Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bill Savory's Incredible Jazz Collection

One of the most interesting pieces of news this week was the NY Times article on the donation of the Bill Savory collection of nearly 1000 discs that he recorded in the hey dey of swing music to the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Bill Savory was an audio engineer who was a friend of a number of jazz musicians and made recordings off the the radio for his own enjoyment, using 12 and even 16 inch aluminum or acetate discs, sometimes recorded at 33 1/3 rpm which in the words of the NY Times article, "allowed Mr. Savory to record longer performances in their entirety, including jam sessions at which musicians could stretch out and play extended solos that tested their creative mettle." 

The Times ran a separate story by Times Jazz Critic Ben Ratliff and describes some of the performances and describes what was a remarkable Coleman Hawkins performance of “Body & Soul” that was made several months after Hawkins’ classic commercial recording. Included with this story is a video that provides an overview and an interview with Doug Pomeroy who discussed the state of the discs, some of which could not be recovered at all and the steps taken to restore and digitize the music from other discs.

Finally, the Times has on their website some short audio-clips of performances including Hawkins, Lester Young and a blues jam by Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Jack Teagarden.  

The Jazz Lives blog has their own overview of this story.   Their blog notes that the National Jazz Museum will be presenting four programs on these treasures as part of their Tuesday evening JAZZ FOR CURIOUS LISTENERS series, held from 7:00 – 8:30PM at our Visitors Center, 104 E. 126th Street, NY, NY 10035.  

September 7 – You Won’t Believe It – An Overview
September 14 – Tenor Madness – Lester Young/Coleman Hawkins/Chu Berry/Herschel Evans
September 21 – Trumpet Titans – Louis Armstrong/Roy Eldridge/Harry James/Bunny Berigan
September 28 – Jam Sessions – Benny Goodman/Bobby Hackett/Lionel Hampton/Slim and Slam

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