Jazz @ the Philharmonic

Ticket Price: 
$1.20 / $1.80


The Michigan Daily 13 Nov 1947


For the second time this year, Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic was presented before a packed house in Hill Auditorium. The affair, studded with names, was undoubtedly a financial success. However, Mr. Granz' program has become somewhat formalized and is not too capably handled. The spirit and enthusiasm the musicians needed for this type of concert was lacking and they often played with tongue in cheek.

The ensemble work was ragged and in this case was used merely as a connecting link between the various solos.

Individual honors for the event were divided between Coleman Hawkins and trombonist Bill Harris. "Cocktails For Two" showcased Hawkins' complete mastery of his instrument, and Harris exhibited exquisite tone and ideas on "I Surrender, Dear" and "Mean to Me", which has long been associated with him. His performance at a faster tempo was less exciting, however.

Flip Phillips' effortless tenor work on his own composition, "With Someone New", somewhat over-shadowed Hawk's now familiar variations on "Body and Soul."

J.C. Heard's consistently over-loud drumming vitiated the effectiveness of most of the solos. The sparkling supportive work of Pianoman Hank Jones was, with the exception of two prettily played solos, almost completely submerged. Bassist Ray Brown, though he impressed with his steady beat, similarly indulged in some tasteless bowing antics, a la Slam Stewart, near the end of the show. As a unit, the rhythm section never quite jelled.

The general impression gained from the concert was a lack of spontaneity. The music often seemed hackneyed and dull. The solos contained several recognizable quotes, a device which becomes shoddy when used repetitiously.