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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JAZZ AT THE
PHILHARMONIC

Complete Live in Stockholm,
November 21, 1960

Solar 4569907

 

 


CD1
1. Bernie's Tune
2. Swedish Jam
3. All The Things You Are
4. Sweet Georgia Brown
5. Blue 'n Boogie
6. I Waited For You
7. Yesterdays
8. Trotting

Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet (tracks 1, 2)
Cannonball Adderley - Alto sax (tracks 1, 2)
J. J. Johnson - Trombone (tracks 1, 2, 4-8)
Benny Carter - Alto sax (tracks 1, 2)
Lalo Schifrin - Piano (tracks 1-3)
Art Davis - Bass (tracks 1-3)
Chuck Lampkin - Drums (tracks 1, 2)
Stan Getz - Tenor sax (tracks 3-8)
Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas - Tenor saxes (track 3)
Roy Eldridge - Trumpet (track 3)
Jo Jones - Drums (track 3)
Victor Feldman - Vibes, piano (tracks 4-8)
Sam Jones - Bass (tracks 4-8)
Louis Hayes - Drums (tracks 4-8)

CD2
1. Take The "A" Train
2. Indiana
3. These Foolish Things
4. Yesterdays
5. The Nearness Of You
6. You Go To My Head
7. A Jazz Portrait Of Brigitte Bardot

Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas - Tenor saxes
Roy Eldridge - Trumpet
Benny Carter - Alto sax
Lalo Schifrin - Piano
Art Davis - Bass
Jo Jones - Drums

CD3
1. Kush
2. The Mooche
3. Wheatleigh Hall
4. Announcement By Norman Granz
5. Undecided
6. Embraceable You
7. School Days
8. Lester Leaps In
9. Moonlight In Vermont
10. Bugle Call Rag

Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet (tracks 1-3)
Stan Getz - Tenor sax (tracks 1-3)
J. J. Johnson - Trombone (tracks 1-3)
Leo Wright - Alto sax, flute (tracks 1-3)
Lalo Schifrin - Piano (tracks 1-3)
Art Davis - Bass (tracks 1-3)
Chuck Lampkin - Drums (tracks 1-3)
Candido Camero - Conga (tracks 1-3)
Roy Eldridge - Trumpet, vocals (tracks 5-10)
Stuff Smith - Violin (tracks 9, 10)
Oscar Peterson - Piano (tracks 5-10)
Herb Ellis - Guitar (tracks 5-10)
Ray Brown - Bass (tracks 5-10)
Jo Jones - Drums (tracks 5-10)

 

I have often praised Norman Granz for his various contributions to jazz. These include his promoting the careers of Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald (the latter particularly with her "Songbook" albums), and his organising numerous concerts, especially those in the "Jazz at the Philharmonic" series. The latter is illustrated by this three-CD album comprising recordings of concerts made in Stockholm. The collection is sub-titled "Complete Live in Stockholm, November 21, 1960" but it also contains recordings from a 1957 JATP concert in the same city. The se sessions are on CD for the first time.

Some people have sneered at the JATP concerts, suggesting that they were a circus where musicians played to the gallery and often resorted to blaring out the same note to appeal to the groundlings. This certainly happened at some JATP events and you can hear it from J. J. Johnson in Sweet Georgia Brown, although his repeated notes seem more like lack of inspiration than crowd-pleasing. However, such antics were comparatively rare, and Granz's concerts generally supplied sessions of rich improvisation from top jazz artists. The significant thing is that Norman Granz trusted the musicians. Having assembled interesting combinations of diverse talents, he left the jazzers to choose their own repertoire (often on the spur of the moment) and play as long as they liked. Granz said "I allowed artists to play as long as they felt they could justifiably continue to create". Nearly 200 minutes of music on these three CDs justifies his approach, as they contain plenty of fine music and few longueurs.

The highlight of CD1 is All The Things You Are, which treats us to three major tenorists playing in tandem. Coleman Hawkins is his usual fluent self and Don Byas sounds similar but smoother. The more "modern" Stan Getz has a different tone and appears more laid-back than the other two. Getz is contrasted with trombonist J. J. Johnson on Sweet Georgia Brown and solos lyrically, as he does on I Waited For You. Track 5 is a mournful statement by Johnson listed as Blue 'n Boogie, although it doesn't sound like that tune to me. And Dizzy Gillespie is listed as appearing on this track, but he is nowhere to be heard. Stan Getz daringly gets out of tempo in Yesterdays. On Trotting, J. J. Johnson's solo is more imaginative than previously. Sadly Victor Feldman doesn't get a solo anywhere in this session.

The second CD opens with a vigorous version of Take The "A" Train. Roy Eldridge plays a blistering solo, Coleman Hawkins sounds effortless, Benny Carter is elegant, and Don Byas is smooth. Indiana is the usual speedy outing. Art Davis plays a witty bass solo at half tempo, both pizzicato and arco. Jo Jones does a long drum solo which is similar to the solos he often plays: brilliant but familiar.

Then comes one of Norman Granz's cleverest inventions: the ballad medley. Hawkins, Byas, Carter and Eldridge take turns to explore ballads in a gentle, meditative mood. The CD ends with Coleman Hawkins' composition, A Jazz Portrait of Brigitte Bardot, which gives everyone a chance to swing mightily.

The third disc uses Dizzy Gillespie's quintet as a basis for the first three numbers, with the addition of Getz, Johnson and conga drummer Candido. Gillespie's Kush has a mysterious, exotic air. Dizzy plays a nice muted solo but the riff on which the tune is based gets a bit tedious. Duke Ellington's The Mooche is also mysterious, and Stan Getz delivers a lovely melodic solo. Wheatleigh Hall is played at a ridiculously fast tempo which hardly anyone can keep up with. Candido exchanges fierce conga beats in a duet with drummer Chuck Lampkin.

The last seven tracks on this disc are bonuses from another Stockholm concert in April 1957, featuring an augmented Oscar Peterson Trio. In Undecided, Roy Eldridge evokes the spirit of its composer, Charlie Shavers, and he turns softly romantic for Embraceable You. The mood changes with Roy vocalising on the nursery-rhymed School Days, followed by a tearaway Lester Leaps In, where Jo Jones repeats some of his earlier solo tactics. Violinist Stuff Smith is a welcome addition for the last two tracks: a tender, soaring Moonlight In Vermont with a neat pizzicato section, and Bugle Call Rag, one of Stuff's perennials taken at a rousing tempo.

Jazz at the Philharmonic may have been a hit-or-miss affair, but this generous album shows how often it achieved a hit, especially when the musicians exercised self-discipline.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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