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Erroll Garner's 'Concert By The Sea' - The legend's musical masterpiece.....
on 1 August 2006
If I were asked to compile a list my all-time favourite albums this would be in the top five, and it wouldn't be a short list! Recorded almost a year to the day after I was born, it is difficult to put into words what this album means to me. My Dad had an old Telefunken radiogram and a limited number of albums to play, but even though my age was still in single figures, somehow I quickly became mesmerised by the truly unique Garner style. The first copy we had was on the Philips label, but it wasn't until many years later when I bought a replacement copy on CBS (Sony) that I realised that great lumps of the original recording had been edited out, so much so that on playing the replacement copy for the first time, I thought that extra tracks had been added, only to find that these were the original off-the-wall and rambling intro's that Garner is quite rightly famed for. I don't understand how or why they work, they just do!
About ten years ago I purchased the CD, and I am pleased to say that this album is still as thrilling a listen today as it was in my very early days of listening. This great man can go from melancholy to majestic in four bars, and make goosepimples come up on my arms and the hair on the back of my neck stand up barely a moment after his fingers have touched the keyboard.
Aside from this, generally speaking I don't like live albums, but this is the exception to the rule. Forget the slightly poor recording quality, (It is fifty plus years old after all!), the background interruptions and coughing from the audience plus Garner's own grunts and humming that accompany a great deal of the recording, this is one hell of an album and one that I can truly say that I would be lost without.
The musicianship on this album is superb, the interaction between Garner, the audience and his fellow musicians magnificent and the atmosphere electric. You only have to listen to the reaction of the audience to realise that we are witnessing something very special. Lie back and enjoy a sprightly and intriguing selection of tunes from a jazz master at the very peak of his career on this truly magical album.
Very highly recommended.