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08 February 2012

The Two Ray Charles Concerts At The Warsaw Jazz Jamboree (1984)

Interior of 2-CD booklet.
The release & media history of the concerts at the 1984 Warsaw Jazz Jamboree is really (really!) complicated. For me it started, quite simply, a few years ago, when I found two or three clips from a live concert on Youtube.
Investigating the provenance of these clips a bit further for a first posting on this blog, I happily stumbled upon an extensive digital audio file of excellent quality - assuming that all tracks from this taping came from one concert.
After that, a reader pointed me at a limited CD release by a Polish jazz club. The contents of this CD were far from congruent with the contents of the audio. My article on that "find" inspired yet another reader a couple of months later to send me the files of a much less legitimate Polish 2-CD, containing (parts of) two concerts.
Furthermore, I received a viewing copy of a video, representing about one half of the concert that had been the source of the YouTube clips.
After sorting out what exactly was on these CD albums and in the video, I made some conjectures about the differences between these albums, the video and the digital bootleg. Thinking that I had solved most of the puzzle.
But since then not only the "whole" version of that video has turned up, I also received information that the other concert had been taped and broadcast by Polish television as well...
Cover of 2-CD.
This is my fourth attempt to share this story.* I'm not that confident anymore that I've now solved the whole puzzle. No doubt, new facts - and maybe even new media files - will emerge.

The personnel
Musicians: Robbie Kwock, Mark Curry, Jim Seely, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; John Boice, Dan Marcus, Dan Weinstein, Dana Hughes - trombones;  Brian Mitchell, Clifford Solomon (band leader), Ricky Woodard, Rudy Johnson, Louis Van Taylor - saxophones; Bobby Floyd - organ; Dennis Nelson - guitar; Roger Hines - bass; Ricky Kirkland - drums. The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

The concerts
The two concerts took place at the Congress Hall (the Sala Kongresowa in the Palace of Culture and Science), during the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree, on 27 October 1984. The first show started at 2 p.m., the  second show at 8 p.m. Ray, the band and the girls were in excellent shape.

The broadcasts and the releases
Both concerts were taped for TV, and both - much later - were released on a bootleggish double-CD. The evening concert was also audiotaped twice. One of these recordings was used for a limited Polish Jazz Club release on a CD (Poljazz X-PSJ 002); the other (superior!) audio recording - which may have been related to a radio broadcast - can only be found on the web, as a digital file.
PollJazz Edition.
The liner notes of the 2-CD and the voice over of an announcer on the video of the second concert both mention sound problems at the start of the concert. The instrumental tracks #1, #2, and #3 of the afternoon concert are missing from the 1st disk of the 2-CD, possibly because the engineers were simply waiting for Ray to appear on stage; possibly also because the sound wasn't balanced correctly yet, which also can be heard in the video version of this concert.

The 2-CD
LP: Poljazz X-PSJ 002.
The double CD was released - obviously for friends only - in 2006, in memory of Andrzej Zbroch (1946 - 2005), a blues connoisseur with a profound love for and knowledge of soul, jazz and other African American music. Zbroch played a prominent role in the Polish Jazz Society, and I guess he was also deeply involved in the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree (he may be the person who can be heard during the introduction part of the second concert; the voice over at the start of the first video might also be his, and he could be the host who is briefly visible at the start of the second video).
The 2-CD and its cover were "prepared for release" by a "Judge Dredd", who stipulated in his notes that the concerts were "[...r]ecorded on professional equipment and tapes. Years later transcoded to CD also using professional equipment. Recorded from the mixing table during the concert."

The PolJazz album
Possibly not very long after the actual concert, The Polish Jazz Society released a limited LP edition (Poljazz X-PSJ 002), titled Ray Charles At Jazz Jamboree 1984, with 10 tracks from the evening concert. The compiler of the double-CD credited Zbroch for making this seclection. You can listen to the album here.

The audio taping
Cover artwork of 2-DVD???
Furthermore, I've found a digital audio copy, which is of excellent quality. It only entails the tunes from the second concert. Oddly, one of the  instrumentals of this concert, Woody 'n' Bu, can't be found on any of the other tapings or releases. Actually, attributing it with the third position on the setlist is my conjecture. The order of the tunes on this recording differs considerably from the set list. And for some reason, Georgia On My Mind and (an excellent version of) Come Live With Me were skipped from this compilation.


The TV recordings
Photo by John Bebel.
The first video clips that I have embedded below were all taken from a broadcast of the 2 p.m. concert by TVP Kultura (active since 2005; this station still frequently re-broadcasts the concert). My viewing copy contained the whole 2 p.m. concert, including the instrumentals. A Polish website offers a (premium SMS) paid download (if you're in Poland), and a free 10 minute video preview, from the 2 p.m. show, with I'm Gonna Go Fishin' and (almost all of) The Team.
My umptieth generation viewing copy of the 8 p.m. concert (of a much lower quality; the uploader of the last clip below used a better source) also carries the TVP Kultura logo. Mother network TVP probably also aired both shows in or shortly after 1984.
I have also found traces of a 68-minute (bootleg?) 2-DVD, entitled Ray Charles & Big Band - Jazz Jamboree, Poland 1984. It's not clear if the contents of this "release" are similar to any of the footage (either from the first or from the second concert) that I've seen so far.


2 pm setlistTV
2-CD
1 I'm Gonna Go Fishin' x
2 . The Team x
3 . Straight Ahead And Strive For Tone x
4 . Riding Thumb x x
5 . Busted x x
6 . Georgia On My Mind x x
7 . You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It) x x
8 . I've Got News For You x x
9 . Oh, What A Beautiful Morning x x
10 . She Knows x x
11 . I Want Your Love  x (x)
12 . All I Need  x x
13 . Don't Change On Me x x
14 . I Can't Stop Loving You x x
15 . Every Saturday Night x x
16 . 3/4 Time x x
17 . Born To Love Me x x
18 . What'd I Say x x
  • #1 to #3: Orchestra instrumentals.
  • #1: The studio recording of the tune is on the album My Kind Of Jazz Part III from 1975, where it was the only take in which Brother Ray contributed on piano. Listed as Going Fishing on the Warsaw 2-CD; solos Jim Seely - tp, Clifford Solomon - ts, Bobby Floyd - p.
  • #2:  The Team was also on the setlist of the 1990 Christmas concert in Tokyo. This, then, is the only other known and the earliest live rendition. Solos Rudy Johnson - ts, Jeff Kaye - tp.
  • #3: Solos Louis Van Taylor - bs, Robbie Kwok - tp, Dan Marcus - tb.
  • Ray Charles intro between #3 and #4 .
  • #8: Listed as We're Gonna Make It on 2-CD.
  • #10: Solo Roger Hines - b.
  • #11: Premature fade-out on 2-CD because engineers ran out of tape. Title is uncertain; listed as I Need Your Love on the 2-CD; tune is also known from one of the TV programs extracted from recordings at the 1987 Jazz à Juan Festival, where it was (certainly erroneously) titled If I Could.    
  • #12: Listed as Send Me A Love Song on 2-CD; ft Elaine Woodard.
  • Ray Charles outro after #18.
8 pm setlist TV Audio LP 2-CD
1 . Sister Sadie x x x
2 . The Time Is Right x x x
3 . Woody 'n' Bu x x
4 . Let The Good Times Roll x x x x
5 Georgia On My Mind x x x
6 . Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune) x x x x
7 . Come Live With Me x x x
8 . Some Enchanted Evening x x x x
9 . Do I Ever Cross Your Mind x x x
10 . We're Gonna Make It x x x
11 . Shameless x x x
12 . Eleanor Rigby x x x
13 . I Can't Stop Loving You x x x x
14 . Knock On Wood x x x x
15 . 3/4 Time x x x x
16 . Born To Love Me x x x x
17 . What'd I Say  x x x x
  • Orchestra intro before #1 on TV.
  • #1 to #3 are Orchestra instrumentals.
  • Intro Ray Charles between #3 and #4.
  • #10 Vocals by The Raelettes.
  • #11 Ft Elaine Woodard.
  • #14 Ft Trudy Cohran.
  • #17 With intro I'm Gonna Keep On Singin', followed by Ray Charles' outro.
Arrival at Chopin Airport:

2 p.m. - She Knows:

8 p.m. - complete:


Ray Charles would return twice to the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree: in 1996 and in 2000.

* Information on several releases, titles, line-up and soloists were kindly provided by Jeff Helgesen, Steve Sigmund, Louis Van Taylor, Robbie Kwock, Dan Marcus, Mo' Pleasure and Jeff Kaye, Joël Dufour and J.P. Verger. For an interesting take on Polish jazz culture during the last decade of the cold war, read this.

1 comment :

  1. This is interesting blog and very nice posting. So keep it up dude.......

    ReplyDelete