Saturday, December 29, 2012

Newport '58: The reed section of the International Youth Band

Introducing the reed section of the Tower of Babel's Band  
Willis Conover: The Voice of America set the musical tastes of many people all over Europa
Hans Koert.

When Marshall Brown introduced his Farmingdale High School band at the 1957 Newport festival, it wasn’t to be expected that he would be invited by George Wein, producer of the festival, for a comeback at the next festival (1958) with a band featuring young European jazz musicians.

All Newport '58 International Youth Band contributions, as remembered by Dutch bass player Ruud Jacobs at my link site.

In the spring of 1958 Marshall Brown and George Wein went to Europe to select the musicians for their International Youth Band, that would labeled in popular speech as the Tower of Babel Band. 

Ruud Jacobs ( July 1958) ( photo courtesy: Ruud Jacobs archive)

Back in the States Marshall Brown started to build his band and informed the musicians by cable who were selected to play in the International Youth Band at the 1958 Newport Festival. Ruud Jacobs, bass player, was invited, as the only Dutchmen, to join this mixed group of young talented jazz musicians from all over Europe.
Ruud Jacobs ( Source: Rhythme - Maandblad voor Jazz-, dans- en Amusementsmuziek)

Seventeen musicians received an invitation:
  • The trumpet section: Palle Bolvig from Denmark, Roger Guerin from France, Dusko Gojkovic from Yugoslavia and José Manuel Magelhaes from Portugal.
  • The trombone section: Christian Kellens (Belgium), Kurt Jarnberg (Sweden), Erich Kleinschuster (Austria) and Albert Mangelsdorff (Germany). 
  • The reed section: Bernt Rosengren (Sweden), Jan Wroblewski (Poland), Hans Salomon (Austria), Wladimiro Bas Zabache (Spain) and Ronnie Ross (England).
  • The rhythm section: Gabor Szabo ( Hungary), George Gruntz (Switzerland), Rudolph (= Ruud) Jacobs (The Netherlands) and Gilberto Cuppini (Italy.).
The reed players ( Source: cover of the LP album Newport 1958 - The International Youth Band (Columbia CS 8073)

 Last month I introduced you to the brass section.  Today I hope to present you the reed players. The rhythm section will be presented next time.
Bernt Aake Rosengren (born in Stockholm (Sweden), December 1937). Bernt started his musical career at the accordion when he was ten and took the tenor saxophone at the age of 15. When he was selected for Newport he was playing at the Jazz Club 57 band, a hard bop band which recorded for Sonet in October 1957. Returned from Newport he performed with Dusko Gojkovic, Ruud Jacobs, Ruud Pronk, Pim Jacobs and Cees See in a group which played at the Loosdrechts Jazzkonkoers ( hors concours), the famous Dutch 1950s Jazz contest and at the Storyville Jazz Club in Frankfurt (Germany), where Albert Mangelsdorff completed the septet, the Newport International Septet. Erik Kjelleberg characterizes him as one of the finest Swedish saxophonists with a true command of the vocabulary of bop and associated styles. His compositions and arrangements are straightforward, yet lucid and inventive. (source:  New Groove Dictionary of Jazz )

Jan Wroblewski (second from the left links) with Dave Brubeck at the Newport Festival (1958)

Ptaszyn (Jan) Wroblewski (born in Kalisz (Poland) March 1936).  Knicknamed Ptak (= Bird). He started to play the piano as a kid, but later took the clarinet, the baritone and finally the tenor saxophone. Early 1950s he had his own dance band and played in bands like the Sekstet Komedy (Komeda Sextet) (named after pianist Krzysztof Komeda Trzcinski) and the Jazz Believers – both recorded at Polish labels.  Jan would develop into a sought after musician in the Polish (jazz) music scene and would become the president of the Polish Jazz Society.

Hans Salomon 

Hans Salomon (born in Vienna (Austria)(September 1933). He started his musical career in 1945 with Fatty George and during the early 1950s he played in the Johannes Fehring orchestra, in which, now famous names like Joe Zawinul could be found. His debut on record was in 1954 with Ernst Kugler und sein Orchester, the Hans Kohler Quartet / Sextet and the Austrian All Stars.

Wladimiro Bas Zabache (Source:

  • Wladimiro Bas Zabache (born in Bilbao (Spain) February 1929) He studied piano, violin and harmony at the Bilbao Conservatory and learned to play the alto saxophone from his father, who was a musician too. He started to play in local clubs in the Basque Country and since the early 1950s in Madrid.  He would develope into an educator in free-style jazz at the Madrid Conservatory and played with great names like Monty Alexander, Lee Konitz, Slide Hampton and Johnny Griffin.
Ronnie Ross with the John West group ( Jazz at the Crown -1960s) (source: music-makers world)
  • Ronnie Ross (born in Calcutta (India)(October 1933)(died: London – December 1991) lived in England since his 12th year. He played clarinet in the Grenadiers Guards band early 1950s and played with the Don Rendell Sextet in London 1954. During the time the auditions took place he must have been part of the European Windows project by John Lewis and the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra. When he left for Newport his discography was already impressive, although his first recordings under his own name, with the Ronnie Ross Quintet, dated from May and June 1958. Ronnie passed away London, December 1991.  
 Willis Conover: The Voice of America ( source: En-Wikipedia)

When George Wein returned to the States after his trip to Europe with Marshall Brown to select the musicians for the band, he reported that he had learned from the auditions and talks, that, especially in the countries behind the Iron Curtain, Willis Conover (1920-1996) was the single most important person in American jazz around the world.  Behind  the Iron Curtain, he explained, Willis Conover sets the musical tastes of many people. Willis Conover had a nightly radio program broadcasted on short wave by the Voice of America,
entitled Music U.S.A. It was launched in 1955 and, starting in Scandinavia it conquered whole Europe, especially those countries were listening to foreign radio stations and jazz music was strictly forbidden.  John S. Wilson writes in his book Jazz: The Transition Years, 1940-1960: In many parts  of the world, listening to Conover has become a social event. Clubs meet regularly to hear his program. A visitor in Yugoslavia, remarking on the scarcity of young people in the streets between 8 p.m. and 10. p.m. was told, “They’re listening to Willis”. And a Down Beat reporter in Brussels, at the 1958 World’s Fair wrote that he got the impression that all young Russian people listened to the nightly shows.  

In Holland we had the popular radio programs hosted by Pete Felleman, like Swing & Sweet, from Hollywood & 52nd Street, LP-Parade and USA Cabaret
The rhythm section of the International Youth Band featured Gabor Szabo ( Hungary), George Gruntz (Switzerland), Rudolph (= Ruud) Jacobs (The Netherlands) and Gilberto Cuppini (Italy.). (to be continued)

All Newport '58 International Youth Band contributions, as remembered by Dutch bass player Ruud Jacobs at my link site.
Hans Koert
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Back in the US Marshall Brown selected, with the help of his extensive notes, he made during the numerous auditions all along Europe, the members for his International Youth Band to play at the 1958 Newport FestivalRuud Jacobs, a young Dutch bass player was invited to represent Holland - sixteen other young talented European jazz musicians got an invitation too. Today an introduction to the reed section. 

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