Monday, March 17, 2014

Is Jazz at the Pawnshop The Best Live Jazz Album Ever?

Flashback 2007. All About Jazz reports:
On December 6 and 7, 1976, in a small jazz club called Stampen (The Pawn Shop) in Stockholm's Old Town, Swedish sound engineer Gert Palmcrantz recorded a group of leading Scandinavian jazzmen live, trying to get "the tight, harmonious sound of the records of my childhood." Conditions were less than ideal. A full house, a great deal of background noise. No rehearsals. No sound checks. The musicians just started playing with no one knowing what would be next on the agenda until reedman Arne Domnerus called it.

The result has often been hailed as the best live jazz recording ever. Amazingly, for a small country such as Sweden, the record sold more than half a million copies and still sells, at a rate of around 4,000 copies annually. In the past thirty years it has been re-released in all manner of formats and become a cult album for Hi-Fi freaks, especially in South East Asia, where a Hong Kong audio magazine devoted five pages to an analysis of Palmcrantz's achievement.
Is Pawnshop the best live jazz album ever or Bill Bruford's Footloose and Fancy Free, or Bucky Pizzarelli - Swing Live? Anyway, we highly recommend these albums: if you like jazz or great sounding albums.