Jazz Goes to College (partially found BBC jazz concert series; 1966-1967)
Jazz Goes to College was a teleconcert series produced and broadcast by the BBC from October 1966 to September 1967 showcasing various jazz concerts performed at British colleges and universities. The series boasted an impressive roster of artists (Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Woody Herman and Sonny Rollins to name a few) within it's year-long runtime.
The vast majority of the show's master tapes have been permanently lost due to being wiped blank for re-usal. This used to be a routine practice in the BBC due to technological and financial restraints, and the concept of archival wasn't as important or upheld at the time. Home television recording technology was also in it's early stages of development during the show's airing, and by no means a household item, so the likelihood of any third party recordings surfacing is incredibly low.
Below is a list of episodes sourced from the BBC Archives Card Index. Note, this list does not include reruns.
|The Thelonious Monk Quartet||Oct. 27 1966||Lost|
|The New Orleans All Stars||Nov. 3 1966||Lost|
|The Horace Silver Quintet||Nov. 10 1966||Lost|
|Jazz from Chicago to Kansas City||Nov. 17 1966||Lost|
|“Under Milk Wood” - The Stan Tracey Quartet||Nov. 24 1966||Lost|
|The Dave Brubeck Quartet||Dec. 1 1966||Lost|
|The Ronnie Ross Big Band||Dec. 8 1966||Lost|
|The Modern Jazz Quartet||Dec. 15 1966||Lost|
|Astrud Gilberto||Dec. 22 1966||Lost|
|The Tubby Hayes Big Band||Dec. 29 1966||Found|
|Wild Bill Davison with Alex Welsh and his Band||Jan. 2 1967||Lost|
|The Thelonious Monk Quartet||Jan. 9 1967||Lost|
|The Horace Silver Quintet||Jan. 16 1967||Lost|
|Woody Herman and his Orchestra||Jan. 30 1967||Lost|
|The Max Roach Quintet||Feb. 6 1967||Lost|
|Max Roach and Sonny Rollins||Mar. 20 1967||Lost|
|The Stan Getz Quartet||Sep. 11 1967||Found|
The Albert Ayler Quintet performance
Undoubtedly, the most important of these tapes to be lost was The Albert Ayler Quintet's 1966 performance. Albert Ayler, born July 13th, 1936, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. He was a respected figure within his field of avant-garde jazz and his innovative and unorthodox sound played a key role in the development of the 'free jazz' genre of the 1960s. However, his raw and nonconforming playing style scored mixed receptions among contemporary critics, and his 1966 performance at the London School of Economics is a testimony to this fact.
On the night of November 15th, 1966, Albert Ayler and his quintet (Donald Ayler on trumpet, Beaver Harris on drums, Michael Samson on violin and William Folwell on bass) played a set at the London School of Economics with the knowledge that it would be taped by the BBC for the Jazz Goes to College series. First hand accounts claim the reception at the venue was poor. Cool jazz musician Stan Getz had performed the night before, so the audience likely weren't expecting such an abrasive and free-form sound. The set was also riddled with technical problems, causing many interruptions. At one point the stage manager announced “We apologise for interrupting the music” only for a member of the audience to shout back "Why?".
Upon reviewing the footage, the tapes were rejected for television by the BBC, possibly due to the amount of interruptions rendering the footage unusable, but most likely in distaste for the music. The tapes were temporarily shut away until ultimately being wiped for future re-use. It is important to note that, unlike many other episodes in the series, the Albert Ayler Quintet performance never even made it to air.
Albert Ayler was tragically found dead at the age of 34 in New York City's East River on November 25th, 1970, after being reported missing for 20 days. Although he has released many albums worth of live audio recordings, no other video footage of him performing is known to exist or have ever existed. Unless any bootleg or illicit recordings surface, whether that be of the BBC set or any other set, the wiped Jazz Goes to College tape will, unfortunately, go down in history as the only live recording of Albert Ayler ever to have existed.
See Also (Other programs that may/not may wiped by BBC)
- 1953 British Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One race; 1953)
- Adam Adamant Lives! (partially lost BBC children's TV series; 1966)
- Anne of Green Gables (lost TV mini-series; 1972)
- Dad's Army (partially lost episodes and sketches; 1968-1970)
- Doctor Who (partially lost episodes of British science-fiction TV series; 1963-1974)
- Late Night Line-Up (partially found Beatles "Abbey Road" special; 1969)
- Madhouse on Castle Street (partially found BBC television play; 1963)
- Out of the Unknown (partially found BBC sci-fi series; 1967-1971)
- Requiem for a Heavyweight (partially found BBC Sunday-Night Theatre TV play; 1957)
- The Complete and Utter History of Britain (partially found British sketch comedy TV series; 1969)
- The Quatermass Experiment (partially found BBC sci-fi serials; 1953)
- The Sad Story of Henry (lost live BBC broadcast adaptation of "The Railway Series" books; 1953)
- Top Of The Pops (partially lost British music series; 1964-2006)
- United! (lost British soap opera; 1965-1967)
- Zingalong (partially found British children's series; 2002-2004)
- BBC listing for the Stan Getz performance Retrieved 15 Jun '20
- First hand recollection of the Albert Ayler performance Retrieved 15 Jun '20