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Erroll Garner’s “Concert By the Sea” as 3-CD Box by Sony Legacy

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I don't want to start any arguments; I only want to point out that Garner at his best shows that you can be funky, slick and very on top of the beat and still sound fresh and non-cliched, unlike a certain other pianist. That's all I will say. For now, anyway.....

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Listened to the first two discs. His piano is clearer here.  The Telarc twofers from his 60s and early 70s releases are all worth picking up as well.

Look for this set to pop up cheap from time to time... I picked it up a few years ago when the Telarc boxes were showing up frequently at bargain prices:

Erroll Garner Telarc box

Wow, I was unaware of this box..looks to me to be prime 60s material from Mercury/Phillips/London, right?

 

Not sure about "prime," at least in terms of backing. There are two albums with horns as a backdrop ("Up in Errol's Room" and "A New Kind of Love")  that I recall as not being ideal -- sampling might be in order first, if possible -- but "Closeup in Swing," "Campus Concert," and "Feeling is Believing" are all quite good, and "At the Movies" is superb, one of my favorites Garner albums.

I pulled the plug on the box for 25 bucks in used condition. It's also got Gemini & The Magician, both of which I've long enjoyed on LP. so, at that price, hey, we good.

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Listened to the first two discs. His piano is clearer here.  The Telarc twofers from his 60s and early 70s releases are all worth picking up as well.

Look for this set to pop up cheap from time to time... I picked it up a few years ago when the Telarc boxes were showing up frequently at bargain prices:

Erroll Garner Telarc box

Wow, I was unaware of this box..looks to me to be prime 60s material from Mercury/Phillips/London, right?

 

Not sure about "prime," at least in terms of backing. There are two albums with horns as a backdrop ("Up in Errol's Room" and "A New Kind of Love")  that I recall as not being ideal -- sampling might be in order first, if possible -- but "Closeup in Swing," "Campus Concert," and "Feeling is Believing" are all quite good, and "At the Movies" is superb, one of my favorites Garner albums.

I pulled the plug on the box for 25 bucks in used condition. It's also got Gemini & The Magician, both of which I've long enjoyed on LP. so, at that price, hey, we good.

At that price, you're in clover for sure. And I may be wrong about the albums with horn backing.

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Considering how many "live" albums from this period were studio forgeries, it is kind of surprising that they didn't just get this group in the studio and add canned crowd sounds.   

Because they thought that this concert captured Garner in peak form?

Didn't stop them from re-doing most of Newport!

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Considering how many "live" albums from this period were studio forgeries, it is kind of surprising that they didn't just get this group in the studio and add canned crowd sounds.   

Because they thought that this concert captured Garner in peak form?

Didn't stop them from re-doing most of Newport!

What you say is a non-sequitur. The one solid-gold and clearly un-repeatable performance on the Newport program, "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" was not re-done, of  course, nor would there have been any need or desire on Columbia's part to re-do Garner's solid-gold performances at Carmel. The tracks from "Ellington at Newport" that were re-done in the studio (wisely or unwisely) were re-done because they were sloppily performed at Newport. No-one would say that about Garner's performances at Carmel. BTW don't believe everything that Phil Schaap says in those "Ellington at Newport Complete" liner notes.

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 BTW don't believe everything that Phil Schaap says in those "Ellington at Newport Complete" liner notes.

I don't read anything Phil Schaap writes, so I don't know specifically what you are talking about.  I'm just saying it was common to re-record live albums in the studio back then, and I'm sure that was driven by factors beyond the musical quality.  

By the way, did they use spectral analysis software on the remaster to improve the balance?

Edited by Teasing

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 BTW don't believe everything that Phil Schaap says in those "Ellington at Newport Complete" liner notes.

I don't read anything Phil Schaap writes, so I don't know specifically what you are talking about.  I'm just saying it was common to re-record live albums in the studio back then, and I'm sure that was driven by factors beyond the musical quality.  

By the way, did they use spectral analysis software on the remaster to improve the balance?

I assumed that Schaap's liner notes were your source for "Didn't stop them from re-doing most of Newport!"

I have no idea what "
spectral analysis software" is. 

Just curious, but name some of those "live" albums from back then that were re-recorded in the studio. Some were, but a great many were not. Also, if it was as common as you say to re-record live albums in the studio, why would labels have gone to the trouble of making "live" recordings in the first place? It's not like, except in a few cases, "Ellington at Newport" being one of them, people were lusting to hear music from a specific event. Oh, yes, one did want to hear the live recording, not the studio remake, of the RMS Titanic orchestra's "Nearer My God To Thee."

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I have no idea what "spectral analysis software" is. 

Just curious, but name some of those "live" albums from back then that were re-recorded in the studio. Some were, but a great many were not. Also, if it was as common as you say to re-record live albums in the studio, why would labels have gone to the trouble of making "live" recordings in the first place? It's not like, except in a few cases, "Ellington at Newport" being one of them, people were lusting to hear music from a specific event. Oh, yes, one did want to hear the live recording, not the studio remake, of the RMS Titanic orchestra's "Nearer My God To Thee."

Spectral analysis software was developed initially for forensic purposes, to allow law enforcement to boost or remove certain sounds from recordings, for example, to remove the sounds of the voices on 911 calls to focus on the background sounds.  It is much more sophisticated and precise than parametric EQ:  You can focus on the inherent sonic quality of the particular source, rather than just the frequency range.

For better or worse, this technology has implications/applications for musical recordings, particularly recordings made under less-than-ideal circumstances.  You can either boost an instrument that is buried, or reduce an instrument that overwhelms.  

Needless to say, like all software, it will only keep getting better and better.  Some have suggested that it can one day be used to create "stereo" mixes of mono recordings.

I was just wondering if this may have been used to improve the sound of this album.

I can't name all the fake live albums off the top of my head, but there were many - Peggy Lee/George Shearing, Art Tatum, Tito Puente.  I would imagine that that a major factor was selling audiences on a "live" performance, but having the quality control - both in terms of audio and performance - available in the studio.  

Later, in the multi-track era, it became very common for entire instruments, or many instruments, to be re-recorded in the studio to boost or replace bum parts on live recordings.  

I'm not defending the practice, I'm just acknowledging it, so given all the work that went into preparing the original "Concert by the Sea" LP, I wonder if they ever considered just issuing a fake live album. 

 

Edited by Teasing

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I have no idea what "spectral analysis software" is. 

Just curious, but name some of those "live" albums from back then that were re-recorded in the studio. Some were, but a great many were not. Also, if it was as common as you say to re-record live albums in the studio, why would labels have gone to the trouble of making "live" recordings in the first place? It's not like, except in a few cases, "Ellington at Newport" being one of them, people were lusting to hear music from a specific event. Oh, yes, one did want to hear the live recording, not the studio remake, of the RMS Titanic orchestra's "Nearer My God To Thee."

Spectral analysis software was developed initially for forensic purposes, to allow law enforcement to boost or remove certain sounds from recordings, for example, to remove the sounds of the voices on 911 calls to focus on the background sounds.  It is much more sophisticated and precise than parametric EQ:  You can focus on the inherent sonic quality of the particular source, rather than just the frequency range.

For better or worse, this technology has implications/applications for musical recordings, particularly recordings made under less-than-ideal circumstances.  You can either boost an instrument that is buried, or reduce an instrument that overwhelms.  

Needless to say, like all software, it will only keep getting better and better.  Some have suggested that it can one day be used to create "stereo" mixes of mono recordings.

I was just wondering if this may have been used to improve the sound of this album.

I can't name all the fake live albums off the top of my head, but there were many - Peggy Lee/George Shearing, Art Tatum, Tito Puente.  I would imagine that that a major factor was selling audiences on a "live" performance, but having the quality control - both in terms of audio and performance - available in the studio.  

Later, in the multi-track era, it became very common for entire instruments, or many instruments, to be re-recorded in the studio to boost or replace bum parts on live recordings.  

I'm not defending the practice, I'm just acknowledging it, so given all the work that went into preparing the original "Concert by the Sea" LP, I wonder if they ever considered just issuing a fake live album. 

 

"Dimineundo and Crescendo in Blue" from the Newport set was refurbished before the "Complete Ellington at Newport" set was released in 1999 -- was spectral analysis software around back then ?-- when it was discovered that Paul Gonsalves' famous tenor solo, which had been recorded off mike at Newport by Columbia's soloist microphone (this then was the version we all had had to live with for many years), had also been recorded on-mike by a Voice of America microphone. Thus the two tapes could be carefully blended to yield a much better, even stereo, sonic image, of Gonsalves' solo, which is what we have on "Complete Ellington at Newport." 

About "Concert By the Sea," while those Garner performances are not as tied to the specific event as the Newport "D&C" was to that Newport concert, awareness on the part of Martha Glaser, Columbia execs, and Garner himself that these Carmel performances obviously were special almost certainly would have precluded any thought of re-recording them in the studio and inserting crowd noise. In particular, Garner's response to the enthusiastic reception his playing gets from the Carmel audience is palpable and spurs him on -- not that he needed much spurring on on that occasion. Further, as you know, Garner typically gets applause when he moves from his off-the-wall intros into the tune itself and the audience recognizes what song he's playing. To take recorded-in-the-studio performances and insert fake but convincing versions of that particular sort of crowd response might not be impossible, but it would, I think, take the judgment and nerves of a diamond cutter.

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Context, perhaps..was this not around the same time that Brubeck and Fantasy were having success with all the live Brubeck things full of audience reactions? None of which were particularly hi-fi, btw.

and of course, JATP.

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Again, if faking "live"recordings were that habitual back then, and not the result of trying to solve particular musical and sonic problems that cropped up on particular concert or club date tapes, why would a record company go to all the expense and trouble of attempting to make a live recording in the first place? Why not just have someone take down which tunes were performed in what order at a particular concert or club date that one wanted to claim Joe Blow's new album came from, and then go into the studio with Joe Blow's group and a stash of crowd noise tapes. BTW, a somewhat funny thought just came to mind: You'd need to have two kinds of crowd noise tapes -- for club dates, audience chatter and clinking glasses; for concerts, mass applause and a sense of good-sized space. Imagine if the two tapes got mixed up.

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fwiw, the Garner concert was not recorded for or by Columbia. I wonder if the zeitgeist of the time (i.e. - "west coast" setting, the success of Brubeck's recordings of essentially audience-level quality, led to Columbia/Avakian's willingness to release it as recorded.

Besides, weren't most fake live recordings made as such to begin with? Like, the company took studio tapes and added the "live" ambiance? Not a case of recording somebody live and then RE-recording them in the studio?

Now, let's solve the Tammi Terrell/Valerie Simpson case. That's far more curious than this one!

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Martial Solal at Newport was a fake.  I don't know if the live recording was faulty or they just recorded it in the studio and added the applause for the vibe, and of course the Joe Daley trio was also a fake live recording (both RCA). 

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fwiw, the Garner concert was not recorded for or by Columbia. I wonder if the zeitgeist of the time (i.e. - "west coast" setting, the success of Brubeck's recordings of essentially audience-level quality, led to Columbia/Avakian's willingness to release it as recorded.

Besides, weren't most fake live recordings made as such to begin with? Like, the company took studio tapes and added the "live" ambiance? Not a case of recording somebody live and then RE-recording them in the studio?

Now, let's solve the Tammi Terrell/Valerie Simpson case. That's far more curious than this one!

I know that "Concert By the Sea" wasn't recorded by or for Columbia. But it was a Columbia release and thus their call as to whether, in the form made available to them, this material was worth releasing. Good call on their part, I guess.

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Sure was. And I wonder how much they were influenced by the "west coast in front of a responsive audience in not really great quality audience recording" thing they were. In other words, was Avakian kinda angling his way into Brubeck through Garner, not that anybody with ambition would need motivation to sign to a label like Columbia, but just that Concert by The Sea, see Dave, we can do that, and then, boom here comes Jazz Goes To College, and then Hello, Miles, George, You say you want to do some records with us? Well, let's talk. Next thing you know, a legacy is built, and oh, what's this Forrest Flower thing that everybody's talking about?

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"Forrest Flower" or Forest Flower?  If you mean the live Charles Lloyd, that was released on Atlantic.  There was a studio version of the tune from two and a half years earlier, with a different band on Columbia.

But from the same 1966 Monterey JF came the John Handy "If Only We Knew/Spanish Lady" release, and that was on Columbia.

This might lead one to believe that there might have been an independent recording company taping everything, then making deals with different artists' labels to sell the masters for release

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I can't spell, but yeah, the Atlantic. Lloyd was an Avakian project, he made the lightening strike more than once.

Looks like John Hammond had Handy, which maybe leads to the question - when did Avakian leave Columbia and why?

As far as Monterrey, remember a while back there was that project of a Monterrey retrospective? Didn't they say that ever festival had been taped over the years, or something like that?

And I'm also wondering what role Jimmy Lyons (the DJ) had in hooking up all these recordings. Does Ted Gioa go into any great detail about Lyons' off-the-air business, his promotional talents, etc.?

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The John Handy Monterey album was recorded in 1965, not 1966.

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I can't spell, but yeah, the Atlantic. Lloyd was an Avakian project, he made the lightening strike more than once.

Looks like John Hammond had Handy, which maybe leads to the question - when did Avakian leave Columbia and why?

As far as Monterrey, remember a while back there was that project of a Monterrey retrospective? Didn't they say that ever festival had been taped over the years, or something like that?

And I'm also wondering what role Jimmy Lyons (the DJ) had in hooking up all these recordings. Does Ted Gioa go into any great detail about Lyons' off-the-air business, his promotional talents, etc.?

"Monterey"  
"Monterrey" is in Mexico.

Sorry.......couldn't resist. :D

Here's a recent NPR review by Kevin Whitehead

Revisiting The Intense Twists And Turns Of Garner's 'Concert By The Sea'

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"Dimineundo and Crescendo in Blue" from the Newport set was refurbished before the "Complete Ellington at Newport" set was released in 1999 -- was spectral analysis software around back then ?

...

To take recorded-in-the-studio performances and insert fake but convincing versions of that particular sort of crowd response might not be impossible, but it would, I think, take the judgment and nerves of a diamond cutter.

Regarding point 1, no the technology was not available in 1999.  The stereo on Newport was achieved by synching two different monaural recordings of the same music, each recorded with different mic placements.

Regarding the second point:  I'm not saying fake live albums make sense, or that they are a good idea.  I am simply stating that they exist and that the practice was widespread.  And yes, many were based on actual live performances, such as Peggy Lee at Basin Street and the Peggy Lee/George Shearing Beauty and the Beat.  If they had faked Concert by the Sea, it would not have been any more bizarre or outrageous than any of the others.  And the people who would have bought the LP would not have known the difference.

Edited by Teasing

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probably none of this would have come out if Martha Glaser was alive. She was evil.

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"Dimineundo and Crescendo in Blue" from the Newport set was refurbished before the "Complete Ellington at Newport" set was released in 1999 -- was spectral analysis software around back then ?

...

To take recorded-in-the-studio performances and insert fake but convincing versions of that particular sort of crowd response might not be impossible, but it would, I think, take the judgment and nerves of a diamond cutter.

Regarding point 1, no the technology was not available in 1999.  The stereo on Newport was achieved by synching two different monaural recordings of the same music, each recorded with different mic placements.

Regarding the second point:  I'm not saying fake live albums make sense, or that they are a good idea.  I am simply stating that they exist and that the practice was widespread.  And yes, many were based on actual live performances, such as Peggy Lee at Basin Street and the Peggy Lee/George Shearing Beauty and the Beat.  If they had faked Concert by the Sea, it would not have been any more bizarre or outrageous than any of the others.  And the people who would have bought the LP would not have known the difference.

Again, IIRC there were practical reasons, good, bad, or otherwise, for both "Lee at Basin Street" and "Beauty and the Beast" being re-recorded in the studio. By contrast, balancing sound quality and quality of performance, there was no good reason to re-record "Concert by the Sea" in the studio and add fake applause/crowd reactions. Further, to repeat what I said, to make fake applause/crowd reactions  sound convincing on "Concert By the Sea" would have taken the judgment and nerves of a diamond cutter, given the way audiences spontaneously reacted when they recognized what tunes lay behind Garner's off-the-wall intros. Just listen to the album and see how particular to each piece the flow of that response is.

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"Dimineundo and Crescendo in Blue" from the Newport set was refurbished before the "Complete Ellington at Newport" set was released in 1999 -- was spectral analysis software around back then ?

...

To take recorded-in-the-studio performances and insert fake but convincing versions of that particular sort of crowd response might not be impossible, but it would, I think, take the judgment and nerves of a diamond cutter.

Regarding point 1, no the technology was not available in 1999.  The stereo on Newport was achieved by synching two different monaural recordings of the same music, each recorded with different mic placements.

Regarding the second point:  I'm not saying fake live albums make sense, or that they are a good idea.  I am simply stating that they exist and that the practice was widespread.  And yes, many were based on actual live performances, such as Peggy Lee at Basin Street and the Peggy Lee/George Shearing Beauty and the Beat.  If they had faked Concert by the Sea, it would not have been any more bizarre or outrageous than any of the others.  And the people who would have bought the LP would not have known the difference.

Again, IIRC there were practical reasons, good, bad, or otherwise, for both "Lee at Basin Street" and "Beauty and the Beast" being re-recorded in the studio. By contrast, balancing sound quality and quality of performance, there was no good reason to re-record "Concert by the Sea" in the studio and add fake applause/crowd reactions. Further, to repeat what I said, to make fake applause/crowd reactions  sound convincing on "Concert By the Sea" would have taken the judgment and nerves of a diamond cutter, given the way audiences spontaneously reacted when they recognized what tunes lay behind Garner's off-the-wall intros. Just listen to the album and see how particular to each piece the flow of that response is.

To be fair, neither you nor I can say why a producer made particular choices 60 years ago.  I can't remember why I made certain choices on an album that I edited only a year ago.  They made sense at the time. 

If "Concert by the Sea" were faked, no would have known or cared, including you and me.  

Edited by Teasing

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