Category Archives: Dancing

Live At Lagoon, 1956!

Out of the hundreds of concerts at Lagoon’s Patio Gardens, some might assume there are many recordings of those concerts available. But in reality, they are extremely rare. For a long time, I thought Stan Kenton’s 1962 concert was the only one. But I was pleasantly surprised recently when a visitor to the website left a comment about a live recording of Woody Herman from 1956.

This CD features the concerts from the 27th and 28th of July, 1956. It was the second of three visits Woody Herman made to Lagoon over the years. The recording apparently originated as a live broadcast by the old Utah radio station, KYBL. It begins with an announcer stating his location at “New Lagoon” – which is how the park was marketed for a few years after being rebuilt from the large fire of 1953.

Woody Herman had a few different bands that played with him during his long career. After his first band was nicknamed “Herman’s Herd”, the usage continued with the Second Herd and Third Herd. The latter group recorded music and toured together from 1950 to 1956.

A notable member of the Third Herd is piano player Vince Guaraldi who later became a well-known jazz artist on his own. Now his name is almost synonymous with Charlie Brown television specials.

1956 newspaper ad

Without today’s sophisticated soundboard technology, the piano wasn’t picked up very well on microphones, but Guaraldi’s distinct piano work can still be clearly recognized, like in “Opus de Funk”.

These concerts have been made available by Storyville Records – a Danish record label that started out by reissuing US jazz albums for fans in northern Europe and has since accumulated and released a staggering amount of jazz performances that are often hard to find in America.

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LINKS

Live At Lagoon, 1962!

Own the Stan Kenton concert on CD

Patio Gardens

Alphabetical List Of Performers At Lagoon

Chronological List Of Performers At Lagoon

SOURCES

Bang, Derrick. Vince Guaraldi on LP and CD. FiveCentsPlease.org, accessed 13 Jun 2018.

About Storyville. StoryvilleRecords.com, accessed 13 Jun 2018.

Neilson, Craig. Comment on Chronological List Of Performers At Lagoon. 5 Apr 2018.

Live At Lagoon, 1962!

Painting of Lagoon's Patio Gardens by V. Douglas Snow, from Ford Times, August 1961.
Painting of Lagoon’s Patio Gardens by V. Douglas Snow, from Ford Times, August 1961.

Lagoon has hosted hundreds of performances by popular musicians and entertainers over the decades, peaking with the shows held at the Patio Gardens in the 1950s and ’60s. Those who experienced them in person usually have great memories from them and many of those who never got to the chance wish they could travel back in time. If only there were some recordings that could help us feel like we were there. Well, there is at least one concert recording from the Patio Gardens that has been floating around for some time now and is fairly easy to get a copy of.

From the newspaper ad announcing the concerts, 24 August 1962.
From the newspaper ad announcing the concerts on 24-25 August 1962.

On a couple of warm, late August nights in 1962, Stan Kenton and his 22-piece orchestra filled the open-air pavilion with smooth, polished jazz music. During at least one of the shows, somebody was smart enough to put the live sounds on tape.

A Night At The Old Nugget

Released by Status RecordsĀ¹, which specializes in recordings of jazz concerts of the mid-20th century, this recording from Lagoon’s Patio Gardens is one of the many previously unreleased titles that the record label has made available on compact disc.

The instruments sound exceptionally clear and the chatting of musicians and Stan Kenton is audible between songs. The atmosphere conveys the intimate nature of the venue which many seem to recall. Fans of Stan Kenton and jazz music of that time period seem to agree that this particular mix of talented musicians were the best ever collected under Kenton’s leadership. But even if you’ve never listened to the genre, it’s worth giving this concert a listen to get an idea of what could be heard emanating from the northwest corner of Lagoon on summer nights about 50 years ago.

Cha Cha Sombrero

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You can own this piece of Lagoon history for yourself by clicking here and help support the Lagoon History Project in the process.

Stan Kenton - Mellophonium Moods

UPDATE: Thanks to a comment on another page of the website, another recording of a Lagoon concert is available – Woody Herman And His Orchestra 1956. Read more about it here…separatorLINKS

Patio Gardens

Alphabetical List Of Performers At Lagoon

Chronological List Of Performers At Lagoon

separatorNOTES

1. The story behind Status Records is a bit confusing and more than I care to dig into for the purpose of this article. But from what I’ve found online, there are two different companies that released music under the Status Records label. The first was based in Bergenfield, New Jersey. It was an imprint of the larger Prestige Records, which specialized in jazz music, and was basically formed to release budget-priced albums. The second Status Records, which is responsible for this Stan Kenton album, seems to have been a revitalization of the old Status Records, but this time based in the United Kingdom. They have reissued many of the older titles in the Prestige, New Jazz and earlier Status catalogs on CD as well as issuing previously unreleased recordings like this Lagoon concert.

separatorSOURCES

Lagoon newspaper ad. Deseret News, 24 Aug 1962.

Recordings. Charlie Mariano Tribute, accessed 3 Dec 2012.

Mellophonium Moods. Amazon.com, accessed 3 Dec 2012.

Labels: Status. RateYourMusic.com, accessed 8 Jan 2013.

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