Look at this Jazz Fest in 1973, during the "Jazz Is Dead" era. (Zappa played one of these Fests, in 71-73, and saw Duke Ellington BEGGING George Wein for a $10 (ten!) advance. FZ disbanded the Mothers of Invention shortly afterwards). What I am saying is this was a shock to people, how fast Jazz fell out of popularity, even with the success of Louis Armstrong in "Hello Dolly". Anyway, Wein worked hard to make a success of a variety of stages around NYC, which is the model now in place for JazzFests. SFJAZZ does the same every Sept-Oct.
I was bopping to the American Graffitti soundtrack, digging the Beach Boys and the Five Satins (and the Coasters!) at this time. I wish I had a time machine! Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 1973!
Newport at Central Park, 1973
FEBRUARY 17, 2011 By BILL MILKOWSKI
Charles Lloyd Quintet
Gerry Mulligan's Age of Steam
Larry Coryell and Foreplay Quartet
Click on these links to stream or download new releases recorded in New York City’s Central Park at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival:
Larry Coryell & Foreplay
Gerry Mulligan’s Age of Steam
Charles Lloyd Quintet
After the notorious gate-crashing incident of 1971 — in which hordes of young people (some estimated their numbers near 10,000) folded over a 35-foot-wide section of fence and bum-rushed Festival Field shouting, “Music should be free!” — George Wein’s annual summer clambake was essentially finished at the idyllic resort community of Newport. But the savvy impresario kept the Newport Jazz Festival alive by relocating it to New York City in 1972, staging concerts at venues throughout the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx (Yankee Stadium) and Queens (Shea Stadium). He even had music going on the Staten Island Ferry to have all five boroughs represented.
By 1973, Wein experimented with the Wollman Ampitheater in Central Park as a venue for afternoon concerts. That open air space, which currently holds the Wollman Skating Rink during the winter and the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park during the summer, was the site for a series of memorable concerts that year. The series kicked off on Friday afternoon (June 29) with Gerry Mulligan’s 18-piece Age of Steam ensemble, featuring such star soloists as trumpeters Art Farmer, Jimmy Owens and Jon Faddis, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, tenor saxophonists Frank Wess and Tom Scott and pianist Hank Jones (on Fender Rhodes). On the same bill that Friday afternoon were the Charles Lloyd Quintet and Gato Barbieri’s Latin America Sextet.
Saturday afternoon (June 30) was an all-star extravaganza billed as “Guitar Explosion,” featuring such stellar six-stringers as George Benson, Pat Martino, Jim Hall and Tal Farlow (who played duets together), Tiny Grimes, George Barnes, Chuck Wayne, Joe Puma, Roy Buchanan and fusion star Larry Coryell with his band Foreplay. Skipping Sunday, the Wollman series resumed Monday afternoon (July 2) with the Charles Mingus Quintet, Don Cherry and the Organic Music Theater, Professor Longhair, Snooks Eaglin and Milt Buckner. Tuesday afternoon (July 3) saw the Mose Allison Trio, Stan Getz Quartet, Marian McPartland Trio and Modern Jazz Quartet while on Thursday afternoon (July 5) the Wollman Ampitheater hosted the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sam Rivers Trio, Ray Barretto Orchestra and Archie Shepp Tentet. Friday (July 6) had Two Generations of Brubeck (featuring the Dave Brubeck Trio and the Darius Brubeck Ensemble), the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Hubert Laws Septet and Carmen McRae, and the series finished up on Saturday afternoon with a drum extravaganza featuring Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Max Roach’s M’Boom, Randy Weston’s 18-piece African Rhythms Orchestra and a drum battle featuring Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Freddie Waits, Mel Lewis and Papa Jo Jones.
Though the Wollman Ampitheater series looms large in the memories of jazz fans who attended those concerts nearly 38 years ago, that outdoor venue was not used again by George Wein. Three of the performances from that summer of ’73 series at Wollman – Gerry Mulligan’s Age of Steam, Larry Coryell’s Foreplay and the Charles Lloyd Quintet — were captured back then and are now available for perusal at www.wolfgangsvault.com.