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Jazz Feature for Oct.1:"OSCAR PETERSON+SONNY STITT&ROY ELDRIDGE&JO JONES AT NEWPORT"
This is truly an all-star gathering of greats that has just been issued for the first time on CD. Norman Granz, the great Jazz impresario, was given permission by the Newport Festival director, George Wein to record everything at the 1957 Fest. Granz obviously could not release everything on his own label because of contracts etc. but a lot came out on LP. Newport was at it's early peak in 1957 and all the great Jazz stars were also alive and performing at their best. Many of these recordings are now indispensable items and should be in every Jazz lover's library.
The CD to be heard this evening on the 11pm Jazz Feature was issued long ago on LP but has just been put out on CD and it's a knockout! The first part is a stunning set by the Canadian Jazz giant, Oscar Peterson that is a lesson in presentation and performance by a pianist who was admired by everyone. Swing,technique (in abundance) and taste with his trio anchored by the powerful bass of the late Ray Brown and the lightning fast guitar of Herb Ellis. Who needed drums to drive this band? Everything is here as Oscar is a pianistic orchestra playing with both hands and both feet in a well balanced set of two good standards ('Will You Still Be Mine?' & 'Gal in Calico') and two Jazz standards, one a tribute to Clifford Brown on his tune 'Joy Spring' and an up tempo version of Monk's '52nd Street Theme'. Then the real fun begins:
After a brief announcement by Jonathan 'Jo' Jones (Born in Chicago Oct.7,1911 and died in New York Sept. 4,1985) the great drummer who could play in any idiom is set to drive the trio to accompany Sonny Stitt on alto and tenor saxophones (Born in Boston on Feb.2,1924 and died in New York July 22,1982) and trumpeter Roy 'Little Jazz' Eldridge (Born in Pittsburg Jan. 30,1911 and died in New York Feb. 26,1989). This is a great set that defines what Jazz music is all about, swing, expression,soul,and spontaneity and need I say it again.......fun, serious fun.
Roy Eldridge always comes to play and despite the difference in age and eras (Roy comes from Swing and Stitt from Bop) Roy loves playing and jousting with Stitt who was also like Roy a player who thrived on competition. Roy's ballad feature on 'Willow Weep For Me' presents his softer side. Stitt, who is sadly overlooked today was one of the greatest modern saxophonists. Sonny was at home on alto and tenor saxophones and had a concept for each of them. His tenor reflected his love for Lester Young and his alto echoed Charlie Parker but he was not an imitation of the great Bird. Stitt is in great form here and his ballad feature(on alto) on 'Autumn in New York' would make the tune's composer (Vernon Duke) proud. Jo ('Papa Jo) Jones, who although he came up in the same era as Roy Eldridge could be called the first Modern Jazz drummer as he was a huge influence on Max Roach and Kenny Clarke and just about everyone else who picked up a pair of sticks. Jo has a ball here driving the guys and making the announcements and keeping it altogether. If all Jazz jams could sound like this nobody would ever need to rehearse!
Tune in tonight and enjoy the whole show beginning at 9pm and don't miss the Feature......see you then.
Gavin Walker's The Jazz Show is heard Mondays 9PM to midnight on CITR 101.9 FM and online.
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