[Dixielandjazz] Vale Robert Parker

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Wed Mar 9 19:23:51 PST 2005

Dear friends,
Following my report to the DJML dated 7 Jan 2005, here is the sad
confirmation I have been expecting.
This obit was originally published on the UK site 'The Stage' and appeared
today on the Australian Dance Band list, courtesy of the moderator Denis
Kind regards,

  Broadcaster and sound engineer Robert Parker, the creator of the
award-winning radio series Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo, died on
December 30, aged 68.
  Robert Noel Parker was born in Sydney, Australia on December 24, 1936, the
younger son of Philip and Ida Parker. His interest in recording started at
Cranbrook school and on finishing education in 1953 he first worked for a
transformer company and then in an advertising agency, before joining the
2UE radio station as a grams operator. He then worked for the Commonwealth
Film Unit (now Film Australia), where he met his future wife Elaine. In
His spare time Parker built a recording studio in his bedroom and compiled
his own radio programmes. In 1959, assisted by his childhood friend Stefan
Sargent, he made a professional recording of the Cootamundra Jazz
Festival, which was released on EMI Records. [This last statement is
incorrect - Bill.] 
  In 1964 Parker decided to seek his fortune in Britain. He joined
Associated Rediffusion television in London's Kingsway. One of his duties
was to edit feature films to fit the transmission slot with commercial
breaks. Parker went on to join the Rank Short Films Unit, where his
documentary Learning Chemistry won a British Academy award. After the Rank
unit was disbanded, Parker, in conjunction with Stefan Sargent, set up a
facilities company called Molinare with offices in Soho. The company grew to
about 100 employees but Parker was eased out after 13 years and returned to
  He was commissioned to write and produce The A-Z of Jazz on ABC radio.
Parker had become interested in restoring 78rpm discs of classic jazz
featuring such greats as Bix Beiderbecke, Fletcher Henderson and Jelly
Roll Morton. He discovered that the mechanical copyright in sound recordings
expired after 50 years, when the records entered the public domain.
Parker's method of adding reverberation and enhanced stereo effects to
vintage mono recordings using an analogue machine called the Packman Audio
Noise Suppressor remained controversial but his series Jazz Classics In
Digital Stereo won awards in Australia and was rebroadcast on BBC Radio 2,
Parker himself settling back in Britain. The tracks were subsequently issued
on BBC Records, initially on LP and later on cassette and CD.
  After Elaine died, Parker bought a warehouse in Devon and devoted himself,
now with Cedar digital equipment, to compiling further CDs of a wide
range, including remastered recordings of artists such as Richard Tauber,
Vera Lynn and Fred Astaire. He sold most of his records by mail order and
was always willing to restore individual tracks for BBC producers and other
  Robert's brother John died in 2002 and there were no children from his
Anthony Wills. Tuesday 1 March 2005 

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