Thursday, March 14, 2013

Miles Davis: The Complete 1960 Amsterdam Concertgebouw Concert

 One of the most talked-about Dutch concerts of Miles Davis released.  
John Coltrane's Dutch debut 
Hans Koert

It was, even in the 1960s, remarkable, that a Dutch radio station stick its neck out by scheduling a Jazz-week – seven days filled with jazz music – a programming featuring  live concerts with great names like the Oscar Peterson Trio, the Stan Getz Quartet and the Miles Davis Quintet at the Scheveningen het Kurhaus.  

Miles Davis: Tweemaal in het Concertgebouw (1960) (Nederlands) | Miles Davis: The Complete 1960 Amsterdam Concertgebouw Concert ( English)

Even in The Netherlands such a jazz-week was a sensation.  The VARA- radio station brought a two hours live radio program with the Miles Davis Sextet (sic) (vibist Buddy Montgomery was originally part of Miles Davis JATP group) , playing at the Kurhaus in Scheveningen (  9.30 p.m. – 10.30 p.m.) and the Oscar Peterson Trio ( live from the Concertgebouw). ( 0.00 – 1.00 a.m.). It was a pity, according Anton Kop from the Dutch Rhythme magazine, that Peterson’s concert did overrun its time, so there was no time enough to broadcast Stan Getz concert on Dutch radio. The Miles Davis Quintet was scheduled as last comer. 

 Anouncement in Rhythme (1960)

Both the Miles Davis Kurhaus as the Concertgebouw concert are now available on cd. A few years ago the Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Den Haag recordings were reissued by Lonehilljazz (LHJ10206) – finally also the 1960 Amsterdam recordings by the Miles Davis Quintet have been issued by the Dutch Jazz Archive in its award-winning series Jazz at the Concertgebouw: Miles Davis - So What  ( NJA 1301) (2cd)

 Article announcing the concerts (source Vrije volk ( 9th of April 1960))

The concerts were part of a JATP tour organized by Norman Granz. Miles Davis Quintet, featuring Miles Davis on trumpet, John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Wynton Kelly at the piano, Paul Chambers bass and Jimmy Cobb drums,  had performed in Zurich the day before the Dutch concerts were scheduled. It had missed the airplane that should bring the musicians in time in Scheveningen. It had a three hours delay. Ruud Jacobs, Dutch bass player, told me that Paul Chambers instrument had been damaged during the flight and needed a replacement ...... He used Ruud's bass during both concerts. They played one set at the Kurhaus, which was broadcasted live by Vara-radio. The audience had delighted with this Miles Davis concert, organized by Dutch impresario Lou Van Rees, the third appearance of Miles in our country, but were shocked by the sound of John Coltrane.  

 Miles Davis - So What (2cd) ( NJA 1301)

The critics were very harsh in their judgements:  Het plezier  ……werd volledig vergald door John Coltrane, de man die de tenorsax vasthield (!)  ( = John Coltrane, the man with the tenor sax in his hands (!) spoiled  the audience’s pleasure) …. ergerlijke melodische armoede (John Coltrane) ( = Annoying melodic poverty) – De verschrikkingen die de figuur Coltrane produceerde. ( = The terror produced by the man named Coltrane). 

Kritiek van Anton Kop.
bron: Rhythme  mei 1960
Ruud Niemans wrote in Rhythme: Het is een betreurenswaardig feit, dat de Vara-jazzweek .. een vals slotakkoord kreeg vanuit het Kurhaus. ( = It’s a sad fact that the VARA's-radio Jazz week final chord, was out of tune! ). Some hours later, in Amsterdam, Miles was scheduled again, at the Concertgebouw night concert ….. The audience must have heard the Kurhaus concert and had heard Coltrane playing…. Sommige Amsterdamse nachtbrakers wisten vooruit, welke orgie hen te wachten stond ( = Some Amsterdam night-revellers knew, what orgy they could expect). Although Coltrane hold in, it seems that a lot jazz fans left the concert during the Miles Davis performance at the Concertgebouw ….

 Vara's Jazzweek with the Miles Davis concert as one of its highlights, but the critics wereafter the concert as hard as nails. (Source: Friese Courier (9th of April 1960))

It is hard to believe, when you listen to the music with 2013 ears, that the critics panned this concert - Now we know that Miles Davis played one of his  best concerts of that year .....  

Wynton Kelly - Miles Davis - Paul Chambers (Kurhaus: 15th of October 1960) (source: Rhythme 134 )(photo courtesy: Pieter Mazel)

The 2cd album Jazz at the Concertgebouw: Miles Davis - So What  ( NJA 1301)  also features the October 1960 concert by the Miles Davis Quintet at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Sonny Stitt (Kurhaus)
 (foto Pieter Mazel)
John Coltrane had left the group and Miles had found a replacement: alto saxophone player Sonny Stitt. When Coltrane left, Jimmy Heath, who just had left prison (due to drug abuse),  took his place, but had to stay within a sixty-mile radius of Philadelphia, so couldn’t join Miles Davis group on tours … Wayne Shorter, who could be a candidate, played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers ….. Finally Sonny Stitt joined the quintet. The tour started in England (London, Manchester(Free Trade Hall)), Paris (Olympia), the Koncerthuset in Stockholm and on the 15th,  like in April, a concert at the Kurhaus in The Hague and a night concert  at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This concert appealed to the jazz critics and the audience enjoyed Miles Davis, who was labeled by Paul ten Have as één der grootsten uit de jazz (= One of the greatest in jazz ….) – the only minor point was Sonny Stitt’s conservative, rather predictable playing … The concert was fabuleus ….. een hoogtepunt, dat moeilijk overtroffen zal kunnen worden. ( = a highlight, hard to exceed). This concert has been released now too at this great Miles Davis – So What 2cd album …….

 The tracklist

The Jazz at the Concertgebouw series contains more remarkable concerts live from the famous Amsterdam music theatre, like concerts with  Chet Baker (1955) – Gerry Mulligan (1956) – J.J. Johnson (1957) – Sarah Vaughan (1958) – Misha Mengelberg-Piet Noordijk Quartet (1966) and Jazz from Carnegie Hall featuring Lee Konitz, Zoot Soms, Phineas Newborn, Red Garland, Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke (1958)

This album can be ordered at

Hans Koert
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When critics are quoted about your concert as ... ergerlijke melodische armoede  (annoying melodic poverty) – Het plezier werd volledig vergald ( they spoiled the listeners pleasure), I guess you better decide to stop your career in music ....  But not for John Coltrane. His debut in The Netherlands didn't pass by unnoticed. The Dutch Jazz archive released in its award-winning series Jazz at the Concergebouw two talked-about 1960 concerts by the Miles Davis Quintet.

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1 comment:

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