tinpanalley

Brian Rust Jazz Records

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I've just managed to get a hold of the American Dance Band Discography, 2nd edition in incredible condition for an amazing price. I'm looking into getting the Jazz Records discography as well. How do I find out if there's a particular edition that's worth having over any other? Is there a particular one that's best and why? On a similar note, does anyone know anything about this CD-ROM version?

While we're on the subject, too late to do anything about it, but anything particular wrong with that 2nd edition I picked up of the Dance Band Discography?

Thank you!!

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Don't know about the CD-ROM version. I have the 4th edition of the Jazz discography and refer to it at least once a week. I won't claim to be totally informed, but I know that the 4th edition is more accurate than previous editions, and that some people have complained about the layout of the final print edition, the 6th. So my semi-informed recommendation is to try for the 4th or 5th editions if you want actual books.

The Dance Band Discography is flawed, but valuable. It's very incomplete as to issues on different labels and as to band pseudonyms used by various labels. And no wonder - the way record companies leased material to each other in the 1920s and 30s resulted in a bewilderingly complex situation. But again, I use it all the time, and combined with this online website and a degree of patience, I can almost always figure out who is really on my records.

 

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I have the 5th and had the 6th. The 5th has the artists name on top of each page. The 6th hasn't. That makes a quick search a lot more difficult. A lot of takes that were issued after the 5th did not find there waty into the 6th. These are well known alternates like from the Ellington/Blanton duet session. The Armstrong instrumental takes discoverd in the 90's are mentioned only as 'test pressings' exist. From the 2 CBS 10 LP sets with the complete Columbia Count Basie output some 80 alternate takes are missing. On the other hand alternate takes from obscure blues sessions are included. I short I did not find the 6th an improvement over the 5th and sold it.

I recomend Rust's 5th edition if you can locate it.

At one point Mainspring Press announced they were going to do a 7th edition from scratch. This new editon was to cover the whole 78-era and to delete all non jazz recordings. But Mainspring press has the Brian Rust copyright for sale until December 1st.

I have nothing against Mainspring Press. I love their Ragtime disco.

 

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3 hours ago, tinpanalley said:

I've just managed to get a hold of the American Dance Band Discography, 2nd edition in incredible condition for an amazing price. I'm looking into getting the Jazz Records discography as well. How do I find out if there's a particular edition that's worth having over any other? Is there a particular one that's best and why? On a similar note, does anyone know anything about this CD-ROM version?

While we're on the subject, too late to do anything about it, but anything particular wrong with that 2nd edition I picked up of the Dance Band Discography?

Thank you!!

No idea if this offer posted here a week ago is still current ...

... but it might be worth a try.

As for recommending any specific issues, I have the 4th edition and also rfer to it fairly often. If you can live with the fact that it usually gives only the "period" 78rpm isses and not other issues or later reissues (as Bruyninckx etc. do) then it is a very useful reference book - even today.

What I sometimes do find irritating (but this is probably due to the persona of Brian Rust himself and his personal preferences) is that it goes into amazing detail in 20s (or at any rate PRE-swing era) bands, including many semi-jazz bands that are of rather marginal interest to "hot" jazz fans, but the same depth of coverage doesn't always seem to be there in the swing era and particularly big bands. I find it strange, for example, that he totally ignores the Tony Pastor band whose early recordings do fall within the 1942 time frame and whose jazz content I for one consider higher than that of many 20s dance bands included there (seems like "8 bars of hot soloing" already qualified in the 20s for being included in the book whereas you had to offer much more in the 30s and early 40s to qualify - a bit skewed IMO ...).

 

..

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

If you can live with the fact that it usually gives only the "period" 78rpm isses and not other issues or later reissues (as Bruyninckx etc. do) then it is a very useful reference book - even today.

So, you're saying that it will list all first pressings and releases but not any subsequent or reissue releases at all? Well, that's fine, because I'm usually only intersted in when the first appearance of something happened. Unless I'm misunderstanding.

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7 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

So, you're saying that it will list all first pressings and releases but not any subsequent or reissue releases at all? Well, that's fine, because I'm usually only intersted in when the first appearance of something happened. Unless I'm misunderstanding.

I think Big Beat Steve is saying that Rust lists relatively contemporary 78 issues as well as some first issues that were on LP.  Rust generally does not list LP reissues (unless it's the first issue of the material).

I have many editions of Rust.  The most recent issue (now apparently out of print in book form) was something of a disappointment.  It lacked an index (you had to buy it separately, with the result that it is not bound with the main body of the discography).  In addition, the layout was changed (in my mind, not for the better).  I find the 4th and 5th editions easier to use.

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2 hours ago, jazztrain said:

I think Big Beat Steve is saying that Rust lists relatively contemporary 78 issues as well as some first issues that were on LP.  Rust generally does not list LP reissues (unless it's the first issue of the material).

Fantastic, then that's exactly what I want. I couldn't care less how many other times recordings have appeared on vinyl or CD, etc etc etc. Just want that first appearance and its info.

While we're on the subject, any other jazz discographical recommendations? Seems like finding thorough knowledge like what's on jazzdisco in book form is so hard to find.

 

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13 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

Fantastic, then that's exactly what I want. I couldn't care less how many other times recordings have appeared on vinyl or CD, etc etc etc. Just want that first appearance and its info.

While we're on the subject, any other jazz discographical recommendations? Seems like finding thorough knowledge like what's on jazzdisco in book form is so hard to find.

 

There are lots of jazz discographies, some general (like Rust, Delauney, Jepsen, Bruyninckx, and Raben) and others more specialized covering individual labels or artists. Where do your interests lie?

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31 minutes ago, jazztrain said:

There are lots of jazz discographies, some general (like Rust, Delauney, Jepsen, Bruyninckx, and Raben) and others more specialized covering individual labels or artists. Where do your interests lie?

Well, I imagine that for anyone on this forum that's a tough question... But I'd say that with respect to the two Rust books we're talking about my interests lie mainly in two areas: 1) big bands and early vocalists and vocal groups and 2) jazz from the 20s-40s, solo artists, small groups, etc.

Then from there, my next major interest is vocalists from the 40s/50s (Helen Forrest, June Christy, Jeri Southern, Beverly Kenney, Helen Merrill, etc) which can be tough to find discographical info for and composer/arrangers (Jenkins, Riddle, May, Gleason, etc) and that stuff becomes really hard to find info for.

Edited by tinpanalley

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What you describe as your main interests in the post-Rust area is going to be hard to find indeed in later jazz discographies because quite a few of those vocalists and arrangers/bandleaders are on the fringes of jazz or outside jazz in a "somewhat" stricter sense of the word. So many discographers don't even opt for complete discographies of this kind of artists but include only those recordings with closer jazz ties (e.g. if the backing orchestras/groups are more jazz-oriented, etc.).

Beyond the "Rust era", I still use my Jepsen discography books regularly for the basic information and then do cross-checks in a CD-ROM edition of the Bruyninckx discogrpahy. The Tom Lord discography is waaaay beyond my financial means (particularly if you want to keep it updated) and offers little added value over the contents of the earlier discographies in my main areas of interest (which essentially comprise recordings up to, say, the early to mid-60s, and for later reordings I don't need complete discographies but usually find what I want to know on the internet ;)).

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

What you describe as your main interests in the post-Rust area is going to be hard to find indeed in later jazz discographies because quite a few of those vocalists and arrangers/bandleaders are on the fringes of jazz or outside jazz in a "somewhat" stricter sense of the word. So many discographers don't even opt for complete discographies of this kind of artists but include only those recordings with closer jazz ties (e.g. if the backing orchestras/groups are more jazz-oriented, etc.).

Yes, of course. I know the latter parts of my interests chronologically speaking aren't jazz. I was trying to say that with respect to the Rust books, where early American music is concerned, my interests were those two things (big band and vocals, and 20s-40s jazz). But I guess more as a matter of continued conversation I mentioned the stuff from 1940s onwards. I should have been clear that I didn't consider those jazz. To be honest, in my personal opinion, the dance band era isn't really jazz either. Yes, several jazz greats came from that era (Ben Webster, Teddy Wilson, etc etc) and went from being band members to being important jazz solo artists, but the majority of that dance band era was just pop music at the time, some of which contributed to jazz. To me there's very little "jazz" about Tommy Dorsey for example. Anyway, this gets into the territory of what constitutes "art". Perhaps not as tempestuous a topic, but close.

So the Rust Dance Band book that I just got and this 5th Jazz edition I can get are both worth having, right? Fantastic. I use thes kinds of books for discographies of artists I like. Places like amg, discogs, even fan sites, only list junk compilation CDs and disregard original releases completely. That's no way to fill a collection. Now, if there was a book dedicated to amassing the works of orchestrators/arrangers and pop vocalists of the 40s and 50s, I'd be in heaven. It just seems that Capitol and other smaller labels like VSOP in the 50s go completely unnoticed despite having produced some of the most important recordings in American Popular Music history (Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, etc..). Cole is an interesting one because most guides will mention his trio and then completely ignore his vocal Capitol years. Even with instrumentalists, Bobby Hackett gets thoroughly covered for his recordings with Miller and Goodman but he seems to disappear from any guides for his gorgeous work with Gleason and his solo Capitol records in the 50s. But as he himself said, "It's funny, isn't it, how you go right into the wastebasket with some critics the minute you become successful"

Thanks to everyone here helping me out. I'm the only person in my age group that is into these things so I rely on communities like this to help me out. If there are recommendations of other sites or books, I'm all ears. :)

Edited by tinpanalley

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As a matter of curiosity, was IS your age group? ;)

As for the "rest" of your post, I somewhat disagree that there was that little jazz in the "dance band" era. Of course a lot of jazz of the swing era was pop music but that was what made it so appealing to the status of jazz overall at that time. And of course not all pop from that era was jazz, and you have to distinguish between swinging dance bands such as the Tony Pastor band I named before and corn like Guy Lombardo or Horace Heidt, etc. Though even some cornier bands could swing pretty well on rare occasions, but that was more an interlude. I'd also say there is more jazz to Tommy Dorsey than one would imagine at first hearing (but you will have to listen ...). And discovering the jazz content does indeed become a bit more difficult if you focus on the singers and vocals. ;) Which is why (among WHITE bands) I tend towards vocals by Tony Pastor, Louis Prima or Butch Stone and their ilk from that period ... :D

BTW, even Duke Ellington (to name just one whose jazz credentials nobody will dismiss though they fall into the same big band era too) did regularly play for dancers too in the 30s/40s so certainly was not just a "concert hall" band.

As for other sources of documentation (not discographies but biographies to put things into context), I suppose you have the books by George T.Simon and Leo Walker?

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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2 hours ago, tinpanalley said:

Yes, of course. I know the latter parts of my interests chronologically speaking aren't jazz. I was trying to say that with respect to the Rust books, where early American music is concerned, my interests were those two things (big band and vocals, and 20s-40s jazz). But I guess more as a matter of continued conversation I mentioned the stuff from 1940s onwards. I should have been clear that I didn't consider those jazz. To be honest, in my personal opinion, the dance band era isn't really jazz either. Yes, several jazz greats came from that era (Ben Webster, Teddy Wilson, etc etc) and went from being band members to being important jazz solo artists, but the majority of that dance band era was just pop music at the time, some of which contributed to jazz. To me there's very little "jazz" about Tommy Dorsey for example. Anyway, this gets into the territory of what constitutes "art". Perhaps not as tempestuous a topic, but close.

So the Rust Dance Band book that I just got and this 5th Jazz edition I can get are both worth having, right? Fantastic. I use thes kinds of books for discographies of artists I like. Places like amg, discogs, even fan sites, only list junk compilation CDs and disregard original releases completely. That's no way to fill a collection. Now, if there was a book dedicated to amassing the works of orchestrators/arrangers and pop vocalists of the 40s and 50s, I'd be in heaven. It just seems that Capitol and other smaller labels like VSOP in the 50s go completely unnoticed despite having produced some of the most important recordings in American Popular Music history (Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, etc..). Cole is an interesting one because most guides will mention his trio and then completely ignore his vocal Capitol years. Even with instrumentalists, Bobby Hackett gets thoroughly covered for his recordings with Miller and Goodman but he seems to disappear from any guides for his gorgeous work with Gleason and his solo Capitol records in the 50s. But as he himself said, "It's funny, isn't it, how you go right into the wastebasket with some critics the minute you become successful"

Thanks to everyone here helping me out. I'm the only person in my age group that is into these things so I rely on communities like this to help me out. If there are recommendations of other sites or books, I'm all ears. :)

If you're interested in jazz and pop vocalists, you might check out Rust's "The Complete Entertainment Discography From 1897 to 1942."  For later years, the Bruyninckx vocalists discography volumes might be of some use.

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4 hours ago, jazztrain said:

If you're interested in jazz and pop vocalists, you might check out Rust's "The Complete Entertainment Discography From 1897 to 1942."  For later years, the Bruyninckx vocalists discography volumes might be of some use.

What's actually most important to me in terms of jazz artists is chronogical listings of 78s and full album releases. I use these to put my music in order and to tag and catalogue those I have converted to files. With dance band, I know most of their releases are 78s and those I'd like in Chronological order as well. But with the jazz artists, if there's only a listing of all recordings but no reference to how the music was commercially released then maybe the Rust isn't what I want? I've only seen very few pages of the Rust book online.

Basically what I'd like is something like what jazzdisco does, for example here with my favourite pianist, Erroll Garner: http://www.jazzdisco.org/erroll-garner/discography/
But I'd prefer to have it in book form because who knows how long any of these sites will be up. I've seen great online catalogues go silent too often. So, is that more or less what I can expect in the Rust Jazz book?

5 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

As a matter of curiosity, was IS your age group? ;)

I'm 38.

Edited by tinpanalley

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3 hours ago, tinpanalley said:

But with the jazz artists, if there's only a listing of all recordings but no reference to how the music was commercially released then maybe the Rust isn't what I want?

Basically what I'd like is something like what jazzdisco does, for example here with my favourite pianist, Erroll Garner: http://www.jazzdisco.org/erroll-garner/discography/
But I'd prefer to have it in book form because who knows how long any of these sites will be up. I've seen great online catalogues go silent too often. So, is that more or less what I can expect in the Rust Jazz book?

I'm 38.

Rust DOES give the original releases (and apparently often the UK releases, i.e. US RCA Victor + UK HMV, plus certain others form the same period). so you wil be able to see all the orignal 78rpm couplings (and in case of previously unreleased entries that were first released in the LP era the original LP issue wil be given - e.g. in the case of transcriptions made by the John Kirby Sextet that saw several LPs worth of transcriptions first released on the Collector's label in the 60s).

And basically Rust is not THAT different from the system used in the Garner discography in your link. Except that the later reissues listed UNDER the session entries are not included.

As for how long those online discographies will remain up ... good question, but ... :D ... I know why I have an entire ring binder crammed full with printouts of Swedish jazz discography put online on visarkiv.se ... precisely for that reason! :D

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On 11/17/2015, 3:53:03, Big Beat Steve said:

And of course not all pop from that era was jazz, and you have to distinguish between swinging dance bands such as the Tony Pastor band I named before and corn like Guy Lombardo or Horace Heidt, etc.

As for other sources of documentation (not discographies but biographies to put things into context), I suppose you have the books by George T.Simon and Leo Walker?

What exactly is the deal with Guy Lombardo getting such a hard time all the time? Ok, so as a fellow Canadian and only one of a few Canadians that contributed to this era of music I'm protective of him. But really, I feel like he's never given enough credit. One of my faves anyway.

And no, I don't know those other writers? What are the books? Well, I guess I can look them up online.

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1 hour ago, tinpanalley said:

And no, I don't know those other writers? What are the books? Well, I guess I can look them up online.

Assuming these are the books in question:

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61bVuHmoGuL._SX376_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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Yes, Dave, these are the ones I was thinking of. But also this one:

"The Big Band Almanac" by Leo Walker
published by Ward Ritchie Press, Gardena, CA (at least the 1978 first printing I have was; later editions  if those existed - may have been published elsewhere)

The book complements George T. Simon's book well, though I have a feeling that the author is a bit biased towards white and commercial (not necessarily very jazz-minded) big bands and digs deeply into what was left in the way of big bands after 1945. Or to put it another way, all the bigger names among the black big bands are there, of course, but the coverage of the white bands is much more in-depth, right down to really obscure or local bands. Example: The (black) Floyd Ray band (a fine swing band, though underrecorded) does not figure there but Barney Rapp and Carl Ravazza are (right where his entry might have been too) - huh??
A useful book anyway ...

And for somebody interested in the music of that period (particularly if not only all-out jazz big bands) they are all pretty essential reference works.

P.S. Re-Guy Lombardo, no put-down intended, his commercial success speaks for itself, but don't expect him to rate highly among those who favor swinging (JAZZ) big bands. All I meant to say (using him and Horace Heidt as examples) was that during the swing era jazz (i.e. the swing style of jazz) was indeed pop music but not all pop music played during that era was swing. See? ^_^

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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On 16 November 2015 at 22:19:22, Simon Weil said:

Can't help you with this. But I remember Brian Rust from his (London) Capital Radio show which I used to record for my dad to play in his car. He wasn't really interested in Jazz, but he loved this.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrWjXzkTzQg

That's a blast from the past. I'd forgotten about that show !

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On 11/26/2015, 9:19:34, Big Beat Steve said:

The book complements George T. Simon's book well, though I have a feeling that the author is a bit biased towards white and commercial (not necessarily very jazz-minded) big bands and digs deeply into what was left in the way of big bands after 1945. Or to put it another way, all the bigger names among the black big bands are there, of course, but the coverage of the white bands is much more in-depth, right down to really obscure or local bands. Example: The (black) Floyd Ray band (a fine swing band, though underrecorded) does not figure there but Barney Rapp and Carl Ravazza are (right where his entry might have been too) - huh??

P.S. Re-Guy Lombardo, no put-down intended, his commercial success speaks for itself, but don't expect him to rate highly among those who favor swinging (JAZZ) big bands. All I meant to say (using him and Horace Heidt as examples) was that during the swing era jazz (i.e. the swing style of jazz) was indeed pop music but not all pop music played during that era was swing. See? ^_^

 

Hmm... What a shame about the coverage of black bands. I hate to call it a sign of the times but 1978 seems inexcusably late for blatant ignoring of an entire essential part of that era just because of skin colour. Is there a book that is less... biased? Or at this point, do we just have what we have and must we simply be thankful to have anything at all? I don't see many people making a career out of writing Big Band anthologies, discographies, etc anymore. I have some film books that, while written in the 70s, still can't be touched by ANYthing published today in terms of information offered. I have Rudy Vallee and Django Reinhardt book discographies that also can't be parallelled in their depth of information in any info in print or online that I've ever seen. As far as film goes, which is admittedly getting a little off topic, Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide is the only thing that comes close to cataloguing every classic English language film in one place, at least that I know of. Indispensable. I imagine music, especially from this era we're talking about is infinitely harder though. There must be countless more sides recorded by one-off labels and bands than films produced even in the silent era when they were dished out in the bucketloads every month.

I totally understand what you mean about Lombardo. I just think that for me, liking him, Rudy Vallee, Jackie Gleason Orchestra, Helen Forrest, and all that stuff often considered schmaltzy means I have a soft spot for the very poppy stuff as much as for the genuine jazz groups. Heck, my wife and I named the cat we adopted this year 'Bowlly' for crying out loud. :) I just don't think, for me, that Lombardo is the same thing as Mitch Miller which I often feel people want to group him in with. It was shocking to me when I started reading this in books because I grew up thinking he was just as relevant as any other big band/dance band leader.

 

 

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Yes I guess this was a sign of the times, though I wouldn't call it intentional ignoring but just different priorities regarding importance. And I'd venture a guess that the inclusion of so many second or third-rate (white) big bands from post-war years (that may be fine to include for completists but a bit of overkill and leading to a distinct bias if they are included to the exclusion of other, more notable black bands) reflects the personal experience and career of Leo Walker who probably was in the midst of things in the years after WWII. But of course the 40s/50s were a time when you often still had a blind spot when it came to what happened "across the tracks". ;)

Overall, with all the books out there the information you have available TODAY is quite O.K. (and internet helps too ;)), though of course the IN-DEPTH history of black territory bands still is not covered THAT well. There IS one book that balances the score somewhat:

"SWING OUT - Great Negro Dance Bands", by Gene Fernett, first published in 1970 and reprinted later with unchanged contents (except for an "updated" cover). Certainly far from exhaustive but very nice in the way it is done - if you can live with the fact that we take information for granted in this world of the internet that was hard or impossible to come by in those pre-internet days. OTOH the fact that 1970 was a time when many of the old bandleaders were still there to be interviewed helps too, of course

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I just wanted to thank you all for all the input and help. Without the advice I'd have struggled to make a decision on these books which are now among the most valued in my library. Thanks again!

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Edited by tinpanalley

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Enjoy!  You won't regret it.

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