New Music Tuesdays: Erroll Garner's Seminal "The Complete Concert by the Sea"

January 19, 2016

This week's featured release is actually not at all new; it's a recent reissue that's well worth your notice: Sony Legacy's 60th anniversary reissue of Erroll Garner's beautiful live album The Complete Concert by the Sea.

 

Originally recorded in Carmel, Calif., in September 1955, Concert by the Sea featured Garner's intricate, inventive playing with the other members of his Erroll Garner Trio, bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Denzil Best. The concert was hosted by announcer Jimmy Lyons, as part of Lyons' Sunset Series, held in the assembly hall of Sunset School, which was later converted to the performing arts venue the Sunset Center. The Sunset Series was a precursor to the famed Monterey Jazz Festival.

 

This expanded reissue includes 11 previously unreleased tracks and interviews, and adds announcer commentary from Lyons. All of the material was co-produced by Guggenheim Award-winning jazz pianist and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh Geri Allen, and 4-time Grammy winning producer/engineer Steve Rosenthal, who also remastered the recordings in his studio, The Magic Shop (New York City).

 

The three-disc reissue is not only an important historical piece for jazz collectors, but also, of course, a joyous treat for music lovers of all persuasions. Highlights include an ornate and darkly romantic "Night and Day," joyous uptempo versions of "Where or When" and "Lullaby of Birdland," and a sweetly moving "April in Paris." Nominated for a Grammy this year, this album still thrills listeners with serious musical artistry and virtuosity that seriously swing.

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