Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jazz from Carnegie Hall: 1958 All-Star band live in Amsterdam

Live in Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw (1958)
Lee Konitz - Zoot Sims - Phineas Newborn - Red Garland - Oscar Pettiford - Kenny Clarke in an All-Star band.
Hans Koert

Jazz from Carnegie Hall: 1958 All-Star band live in Amsterdam (English) | Jazz from Carnegie Hall (1958) in het Amsterdams Concertgebouw (Nederlands)

The Dutch Jazz Archive, part of the Muziek Centrum Nederland ( MCN) has released a new album in its series Jazz at the Concertgebouw. This series contains live concerts, as produced and recorded by Lou Van Rees, a Dutch impresario.

Cover of Jazz from Carnegie Hall - Live in Amsterdam 1958: Star Eyes (MCN 1201)

The informative liner notes by jazz journalist Bert Vuijsje, give, as always, detailed information about the concert that took place at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw the 27th of September, 1958. A group of US musicians, now all legends in jazz, but in those days already the creme de la creme of the US jazz scene, were touring Europe and were scheduled for two concerts in the Netherlands: at the Kurhaus in Scheveningen, the beach resort near The Hague ( starting at 8.00 p.m.) and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw ( 11.30 p.m.). The Jazz From Carnegie Hall tour, produced by Harold Davison,  like the tested Norman Granz Jazz At The Philharmonic formula, toured Europe, starting its tour in England ( like in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester ( 16th); then to Scandinavia, with a concert on the 22nd in the Concert Hall in Stockholm; The Netherlands, with concerts in Scheveningen and Amsterdam (27th), Germany (Berlin (28th-29th) (Munich (3rd of Oct) and France; usually two concerts were played nightly. The line-up was: J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding, the two famous trombonists, who had become famous due to their cooperation in  previous years as the Jay and Kai duo - Lee Konitz and Zoot Sims reeds - Red Garland and Phineas Newborn piano - Oscar Pettiford double bass and Kenny Clarke drums.
Kai Winding and Jay Jay Johnson (at the Kurhaus concert 27th of Sep., 1958) (source: Rhythme nº 109 Oct. 1958 - p. 8)
The famous trombone duo was scheduled with the rhythm section, featuring young piano player Phineas Newborn, unknown in Europe, but impressed the Dutch with his abundant virtuosity and exquisite swing, as Bert describes it in the liner notes. It is a pity, that the part of the concert ( 2nd set) featuring Jay and Kai wasn't released, as the producer selected only the first set (except the two bonus tracks with the Oscar Pettiford Trio) ....... without J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Especially the former, Jay Jay Johnson, impressed with his quintet a year earlier, at the same plays at a night concert, August 1957, which can be heard in this excellent series of Jazz at the Concertgebouw in a previous release (MCN 0903). Why not released the full concert at a 2cd set? Well, the MCN could make amends with a part 2 .....
Zoot Sims and Oscar Pettiford (at the rear) (at the Kurhaus concert 27th of Sep., 1958) (source: Rhythme nº 109 Oct. 1958 - p. 9)
Bert Vuijsje gives detailed information in its liner notes about the concert in Amsterdam, the dozen tunes selected and the reviews in Dutch newspapers ... I won't go on about it!
The Dutch Rhythme published a review of the Kurhaus concert in Scheveningen, which started at 8.00 p.m. and Anton Kop, who joined that concert, was very negative about it in an article entitled: Jazz from Carnegie Hall - een teleurstellend geheel ( = Disappointing). He is very critical about the producer, Lou Van Rees and the concerts he recently organized (like Jazz at the Philharmonic, with a line-up which must be still active in the Heaven All-Stars: Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Sonny Stitt, Coleman Hawkins, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown, to list some) as the public didn't got value for money. Wederom was het programma danig besnoeid - soloisten als Zoot Sims en Lee Konitz speelden twee nummers en verdwenen dan weer haastig achter het toneel.(= Again the program was cut down - soloists like Zoot Sims and Lee Konitz only played two tunes, and left stage in a hurry). En waren de toehoorders om negen uur al in de stemming om pauze te gaan vieren, terwijl het konsert om tien over acht begonnen was? ( = Do you really think that the audience needed a break at 9.00 o'clock after three quarters of an hour? ).
Part of the program ( source: Booklet Jazz from Carnegie Hall)
The reviewer must have had a hangover from the concert, as the musicians were or slecht op dreef (= in bad form); mateloos teleurstellend ( = very disappointing); zijn solo-optreden was pijnlijk slecht (= his solo performance was awfully bad): all quotes about Lee Konitz. Goedkope effektjes ( = cheap licks): quote about Zoot Sims. Te druk ( = too noisy) ( Quote about Kenny Clarke) and Oscar Pettiford realiseerde zich slechts enkele malen van de ware taak van de bas in de ritme-sektie is. ( ... realized only a few times what the role of the bass player is in the rhythm section).

Oscar Pettiford - Kenny Clarke (at the Kurhaus concert 27th of Sep., 1958) (source: Rhythme nº 109 Oct. 1958 - p. 9)
Both Red Garland and Phineas Newborn could fascinate the author. Vooral Phineas Newborn zouden we zonder enige beperking en fenomeen willen noemen. ( Especially Phineas Newborn was a phenomenon, a great piano player without any restrictions). The tune, which fascinated Anton Kop most, Back Home (sic) was listed as Walkin' in the Concertgebouw concert release (2nd concert) - it belongs to one of my favourites of the album.
Lee Konitz and Zoot Sims (at the Kurhaus concert 27th of Sep., 1958) (source: Rhythme nº 109 Oct. 1958 - p. 8)
And what about Oscar Pettiford? He has been one of my favourite bass players for years and the Jazz From Carnegie Hall tracks, recorded during other live concerts with the same line up in Manchester and Stockholm, recorded a week before the Amsterdam concert, belong to my favourites ( First Bass- Oscar Pettiford) ( IAJRC CD 1010). This great bass player was labeled in 1957 by the Dutch Rhythme magazine as the one-but best ( the best was the late Jimmy Blanton) bass player.  He belongs to the list of underrated musicians, Peter Sweens explains in the article An Oscar for Pettiford, subtitled Wat het betekent tot de grote groep van underrated musicians te behoren ....) ( = What is means to be part of the large group of underrated musicians) (Source: Rhythme nº 95 Aug, 1957 - p.26)

Advertisement for the Jazz from Carnegie Hall concerts (Source: Rhythme Nº 108 Sep. 1958 p. 36)
This sixth album in the series Jazz At The Concertgebouw, entitled Jazz from Carnegie Hall - Live in Amsterdam 1958 - Star Eyes ( with Lee Konitz - Zoot Sims - Phineas Newborn - Red Garland - Oscar Pettiford - Kenny Clarke ( MCN 1201) is another must-have in this unique series of legendary live concerts .... and it would be great if the second set of this 1958 Amsterdam concert would be released too ..........
These are the other five albums, available at the MCN-website with Amsterdam Concertgebouw concerts: Chet Baker (1955) – Gerry Mulligan ( 1956) – J. J. Johnson ( 1957) – Sarah Vaughan ( 1958) – Misha Mengelberg-Piet Noordijk Quartet (1966).
Hans Koert
Twitter: keepitswinging

The cd series Jazz at the Concertgebouw, released by the Muziek Centrum Nederland (MCN) has been enlarged with a new album, featuring the first set of the 1958 Jazz From Carnegie Hall tour, featuring Lee Konitz, Zoot Sims, Phineas Newborn, Red Garland, Oscar Petiford and Kenny Clarke. The main attraction, trombonists J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding, who played during the second set, are not present, much to my regret, on this sixth album in the series Jazz at the Concertgebouw, Star Eyes. Keep Swinging dreams about a second volume of this concert to complete this Lou van Rees concert registration. If you like this kind of reviews, please ask for the free Keep Swinging newsletter. You'll like it! (

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Blogger Thinktoomuch said...

Afgezien van het feit dat dit een geweldige uitgave is van MCN....maar waar zijn de opnames van J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding dan eventueel op uitgebracht? Er is een 3cd set op RLR Records maar daar is niks van het Amsterdamse concert op terug te vinden. Weet iemand meer?

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contact me at keepswinging at live point nl

7:38 PM  
Anonymous John Softly said...

I attended the concert on 16th September 1958 but the venue was the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea and not Manchester.
I still have the tickets as Tuesday 16 September was the first date I had with my future wife.

10:53 AM  

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