"JATP IN EUROPE"
Mandagen Den 21 Nov. KL 10.00 O(H 21.15
"JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC"
DIZZY GILLESPIE, trumpet
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY, alto sax (Courtesy of Riverside Records)
J. J. JOHNSON, trombone
BENNY CARTER, alto sax
CHUCK LAMPKIN, drums
LALO SCHIFRIN, piano
ART DAVIS, bass
1. BERNIE'S TUNE BMI
2. SWEDISH JAM ASCAP
STAN GETZ, tenor sax
COLEMAN HAWKINS, tenor sax
DON BYAS, tenor sax
ROY ELDRIDGE, trumpet
LALO SCHIFRIN, piano
ART DAVIS, bass
JO JONES, drums
1 - ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE ASCAP
Some time ago, Norman Granz organized a Jazz at the Philharmonic tour to cover the major European cities. The musicians Granz chose for the European tour, recordings of which make up this album, were all outstanding jazzmen, but they did not belong to the same generation or the same schools of playing. They were mixed, and deliberately so, to prove a point, which ought to be obvious but rarely is. This point is that there is more in common between the present generation of jazzmen and the last than critics care to admit. Musicians worry far less than anyone else about pigeon- holes, and Granz's gambit of throwing Dizzy Gillespie and J. J. Johnson into the same ring with Benny Carter was not really the wild gamble it seems. On the opening concert of this tour, these musicians found themselves on stage with no program worked out. The listener can hear these men hastily- and lightheartedly - discussing what to do, a garbled process described by Benny Carter on the opening grooves with the euphemistic phrase, "We're having a short rehearsal." When they began this session, the musicians had no more idea what would come out of the ends of their instruments than the audience did. Because of the high professionalism of the men involved, the results turned out to be very happy ones, as they did throughout this remarkable tour.
A vast quantity of hot air is expended on the theme of how Jazz is different from any other kind of artistic act, but there is indeed one way in which jazz really is unique, and that is the speed at which it has evolved. In fifty or sixty years, the music has covered a vast harmonic distance, and one of the most interesting effects of this hysterically rapid advance is to make possible the pairing of instrumentalists produced by social environments and musical climates which are related but quite dissimilar.
The great watershed of jazz development occurred in the early 1 940s, when, to oversimplify it, a handful of musicians made the giant stride from diatonic phrase-making to chromaticism. It was an advance which had a dual effect. It cut off the music from the non-specialist ear, and it split the jazz world into two hostile camps. Today the lines of division have become mercifully blurred by the enlightenment that only comes with the passing of time, so that today it is no longer considered sacreligious to place on the same stand pre and post-Parker soloists sharing a common rhythm section.
But even this kind of tolerance is un necessary with regard to the music on this album. A glance at the names of the musicians involved and the careless thinker will instantly categorise Hawkins, Eldridge, Byas and Carter as the oldtime group, with Getz, J. J. Johnson and Cannonball Adderley making up the modern contingent. But the music it self reveals a rather more complex truth.
A careful examination of "All the Things You Are," for instance, suggests strongly that harmonically Hawkins, the old stager, is more adventurous than Getz, the blithe modernist. This particular track is the theorist's joy, a melodramatic exposition of contrasting saxophone styles, so much so that it would not be difficult to convince the uninitiated that Getz is actually playing a different instrument to the ones Hawkins and Byas are blowing. But this is a contrast of styles, not of eras. For where before has the listener been struck by the violent contrasts in tonal approach and aural shapes that occur when Getz follows Hawkins and Byas in "All the Things You Are"? This is the old battle that Lester Young once fought single handed, and the quicksilver virtuosity of Getz is really a brilliant extension of methods pioneered by Lester thirty years ago.
In "Bernie's Tune" it would seem that it is Cannonball Adderley and not Benny Carter who is on the side of the angels, because "Bernie's Tune" is loosely designated as a modern theme. In actual fact "Bernie's Tune," far from possess ing the severity of modern chromaticism, is just a harmless jaunt in the minor, no more complex and no less buoyant than an oldtime minor theme like I Found a New Baby. If Adderley has inherited some of the splendid incandescence of Parker, then Carter has retained much of that marvellous aplomb which earned him the rank of a great jazz innovator. Carter has the elegance of a courtier and his brave attempt to follow some the precepts of the younger men has ~brought about a few amendments in his technical method but none to his musical personality.
There remains the spectacle of Eldridge and Gillespie meeting on the same chord sequence. Gillespie has never hidden his admiration for Eldridge, and has generously acknowledged on many occasions the profound influence of Roy upon him in the early years. Because of this relationship, Eldridge is the logical link between Arm strong and Gillespie, a trumpeter whose tremendous emotional impact reflects his own enthusiasm for the jazz idiom, while Dizzy, winding his devious way through the chords, shows why he is regarded as the wiliest strategist in jazz today.
Consciousness of passing time is a desirable and indeed necessary requisite for evaluating jazz performances, but in the rush to keep up with the latest harmonic fads, the fact is sometimes overlooked that because of the rapid flight of jazz, different eras co-exist and ought sometimes to co-habit, as they do in these performances. Hawkins may have been a contemporary of Bessie Smith's, but he is also a contemporary of Stan Getz and J. i. Johnson. One can only speculate as to what kind of effects the impact of two different generations have on each other when working together, but these performances suggest that on at least one occasion, there were no inhibiting atmospheres and a great deal of mutual stimulus. Everyone seems to have benefited, not least the listener.
Author, "The Reluctant Art"-(Horizan Press)