on 26 April 2014
There are not so many live jazz recordings of 1940s jazz (There was the "Jazz Off the Air" broadcasts - also from 1947, with Allen Eager/Charlie Ventura and Flip Phillips/Roy Eldridge, Ventura again with Bill Harris at the Three Deuces (1947), the July 6th 1947 concerts centered round Dexter Gordon and issued by Savoy and the famous August 1947 Just Jazz Concert with Lionel Hampton - even the Charlie Parker airshots didn't really get going till 1948), so it seems churlish to critisize this one. We must be grateful that given the bulky and primitive recording equipment of the time, anyone recorded anything in this way, and even more grateful it has survived the decades. But, what do we have here?. Well, we have Joe Newman sounding much more fiery than he would as the 50s dawned, and some rare opportunities to hear exciting baritonist Leo Parker at length, and contributions from a live and lively audience.
Jacquet to my mind was the wildest of the wild tenorists of the time (Flip Phillips, Charlie Ventura, Arnett Cobb), and whilst as exciting as Leo Parker here, he can sound rather derivitive: on the ballad medley his tone and execution on "All The Things You Are" puts you in mind of Charlie Ventura in his 1946 recordings for Black & White - currently available on the Proper Box Ventura set ("Bop For The People" Properbox 41- just about still available) - rather embroidered romantic tenor.
Obviously you do not expect great sound. It tends to sound, sonically, a bit like those Dexter Gordon recordings three months later,occassionaly it can sound a bit like the Parker Rockland Palace acoustic (that from 1952). The rowdy audience tends to detract a little bit (they do calm down though eventually), but it does give atmosphere: they sound the sort of audience JATP had.
To sum up, I am glad I heard it, but it won't get that many repeat playings by me. As it is on a quite expensive label, I would advise hunting round to get it a bit cheaper, or second hand.It tends at the moment to be around the £8 mark on Amazon, which seems a fair price to pay.
After mentioning all those 1947 live sessions if we give Lionel Hampton's 4 out of 5 for sound quality, I would put this effort between 2.5 and 3.You do get 70 minutes of music here, though, but I would advise taking it a few tracks at a time. Kudos to Uptown for issuing it though. I hope I have been fair.