Green's four-four walk is at Its most genially Insistent.
Simpkins is terrific on Charlie Parker's Anthropology, which winds up with a clamorous collective ending. Cliff's The Right Time has a Green bass solo that bulges the speakers.
On Goodbye, the sax and guitar blow smoke rings together, with Simpkins sounding faintly like Art Pepper; they then shadow each other closely on the cruising Parker theme Quasimodo. Ganley's cymbals and crackling snare fizz beneath the headlong Limehouse Blues.
John Fordham The Guardian January 2003