Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic Second British Tour 1959 003
Pages 2 and 3 of a souvenir brochure for Norman Granz and Harold Davison's second Jazz at the Philharmonic British tour. On page 2 Benny Green outlines the history and importance of Jazz at the Philharmonic, with a large photograph of a laughing Oscar Peterson on page 3.
|Catalogue Reference Number||NJA/PRO/4|
|Creator||Jack Higgins, Ron Cohen, Terry Cryer, Jamie Hodgson, Benny Green|
|Title or Caption||About J.A.T.P.|
|Event Date||May 2nd - 17th 1959|
This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.
BY BENNY GREEN
IT is difficult to define the something about Jazz at the Philharmonic which makes it unique. It is a kind of inspired crossbreed between a concert and a public jam session. It retains
the essential spirit of jazz and still manages to present it in a skilful and highly sophisticated manner which does not outrage even the most fastidious and delights the lover of spectacle. Its success has been conclusive proof that the very best jazz is a widely saleable product so long as sufficient care and ingenuity are devoted to its presentation.
Over the past ten years JATP has become the best-known phrase in jazz all over the world. It has acquired a prestige and a significance not quite like anything else in the history of the music. In retrospect, it seems that JATP was a development which had to come, as soon as there came along a jazzlover with the foresight and initiative to harness the tremendous latent possibilities in jazz lying dormant. That man is Nc'man Granz, who is responsible single-handed for the dominance of JATP in the concert world, whv is behind all its gambits, who foresaw that the jazz package show could be of literally world-wide appeal and importance if only it was produced shrewdly enough. Had Granz been a rigid modernist or a rigid anything else, very possibly JATP would have foundered under the weight of its own bias after a year or two. Fortunately Granz is not one of those men who have to stick labels on boxes before they dare examine the contents. Todayâs bill, for example, combines the talents of Gene Krupa, whose history stretches back to the semi-legendary days of the Austin High School Gang, and Ray Brown, who symbolises for many the modernism of the 1950âs.
This freedom of Granz from the accepted dogma of jazz criticism has produced some intriguing and at times heartwarming results. One wonders, for instance, whether Ben Websterâs reputation in this country would have undergone such a regenesis in the past two years had it not been for Granzâs insistence on recording him and reminding the world of jazz that it was neglecting a great musician. One wonders also whether anybody but Granz would have had the initiative to record the Art Tatum solo piano albums, or whether anybody but Granz would have done so quixotic and delightfully impractical a thing as recording Fred Astaire on a series of LPâs. Even a customary pairing of today like Getz with Dizzy Gillespie is the result of Granzâs stage management.
So far as the general public is concerned, this is the second JATP British tour, but those with reliable memories will recall that before either of the public tours Granz and his amazing jazz circus paid a flying visit to this country in March, 1953. One Sunday at the Gaumont State, Kilburn, Granz and his artists gave a show whose entire proceeds went to the Flood Relief Fund. That was a memorable day for the history of Anglo-American jazz relations, for musicians of the two countries, then divided by the invisible wall of the exchange agreement, at least managed to mingle backstage.
It was to be five more years before JATP reached the British public at large, but since the 1958 tour it has occurred to many people that perhaps Granzâs visits will become an annual event in the British jazz calendar. All jazzlovers sincerely hope so.
Granzâs policy with regard to the personnel of JATP has always been a refreshingly fluid one. He has selected musicians as his own whim and working commitments at the moment have dictated. The only thing that has never really changed in JATP is the quality of. the music. That has remained constant while the frontline faces have changed one by one, season by season. Since the beginning of JATP, only one artist has been ever-present, and that artist is one of the most remarkable people ever to sing a jazz vocal.
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