On this date (September 19) in 1955, pianist Erroll Garner appeared at the Sunset School in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, to perform for an audience of servicemen from the nearby Fort Ord Military Base. Though no official plans were made to record the concert, a tape reel backstage caught the set in its entirety, and when it was brought to the attention of producer George Akavian, then the head of jazz at Columbia Records, the decision was made to the release the audio as an album. Erroll Garner’s Concert By The Sea would go on to become the first jazz LP to notch $1 million in sales. Today, we present the lead-off track, “I’ll Remember April,” as our Song of the Day.
In 2015, Sony Legacy released the album in an expanded box set version titled The Complete Concert by the Sea. It included 11 tunes that did not appear on the original album, as well as a 14-minute post-concert interview. Just recently, Mack Avenue Records and Octave Music teamed up to produce the Octave Remastered Series, which will roll out one reissue from Erroll Garner’s album per month through June 2020. We premiered the track “Paris Mist” from the series here.