Thursday, July 4, 2013

Newport '58 Babel's Band at Brussels Expo '58

Ruud Jacobs remembers 1958 Newport festival as a member of the International Youth Band as a "jazz-feest".
Final concerts at the Brussels Expo '58
Hans Koert

The final series of concerts by the 1958 International Youth Band, also known as The Babel's Band or the Tower of Babel's Band,  were scheduled in July-August 1958 at the U.S. Pavilion at the Brussels World Exposition. They had to play several matinees to satisfy demands for performances, the liner notes of the album Newport 58 learn. Ruud Jacobs, Dutch bass player remembers it as a happy, but deadly tired period ....

Ruud Jacobs, Dutch bass player, remembers his debut in the International Youth Band at the Newport '58 festival - Today the last contribution: Enjoy all previous contributions

The Atomium - the symbol of the Expo '58 in Brussels

The Brussels World’s Fair, entitled Expo ’58, was the first large exhibition scheduled since the end of World War Two. The previous one had been organized in New York City, 1939.  It was Brussels’  fifth World's Fair since 1888   (  1888, 1897, 1910 and 1935 ). The Expo ’58  is remembered by its  Atomium, a giant model of a unit cell of an iron crystal, which still is the logo type of Brussels. It was opened by King Baudouin of Belgium April 1958 and lasted up to October 1958..

Benny Goodman at the cover of an lp entitled Benny in Brussels - vol I ( Columbia P13502)

The US pavilion was quite spacious and included a fashion show with models walking down a large spiral staircase, an electronic computer that demonstrated a knowledge of history, and a color television studio behind glass.

US artists were scheduled to perform. One of the major attraction in the US Pavilion was a series of concerts by the Benny Goodman Orchestra, which was scheduled for a lengthy European tour with two concerts in Holland too at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw ( 14th of May, 1958) and the Blokker Auction Hall (15th of May, 1958), both (partly) taped and broadcasted by ABC’s at John Gunther’s High Road program ….. Especially the Blokker concert is in Holland still remembered as a special event. Benny Goodman opened in Brussels the 25th of May, 1958 and several concerts were televised by the Eurovision Television Network to four European countries  ( Belgium, England, France and Italy ) simultaneously – an European debut.  

Babylonische Jazzband in Blokker  ( = A Babel's band in Blokker) (PZC - 20 juni 1958)

As remembered in the previous blog, entitled: The Blokker concert, the International Youth Band had been scheduled in the Blokker auction hall at the 27th of July, but NOT with Sarah Vaughan, as a Dutch newspaper, the PZC (Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant) mentioned in a preview ( 20th of June, 1958) …… Sarah would perform with the International Youth band in Brussels late July 1958.  Musicians like Sarah Vaughan and Sidney Bechet (who lived in France) performed as guests with the International Youth Band, which was scheduled for a week ( 29th of July – 3rd of August 1958) at the US Pavilion.  They played two concerts a day and Ruud remembered Sarah, who sung with the band as a guest singer as  ‘n bijzonder aardige vrouw  (= a very friendly woman). At a final  jamsession Sidney Bechet joined the band in a tune, later released as Jam Session Final ( Vogue  (F500203))

(Vrije Volk -2nd of August, 1958)

Returned from his trip to The States Ruud was invited to tell his stories.  The VARA network scheduled the Pim Jacobs Trio, featuring Dutch violin player Sem Nijveen as a guest and Michiel De Ruyter, Dutch jazz journalist, interviewed  Ruud, but treated him ….. op een wel erg familiaire toon en rookte er stug bij ( = with too much familiarity, while smoking his cigarettes), H. v.d. W. of the Vrije Volk newspaper reported:. ..... Zelfs Sem Nijveen speelde met een sigaret in de mond, wat toch niet erg attent is ten aanzien van de kijkers. (.... Even Sem Nijveen played his violin while smoking .... which is rather improper for the viewers)
In the Dutch monthly magazine for Jazz-, Dans- en Amusementsmuziek  Rhythm, in an article entitled Twee Maal Amerika, Ruud was asked about his experiences: 't Is fantastisch geweest ( = It was really great) - Amerika was geweldig, gewoon 'n feest. Ik heb er veel opgestoken, dat je alleen dáár, in het centrum van de muziek, kunt opsteken. ( = America was great - like a party. I learned a lot - things you can only learn when you are in New York, at the hot spots of jazz).

Bernt Rosengren, Ruud Pronk and Ruud Jacobs in Loosdrecht  6th of August 1958 (Rhythme nº 108 (Sep-Oct 1958)

Ruud Jacobs remembers the concerts by the great names in jazz ….. When the journalist of Rhythme asked what concerts he had heard and muisicians met, Ruud says: …. O, schei uit .. Dat waren er te veel om op te noemen. (= Oh boy  .. too much to list). Toen we eenmaal tijd voor ons zelf hadden, zijn we groots ontvangen. Iedereen had van ons gehoord, ze waren erg vriendelijk.  (= We were welcomed everywhere – everybody had heard about us - the people were very friendly). Kwamen we in een club, dan introduceerde Willis Connover – je weet wel, van de Voice of America – ons en dan vroegen ze je direct of je wilde mee spelen. ( = When we enterred a club we were introduced by Willis Connover, the Voice of America as you might know, and often we were invited to join ….. ). Ik heb veel met Gerry Mulligan in zijn nieuwe kwartet gespeeld, waar ook Art Farmer in zit. ( = I played a lot with Gerry Mulligan and his new quartet, featuring Art Farmer).  Ook Art Blakey en Miles Davis hebben we uitgebreid ontmoet,  ….. (= We also met Art Blakey and Miles Davis, ...). But Ruud also puts our in-grained prejudices about US  jazzmen into perspective that all that glitters is not gold ………. Trouwens gek, als je ziet, hoeveel beroemde lui daar van de ene tent naar de andere lopen om met ’n snabbel (sic) wat te verdienen (  = It’s remarkable to learn that even the best and most famous jazz men have to take each gig to earn a living ).

 Ruud Jacobs with Bert Rosengren and Dusko Gojkovic at Loosdrecht  (Rhythme nº 108 (Sep-Oct 1958)

 I have learned a lot of things, things you can learn in the New York clubs - in the hot spots of jazz. The experiences at the 1958 Newport festival were labeled as: ‘n jazz-feest ( = a jazz party) and the Expo'58 concerts at Brussels as: Alleen lof ( = Full of praise) ( a play upon words as the Dutch name for chicory is Brussels Lof ). Back home, he invited some of his friends, colleagues from the trip to Newport, the Swedish tenor saxophone player Bernt Rosengren and trumpeter Dusko Gojkovic from Yugoslavia, to join at the Loosdrecht Jazz festival. A recording from this meeting seems to have survived, Hans Mantel, radio producer told at the Vriendendag of the Dutch Jazz archive as part of the Wereldomroep archives.

Pim Jacobs (left) in Loosdrecht with host of the festival Coen Serré  (Rhythme nº 108 (Sep-Oct 1958) )

In Twee Maal Amerika Ruud mentioned that the Tower of Babel orchestra could be heard during the winter season in a European tour ...... als Pim en Cees mee kunnen om een trio te vormen - anders gaat het wat mij betreft niet door. ( = with Pim (Jacobs) and Cees (See) to form a trio. If this isn't possible I won't happen). As far as I know it didn’t happen.

  • Marshall Brown  was invited the next year to create another International Youth Band, with young promising US musicians. One of the members was Ronnie Cuber, now a featured artist on baritone saxophone.  Several albums featuring ther 1959 and 1960 International Youth Band have been released.
Nu ga ik toch echt eerst uitslapen. (= Now I'll have a long lie-in). In New York was ’t haast elke nacht drie, vier uur. In Brussel idem-dito.  ( In New York we played until dawn, like in Brussels). We hebben – om negen uur ’s ochtends – “welterusten” gewenst en hebben ons stil verwijderd, ( = We said "good night" to Ruud at nine o'clock in the morning and left! (part of the Rhythme interview)

Please have a look at My Jazz Link site with links to all International Youth Band Newport '58 publication, as remembered by Ruud Jacobs.

Hans Koert
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When Ruud Jacobs, Dutch bass player who was invited to play in the International Youth Band at the 1958 Newport festival, returned in Holland, the Babel's band, he was worn out and wanted to have a long lie-in. He had performed with the band its final concerts at the Dutch Blokker festival and the World Exhibition in Brussels: Expo '58. In New York we played until dawn, like in Brussels ......, but it was really a Jazz Feest ..... The final contribution of a long series of blogs dedicated to Ruud Jacobs and his debut at the Newport '58 festival as part of the 1958 International Youth Band.   

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