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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

The 27th International Jazzfestival Bern was dedicated to Norman Granz, who lived the latter portion of his life in Switzerland and died there last Thanksgiving Day. The Saturday, May 4 night of recognition was called Artists’ Tribute to Jazz at the Philharmonic. It recalled the JATP format but in a more informal manner that nevertheless maintained the essential spirit of those original jam sessions brought to the concert stage.

When you mention elemental spirit you are talking about Clark Terry. Octogenarian Terry is not in robust health but it is not evident when he is on the bandstand except for the fact that he performs seated these days. Terry handled the emcee duties from a chair at stage center but became airborne when he put either trumpet and flugelhorn to his lips. He told several illuminating stories about Granz and generally kept things moving along in a relaxed manner. I remember the first JATP I attended at Carnegie Hall in May of 1946. For each set the names of the numbers to be played were printed in the program under the names of the musicians who were to play them. Here selections were sometimes more spur of the moment.

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