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Various Artists: American Folk Blues Festival: Live In Paris

Album Review

A stellar snapshot from ’62, as God’s own festival bill rolls into Paris.

When the inaugural American Folk Blues Festival touched down on the tarmac at Paris Airport on October 19, 1962, the cynicism in the air was palpable. Among the French capital’s tastemakers, predictions were rife that when the touring package played the Olympia Theatre the following night, the venue would either be empty or populated by jeering jazz purists. Furthermore, promoters Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau were widely expected to take a financial kicking. As a senior executive for Jazz Hot Magazine reportedly asked his reviewer: “Who the hell wants to listen to this?”

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