The Giants of Jazz, 1972


Sign in to view read count
In July 1972, when I was 15, I boarded a commuter train at the Croton-Harmon station near my family's house and traveled an hour south to New York City and Carnegie Hall to see the Giants of Jazz. The ensemble was appearing as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. The supergroup was conceived by George Wein, the Newport Jazz Festival's founder. As George wrote in his memoir:

From the start I had envisioned a band featuring Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. I had also hoped to include Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown and Max Roach. But for various reasons, some financial, these artists were unavailable. So I approached Sonny Stitt, Kai Winding, Al McKibbon and Art Blakey—and a band was born.

The concert was amazing. I was hip to all of the artists, but I wouldn't fully appreciate what I had seen until I bought The Giants of Jazz, a glossy black two-LP album released on Atlantic that fall. All of the songs I heard were on there because the live album was recorded nearly a year earlier at London's Victoria Palace Theatre.

The high point for me was Dizzy Gillespie's Tour de Force, a mid-tempo bop tune dating back to 1957. Here are the Giants of Jazz playing Tour de Force at Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens in 1971...

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

Post a comment


Shop Amazon

Jazz News

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.