Norman Granz, no relation, with his horde of riffing saxophones and screaming trumpets, descends on Symphony Hall tonight for the only Boston showing of "Jazz At The Philharmonic." If you've heard the records this collection of master craftsmen have made in J. At The P. Albums numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4, you know what to expect. Their music is involved, brilliant, inventive, and fast-paced to the point of bewilderment. The personnel comprises the highest, fastest, and loudest instrumentalists in the business.
Coleman Hawkins, who brought the saxophone through almost all of its agonizing stages of development as a hot instrument from its first bicycle horn-like groping right down to the present era of squealing reeds and cyclone phrasing, heads the list. He will do battle with Illinois Jacquet, one of the younger fry, whose playing measured by the decibel and the foot pound is unexcelled.
Helen Hume, no Billie Holiday, but with leanings in that direction, will be the vocalist. Unquestionably the low point of her performance if she decides to sing it will be her specialty "Be-Babba-Leba," one of the favorites currently being sung at the "Show Time."
Roy Eldridge, who makes his trumpet sound like a clarinet, and Trummy Young, whose trombone sounds like a trumpet, should provide interesting music from a technical point of view.
Besides the above spokesmen of jazz as it will be played in 1956, Mr. Granz is bringing three men who from past performances should satisfy all but the most unreconstructed antiquarians. Green-eyed Buck Clayton has proved he can combine melody with modernism by his work on the Basic records: Royal Garden, Bugle, and Sugar Blues made in 1944. His rival among the more comprehensible instrumentalists will be Rex Stewart, Ellington's former solo cornetist who achieves remarkable tonal effect with the valves of his horn pushed down just half-way. The other steadying influence will be the corpse who walks like a man, Dave Tough. This made over two beat artist has probably played in more widely divergent groups than any two other jazzmen, having run the gamut between Condon and Spivak.
Granz's herd will undoubtedly put on a well rehearsed, intelligently organized performance with all the polish to be expected of professionals. But not everyone in the audience tonight will enjoy it. The re boppers will like it whole-heartedly and stamp their feet for more at the end, the antiquarians will view it all with detached amusement, but the gentler souls will spend most of the time nervously looking around for the nearest exits.