Monday, February 28, 2011

Sarah Vaughan: Unique live performance at the Concertgebouw (1958)

SARAH VAUGHAN: Unique live performance at the CONCERTGEBOUW (1958)
An impressive European live concert finally released after more then 50 years.

Hans Koert

Sarah Vaughan: De beginjaren van een groot bebop zangeres (Nederlands) Sarah Vaughan: The booming career of a great bebop vocalist (English) Sarah Vaughan: Unieke opnamen - Live in het Concertgebouw (1958) ( Nederlands) Sarah Vaughan: Unique live performance at the Concertgebouw (1958) (English)

Sarah Vaughan, the Divine One, or just Sassy for friends, was the leading star at an impressive concert at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw at a night concert on the 7th of June, 1958. Thanks to the late impresario Lou Van Rees and the Dutch Jazz Archive, (part of the Muziek Centrum Nederland) this concert has been released more then 50 years later in a series entitled Jazz at the Concertgebouw. It's its fourth record. Previous concerts released where concerts with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Jay Jay Johnson, all three pearls in European jazz history.

Programme ( photo: MCN collection)
Sarah Vaughan had brought her trio, featuring Ronnell Bright at the piano, Richard Davis on double bass and Art Morgan (labeled as David), on drums. This Ronnell Bright Trio had recorded in Paris a few days before this Amsterdam concert for Polydor. In the morning of the 7th of June, preceding the night concert, Sarahand her Trio were guests at the Dutch TV studios in Bussum for a short concert and five of the seven songs recorded, are available on a DVD. Love to share with you a fragment from the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow which she sung at that short show:

Sarah Vaughan: If This Isn't Love

In the Zeeland regional newspaper the PZC ( = Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant) the AVRO Saturday night TV-programming of the 7th of June, 1958, was reviewed as an op Amerikaanse leest geschoeide "songparade" (= An American-like songparade) and headed as Amusement van niveau ( = High level entertainment); One of the items in the programme was a short Sarah Vaughan show, pre-recorded that morning. Sarah Vaughan met een uitgebalanceerde show van pure zang, zonder gemaakte gebaartjes en met weldadige rust gebracht, heeft ongetwijfeld niet alleen de jazz-liefhebbers een kwartiertje (!) laten genieten.( = Sarah Vaughan with a balanced show of pure vocals, without gimmicks; in a relaxed atmosphere, has, undoubtedly, impressed not the real jazz-fans alone ......). There were two more tracks recorded, but never released, up to now: Both If This Isn't Love and Passing Strangers are on the Sarah Vaughan - If This Isn't Love cd.
Sarah Vaughan ( 1924-1990)
The night concert at the Concertgebouw opened with the Arvell Shaw Group, featuring Arvell Shaw on double bass. During the previous month Arvell Shaw had made some concerts with the Benny Goodman band at the American Theater ( now Amerikaans Theater) in Brussels; Benny Goodman was invited ( like Sarah Vaughan was ..... (!)), to play at the US pavilion of the Brussel's World Fair. Arvell Shaw also joined Goodman in two more concerts in Holland in May at the Concertgebouw and the famous Blokker concert
. The other members of his group all lived in Holland: Tenor saxophonist Don Byas and drummer Wally Bishop were permanent Dutch residence and Frans Elsen, who passed away in The Hague last week, 76-years old, was a sought after Dutch jazz piano player, who often had accompanied Don and Wally.
Horen, zien en .... schrijven, the newspaper's radio and Tv-review article (PZC 9th of June 1958) (click at the image to enlarge) ( source: Krantenbank Zeeland)

After the break Sarah Vaughan opened her concert with the tunes If This Isn't Love and Passing Strangers to continue with another 10 songs, most standards from the American songbook, like That Old Devil Moon, Tenderly, Autumn in New York, Body and Soul and I Cried For You to list some. During the final number, How High The Moon, the three US musicians Don Byas, Arvell Shaw and Wally Bishop joined Sarah Vaughan and her Trio for a ten-minutes jam, which can be labelled as one of the most interesting and spontaneous tracks of the album.
The concert poster: Art Morgan was listed as David Morgan (prob. his official name) and Ronnell's first name was misspelled. ( source MCN)(photo in negative) ( click on the photo to enlarge)

Bert Vuijsje, Dutch jazz journalist, is responsible for the extensive and informative liner notes and it will give you a lot of detailed information about the concert. It would be desirable if all historical releases had such informative liner notes like this one !! This Sarah Vaughan album, If This Isn't Love, is a great album - a missing link in the Dutch and European jazz history, now for the first time available for the true jazz fan.

Sarah Vaughan at the Concertgebouw concert. At the rear Don Byas. ( photo courtesy: Carel De Vogel . Source: One Night Stand)

In the summer of 1958 Sarah Vaughan joined a Swedish Tv-programme with her Trio. Love to share with you a fragment of this concert, featuring four tunes: September In The Rain - Lover Man - Mean To Me and Tenderly with the same trio like in Amsterdam, featuring Ronnell Bright at the piano, Richard Davis on bass and A
rt Morgan on drums.

What a great jazz vocalist !!
Sarah Vaughan at the Swedish Tv-programme. At the rear double bass player Richard Davis.

This Sarah Vaughan - If This Isn't Love album can be ordered at the Muziek Centrum Nederland site.


During the 1950s, the post war period in which Europe had to redevelop itself, famous American jazzmusicians discovered Europe and visited the great Temples of Jazz, like the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam or the Kurhaus in Scheveningen in The Netherlands. In 1958 Sarah Vaughan was, like Benny Goodman, invited to play at the American pavilion, now het Amerikaans Theater, at the Brussel's World Fair which included an extensive European tour. In June 1958 she gave a concert at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and was present at an AVRO Tv-programme, recorded in the morning of the 7th of June 1958, at the Bussum's Tv-studios. It was reviewed as an "avond van louter ontspanning" ( = an evening with pure amusement) as part of a "met zorg voorbereid en evenwichtig samengesteld amusementsprogramma". ( = well prepared and composed entertainment programme. The night concert has been released after more then 50 years as one of the treasures in the series Jazz at the Concertgebouw - a series of jazz albums released by the Dutch Jazz Archive. Keep Swinging was too young to be in the audience himself, but listened with his 2011-ears and learned that this must have been an impressive evening.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Claude said...

Bravo !
It's a great work.
an admirator from France
you have just to continue like that

10:10 AM  

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