Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chet Baker: Historical Dutch Sesjun Radio Shows released

CHET BAKER: Historical Dutch SESJUN RADIO ShOWS released Historical recordings from the treasury of Dutch radio. Hans Koert Chet Baker's Sesjun opnamen uitgebracht (Nederlands) Chet Baker: Historical Dutch Sesjun Radio Shows released (English) If you remember, like me, the Tros Sesjun broadcasts on Dutch radio, you must be over fifty years old. This weekly program was for me one of the anchor points in the week. Each Thursday was Sesjun-day and I remember that I recorded several programs on my reel-to-reel tape recorder. The program started in May 1973 produced by drummer Dick De Winter and piano player and host Cees Schrama. This radio program was always live recorded at the Boerenhofstede in Laren and later at the Nick Vollebregt's Jazzcafé a few blocks away, or somewhere on location, like the Harbour Jazz Club in Rotterdam. Thanks to the archives of the Public Broadcasts, saved at the remarkable designed Beeld en Geluid building in Hilversum and T2 Entertainment, some of these broadcasts have been re-issued. The first album contains fragments of the Chet Baker Sesjun Radio shows and a second one is dedicated to Art Blakey, who played six times with his Jazz Messengers for the Tros microphone between 1976 and early 1980s - the Baker sessions are from the same period. Recently also the Bill Evans Sesjun recordings have been released. I hope to be able to review this set later. Chet Baker - The Sesjun Radio Shows ( PRCD2010091) I liked to listen to the live radio recordings for Tros Sesjun. It was the opportunity to "join" live concerts without leaving your easy chair. I even remember to have joined some of the recordings "live" at the Harbour Jazz Club in Rotterdam, although my memory fails to give you the details, but I dare to remember the Papa Bue Viking Jazz Band ( March 1977) and the Pasadena Roof Orchestra (June 1977 and 1978). It's a pity that no proper list exists anymore with all Sesjun broadcasts in the archives. Chet Baker was a regular guest of the Tros Sesjun Radio shows. He was scheduled for six ( in fact seven) concerts. Cees Schrama, the former host of the program and producer of this series, told that, although Chet had a bad reputation for missing gigs, he always was on stage in times. The trumpeter was notorious for missing gigs or showing up in a bad condition. But when he had to play for this Dutch radio programme, he was always on stage on time. And his playing was usually nothing short of breathtaking. Nick Vollebregt's Jazz Café in Laren (The Netherlands). The last concert by Chet Baker was scheduled at the Singer Concertzaal in Laren together with Archie Shepp and his Quartet for the 12th of May 1988. Chet never arrived at the Singer Concertzaal, Cees Schrama tells in the liner notes, for the simple reason that he died that very night ........ after falling from his hotel window on the third floor. The concert for Tros Sesjun were "regular" concerts with a live audience. The first set was, in fact, the warming up for the second set which was recorded and broadcasted. I remember that the audience could hear the radionieuwsdienst, the radio news and the announcement for the program - then the band started to play and Cees Schrama, who hosted the program, announced the band and the names of the tunes to be heard. Half way the broadcast Cees listed some forthcoming concerts. You won't find the announcements of the tunes at the Tros Sesjun compilation albums. Aankondigingen zijn één keer leuk, Cees told me, en daarna storend op een CD (= Announcements look great for the first time, but will be boring the listener later.). Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, Chet Baker and Philp Catherine (1983) ( photo courtesy: Paul Boonants) The "Chet Baker - The Sesjun Radio Shows" twofer contains 15 tracks from five of the six shows that remained. Although numerous concerts by Chet Baker have been broadcasted, only one of the programs had been released before, the session of November 1978, released as Live at Nick's. ( Nick's was Nick's Vollebregt's Jazz Café), although the info says that it was recorded at The Boerenhofstede, a nearby venue.
Chet Baker with Philip Catherine and Jean-Louis Rassinfosse in the Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen ( 30th of May, 1985) (photo courtesy: Piet Ruitenburg)
 In my opinion it's a pity that only a few tracks of each radio show were reissued - only the final session, February 1985 at the Nick Vollebregt's Jazz Café in Laren, has five tracks, almost 50 minutes of great music and is, in my opinion, the best part of the album. Chet plays with his Belgian rhythm section featuring Philip Catherine and Jean-Louis Rassinfosse. They performed with Chet since 1981 onwards and are to be heard at some great recordings, like the one at the Igloo-studios in Brussels ( September 1983) and the well-known Chet Choice's album released by Criss-Cross. .
Chet Baker in Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen ( 30th of May 1985) ( photo courtesy: Addy Meesters)
in May 1985 this trio was one of the highlights of the Scheldejazz Festival in Terneuzen in the southwest part of The Netherlands - a legendary concert; the veterans of the club still speak about it with respect.

I wondered why Cees Schrama, who selected the tracks, made the choice to use only a few tunes for each concert ? Wouldn't it be better to reissue a complete concert, enlarged with some unheard first-set recordings added?, I asked Cees. Ongeveer 40 jaar heb ik voor de industrie opnamen en compilaties gemaakt, (= I am a producer of records for fourty years and made numerous records and compilations) he told me, en ook daar moest ik rekening houden met wat er beschikbaar was en de kwaliteit van een en ander,(= and I always had to do with the (sound) quality of the recordings that remained .....that were available.). Het is geen peulenschilletje en ik ben dan ook zeer gelukkig met de commentaren uit o.a. de U.S. ( = It isn't a five-finger exercise and I'm really glad with some commends I received from the US). Met name omdat niemand hoort dat twee titels van een cassette zijn gekopieerd bij ontstentenis van de banden! (= In fact no-one heard that two tracks have been used of some copied cassettes, as the original tapes were lost). This commend learns you, that the sound quality is excellent. Nevertheless - these unique 2cd box, world premiere - first release, a sticker on the box reads, is a great starter of a series of 2cd's with the Sesjun Radio Shows.

The liner notes are made by Jeroen De Valk, author of the Chet Baker biography Chet Baker - Herinneringen aan een Lyrisch Trompetist. He told me that he hopes that his book will be released in the States soon.

The second 2cd album featuring the Jazz Messengers of Art Blakey has been released and one of these days the third ones will be available, with the Sesjun Radio shows by piano player Bill Evans. I hope that Keep Swinging may review this one later for you.

But few Dutch jazz fans over fifty years old, won't remember the Sesjun radio shows produced by dick De Winter and hosted by Cees Schrama. These live-recordings were broadcasted, as far as I remember, each Thursday late in the evening on Dutch radio, which gave you the opportunity to join a live concerts by great jazz men, sitting in your easy chair without leaving the house. I remember the excitement the few times I was in the audience, when the radio announcer said: We schakelen nu live over naar De Boerenhofstede in Laren voor het Trosprogamma Sesjun, gepresenteerd door......... ( ... and now we go live over to the Boerenhofstede in Laren for Tros-Sesjun, hosted by ....) Cees Schrama selected some programs for a series of 2CD compilation albums and the first one relased is an album with tunes played by Chet Baker. Keep Swinging listened to it and shared his rememberances. If you don't want to miss it, follow the blog by Twitter or ask its free newsletter aan. Retrospect Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

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Blogger Shelley Rickey said...

It's a bit of a Rotterdam legend that Chet played his last gig in The Dizzy. Is that true?
Thanks for the wonderful post, as always.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Hans said...

That's true, Shelley,
Chet plays on the night of the 10th of May,1988 at Dizzy's two tunes ( RC (= Rhythm Changes) and On Green Dolphin Street) with a rockjazz group named Bad Circuits ( = Jasper Blom - Rob Van Baven - Boudewijn Lucas and Hans Eykenaar) - it would become his last gig.


3:24 PM  

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