The first four sides of this album capture the momentous meeting of four great iconoclastic jazz figures. It was a historic, magical moment when Coleman Hawkins, Bud Powell, Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke came together on the stage of the Grugahalie in Essen on the evening of April 2nd, 1960 and played for an Essen Jazz Festival audience of some 8,000 people. That audience was uniquely privileged because it was to witness the performance of some most inspirational spontaneous music from a quartet of jazz masters who were destined never to play together again. Oscar Pettiford, one of the prime emancipators of the bass, died later that year; Bud Powell went to that great 52nd Street in the sky six years later. And three years after that, Coleman Hawkins was dead.
A most precious recording, then – and it underscores yet again the gratitude that all jazz lovers owe to the people who ensure that such auspicious musical encounters are preserved on record.