Concert by the Sea

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Concert by the Sea
Live album by Erroll Garner
ReleasedOctober 13, 1955 (1955-10-13)
RecordedSeptember 19, 1955
VenueSunset School, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
LabelColumbia CL 883
ProducerGeorge Avakian
Erroll Garner chronology
Concert by the Sea
The Most Happy Piano
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz3.5/4 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide5/5 stars[4]

Concert by the Sea is a live album by pianist Erroll Garner, released on Columbia Records in 1955.[5] It sold over a million dollars' worth of retail copies by 1958,[6] thereby qualifying for gold record status by the definition of that time, but has never been acknowledged as such by the RIAA.

Recording and music[edit]

The album was recorded on September 19, 1955 in the gothic-revivalist styled assembly hall of Sunset School (now Sunset Arts Center) in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, a welcoming space being used as part of local promoter Jimmy Lyons' "Sunset Series", this series in turn laying the groundwork for the beginnings of the Monterey Jazz Festival. From nearby Fort Ord military base servicemen were bused to join the enthusiastic and receptive audience at this Erroll Garner Trio gig.[7][8] Accompanying Garner were bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Denzil Best. According to Columbia Records and its owner, Sony Music Entertainment, the acoustics were poor and the piano somewhat out of tune. The balance of instruments on the recording was also poor; the bass and drums were receded.[9]

There was no plan to record the concert officially. The release came about because Garner's personal manager, Martha Glaser, spotted backstage that a tape recorder was running. The recording was being made by a recording engineer for the Armed Forces Radio Network, "a jazz fan and scholar named Will Thornbury, strictly for the enjoyment of himself and his fellow servicemen".[7] Glaser took the tape, put it into album form, and then played it for the head of Columbia Records' jazz division, George Avakian, who decided to release it.[7] The original LP was released by Columbia as catalog number CL 883; an "electronically rechanneled to simulate stereo" version, with catalog number CS 9821, was issued in 1969.[10]


AllMusic awarded the album a maximum five stars, observing it is "arguably the finest record pianist Erroll Garner ever made".[2] The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave it 3½ stars out of 4 (and added it to the book's suggested Core Collection), asserting that: "Concert by the Sea is essentially neither more nor less than a characteristic set by the trio".[3] Critic Scott Yanow's opinion is: "this is the album that made such a strong impression that Garner was considered immortal from then on."[11]

2015 reissue[edit]

On September 18, 2015, Sony Legacy released the album in an expanded box set version titled The Complete Concert by the Sea. Its three compact discs include the unedited full concert on discs one and two, with 11 tunes that did not appear on the original album, the original release remastered, and a 14-minute post-concert interview on disc three. The New York Times wrote: "the set will double the available music from the concert, shedding new light on Garner in what is often considered his finest hour."[12][13]

The release of The Complete Concert by the Sea is part of the Erroll Garner Jazz Project, a major new archival and musical celebration of Garner. Additionally, Martha Glaser's longtime agent and manager donated a large trove of Garner material from Glaser's estate to the University of Pittsburgh Library System (both Garner and Glaser were from Pittsburgh),[14] with the promise of more new Garner music to come.[15]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."I'll Remember April"Gene de Paul, Patricia Johnston, Don Raye4:14
2."Teach Me Tonight"Sammy Cahn, Gene de Paul3:37
3."Mambo Carmel"Erroll Garner3:43
4."Autumn Leaves"Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert, Johnny Mercer6:27
5."It's All Right With Me"Cole Porter3:40
Side two
1."Red Top"Lionel Hampton, Ben Kynard3:11
2."April in Paris"Vernon Duke, Yip Harburg4:47
3."They Can't Take That Away from Me"George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin4:08
4."How Could You do a Thing Like That to Me"Tyree Glenn, Allan Roberts3:59
5."Where or When"Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart3:06
6."Erroll's Theme"Erroll Garner0:46



  1. ^ Producers: Jim Lane, Eric BellCopyright: (C) 2015 Sony Music Entertainment,
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas, "Concert by the Sea" review, AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Cook, Richard and Morton, Brian (2008), The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.) Penguin, p. 529.
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 81. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  5. ^ The Complete Concert by the Sea. Sony Legacy 88875120842 2015, liner notes.
  6. ^ Complete Concert 2015 liner notes.
  7. ^ a b c Friedwald, Will (September 17, 2009). "Concert by the Sea". Wall Street Journal (Eastern ed.). p. D13.
  8. ^ Cunniffe, Thomas (September 17, 2015). "Erroll Garner: The Complete "Concert by the Sea"". Jazz History Online.
  9. ^ Bailey, C. Michael (August 9, 2005). "Erroll Garner: Concert by the Sea". All About Jazz.
  10. ^ "Garner's great concert in stereo". Sacramento Observer. February 5, 1970. p. 15.
  11. ^ Yanow, Scott (2003). Jazz on Record: The First Sixty Years. Backbeat Books. p. 407.
  12. ^ Chinen, Nate (June 15, 2015). "Arts Beat: 'Concert by the Sea,' a Jazz Classic by Erroll Garner, Is to Be Reissued". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Whitehead, Kevin (September 21, 2015). "Revisiting The Intense Twists And Turns Of Garner's 'Concert By The Sea'". Fresh Air. NPR.
  14. ^ Niederberger, Mary (June 15, 2015). "Jazz musician Erroll Garner's materials donated to Pitt library". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  15. ^ "Official Website".