Album Reviews

Erroll Garner

The Complete Concert By The Sea

Artist:     Erroll Garner

Album:     The Complete Concert By The Sea

Label:     Sony Legacy

Release Date:     09/18/2015


Long ago, in a Salvation Army store far, far, away, a budding music critic & jazz fan was rummaging the bins and kept coming upon Concert By The Sea. I figured if there were this many copies available, it must have been a pretty popular record once. So for a dollar I bought Concert By The Sea, Brubeck’s Jazz Goes To College and The Grass Roots: Greatest Hits. Gratefully, I’m still listening to the first two discs.

Revered as one of the most popular jazz recordings of all time, Concert By The Sea would have been a bootleg treasure if not for the keen eye of Garner’s manager, Martha Glaser. She was backstage at Fort Ord in Carmel, CA on 9/19/55 when she noticed a tape recorder running. She took the tape from the intrepid bootlegger, presented it to George Avakian at Columbia and the rest is history.

Now, from a newly discovered complete recording, we have the three CD set, The Complete – Concert By The Sea and another chance to marvel at Garner’s masterwork. Garner joyfully and fearlessly heard swing bands and full orchestras in his head and, without any formal training, blended it all into his happily enigmatic and unparalleled creations. “Night and Day,” “The Nearness of You,” “Autumn Leaves,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” each standard re-imagined. Bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Denzil DaCosta bring their A game too, though often they had little clue to where Garner’s boundless energy and inspiration, like the sea itself, would take them. Still and evermore a remarkable listen.

– Mike Jurkovic

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