In the Seattle Times, critic Paul deBarros tells of a man named Bill Carter finding in a storage container “a treasure chest from the golden age of jazz.” The unearthing may not equal the importance of the discovery by another Carter—Howard—of King Tut’s tomb, but it is creating excitement among devotees of classic mainstream jazz. deBarros writes:
Among the hundreds of tapes Carter retrieved from that container was a recording of a 1956 Seattle concert that featured Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet and Stan Getz — yes, all on the same show.
Hard to believe, but proof positive has arrived with “Jazz at the Philharmonic: Seattle 1956…
Long after the era of this post card, I heard a lot of music in the old Civic Auditorium, including the JATP concert deBarros writes about. I listened there to, among others, Frank Sinatra at the height of his powers, Dmitri Mitropoulos conducting the New York Philharmonic, and guitarist Andres Segovia all alone on the stage of that big old barn, playing to a full house. After a Dave Brubeck Quartet concert, I stood backstage at the edge of a crowd of Seattle musicians as Eugene Wright explained how to count in 5/4, a time signature with which Brubeck and company had recently intrigued the jazz world. “You’ve got to think, ‘1,2,3 – 1,2’” he said. “If you try to count 1,2,3,4,5,” you won’t swing.”
In the mid-1950s, the big sign outside the Civic bore a message that became a part of jazz lore: