"after the Riot at NewpORT"
THE NAShViLLE ALL-STARs
RCA Victor LPM/LSP-2302
Produced by Steve Sholes
Reissued on Bear Family (Ger) BCD 15447 1989
Cover art by Jim Flora
The story of the riots at Newport on the July 4th 1960 weekend has been told and retold. We won't detail it further. The unanimous feeling of the critics was that the music heard at the Festival was the best in its history. But nobody has commented on the music not heard at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival.
One group I was particularly interested in hearing was to perform on Monday night, July 4th. This was a group of jazz musicians from Nashville, Tennessee, headed by Chet Atkins---the same Chet Atkins who is so famous for his appearances on the "Grand Ole Opry" and the many Country and Western albums recorded for RCA Victor.
Several months ago Bob Yorke, Ben Rosner and Steve Sholes of RCA Victor invited me to Nashville to hear a jam session. Many of the Country and Western musicians have a great love for jazz. After finishing "Grand Ole Opry," they invariably find their way to a little club in Nashville where they switch styles and start "swinging," far into the early hours of the morning.
In addition to Chet and Hank Garland, Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph, Buddy Harman, Bob Moore and Gary Burton---all well-known in the country field---there are usually one or two faculty members of A & I State University of Tennessee. One of them, Brenton Banks, is heard on this record playing violin and piano.
Probably you are wondering how this album was recorded if these musicians did not appear at the Festival. RCA Victor Records, responsible for bringing these musicians to Newport, rented a beautiful mansion. When it became obvious that the remainder of the concert was cancelled, Ben Rosner thought it a good idea to have a party on the lawn and record the musicians at a jam session. The music on this disc is what transpired on that sunny Monday afternoon. Incidentally, but importantly, two selections in the album were composed for the occasion. Chet Atkins penned Nashville To Newport, and Boots Randolph with Hank Garland extemporized Riot-Chous the night before the session---right after the big riot.
To me, the highlights of the album are the wonderful violin of Brenton Banks, the swinging guitar of Hank Garland, and the brilliant work of a 17-year old vibraphonist from Princeton, Indiana, Gary Burton, whom you will be sure to hear a lot in the future. The thing that impressed me most was the virtuosity and sensitivity of Chet Atkins' guitar work. While not a hard swinger, Chet has the ability to express a style uniquely his. He has the same delicacy of approach that exemplified the music of Django Reinhardt. Chet's technique is that of the classical guitarist, yet his harmonic concept is modern. I have no doubts that if he would devote his time exclusively to jazz, he'd become equally renowned in that medium.
The spontaneity and exuberance of the music and musicians on this album is in the tradition that made jazz the great music it is.
The Hank Garland Albums