Archive for N.Y.C.

Frank Foster Big Band at the Village Vanguard 1980

Posted in documents, Frank Foster, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by crownpropeller

As promised in this post, I am reposting the images from the performance by Frank Foster’s “Living Colours” Big Band at the Village Vanguard on April 4, 1980 – this time with some music.

About 70 minutes of music from this evening survive on a tape that has been digitally transferred to CD by Otto in the early 1990s. While the original tape box does not carry information at all, some information is attached to the CD.

frank_foster_cover(click to enlarge)

The rudimentary CD cover can not be trusted though. For example Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” which I am presenting you here, is not the second track on the CD, but the first. Likewise Title 5, “Joy Spring(s?)” is indeed a “Minor Blue Waltz”, at least in form and content. I will have to bring this in a meaningful order some day …

So here are all of Otto’s photos from the April 4 1980 concert again. If you can identify anyone for sure, to help get rid of the question marks on the CD’s listing, please let me know (but please check the comment section from the old blog entry about this event first).

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Blindfold test resolved: Big Nick Nicholas at the West End

Posted in Bross Townsend, documents, West End with tags , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by crownpropeller

Update (June 16, 2012): Big Nick Nicholas is playing at the West End here, not at the Tin Palace as I had erroneously written.

Well my little “Body and Soul” blindfold test did not last long. I promised to give you the solution by the end of june, but it did take Bo Scherman less than an hour to figure out that the tenor player in question is Big Nick Nicholas (1922–1997). Congratulations, Bo! I would not have thought that someones comes up with the solution THAT quick.

Big Nick Nicholas was playing this beautiful rendition of “Body and Soul” with his quartet at the West End in N.Y.C. on October 3, 1979.

Big Nick Nicholas at the West End, October 3, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

George Walker “Big Nick” Nicholas played with Hank Jones, Thad Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Hot Lips Page and Earl Hines  in the 1940s and joined Buck Clayton’s band in 1955. In the early sixties Nicholas inspired John Coltrane to write his composition “Big Nick”, dedicated to him.

It seems that Nicholas was away from the N.Y.C scene for a while. In one of the announcements on Otto’s tape from the West End, Nicholas mentions that he has not been in New York for years. Besides recording two sets of Nicholas’ quartet, Otto also took quite a few photographs (you can click on them to enlarge them) and did not forget to take the promotional flyer for the engagement with him  (subtitled “An Infuential Tenor Saxophonist returns To The Big Apple”) on which Phil Schaap  tells us more details about Nicholas’ career:

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Frank Foster Big Band at the Village Vanguard 1980

Posted in Frank Foster, jazz, unidentified photographs with tags , , , , , on June 3, 2012 by crownpropeller

Update (June 9, 2012): I found a tape from this concert. I will add a track or two later and reblog this post.

Update (June 8, 2012): The Big Band has been identified as being Frank Foster’s band. Still help is needed in identifying the members of the band.

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Continuing the digitizing of the material my friend Otto gathered on his trips to New York in 1978, 1980 and 1981 I find it sometimes hard to match the tapes in his collection to the photos in his files from these years. Of course it is possible that from some concerts only photos survived.

Here are seven photos of a big band playing (most probably) at the Village Vanguard either in probably spring 1980 or – also possible – spring 1981. Although some of these people look familiar to me, I cannot really place anyone.  All I can say that the tenor saxophonist in the middle of the first photo (in the background) also seems to appear on a photo of Jabbo Ware’s Me, We and Them Orchestra at the Black Bean Music Studio on May 11, 1980. But the band on these photos here is definitely not Jabbo’s.

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