Mark Stryker

50,000 piece record collection donated to SDSU

31 posts in this topic

Cool!  It would be fun to spend a day -- or twenty -- listening to stuff in his collection.

It's amazing that the university where he taught for years turned down his collection sight unseen.  :o 

 

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hand-painted Live at Yale has me shook... amazing collection, glad it's going somewhere that it will be appreciated!

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2 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

hand-painted Live at Yale has me shook... amazing collection, glad it's going somewhere that it will be appreciated!

Did I miss something in the article about this? (I often do.) 

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Surprised, but I probably shouldn't be, by the disdain some of the educators that Dijkstra encountered. Well, I guess it's all about the money after all. I love my old school UCSD and its "we don't do vinyl" mantra, what blindness.

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12 hours ago, medjuck said:

Did I miss something in the article about this? (I often do.) 

One of the three records shown in the picture is a copy of Don Pullen & Milford Graves "In Concert At Yale University", with hand-painted cover art.

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Fascinating but not truly one of a kind. I went to Colgate in the ‘70’s when an English professor, Dr. Blackmore, was nurturing a similar vinyl collection which numbered in excess of 20,000 then. Dr. Blackmore was very approachable and I had the chance to see his collection at his home on several occasions. He told me he never left town without at least a couple hundred dollars in his wallet in case he ran into records of interest. I just wish I knew more of what to ask about then.

i can’t say exactly when but that collection was accepted by Colgate

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Has he actually listened to all those records? It seems impossible unless all one does is listen to records.

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At this point, Spotify and other streaming services are probably more useful to students than LPs.  Once all liner notes are available with the digital LPs, then there will be little need to consult the original issues.  Also, far more people can listen to a streaming album at one time than can listen to an LP stuck in a back room in a college library.  Finally, there's the issue of degradation of the vinyl with repeated playings.  I'm sure that Dijkstra treated his collection with care.  Hordes of college students?  Not so much.

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45 minutes ago, mjzee said:

At this point, Spotify and other streaming services are probably more useful to students than LPs.  Once all liner notes are available with the digital LPs, then there will be little need to consult the original issues.  Also, far more people can listen to a streaming album at one time than can listen to an LP stuck in a back room in a college library.  Finally, there's the issue of degradation of the vinyl with repeated playings.  I'm sure that Dijkstra treated his collection with care.  Hordes of college students?  Not so much.

In my experience people who aren't particularly interested in music, as we are, no longer have the ability to play CDs, let alone vinyl albums.

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1 hour ago, kh1958 said:

Has he actually listened to all those records? It seems impossible unless all one does is listen to records.

If you'd been buying since the '50s, it might be. There are probably duplicates, mono/stereo, etc..

The Richard Wright collection at KU and the Jim Neumann collection at Oberlin also come to mind. 

Also, as a library professional I think one has to separate the value of a special collection from "how students listen to music (or if they do at all) today." 

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25 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

Also, as a library professional I think one has to separate the value of a special collection from "how students listen to music (or if they do at all) today." 

Agreed. I'm not a library professional but if hordes of anyone enter any library's doors with the express purpose of learning or listening that has to be welcomed. More likely, this collection will be accessed by students doing focused studies in specialist majors. 

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1 hour ago, kh1958 said:

Has he actually listened to all those records? It seems impossible unless all one does is listen to records.

If the average time consumption is 40 minutes per album, including handling, and he listens 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year, it would take him 17 and a half years to listen to everything once. 

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Most university libraries will argue that they have a lack of space, no money to catalog, care for and store such a collection. My alma mater, Tulane, focuses exclusively on New Orleans jazz. Universities with jazz libraries will want to cherry pick or sell off the duplicate/unwanted titles. Of course, once the gift is made, it is typically hard to attach strings, though the Brubeck Archives were transferred from his alma mater to the Wilton Library around the beginning of this year.

 

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If you listen to a record within a day or two of buying it, you can get that done. It's when you start a pile that you never get to that things get sticky.

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35 minutes ago, Ken Dryden said:

Most university libraries will argue that they have a lack of space, no money to catalog, care for and store such a collection. My alma mater, Tulane, focuses exclusively on New Orleans jazz. Universities with jazz libraries will want to cherry pick or sell off the duplicate/unwanted titles. Of course, once the gift is made, it is typically hard to attach strings, though the Brubeck Archives were transferred from his alma mater to the Wilton Library around the beginning of this year.

 

It's not like I am in the loop for Wilton CT news but I did grow up there and the family home was only sold about three years ago - had no idea about this. I don't know what the library would do with it. Is the archive all music or his papers or what? Doesn't really make any sense in a small town library.

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23 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

It's not like I am in the loop for Wilton CT news but I did grow up there and the family home was only sold about three years ago - had no idea about this. I don't know what the library would do with it. Is the archive all music or his papers or what? Doesn't really make any sense in a small town library.

There's some sort of jazz connection with that library.  20 or so years ago, I attended a free concert there with Warren Vache leading a quartet.

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8 hours ago, JSngry said:

If you listen to a record within a day or two of buying it, you can get that done. It's when you start a pile that you never get to that things get sticky.

Yes, that is my problem; a big pile of backlog that I'm been nibbling at during the pandemic but progress is slow.

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As someone said, the storage and cataloguing costs for any collection are huge. I doubt the collection will ever get catalogued. Unlike an archive of papers, say, which is one of a kind, nothing in a record collection is unique. Thousands of these records will be commonplace. Who will travel to SDSU to hear KoB? Pullen and Graves at Yale - such a singular rarity - it’s on YouTube, I’m listening to it now. How much use does anyone here make of a comparable archive? It would make more sense to sell the collection and sponsor a scholarship for a few years. 

Edited by David Ayers

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And I don’t need to add that selling it would be a massive labour in itself. 

 

Oh well. I’ve said all of this before. 

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20 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

It's not like I am in the loop for Wilton CT news but I did grow up there and the family home was only sold about three years ago - had no idea about this. I don't know what the library would do with it. Is the archive all music or his papers or what? Doesn't really make any sense in a small town library.

my dad grew up in Wilton too -- was childhood friends with Darius and played piano with Dave. Would love to check this out. 

And yeah, certainly most universities parcel off vinyl that they get in donations with other materials. But hopefully SDSU will keep this as a learning collection, as Oberlin has done and as KU has done to a certain extent.

11 hours ago, David Ayers said:

As someone said, the storage and cataloguing costs for any collection are huge. I doubt the collection will ever get catalogued. Unlike an archive of papers, say, which is one of a kind, nothing in a record collection is unique. Thousands of these records will be commonplace. Who will travel to SDSU to hear KoB? Pullen and Graves at Yale - such a singular rarity - it’s on YouTube, I’m listening to it now. How much use does anyone here make of a comparable archive? It would make more sense to sell the collection and sponsor a scholarship for a few years. 

Yeah, I was about to say something like this upthread but changed my mind. And I think (hope) it won't be billed as an archive, which it isn't (fwiw, I am an archivist). It will be expensive to catalog and SDSU will probably have to have a 3-year grant in place covering the cost of that (in addition to the storage room and access facilities). But it's entirely possible that they have planned for this and we'll see something interesting come of it. As many shortsighted gifts have resulted in albatrosses, many have also resulted in new directions and cornerstone resource collections.

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As a result, one of the world’s most notable privately owned record collections will remain in San Diego, to be shared with future generations.

Yeah, this is how music is going to be "shared with future generations", on LPs and CDs through a library of a university in San Diego. 

I think if you care about music being "shared with future generations" you might want to focus on making sure that all the music that was ever recorded is digitized and available through modern means. This is not easy, but doable. Recently this was done with complete Frank Zappa audio / video archive (most of his shows, as well as rehearsals were recorded) through fan-sponsored initiative.       

Edited by Д.Д.

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I don't see that as a problem -- like rare books, held in a library for viewing/examination rather than stored away in an individual person's home. The archive that I direct is available to anyone for research, though one does have to visit NYC in person for most of the materials. That said, I would not turn anyone away who made the trek.

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16 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

I don't see that as a problem -- like rare books, held in a library for viewing/examination rather than stored away in an individual person's home. The archive that I direct is available to anyone for research, though one does have to visit NYC in person for most of the materials. That said, I would not turn anyone away who made the trek.

Yes, exactly, good example. In XXI century having rare books in a library in NYC is only marginally better than having them in a private collection. This is precisely the stuff that has to be digitized and available to all, ideally for free or a minimal fee.   

Edited by Д.Д.

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problem with digitizing commercially produced materials is that the library doesn't have the rights.

when I send digital copies of photographs to a user, whether academic or press or whatever, I always give them the photographer name and contact (or estate contact), with the understanding that the rights-holder will be contacted and, if necessary, compensated in the event of reuse. Books and records are obviously different and ownership can be tough to navigate -- author/creator, record company/publisher, or some middle-person? Really depends. A public library and a university library also have a very different public, as you might gather.

I'm also firmly against the notion that we must "digitize everything" and make it all free because in many cases, there are those creators who need to be respected in their position, whether monetarily or otherwise (nor does every creator want all of their material available in the first place -- student works, informal creations, etc.). This is of course another long-tail discussion, but I think most institutions try to thread the needle of access and rights as best they can within the law (and what they have the resources to accomplish). And I'm hardly a lawyer or fair-use expert, just out here trying my best. 

 

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