[Dixielandjazz] sounds of the twenties

Larry Walton Entertainment larrys.bands at charter.net
Fri Sep 23 09:10:56 PDT 2005

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

Absolutely - style has nothing to do with quality of sound.  I occasionally
sit in with a lunch time band made up of guys that don't play much anymore.
There is a clarinet player that comes to the sessions and he's almost deaf.
All the bands have dropped him and His pitch is off but the licks he plays
are so good.  He has style and it comes through all the rest.

 Until the CD was invented we had to ignore the pops, crackle and hiss.
(sounds like some perverse breakfast cereal)  Today's CD's are sometimes too
good and we can hear guys fingers move on the strings, pads plop down and
valves move and horrors of all horrors, key clicks.

I do remember music recorded on wire recorders and I didn't think much of
them.  I remember our first tape recorder.  It was a massive thing and the
recordings were a marvel but compared to today's recordings they were awful
but then again at the time we didn't have anything to compare them to so we
thought they were great.

My mother had a console victrola and I still have it today along with a big
stack of records.  So I can play them on original equipment.  The lows are
almost non existent with lots of crackle.

It was the 50's before, as I recall,  bass became more than a minor part of
the sound or just a fill instrument.  The Guitar bass has become a major
element of pop and jazz music today and it's anything but a fill instrument
now.  The advent of the bass brought major improvements in speakers.
Remember when a 10" speaker with a 2 oz magnet was a woofer.  Even  4 or 5"
speakers sound pretty good today.

I think it's wonderful that we still have recorded music from that time so
that we can learn the styles.  This music could have been lost because the
printed page just can't convey what it really sounded like.

Larry Walton
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stan Brager" <sbrager at socal.rr.com>
To: <Cebuisle2 at aol.com>; <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] sounds of the twenties

> Two items to keep in mind.
> 1. Electrical recording systems came on the scene in the mid-twenties
> 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
> were some concessions made ("easy on the bass drum please" and "because
> play so loud, Satchmo, stand over there so that we can get a good
> that should not detract from enjoying and hearing the music as it truly
> sounded.
> 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
> 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
> the nuances of their style. Your results may be different and you may
> disagree with me.
> Stan
> 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
> sounded
> > 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
> thirties.
> > 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
> everyone
> > 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
> > you played the recording a few times. This old phonos were not hi fi,
> were
> > 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
> > many were promptly placed in hock shops during slack times when
> 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
> they
> > 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
> clearly
> > be heard scraping, probably as the guys reached for the gin bottle
> > sessions.
> >
> > But I love to hear these early jazz tunes re-created by modern groups
> using
> > 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
> "Knock
> > it off!!"
> >
> >
> >         Hee Hee!   tradjazz
> >
> >
> >
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