[Dixielandjazz] Re: A little nudging: Why Davies?

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Thu Jan 27 15:13:40 PST 2005

> What I'm trying to figure out, my friends, is why DJML has told me Davies'
remastering of Bessie is "definitive" in light of my recent discussion re the
distortion.  Any light on the subject?<

Dear Fr Mike,
'Definitive' is a frequent, handy and convenient word to use when describing
John RT Davies' painstaking remastering work on old 78s since the mid 1940s.
However, my late and dear friend would NEVER have used it in relation to his
own work.
John RT frequently said that the 'classic' jazz records (Oliver, JRM, Louis'
Hot 5s and 7s, Bessie, et al) should be 'redone' every ten years or so, as
audio restoration technology improved.
And he frequently did this over the years. Each new LP (later CD) reissue he
was involved in was always carefully checked and remastered anew when
However the Frog CD set of 'the Bessie's' was John's first major attempt at
her 'complete' sides after the Columbia analog tape masters of most of the
same material were compiled (by others) for the welcome ground-breaking LP
series. (Reused with NoNOISE enhancement for the Columbia CD set).
Yep! JRT would be the last person to refer to his work as definitive.
Unfortunately, I still cannot hear the 'gurgle' on the Bessie 5th May 1925
session you continually refer to.
I have had these sides on 78s, then various LPs, then the Columbia CDs and
now the Frog CDs. 
Perhaps my cloth ears have tuned out to recording imperfections over 60 plus
years of listening to early jazz records.
If that sound you can hear is more obvious on the Frog CD, then I would
assume that John RT's CD remastering has brought it to the fore. I doubt
that it would have been introduced by his unique methods.
He never, to my knowledge, manipulated what was in the groove, but always
tried to bring out the sound that was already in there. He only removed, as
cleanly as he could, noise caused by external damage (cracks, scratches,
digs and surface pops).
Kind regards,


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