Erroll Garner this weekend. Recorded live in Paris on June 12, 1962 and preserved for posterity by Radio France. Lucky for everyone, the broadcasting outlets in Europe felt strongly about broadcasting and preserving American Jazz over the years. Something America became less and less interested in the last few decades. From an embarrassment of riches from the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s, it started to taper off, with less and less radio stations actually presenting Jazz as a format and virtually no network (aside from the occasional appearance and NPR’s short-lived Jazz Alive series in the 70s) has supplied any live Jazz broadcasts today. So the onus is on Europe, as it has been largely since the post-World War 2 years.
If everyone took the same attitude that American broadcasters took, we would never have live broadcasts of so many Jazz legends of the past as we do today; so many important and one-of-a-kind collaborations that were part of the fabric of a live performance. I’ve always maintained that, even though there is validity in the controlled studio atmosphere and the alternate takes, there is something about a live performance that brings a sense of anticipation and discovery along with it. Even the wrong notes can be useful stepping off points where a live performance is concerned.
From his website:
“Garner released music on over 40 labels, received multiple Grammy nominations, and recorded one of the greatest selling jazz albums of all time, Concert By The Sea. His published catalog contains nearly 200 compositions including “Misty”, which was named #15 on ASCAP’s list of the top songs of the 20th century. He scored for ballet, film, television, and orchestra. One of the most televised Jazz artists of his era, Garner appeared on TV shows all over the world, including: Ed Sullivan, Dick Cavitt, Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and many others. His prolific career began on Allegheny riverboats and spanned from the clubs of 52nd street to the top concert halls of the world.
Erroll Garner’s musical and cultural legacy is perhaps stronger today than at any point since his untimely passing in 1977, when Erroll lost his battle with lung cancer at the age of 55. Thanks to the renewed efforts of Octave Music—the successor and namesake of the company Garner formed with his manager Martha Glaser in 1952— and it’s Erroll Garner Jazz Project, his music is once again finding fresh audiences through a series of new record releases, multimedia performances, and creative partnerships.”
Hit the play button and relax.