Fifty three years have passed since the jazz giants took the stage at Carnegie Hall. It was a rare occasion and a very special time for jazz. The year was 1949, and visionary producer and record-company owner Norman Granz had created the jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. He tore down the walls of racism and taught everyone that there were no barriers in music, thus there should be none at all. This was all on the cusp of the fifties renaissance of jazz that changed the face of music forever. Would this have happened without the groundbreaking and forward thinking spirit of men like Granz? I sincerely doubt it.
While this recording serves as an invaluable timepiece and reference point for the jazz genre you must remember that it was recorded in 1949 and the pristine sound you are accustomed to hearing from the Fantasy vaults will not be available on this CD. What is lost for sound quality is made up for in good measure by the music and the efforts of such legendary performers as Ray Brown (bass), Sonny Criss (alto sax), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Hank Jones (piano), Shelly Maine (drums), Fats Navarro (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), and Tommy Turk (trombone). The spotlight will never dim upon these great men of music. They were on stage to define what contemporary mainstream bop was. How could you not hear all the musical genius coming together in these magical moments? Anything that is insufficient about this recording is overlooked without a second thought if jazz truly lives in your heart. This jazz lover is grateful for labels like Fantasy finding this great music and bringing it back to life.
There is spur-of-the-moment improvisation, and dare I say risqué chord changes in many of these songs. My dear lord it was 1949! This is further evidence of the progressive nature and creative freedom founded in jazz music long before any other genus considered it.
This music is as important as having syrup on pancakes or butter on your toast; you just can’t do with out it.