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John Handy: Live at Monterey

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John Handy Live at Monterey

A fabulous album. Just two songs but both are brilliant. This review back at the time of the recording in 1965 tells it all. I bought it on vinyl just after it was released and am delighted to have it in digital format now. THE 1965 MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL 
- Ralph Gleason, original liner notes After playing with Charles Mingus at the Monterey Jazz Festival's historic session in 1964, Handy went to Vancouver, B.C., and met two Canadian musicians, bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke. On his return, he told everyone about them and how he hoped to bring them to San Francisco. Eventually, it worked out and eventually the group opened at the Both/And. I was not there on the opening night; I didn't get there for a couple of weeks, and people kept telling me that I was missing something. Finally, one night I decided to make a tour of the Divisadero Street section, which is becoming a new jazz area in San Francisco. I stopped at the Half Note, run by Herbert and Norma Warren who used to operate Sugar Hill in North Beach. Thus, I eventually got to the Both/And, in the company of Herbert, a rival nightclub owner, to hear John Handy. There was almost no one in the club, but the band was on stage and the Canadians were there, and so was Mike White, a violinist who had long had an underground reputation as an exciting soloist, and pianist Freddie Redd, once again in a period of San Francisco residence. They started to play. I was stunned within moments. I simply couldn't believe it. The power and excitement which flowed from that band was overwhelming. I looked at Herbert Warren and he looked at me, and we shook our heads in disbelief. It was one of the great moments of a lifetime of listening to jazz. So I wrote a column about it in the San Francisco Chronicle, a column filled with exuberance, hoping to reflect some of my own excitement at the band's performance. Some weeks later, on the San Francisco educational television station, KQED, we did a Jazz Casual show (which one day I hope will play on the rest of the National Educational Television Network). We made a tape of that show, and I wrote a note to John Hammond at Columbia Records to tell him I was sending it to him. I don't know if this is ethical for a jazz critic, but I couldn't keep from screaming about this band. Hammond expressed immediate and firm interest. Soon, we took Jimmy Lyons, general manager of the Monterey Jazz Festival, out to the Both/And. He, too, was knocked out by John Handy's group and signed them to appear at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival on the afternoon avant-garde program. At Monterey, before an arena packed with 7,000 people sitting in the blazing sun, John Handy turned the band loose (guitarist Jerry Hahn had replaced Freddie Redd by then) and broke it up. They played two numbers - the performances in this album - and they were the hit of the Festival. People gave Handy a standing ovation and talked about what they had heard for weeks. They are still talking about it. I get calls every week asking when "the Monterey performance" will be released. These unexpected delights, these sudden enlightenments are what those of us who listen to jazz as a way of life live for.


Born: February 03, 1933 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A talented and adventurous altoist whose career has gone through several phases, John Handy started playing alto in 1949. After moving to New York in 1958, he had a fiery period with Charles Mingus (1958-1959) that resulted in several passionate recordings that show off his originality; he also recorded several dates as a leader for Roulette. Handy led his own bands during 1959-1964, and played with Mingus at the 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival, but it was at the following year's festival that he was...
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John Handy: Live at Monterey, John Handy
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 18, 1966

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