Monday, February 27, 2012

Louis Armstrong in Blokker 1959: New photos

Louis Armstrong All-Stars in 1959 concert at Blokker
A series of unique photos made by Kees Maaswinkel.
Hans Koert
Louis Armstrong All-Stars in Blokker 1959: New photos (English) Nieuwe foto's van Louis Armstrong in Blokker 1959 (Nederland)

There are some concerts which are, even after decades, still fresh in mind. Each jazz fan has such memorable concerts in mind. For a lot of Dutchmen, most of pensionable age now, the Blokker concerts of the 1950s and 1960s are still legendary, like the concerts of Benny Goodman ( 1958) and Louis Armstrong (1959 and 1965). At both Louis Armstrong concerts dedicated amateur photographers made their photos and, in a previous blog I shared the photos and remembrances of Henri Hoogewoud, who shared with us his 1965 Louis Armstrong concert photos. Two years ago Martin Van Der Waals contacted me with an anonymous photo from the 1965 Louis Armstrong concert, which he found in the Haags Gemeentemuseum.

Part of The Micro-Solisten: f.l.t.r.: Piet Van Marle (bass-trumpet) - Klaas Van Meerten De Boer (trumpet) and Gerrit De Boer (Clarinet). ( photo courtesy: Kees Maaswinkel) Recently two new visitors of the blog, contacted me with their photos and stories of the 1959 Louis Armstrong concert in Blokker, a small village in the northwestern part of The Netherlands. The story of the Blokker concerts, and especially the 1959 Louis Armstrong concert, is told in a previous blog. Today I love to present the story of Kees Maaswinkel who loves to share with you some photos he made at the 1959 Blokker concert. In a later contribution I love to share the story of Hans Spoelstra. The Kees Kuyt Combo: f.l.t.r.: Henk De Jong double bass and Leen Dijkkamp vibes (photo courtesy: Kees Maaswinkel)
Kees Maaswinkel remembers the concert. Ik was toen 17 overigens en had mijn eerste serieuze fotokamera gekocht: een Aires IIIa. (= I was only 17 years old in those days and had bought my first real photo camera, an Aires 35IIa ). Daar zat een vaste lens op en dat was geen telelens. (= It had a fixed lens, not a telephoto lens.). Ik moest dus dicht bij het podium zien te komen. Dat lukte ook. (= I had to try to get near the stage and the artists and it worked). Ik heb geprobeerd het hele gebeuren vast te leggen: het voorprogramma, de All Stars en het publiek. (I've tried to make a series of photos of the complete concert: The bands that opened the concert, the All-Stars and the people in the audience). Uit de konsertzaal: A review of the 1959 Blokker festival in Rhythme, a Dutch Maandblad voor jazz-, dans- en amusementsmuziek.)(p. 6-7) (Hans koert archive) ( click on the photo to enlarge).
The bands that did start the concert were The Micro Solisten from Zaandam, a place nearby and the Kees Kuyt Combo. The Dutch Rhythme, maandblad voor jazz- dans- en amusementsmuziek, remembers in its series Uit de konsertzaal, the fact that Louis Armstrong en de zijnen had visited Blokker as the final act of its 1959 Festival. ( 7th up to 10th May, 1959). Bijna ongelooflijk ( almost unbelievable) and Bijzonder groots ( Very remarkable) are two quotes from the review. Louis Armstrong (photo courtesy: Kees Maaswinkel)
The article in Rhythme doesn't informs its readers about the curtain raisers: The Micro Solisten, an amateur group, that played in the traditional jazz styles, featuring Klaas Van Meerten De Boer (trumpet), Dolf Kaper (piano), Gerrit De Boer (clarinet), Piet Van Marle (bass-trumpet ( and prob. trombone) , Ko Van Calcar double bass and Dick Dijkstra drums) and the Kees Kuyt Combo, a modern jazz group featuring Leen Dijkkamp (vibes), Kees Kuyt (guitar), Henk De Jong (double bass) and Jaap Kok (drums). Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton (photo courtesy: Kees Maaswinkel)
After more then half a century Kees does not rememberthe details of the concert very well. The Louis Armstrong All-Stars featuring, of course, good old Satchmo on trumpet and, of course singing with his recognizable grasping voice, Trummy Young on trombone, Peanuts Hucko on clarinet, Billy Kyle at the piano, Mort Herbert on bass and Danny Barcelona on drums. Velma Middleton was added as vocalist. These tours along venues all over the world were very exhausted for the members of the band and for Louis, who was almost 60 years old, this European tour would bring him into hospital - A month later he would be suffered by a severe heart attack, while being in Spoleto in Italy for some concerts. Louis stayed in hospital for one week, took some days rest in Rome and flew back to the States and ten days after the attack he was on stage again playing some chorusses at a concert that was scheduled at the jazz jamboree at Lewisohn Stadium. Six years later, Louis would return to Blokker, The Netherlands, for a second concert at the auction hall, were normally vegetables were sold by auction. The audience ( photo courtesy: Kees Maaswinkel)Ik weet nog wel dat bij een lange drumsolo van Danny Barcelona een boerenjongen achter me riep: Krimmeneel, wat ken die vent trommelen! (I remember that, after an energetic drum solo by Danny Barcelona a local guy shouted in the local language: Krimmeneel, wat ken die vent trommelen!(= My God, what a drummer man). Kees told this story at home and since that time these are winged words in his family. During this period Kees lived in Utrecht, in the centre of The Netherlands, and had to find someone who would give him a ride home. It worked!

Thanks Kees for sharing the photos of this unique Dutch Louis Armstrong concert in Blokker May 1959. Thanks to Marc Van Nus and mrs. A. Tanger for their information.
Hans Koert

 Two young Dutchmen, Ben Essing and Jan Vis, who lived in a small village north of Amsterdam, Blokker, decided during the late 1950s to organize some concerts, to stir living things up in their small village. At the local auction hall, were vegetables were sold by auction, they scheduled May 1959, a small festival which ended with a concert by Louis Armstrong himself. Kees Maaswinkel, then 17 years young, joined that concert and took his photo camera. He loves to share some unique photos with the visitors of the Keep (it) Swinging blog. Keep (it) Swinging loves to point you to this kind of unique stuff in Dutch jazz history and if you don't want to miss it, follow it a Twitter ( #keepitswinging) or ask for its free monthly newsletter:

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