[Dixielandjazz] sounds of the twenties

Stan Brager sbrager at socal.rr.com
Fri Sep 23 08:10:53 PDT 2005

Two items to keep in mind.

1. Electrical recording systems came on the scene in the mid-twenties which
recorded the sounds being played with remarkable clarity. However, it took
today's engineers like the late John R. T. Davies and list member Richard
Broadie to bring out these sounds hiding within the grooves. And while there
were some concessions made ("easy on the bass drum please" and "because you
play so loud, Satchmo, stand over there so that we can get a good balance"),
that should not detract from enjoying and hearing the music as it truly

2. Even without this current effort, the style of the music can still be
correctly ascertained by careful listening to the scratchy music using the
same techniques as one would use to hear the style played by a musician on a
just-recorded CD or tape.

Listen to Dan Levinson's CD re-creation of the Original Dixieland Jazz
Band's recordings and, then, listen to the latest CD of the original
recordings of ODJB. Now compare the 2 recordings. I believe that he captured
the nuances of their style. Your results may be different and you may
disagree with me.

Stan Brager
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Cebuisle2 at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2005 4:19 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] sounds of the twenties

> Actually, we don't know WHAT rhese 20's and 30's jazz groups really
> like, so how can we judge them?
> Firstly, the drums couldn't be recorded, except cymbals, until Western
> Electric invented a sophisticated recording system during the late
> Muggsy Spanier's group made a splendid series of recordings using this
system in
> 38. Prior to that many systems consisted of just a horn into which
> played, while the engineers hassled with the egos of the guys who wanted
to out
> play everyone else .(Sidney you-know-who comes to mind)
> Then there were the scratches, which magically appeared almost as soon as
> you played the recording a few times. This old phonos were not hi fi, many
> wind up, using crude steel needles. I know. I bought a bunch of them.
> Then there were the horns which often were far from top line instruments.
> many were promptly placed in hock shops during slack times when musicians
had to
>  raise chickens (Kid Ory) for a living or maybe veggies (Bunk) Modern
> precision  manufacturing wasn't around then. Drum heads were REALLY
calfskin, and
> sagged  badly if it was humid.
> I am sure these old recordings sounded a lot better in the studio than
> did to those  who bought the new records, or we who play them nearly a
> century later. Tinny? Yes. Scratchy? Yes. Comical? often. Chairs could be
> be heard scraping, probably as the guys reached for the gin bottle  during
> sessions.
> But I love to hear these early jazz tunes re-created by modern groups
> original instrumentation. I get up off the couch and do the second  line
> strut, with my wife's umbrella, at least until she yells from the kitchen,
> it off!!"
>         Hee Hee!   tradjazz

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