Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Newport '58: A Tower of Babel

 The start of the rehearsals of the  International Youth Band  Newport 1958  
Marshall Brown: Too emotional and too nervous to lead a band (Quote: Ruud Jacobs).  
Hans Koert

Back in the US Marshall Brown started to build his band. In some previous blogs I introduced you to the European musicians, that were invited to join the International Youth Band for Newport 1958: The brass section, the reed players and the rhythm section.  

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

In June 1958 Marshall Brown returned to Brussels (Belgium) to welcome the members at a first meeting. Seventeen musicians were selected and fourteen of them travelled to Brussels: Palle Bolvig from Denmark, Roger Guerin from France, Dusko Gojkovic from former Yugoslavia, José Manuel Magelhais from Portugal, Christian Kellens from Belgium, Kurt Jarnberg from Sweden, Erich Kleinschuster and Hans Salomon from Austria, Albert Mangelsdorff from Germany, Bernt Rosengren from Sweden, Ronnie Ross from England, piano player George Gruntz, who recently passed away  from Switzerland, Gilberto Cuppini from Italy and Dutch bass player Ruud Jacobs.  

Brussels Airport (called Zavetem Airport), opened officially July 1958 due to the Expo 1958, the Brussels World's Fair. 

 Ruud remembers that he travelled from Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) to the new Zavetem airport, which would open officially the 5th of July, 1958, just in time for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. The Polish saxophonist Jan Wroblewski had taken an earlier airplane by mistake and Spanish alto saxophonist Wladimiro Zabache had missed his connections en route to Belgium. Guitarist Gabor Szabo would join the orchestra in the New York, as he lived in the States as a political refugee. The flight to New York City, with some stop-overs, all went off well, Ruud remembers.

 Tony Scott ( source: Rhythme nº 98 (1957))

The band was presented itself at a meeting with the press at the New York Idlewild Airport, where it arrived early in the morning, welcomed by the Tony Scott Quintet. Ruud remembers that he was surprised by the warm reception of the Tony Scott Quintet ... When they left the airplane one of the musicians had shouted: Hey Ruud, look who's there .... Tony Scott! Ruud knew Tony well, as he had accompanied him ( together with his  brother Pim at the piano and Wessel Ilcken on drums) at a concert in the Concordia studios in Bussum April 1957. Tony Scott had just finished a series of gigs at the Black Pearl, featuring trombonist Jimmy Knepper and guitarist Kenny Burrell.  Marshall Brown remembers ....  Although jazz musicians are used to play at unholy hours, 5.00 am was even for Tony Scott's Quintet members an unearthly hour ... to make it in time to blow them in. 

 Ruud Jacobs in New York 1958 ( photo courtesy: Ruud Jacobs)

They were checked in at the Beverly Hotel (NYC) and the rehearsals would start .. in earnests ..... C.G. Conn Musical Instruments sponsored the band with new instruments, but Ruud Jacobs, as he told me, had brought his own bass, which would sold to Paul Chambers a few years later while in Holland for a series of concerts.  
Dusko met Dizzy
Marshall Brown showed the band's charts - they were all new for the members of the orchestra.   The different origins of the members of the band made it hard to communicate, they misunderstood each other and often Marshall Brown had to "communicate" with the help of some members of the band, who translated eventually into the member's native tongue. Dusko Gojkovic happened to be the anchor man in the band as he spoke seven languages ..... including English. Marshall Brown remembered: I finally realized what a titanic job it was going to be, to get this band ready to play at Newport. At the first rehearsal, I spent 20 minutes getting across to the members that I wanted them to go back to letter B in the arrangement.
Bernt Rosengren
The rehearsals were planned between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., Swedish tenor saxophonist Bernt Rosengren remembers, with some short breaks for meals. ( Repetitionstiden var mellan 9 på morron till 11 på kvällen med korta uppehåll för mat.). Marshall Brown was not really interested in the members of the band ..... Han behandlade oss på ett vidrigt överlägset sätt, precis som smågrabbar, och ändå var det inte precis direkta yngligar i orkestern. Flera ava medlemmarna var ju över 30 år .... (= He felt superior and belittled us, just like kids, although there were no young kids in the orchestra, some members were older then 30 years of age .... ) .(Source: Estrad april 1959)

Marshall Brown (1958)

Ruud Jacobs remembered the first days, while interviewed by Pieter Sweens of the Dutch Rhythme magazineMaandblad voor Jazz-, Dans-, en Amusementsmuziek (Sep.- Oct. 1958): Inderdaad viel 't de eerste dagen niet mee. Je kende geen van je kollega's(sic), 't land overrompelde je en de repetities van 't orkest waren nogal strubbelig. (= The first days weren't as easy. You didn't know your colleagues and being in the States for the very first time was an experience and the rehearsals of the band were rather hectic .....). One of the reasons were the language problems, but also Brown's mediocre communication skills. Lag dat aan die spreekwoordelijke Babylonische spraakverwarring? ( = Was that a Tower of Babel?), Pieter Sweens wondered .. Ten dele (= Partly), Ruud explained ....  
John La Porta (bron: Berklee)

  Maar de hoofdoorzaak was Marshall Brown, een man die eigenlijk te emotioneel en te nerveus was om zo'n orkest te leiden. ( = The main cause was Marshall Brown, who was too emotional and too nervous to lead such a band). Ik kan me voorstellen dat sommige musici daar heftig op reageerden, maar ik kan me ook Brown's gevoelens indenken. (= I can imagine that some members of the band reacted on that, but at the other hand I feel some sympathy for Brown's feelings). En later? ( and later?) the journalist asked ... Wel, na een paar dagen was dat over. ( Well, after a few days the problems at the start-up phase seemed to have gone). Ruud remembered that he was disappointed about the arrangements. De arrangementen vielen me wat tegen, maar 't orkest klonk na enkele keren erg goed. ( = At first I wasn't satisfied with the arrangements, but after a few rehearsals the band sounded pretty good) Bernt Rosengren, however, is less positive:  Till råga på allt var arrangementen rent ruskiga, specieltt dom av John La Porta. ( = On top of this, the arrangements, especially those by John La Porta, were a mess.).
There were some more things that caused frictions between the organisation and the group to be told in a next contribution (to be continued). 

Thanks to Stephan Veil, Ruud Jacobs and Jørgen Larsen for their kind support.

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

Follow the Keep (it) Swinging blog at Facebook (group and page) or ask its monthly newsletter.

Finally ..... June 1958 - Brussels Airport Zavetem: The trip to Newport would start for fourteen excited young European musician, including Dutch bass player Ruud Jacobs ... They all hoped to make it in The States, but the start - the first rehearsals - were rather disappointing ...  Marshall Brown: A moody, nervous band leader who built a Tower of Babel. 

Keep Swinging (old) Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

No comments:

Post a Comment