"I want to make music for everyone. It must be enjoyed by all. Otherwise it is pointless."
The Polydor album was originally released in Europe as Bert Kaempfert “Live In London” and featured 12 tracks. This is the first release of the entire concert.
Arrangements: Bert Kaempfert
Recorded on 22 April 1974 at the Royal Albert Hall, London
Sound Engineer: Peter Klemt
This re-release was mastered at Studio BigNoteMusic and HOME Studios, Hamburg.
Tape Transfer: Studer A820 -> Logic Audio/ProTools
24 bit/48 khz @ Studio 3-D / BigNoteMusic.
Engineer: Michael Tibes / Assistant: Josko Kasten
Mixed on SSL J 9080 console @ Studio 1 / HOME Studios
First Engineer: Peter Klemt / Second Engineer: Philipp Hoppen
Design by seesaw / Kerstin Davies
Concept, Liner Notes & Photos: Bert Kaempfert Music, Germany
Translation: Linda Jayne Turner, Berlin
This compilation produced by: Bert Kaempfert Music
Special thanks to Ulrich Launhardt & Volker Rippe
Bert Kaempfert Musicians - Royal Albert Hall 1974
|Solo Trumpet, Flugelhorn||Ack van Rooyen|
|Flute, Sax||Herb Geller|
|Piano, Organ||Günter Platzek|
|Electric Bass||Lucas Lindholm|
|Bass Guitar||Lady Geisler|
|Violins||Violas||String Basses||French Horns|
|Tony Gilbert||Allan Smyth||Chris Lawrence||James Warburton|
|John Kirkland||Frank Mellor||Ken Baldock||Barry Castle|
|Peter Oxer||Norris Bosworth||Peter Civil|
|Joe Temple||Graham Griffiths||Saxophones||Frank Rycroft|
|Wilf Gibson||Robert Hope Simpson||Stan Saltzmann||John Butterworth|
|Derek Solomons||Arnold Newnham||Tony Coe|
|Ian McKinnon||Vic Ash||Trombones|
|Godfrey Salmon||Cellos||Bunny Gould||Chris Smith|
|Andy Babinchuck||Nigel Pinkett||Trumpets||Keith Christie|
|Paul Frowde||Quinton Williams||Greg Bowen||Chris Pyne|
|John Knight||Suki Tawb||Kenny Wheeler||David Hawler|
|Neville Hughes||Marilyn Sampson||Ian Hamer||Jim Wilson|
Polydor 981 157-0
“I was often asked to go on a concert tour. Earlier, when I worked as a musician myself, I went on tour a lot, by bus or by truck. I wouldn’t like to go back to that! But there’s another reason why I don’t go on tour: I wouldn’t get the musicians that I’ve got in the studio. I can’t just take them with me – they don’t want to lose their jobs. Most of my people have got permanent jobs, in radio, in television or in a record company. They can’t get out of their contracts. They’ve got too much to do with recording deadlines, and then I’d just get second-class or third-class musicians. Besides, all my records are recorded in Hamburg studios. The sound that people are used to getting on a record is virtually impossible to reproduce in a concert hall. But one day, someone else came up to me, John Martin, and asked: ‘Just one date? Once concert?’ – ‘Yes! – I’d never thought about that. He said: ‘You could get the best musicians you could ever want, the best in London. You can also bring your own musicians with you, as many as you like.’ And I said: ‘Why not? Let me think about it.’ Yes, that’s how the concert came about.”
In addition to his greatest hits, Bert Kaempfert also selected some classics from the swing era and more recent compositions of his own for the program. All the songs had to be newly arranged for the concert orchestra. Bert Kaempfert brought his key musicians to England with him. In addition British instrumentalists were hired. Rehearsals took place a few days before the concert, in an old cinema in the London district of Chelsea. These premises were anything but comfortable and did nothing to provide a pleasant working environment. Working together provide more difficult than anticipated. Moreover, there were differences of opinion between the guest interpreter, Anita Kerr, and the production company recording the entire concert for television. Bert Kaempfert tried to mediate, but without success. Consequently, the performance by the Anita Kerr Singers, who had brought out a complete album of Kaempfert hits back in 1968, was not recorded in the end.
“The Brits kept taking breaks all the time and referring to their trade union. In the end, their concertmaster, who was also orchestra manager and trade unionist, got so drunk that he couldn’t play any more. When something like that happens, a musician can normally forget about playing again for years. He’s fired. But Fips handled it well, and simply sent the man home without making a big fuss. The next day, he came back with his tail between his legs and apologized profusely. Now Fips could have the breaks when it suited him. From then on, he was well in with the Brits, and they all suddenly had a lot of respect for him.”
On April 22, 1974, Bert Kaempfert went on stage with his great orchestra for the first time in the venerable Royal Albert Hall in London, and gave two live concerts on the same day. Following a spectacular introduction, he greeted the audience with a simple “Good evening.” With his reserved, charming manner and his slightly faltering commentaries in English with American accent he won the hearts of the audience, who nevertheless immediately saw that Bert Kaempfert was a musician through and through. After just a few bars, he managed to fill the normally cool English audience with enthusiasm in both performances. The 7,000 people at each concert were enraptured, even in the boxes occupied by the aristocracy and prominent figures, where the ladies and gentlemen normally only used to clap discreetly, there was lively applause that evening. Both performances were an unprecedented success.
Shortly afterwards, Polydor released the LP ‘Live In London,’ including 12 songs from the concert. Due to other productions with Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra in the years that followed, the second LP ‘Live In London’ Vol. 2 that was planned at the time was subsequently forgotten. The complete recording of the concert lay unedited in the archive of tapes. On the occasion of Bert Kaempfert’s eightieth birthday, this legendary concert will be released in its entire length on this double CD by Polydor.
The sound engineer Peter Klemt went back to the sound mixer for the extensive editing of the tapes, since no one knows the typical Kaempfert sound as well as the man who, together with Kaempfert himself, mixed down all his productions for over twenty years and was also there at the time in London in 1974.
“When Doris Kaempfert asked me if I could mix down the multi-track tapes of the London concert in 1974, I didn’t hesitate to say I would do it, even though I was afraid that the old 16-track tapes wouldn’t be in very good condition now. And first we had to find a studio that still provides the opportunity to bring this antiquated technology in line with modern standards. Fortunately, the tapes were in excellent condition. Working on them made me think back to the tours with Bert Kaempfert. I was probably the only studio sound engineer who also went on tour and was in charge of the public address system in the hall. Those are very different demands. I am very pleased the complete London concert is now available and that after nearly thirty years I was able to play a part in it again.”
"I intend to keep going for as long as I remain successful." - Bert Kaempfert