By Bill Cosel
We lost another great: Tony Bennett. I love the Boston Globe pictures of him from Evening at Pops on the front page and online.
That also reminds me of our show, Bennett and Basie Together at the Copley Plaza with Dave McKenna, piano, and recorded live with Count Basie Orchestra at the Berkeley Performing Arts Center. All WGBH productions and some of my early director assignments. So much fun.
Here is the first part of that concert, with Bennett and McKenna:
Later, we went to the Newport Jazz Festival; David Atwood will remember. Sitting in the Mobile Unit, I looked up and wondered why Herbie Mann (on flute) was sideways. A camera in the pit tipped over. I think it was David Atwood, who was on another camera, who jumped to rescue and reset the camera.
Then there was weekly Friday Night Jazz live from Studio A. This weekly unrehearsed show was a joy to direct collaborating with the camera crew … none of us knew what was coming next. This unleashed all our passions for a fluid sense, using all our skills, with freedom for all. Wil Morton made a mix on the fly, Chas Norton brightened up the studio.
One Friday on Jazz, I wondered if Thelonious Monk would show. The producers were at the motel getting him into the car. Assured he’d be there, we went on the air with just the rhythm section, bass, and drums – WOW. Then, in walks Thelonious sixty seconds later as if it had been rehearsed. In the spirt of LIVE television.
It was great when Jazz morphed into Mixed Bag with fresh moves, new voices, and sounds. Lee Tanner and David Atwood drove the show forward. All were extemporaneous events.
Bill Cosel was a 1962 BU scholar, was hired as director 1964, and then served as producer director of Evening at Pops and many other music productions for WGBH.