[Dixielandjazz] Recording Low Tones (Crosby)

John Petters jpettjazz at btinternet.com
Sat Mar 1 11:46:41 PST 2003

Ron said
> It is also a matter of dynamics.   Early vocalists, often stage
> performers would have sung without amplification.  They sang loudly and
> enunciated clearly.  Bing may not have had sufficient power and/or
> clarity to be effective as an acoustical recording artist.

I would be very surprised if Bing did not have the power in his voice to
sing acouistically. The early (pre 1935) voice had a very powerful quality
to it and the impression I get is one of a considerable dynamic range. I
also read somewhere that when recording, Bing preferred to be among the band
rather than in a booth. He was after all a band singer and Whiteman's
Orchestra must have been pretty loud.
On a slightly different tack, my latest touring project is a Crosby
Centenary show - 'Bing - The Road to Rhythm & Romance'. When I was
discussing the material for the show with my MD Martin Litton, we came to
the conclusion that we could do a whole show just with stuff Bing recorded
in the 31 - 33 period. There were so many great songs. In the end of course
we started with the Rhythm Boys (From Monday On) up to the late '50s.
Listening to Bing in detail together with reading Gary Giddings wonderful
biography, once again brought it home to me just how much jazz there was in
Crosby. Sure he recorded a whole load of slop at the insistance of Decca's
Jack Kapp, but jazz is never far below the surface. When he had free reign,
such as Sweet Georgia Brown, My Honey's Lovin' Arms, Shine or Dinah (the
latter 3 with the Mills Bros)  Crosby the jazz singer really comes to the
fore. Also, of course, there is the wonderful recording of Mississippi Mud
with Bix and Tram. Wonderful stuff.
Comparing Bing to the likes of Seger Ellis or Irving Kaufman, who Bix was
saddled with, is like comparing chalk with cheese. Bing just leaps out as
something fresh and new.
Any DJML members not familiar with Bing's early stuff could do no better
than obtain some of the Jonzo Chronolgical Crosby's with sound restored by
John R T Davies and Ted Kendall.

John Petters
Amateur Radio Station G3YPZ

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