Jazz_at_the_philharmonic-frankfurt_1952_span3
May 1998

Jazz at the Philharmonic
Frankfurt 1952
Pablo

The protagonists here are Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Flip Phillips, Hank Jones, Ray Brown and Max Roach, and as Norman Granz introduces them one by one they are greeted with the same kind of football enthusiasm that had surprised me so much only six years before in Brooklyn. It was as though the besieged in each case were greeting a force sent to relieve them-in Germany as in the U.S. Both "Undecided" and the concluding "Dre's Blues" indicate what concert hall triumphs cost jazz in terms of good tempos. The absurdly fast pace of both encouraged flash, impish virtuosity and the kind of repetitionary excitements that drew immediate applause from the crowd. The rhythm section, for that matter, gives little inspiration to the three horns, each of them essentially-as Young claimed himself to be-a"swing" man. An end to Roach's overlong, final solo seems to be required by angry squawks from Eldridge, then waiting his turn in the climactic spot.

Originally published in May 1998
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