02 JUL 13 CHRIS SLAWECKI
When a music fan learns too late that you've missed a once in a lifetime performance, "You should have been there" is one of the saddest expressions you can hear. But Concord's digital catalog allows you to revisit an amazing all-star performance from the 1976 Concord Jazz Festival, when Jake Hannah (drums), Ray Brown (bass), Hank Jones (piano), Red Norvo (vibes) and Tal Farlow (guitar) simultaneously shared their flawless talents On Stage.
Norvo begins by tapping out the intro to "The One I Love Belongs to Someone Else" like Fred Astaire on vibes, and he quickly pulls the rest of the ensemble into his enchanting dance. It's hard to capture Norvo's joyous, dancing sound in words -- it's much easier for your ears, especially when Jones' piano solo, tagging behind like a wagging tail, swings and sings in this same wonderful sound. Farlow steps into the spotlight during "A Time For Love/My Romance" with a guitar sound as solid and sleek, yet warm, as polished mahogany.
The principals wind up "Lullaby of Birdland" and "My Shining Hour" and let them fly, stretching each tune across eight minutes of jamming with not one single note sounding out of place. "My Shining Hour" is a great title to summarize On Stage -- Jones and Farlow and Norvo all sound so warm and bright. Though he mainly provides harmonic and rhythmic support to the other soloists, don't overlook Jones' beautiful solo meditation, "The Very Thought of You."