[Dixielandjazz] Carnegie Hall Liner Notes

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 14 18:22:59 PDT 2007

"Stan Brager" <sbrager at socal.rr.com> wrote:
> Steve;
> In light of what we now know, it sounds as though Kolodin's information came
> from Benny who thought that there were only a single mike. That's the reason
> it's important to quote sources for historical information for which this is
> no direct personal knowledge.

The lawyer in me says be careful about laying the blame for the microphone
misinformation on Goodman. All Benny said was: "Somebody did." (according to
Kolodin when Goodman was told "too bad somebody didn't record it")

There is no evidence, or inference that Goodman said anything about a single
mike. That single mike reference was placed in the liner notes by Kolodin
some 12 years later. Perhaps he remembered it hanging there? Anyway, 12
years is a long time where one's memory is concerned.

Also staying with mikes, far be it from me to disagree with Zeke Zarchy and
his perfect recall even at age 92. He said there was only on mike when
B.G.'s band would play, ditto for all the bands Zeke was ever in.

Well, maybe Zeke played only in smaller venues with BG.

Those who have the Ken Burns Book can plainly see see a photo of B.G's band
at the Paramount Theater in NYC in 1938. That photo, on page 254 shows 3
microphones. One stage right on a riser by the vibes, one center stage and
one stage left in front of the reeds. That was a "return engagement" after
his first smash appearance there in 1937. Goodman may well have used more
than one mike depending upon the size of the venue and the crowd noise. Or
maybe they were turned off, though I don't see why they would not have been
removed then since they are regular floor stand mikes.

While perusing the book, see pages 260 and 261 for multiple mikes in front
of the Basie Band as well as in front of the Woody Herman Band. Obviously
Herman is playing into one of the Mikes because he is facing sideways.
Randall's Island circa 1938. (this was a HUGE outdoor concert venue)

IMO, it all depends on the venue. Seeing Basie at Birdland, there was only a
vocal mike, as I remember, for Joe Williams. Small room, capacity about 200.
Seeing Basie outdoors in Central Park, as I remember, there were several
mikes out in front of the band.  Various soloists would step up to get
closer to one when their turn came.

There is also an interesting band photo on page 309 of Earl Hines' band at
the Apollo circa 1943. Several mikes at floor level, front of stage in
addition to the center mike. For tap dancers? For the band?

Bottom line, sources (even supposedly unimpeachable ones) can be quite wrong
and often are. There is nothing like a little investigation on one's own.

Steve Barbone

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