Denny and the Jets

The Jets story... so far

Jets Archive


ITEMS by Denny & The Jets

If you’ve just handed over your hard-earned cash to buy this album consider yourself  a 'Jet'. If you performed on this album you are a 'Jet'. If you gave encouragement you are an honorary 'Jet'. You jet the picture?

The man behind, in front of and entirely to blame for the making of this album is Denny Ball. He’s a musician specialising in the bass guitar. He has played in bands, made records and toured extensively for more years than you could throw a stick at.

Okay, biography time: Born yes,  when? who cares,  where? Birmingham England, parents? yes two of them. Early career: Useless at school except for art and music and the ability to avoid the extremes of the Birmingham accent. A year in retail and then on to his first 'professional' group called Danny King & The Mayfair Set. First recording session was at Abbey Road for a single released on the Columbia label. First radio show was being interviewed on Radio Luxembourg. First serious TV appearance was on Top Of The Pops as bass player in Long John Baldry's band which featured Rod Stewart and Elton John on backing vocals. First album was 'Bedlam'. Most worrying experience: 48,000 people attempting to join Osibisa on stage in Bombay, India. Second most worrying experience: playing at a gig where the band outnumbered the audience.

If you'll pardon my French this album represents Denny’s De Rigueur.

In 1995 he sold a business to buy the equipment to do the recording to make the album. 'Need To Love' and 'Highgate Borders' were the first tracks to be completed before Denny and his lovely wife Debra 'decided to leave London to live in Derbyshire'. But their moving plans became complicated when Denny had to fly to Australia to be with his mother after she had been admitted to hospital. After his mum died he stayed on in Australia with his dad until early 1996, then returned to rejoin his wife and pick up the pieces again in Derbyshire. But things didn't work out for Denny and Debra, and a year passed by with little or no work done on the album.

Denny returned to London, set up the studio once again and started more recording. 'Stranger In Autumn', 'The Same Thing' and 'Remember Who You Are'. Then it was 1998, and the sudden loss of an old friend and musical conspirator Cozy Powell. Denny was grateful at this time to have a spell with The Yardbirds deputising for one of the band members. He spent the summer playing gigs and festivals in Europe with the band, and in September got back to studio mode. 'I Want to Know You', and 'The Deputy' (about the tribulations of being a band's deputy) where the next recordings.

Into 1999, a concert with Brian May celebrating the life of Cozy Powell, and more gigs with Denny's regular band 'Wolfie Witcher and his Brew'. Denny recorded several more tracks but 'dumped most of them because they weren't any good'.

'Theme 2000' was written as a piece of intro music for the BBC and their coverage of the Sydney Olympic Games, but it didn't get used. 'Soundcheck' is a self-incriminating piece dedicated to the bass player who gets his rocks off ahead of what eventually becomes a fairly disciplined role within the framework of a band.

Let Denny tell the story about 'A New First Line'.

"I have a library of Cozy Powell recordings from the period I spent living with him, from the time I spent in bands with him and then two years after his tragic death when I purchased a collection of his tapes which had been sold off at an auction. Amongst these tapes I discovered some unfinished drum tracks, one of which became this song. This particular stereo mix on digital audio tape contained just the drums, and therefore no melody or other instrumentation.

I set about scoring Cozy's drumming, and then began writing a melody. I don't know exactly where the lyrics came from, but I believe C.P. had a lot to do with the new first line!”

The next track to be completed was 'Crazy Old Dreamer', an old song from Denny's archive, and then the daft 'Water Bottle Blues' became the much needed finishing post for the album.

Throughout the process of making this album, Denny confided with his band mate and saxophone maestro George Carless. On out of town gigs they used to travel together, and George would listen to and comment on rough mixes of Denny's songs. It was whilst they were on stage at a gig in March 2001 that George revealed that he had been poorly. Denny explains:

"George Carless and I had an understanding as people and an understanding as musicians. We became friends because we found it easy to be friends. During the time I visited George in hospital we would sit chatting about this and that. The conversation was always gentle and easy - we didn't try to put the world to rights!

I wrote a piece of music which seemed to describe in musical terms the communication between us. After I recorded the piece I made a CDR and gave it to George. He listened very intently and said: "Yeah man, that's how it is".

George died of Cancer on 20th November 2001.

I wrote this piece of music for George in his lifetime, and dedicate it to him now he has gone."

'Gentle George' was the final track to go on the album and George will always be “one of the Jets”.

Items was issued as a limited edition album. Some tracks have been re-recorded for the current project with Elke Avis.