Here is some delightfully rare music from a legendary concert — in videos, no less, although the visual quality is seriously limited. I had heard about this music and these films decades ago and, years later, a copy, how many generations removed, I can’t say, made its way to me. The videos are hard to watch, especially for eyes used to today’s brilliantly sharp images, but they are precious. [They will be less eye-stressful for those who can sit far back from the screen.] All of the music performed that afternoon is now blessedly available for a pittance (see details at the end) but the videos add a remarkable dimension of “being there.”
July 1, 1960 was hot at the Newport Jazz Festival, perhaps especially in the afternoon for Rudi Blesh’s “Stride Piano Stars” program, a select group of “old-timers,” none of whom were particularly elderly in years or energy that day.
Here is Eubie’s BLACK KEYS ON PARADE and LOVEY JOE:
Now, the Danny Barker Trio (Danny, banjo and vocal; Al Hall, string bass; Bernard Addison, mandolin) with a feature for Danny on THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE:
More virtuosic showmanship on TIGER RAG:
Here’s Donald Lambert’s ANITRA’S DANCE:
Now, the Lamb plays LIZA as the restless camera-eye finds wiggling limbs:
Eubie and the Lamb play CHARLESTON, Eubie taking the star role:
Hat firmly in place, Willie “the Lion” Smith offers Walter E. Miles’ SPARKLETS:
Fats would have been 56: the Lion sings and plays AIN’T MSBEHAVIN’:
Two melancholy postscripts to all this joy. On Saturday, July 2, a riot broke out, and the festival did not return until 1962. Donald Lambert died less than two years later.
But the music remains. Here, at Wolfgang’s Concert Vault, one can download the audio for the entire afternoon concert (slightly more than ninety minutes) for five dollars. The performances are listed below.
Introductions by Willis Conover and Rudi Blesh / Stride Piano Demonstration (“Sweet Lorraine”)- Donald Lambert / Development of Ragtime and Stride Piano-Blesh / Early Hits from 1920’s-Eubie Blake / Black Keys On Parade / Lovey Joe // Take Me Out To The Ballgame- Danny Barker Trio / Muskrat Ramble / The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise // Anitra’s Dance-Lambert / Tea For Two / Liza // Polonaise- the Lion / “Shout” Defined / Carolina Shout / Ain’t Misbehavin’ // Fats Waller Medley-Lambert / James P. Johnson Medley // Old Fashioned Love-Eubie / Charleston / Charleston (Part 2) // My Gal Sal-Danny Barker / Tiger Rag // Sparklets-the Lion // I Know That You know-Lambert // Memories Of You-Eubie // Stars and Stripes Forever-Eubie, Lambert, the Lion //
This film or video is a wonder, even greenish and blurred. With the audio, we can revel in vivid art.
May your happiness increase!