– NBC Radio: Stars In Jazz from Birdland – September 4, 1952 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Heading back to the 50s this weekend. The first of a series of broadcasts coming from Birdland on 53nd Street and Broadway in New York City. The Roy Eldridge/Coleman Hawkins All-Stars, featuring Art Blakey on drums and Curly Russell on bass. The second half of this half-hour (way too short) program is given over to newcomer vocalist Arthur Prysock who is joined by (I am 90% certain) Horace Silver on piano and possibly Art Blakey on drums. This was the opening show of the series from September 4, 1952.
In the postwar years, Roy Eldrdige became part of the group which toured under the Jazz at the Philharmonic banner. and became one of the stalwarts of the tours. The JATP’s organiser Norman Granz said that Roy Eldridge typified the spirit of jazz. “Every time he’s on he does the best he can, no matter what the conditions are. And Roy is so intense about everything, so that it’s far more important to him to dare, to try to achieve a particular peak, even if he falls on his ass in the attempt, than it is to play safe. That’s what jazz is all about.”
Roy Eldridge moved to Paris in 1950 while on tour with Benny Goodman, before returning to New York in 1951 to lead a band at the Birdland jazz club. He additionally performed from 1952 until the early 1960s in small groups with Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald and Earl Hines among others, and also began to record for Granz at this time. Eldridge also toured with Ella Fitzgerald from late 1963 until March 1965 and with Count Basie from July until September 1966 before returning to freelance playing and touring at festivals.
In the 1950s, Coleman Hawkins performed with musicians such as Red Allen and Roy Eldridge, with whom he appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival and recorded Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster with fellow tenor saxophonist Ben Webster along with Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, and Alvin Stoller. His 1957 album The Hawk Flies High, with Idrees Sulieman, J. J. Johnson, Hank Jones, Barry Galbraith, Oscar Pettiford, and Jo Jones, shows his interest in modern jazz styles, during a period better known for his playing with more traditional musicians.
Hawkins’ interest in more modern styles manifested in a reunion with Monk, with whom he had remained close even though they had not played together for over a decade. Monk led a June 1957 session featuring Hawkins and John Coltrane, that yielded Monk’s Music, issued later that summer. Outtakes from this session comprised half of the tracks on Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, released on the Jazzland Records subsidiary of Riverside Records in 1961.
Considering how radio used to broadcast these get-togethers weekly, it’s difficult to imagine them being taken for granted, but this was a typical Tuesday night, coast-to-coast. Man, things have changed.
But we’ve got it here now, and you can listen to it any time you want.
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