am pleased to announce the “official” release of “Norman Granz Presents Jazz at the Philharmonic, Hamburg, Germany, February 29, 1956. As one of the parties who discovered this previously-unknown recording, I tried from day one to put it in the hands of a record company, so it could be released widely and properly. Sadly, no American company would touch it, and I was even told by the folks who now handle JATP material that this “wouldn’t sell.” This was hard to believe, in that it wasn’t too long ago that this same operation released a 1949 JATP discovery that featured Shelly Manne and Fats Navarro. I won’t mention names. Maybe I will. The company is Concord Jazz, now the owner of Fantasy, now the owner of JATP material. Shame on you.
The good news is that the Fresh Sound record label out of Barcelona, Spain, took this project on and have given it the absolutely stellar, first-class release that it deserves. All the credit in the world must be accorded Fresh Sound founder Jordi Pujol and those associated with the release. Jordi is a man of taste and a man of integrity. His Fresh Sound label and its various imprints are simply spectacular. If it were not for him, an entire generation of young listeners would miss the chance to hear hundreds of jazz legends. And veteran fans are now able to rediscover their favorites.
For those who may have forgotten, this concert featured a scaled-down but quite swinging JATP crew, including Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, and playing the entire concert on drums, none other than Gene Krupa. Fresh Sound has not only digitally remastered the music, but has included two gorgeous and informative booklets. One was written by yours truly and other is the actual program–in German–from this concert.
The deluxe, two-CD set is extraordinary in every way. It is available all over the web, from places like EJazzLines.com, Worlds Records.com, and many more. I do urge you to go to the www.FreshSoundRecords.com site, if only to check out their hundreds of other great CDs.
Bopworks’ Chris Bennett and I are poised to begin production on the “officially sanctioned” Gene Krupa drumstick. We are just waiting for the official go-ahead by the Krupa Estate. The stick itself, as previously mentioned herein, is an exact duplicate of the 1948 Slingerland model. Each pair will have a replica of Gene’s actual signature. Very, very instrumental in helping to bring all the parties together is drum great and bandleader Mike Berkowitz. Michael, from day one, has been generous with his time and with his knowledge. This could not have happened without him. We are happy to be carrying Michael Berkowitz and the New Gene Krupa Orchestra’s initial CD. We hope and trust that we will have the honor of carrying his forthcoming release. I’ve heard a lot of Krupa tribute bands, including my own, going back to the days of–does anyone remember?–Brent Brace. Michael’s is the best of all. And by the way, Michael Berkowitz will be the first, official “endorsee” of the Gene Krupa model stick (until I try them first).
There is a new drum magazine in the marketplace, and it’s a darn good one. “Traps,” subtitled “The Art of Drumming,” comes from the good offices of Enter Music Publishing of San Jose, CA, edited by industry veteran Andy Doerschuk. Currently a quarterly, “Traps” is an exquisitely designed and produced publication that is heavily geared in favor of jazz. Indeed, their latest–and second issue–is devoted to Jeff “Tain” Watts,” who is given almost book treatment. Other pieces concentrate on the drummers of Blue Note records, the Motown giants. equipment reviews (including Bopworks drumsticks), and an analysis of the drumming of the one and only Mitch Mitchell. With your loyal interest and support, “Traps” will hopefully go monthly. They deserve to. Their stellar stable of writers includes giants like Chip Stern, Bill Milkowski and Bobby Sanabria. I think I’ll give them a call and see if they need another writer. For subscription information, log onto TrapsMagazine.com. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
Many of our good international visitors are aware that I am in Naples, Florida, the southwestern portion of the state. My most significant other, the great jazz singer and photographer Joy Adams, has just undergone hip replacement surgery here. Joy is directly and indirectly responsible for JazzLegends.com It wasn’t too long ago that I wouldn’t have anything to do with computers. Joy bought me my first one in 1996, and here we are. She is doing very well in rehabilitation and will hopefully be home here in Naples as you read this. I know Joy would love to hear your good wishes via email, so open up your hearts and contact Joy at: DrumAlive@aol.com. Better yet, consider obtaining her superb CD, “Joy Adams Sings the Classics,” listed on the CD page of the JazzLegends.com web site.
Above all, keep swingin’.
Bruce Klauber April, 2007