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Terrific music from a unique occasion
on 12 April 2015
This is a great discovery made earlier in this decade. In 1960, a terrific big band full of top jazz musicians and led by Quincy Jones was stranded in Europe when the Harold Arlen show "Free and Easy" collapsed. They stayed on for some time, recording and playing concerts, and making money to get home. The work of this band is always well worth hearing, with sharp arrangements and fine jazz soloists. Quite separately, around the same time, the great Nat Cole was in Europe for a month-long concert tour managed by jazz impresario Norman Granz. Norman learned of the band's plight and brought the two sides together for a concert in Zurich. The plan was for the band to open the proceedings, followed by Nat, and then for the two to come together. (Along the way, some strings get in on the act as well.) Nat, whose roots lay deep in jazz and who originally built his reputation on his terrific jazz piano work, was persuaded to drop some of his more "pop"-oriented material in favour of jazz numbers, and there's plenty of his piano playing too. The concert was broadcast by Swiss radio, and tapes of this unique occasion were uncovered in the vaults in recent years. So, here's a rich and varied mixture of terrific music from a one-off occasion. Not to be missed.