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Back to Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic Second British Tour - 1959

Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic Second British Tour 1959 004

Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic Second British Tour 1959 004

Pages 4 and 5 of a souvenir brochure for Norman Granz and Harold Davison's second Jazz at the Philharmonic British tour. Page 5 provides brief profiles of Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald, performers with Jazz at the Philharmonic. Page 4 features a portrait photograph of Ella Ftizgerald.

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/4
Creator Jack Higgins, Ron Cohen, Terry Cryer, Jamie Hodgson, Benny Green
Date Made 1959
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Event Date May 2nd - 17th 1959

This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.

★★★★★
It is said often, and accurately I think, that if the entire cast of any show she were in was to fall sick, Miss Ella Fitzgerald could still pack the house. She is sometimes loosely described as a modernist, but she is, in fact, one of those rare artists whose work can rise above the confines of this school or that school. Ella started her career in the 1930’s with the vastly underrated Chick Webb Band at the Savoy Ballroom, Harlem, and since then has been recognised by musicians and critics all over the world as the pastmistress of the art of popular song. The Norman Granz era in jazz has elevated her still further, gained her world-wide audiences running into tens of millions, and made her the most pqpular jazz performer since Louis Armstrong. Today her name is synonymous with the four letters JATP.
Stylistically there are two Ellas and both of them will be heard in plenty on this JATP tour. The first Ella is the one who breaks up the show with her scat vocals. The second is the one
who can interpret so sensitively the best light verse of her generation in masterly albums like the
Porter, Ellington, Berlin, and Rodgers and Hart Songbooks. The features of Ella’s style which make possible the successful playing of this double role are an uncanny sense of pitch, an ear which can form phrases with the certainty of a musician manipulating a keyboard, a huge range, and extreme refinement in the interpretation of lyrics.
Her voice has the fundamental tenderness one associates with the singing of a lullaby. It is all sweetness and light, with occasional undertones of melancholy which make listening to her an adventurous and rewarding experience every single time. And yet the same artist can break up the house night after night with versions of “ How High the Moon ” and “ Lady Be Good ” in a style as far removed from the serene Ella as one could possibly imagine. The general public which always reacts so enthusiastically towards these remarkable expressions of vocal bravura is probably not bothered with technicalities, but it is nonetheless true that were one to transcribe one of Ella’s scat vocals and break it down into its component harmonic parts, one would find it meticulously correct in the matter of its progressions. The scat vocals only SOUND like happy
accidents. In fact, they are the result of a lifetime spent in jazz.
★★★★★
Oscar Peterson, who has so often accompanied Miss Fitzgerald, is another veteran of JATP. For some years now his group has been featured in its own spot, displaying at all times the virtuosity one expects from Canadian-born Peterson. It would be difficult to find anywhere in the world of jazz a keyboard technique superior to Oscar Peterson’s. For chorus after chorus, jazz will pour from him, jazz faultlessly executed and usually emotionally highly charged. There are overtones of several other pianists to be found in his playing, and at times he appears something of an eclectic summary of the past ten years of jazz piano. There is, however, some quality in his playing which is pure Peterson and makes him instantly recognisable.
A slight change in the permutation of groups on this year’s show brings in a new drummer with Peterson, Ed Thigpen, whose credentials are most impressive if only because of his acceptance as a fine drummer by that most fastidious of leaders, Billy Taylor. British fans will know Thigpen from his British releases with the Taylor Trio, but may not know that Thigpen, like many of his contemporaries, is a second generation jazzman whose father played drums in the ’30s with Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy.
Completing the Peterson trio is one of the giants of jazz, string bassist Ray Brown. His
youthful appearance may be a little deceptive, but for all that Brown has been a dominating figure
in modern jazz ever since the shattering days of the early Gillespie big band. Brown, who won
acclaim with such brilliant performances as “One Bass Hit’’, has been with JATP for several years, and each time he returns one wonders about his astonishing technical virtuosity, the richness of his tone, and his melodic gift.
ELLA FITZGERALD