Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dear Mayor ....

( Naar de Nederlandse vertaling.)
part one: Police Stops Hampton-Madness
Almost a year ago I published a contribution titled Burgemeester , referring to a column of Kronkel, pseudonym of Simon Carmiggelt, a well known Dutch journalist and writer. In this blog I told about Lionel Hampton concerts from the 1950s which causes a storm of protests. The mayor of Amsterdam forbid all jazz night concerts, but I learned that most ( if not all) concerts continued normally. I wondered how this problem was solved or was it a storm in a teacup. Arnold van Kampen, researched this incident some times ago and published it in the magazine "Carmiggelt" in his article: Simon Carmiggelt, de jazzliefhebber - 7. Arnold allowed me to publish some parts of this article. In the first part, Police Stops Hampton-Madness I love to inform you about what happened during the two Lionel Hampton concerts and today he'll inform us about the column Burgemeester and what happened after the ban of night concerts.

Simon Carmiggelt (1913 - 1987)
Simon Carmiggelt, a popular writer and columnist writes .....
"Doch het Modern Jazz Quartet........................ Mijnheer de Burgemeester, dit groepje wordt gevormd door een paar stille hogepriesters, die de jazz serveren als een koel, verfijnd gerecht, dat eerbiedig en zonder schrokken, bij kleine hapjes moet worden genuttigd. ( = Dear mayor, I love to inform you that these men of the Modern Jazz Quartet are high priest in jazz, who serve it as a cool, exquisite meal, that should be consumed without gobbling, in small portions. ) Het Modern Jazz Quartet is geen roekeloos hadde-kidéé-clubje, zonder muzikaal verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel, doch een ver van alle ophitsende kunstgrepen verwijderd verbond, van enige in-trieste heren, die onnoemelijk en passant een vleugje uit "Das Musikalische Opfer" van de heer Bach zelf in hun delicate bedoelingen betrekken en zich pas wat ritme permitteren, nadat zij op hoge, klassieke benen op ons afgeschreden zijn." ( = The Modern Jazz Quartet is not a group of hooligans, without any musical responsibility, but a group of rather traditional almost classical orientated gentlemen, who even use phrases of Mr. Bach himself.) Great words - hard to translate as it is almost prose.

This is the column Burgemeeester, written by Simon Carmiggelt in Dutch signed as Kronkel. I haven't translated it, as Carmiggelts language is almost like prose. In short he explains that you can't compare music as made by the Hampton Big Band with jazz like Chet Baker or the music made by the Modern Jazz Quartet.
If you read this Kronkel it seems plausible that Simon was at the Chet Baker concert of the 17th of September 1955 in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam ( a double concert of the Chet Baker Quartet / The Tony Crombie All Stars - 8:00 p.m.), because the straight, almost negative description about Chet he couldn't have made up without being at the concert. It's rather negative. Later that week Simon Carmiggelt continued below his Kronkel "Tragedietje" ( = A little tragedy), in which he apologies for his negative view: He says: I received a lot of letters from jazz fans about the Modern Jazz Quartet, but also critics who believed that I don't like Chet's music. Blijkbaar heb ik mij onduidelijk uitgedrukt. (= It seems that I wasn't very clear about that... ). Ik haast mij te zeggen dat ik Chet Baker beschouw, als een der belangrijkste jazz-musici van deze tijd.( = I love to determine that I believe that Chet is one of the best Jazz-musicians nowadays.) Ik heb in mijn stukje alleen willen benadrukken, dat zijn muziek een moedeloosheid bij je binnenhuilt, die mij wel eens een beetje benauwt."( = I only wanted to say that his gloomy tunes makes me depressed sometimes.)
Mayor Arnold Jan d'Ailly (1902 - 1967)
I'm sure the mayor Mr. d'Ailly must have seen it, or something else that did make him decide to withdraw the ban for night jazz concerts. On the 3rd of November 1956 the Modern Jazz Quartet gave a concert at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam which started at midnight as part of the Birdland ‘56 tour, with Miles Davis and Lester Young and the Trio René Urtreger. Bud Powell only played at the Haarlem concert which was sceduled earlier that evening.
In October 1956 Simon Carmiggels shares a letter he received from the mayor:
"Waarde Kronkel" ( Dear Kronkel (= the pseudonym Simon uses for his column), the mayor writes, "Uw tot mij gerichte hartekreet in Uw blad van 1 oktober gelezen hebbende, moet het mij van het hart U mede te delen, dat ook Gij mijn besluit verkeerd hebt geïnterpreteerd. ( = I read your heartfelt cry of the first of October in your news paper and I love to tell you that you didn't understand fully what I wanted to say with my decision to forbid the jazz night concerts.) Ik heb niets tegen Count Basie, Kid Ory, het Modern Jazz Quartet en hoe al deze "stille hogepriesters" dan ook mogen heten, maar wèl tegen het feit, dat deze lieden in de stilte van de nacht met hun muziek de "zuivere zielsverheffing" van jeugdig Amsterdam bewerkstelligen.( = I really like musicians as Count Basie, Kid Ory, The Modern Jazz Quartet or other so-called High Priests Of Jazz, but I don't like that these people spread their music in the middle of the night to uplift our Amsterdam youth. ) In fact I hope that these people play their music of everyone and not only for the night-revellers. See it as if I gave those Modern Jazz Band a last chance to share their music.
It is remearkable that no-one mentions the Miles Davis and Lester Young appearances on stage?
Isn't it great to learn, that even an ordinary column writer can change things?
Arnold van Kampen: Other contributions: Oscar Peterson: The Vocal Styling - Oscar Peterson’s Van Gogh Story and of course Police Stops Hampton-Madness

In the
Organissimo Jazz list Steve from Southern Germany writes about the previous blog: The bewilderment and disgust of the Dutch press about those Hampton tours wasn't an isolated case. Even German, French and Swedish JAZZ mags were somewhat reserved about the "musical value" of the stage shows of those Hampton tours. In fact (and I am sorry to say this) the German jazz mag "Jazz Podium" really outdid itself in complete incomprehension as they constantly categorized the live shows of Lionel Hampton's big band as "nothing but rock'n'roll", etc. Thankfully they refrained from referring to "jungle noises", etc. as the day press would be apt to do, but clearly this part of danceable, gutsy, down-to-earth jazz was out of reach even for noted German jazz writer celebs such as Dieter Zimmerle, editor and long-time German jazz publicist. Apparently over here they all were on a firm "how-to-make-jazz-as-respectable-as-classical-music" kick in the 50s. Laughable if you look at it today, and not one of the finer publicistic hours of Dieter Zimmerle."Jazz Hot" from France and the Swedish jazz mags clearly were much more in tune with the subject they were supposed to cover, as the mags gave a much fairer appraisal of the music, though they had their reservations about the "show" side of the concerts too and complained about the unruly behavior of part of the audience. Steve - Germany
Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Nederlands ( To the English translation )

Bijna een jaar geleden plaatste ik een bijdrage getiteld Burgemeester , die refereerde aan een titel van Kronkel, de bijnaam van onze bekendste kroniekenschrijver Simon Carmiggelt. In die blog vertelde ik over de concerten van het Lionel Hampton orkest, die alle nogal tumultueus verliepen, hetgeen resulteerde in een verbod van nachtconcerten in Amsterdam. Ik ontdekte echter dat de meeste nachtconcerten na dit verbod gewoon doorgang vonden en vroeg me af of iemand me hierover opheldering kon geven. Arnold van Kampen, onderzocht dit incident enige tijd geleden en publiceerde zijn verslag in het tijdschrift "Carmiggelt" in het artikel: Simon Carmiggelt, de jazzliefhebber - 7. Arnold stuurde me delen van dit artikel toe en stond me toe hierover op mijn blog te publiceren. In het eerste deel, Politie stopt Hampton-razernij, informeerde hij over de twee tumultueuze Lionel Hampton concerten en in het tweede deel, Geen Hadde-Kidéé-Clubje, lees je wat er nu na het verbod op nachtconcerten gebeurde.

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