Title - 'The Complete Concert By The Sea'
Artist - Erroll Garner
Iconic Jazz artist Erroll Garner's greatest concert album and one of the best selling jazz albums of all time, The Complete Concert By The Sea celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the original concert from September 19th, 1955.
Garner was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad 'Misty', has become a jazz standard. Called "one of the most distinctive of all pianists," Garner showed that a "creative jazz musician can be very popular without watering down his music" or changing his personal style.
He is referred to as a "brilliant virtuoso who sounded unlike anyone else", using an "orchestral approach straight from the swing era but …open to the innovations of bop." Garner's ear and technique owed as much to practice as to a natural gift and his distinctive style could swing like no other.
The Complete Concert By The Sea live recording, which has been newly uncovered by the Erroll Garner Jazz Project and digitally remastered in its entirety after six decades, is produced by Guggenheim® Award-winning jazz pianist and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh Geri Allen and 4-time GRAMMY®Award-winning producer Steve Rosenthal.
The 3-CD box set contains the complete live Concert By The Sea including 11 previously unreleased tracks, the original edited Columbia release from 1956 and bonus material including announcer Jimmy Lyons and interviews with the Erroll Garner trio: Denzil DaCosta Best, Eddie Calhoun, and Garner himself, recorded directly after the concert.
But let's talk more about his 1955 live album, as it was a best-selling jazz album in its day and features Eddie Calhoun on bass and Denzil Best on drums. This recording of a performance at the Sunset Center, a former school in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, was made using relatively primitive sound equipment, but for George Avakian the decision to release the recording was easy.
So what do we hear when we listen back to this incredible recording today? Well, let's be honest, the acoustics were poor and the piano somewhat out of tune, and neither of those factors can be "changed" just be a remastering, sadly. The balance of instruments on the recording is also poor: the bass and drums are receded, but what the Erroll Garner Jazz Project have done by digitally remastering it is add warmth, a noticeably distinctive depth to the original tracks now. [The original LP release was in mono; a stereo version was issued in 1970].
For the longest time, there was no plan to ever record the concert officially. The release came about because Garner's personal manager, Martha Glaser, spotted backstage that a tape recorder was running. The recording was being made "by a jazz fan and scholar named Will Thornbury, strictly for the enjoyment of himself and his fellow servicemen". Glaser took the tape, put it into album form and then played it for the head of Columbia Records' jazz division, George Avakian, who decided to release it. The rest, as they say, is history :-)