Mark Stryker

Ellington Small Groups on Columbia

21 posts in this topic

I have the two Columbia 2-CD sets from the early 90s title “The Duke’s Men Vol 1 and 2.” Nicely annotated but not crazy about the early digital transfers (CEDAR). So, what are the quality options on CD or vintage LPs for this material? 

I have the RCA small group stuff 1940-46 on French black and white LPs — off-the-charts great musically and sonically, but I’m looking for the the stuff on the Columbia family of labels in better sound.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Complete 1936-1940 Variety, Vocalion & Okeh Small Group Sessions. Mosaic OOP.

Odd that you posted this now, since recently I've been looking for Cootie William's post-Duke Okeh sides. So far all I've found is the Chronological Classics series series and a disc from Jazz Archives/EPM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no other reasonable answer. You have to find a copy of the Mosaic box

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... and it is worth it - I never regretted buying it. Lots of good and entertaining music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the insight, folks.

Starting to search around and found the worst eBay value ever -- a version of this set is available for $75, except no box, no book and -- wait for it -- disc four is described as "broken and unplayable." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

Odd that you posted this now, since recently I've been looking for Cootie William's post-Duke Okeh sides. So far all I've found is the Chronological Classics series and a disc from Jazz Archives/EPM.

That's all there is, I'm afraid. 

The later sessions for Hit were on an Affinity LP. 

R-6982661-1430949770-4112.jpeg.jpg

6 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Thanks for the insight, folks.

Starting to search around and found the worst eBay value ever -- a version of this set is available for $75, except no box, no book and -- wait for it -- disc four is described as "broken and unplayable." 

Cheapest offer on Discogs seems to be $ 200.

... and there is the Keynote sessions CD: 

R-14008832-1565989911-1709.jpeg.jpg

Diving into Ellingtonia is dangerous - the more you find, the more you want. More smal group stuff on this:

R-10550904-1579359873-4536.jpeg.jpg

Edited by mikeweil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, mikeweil said:

That's all there is, I'm afraid. 

The later sessions for Hit were on an Affinity LP. 

R-6982661-1430949770-4112.jpeg.jpg

 

@Cpt. Howdy:
Just to add a couple of hints FWIW on the subject of post-Duke Cootie Williams :

The May 7 ,1941 session by Cootie Williams for OKeh also was on the (German) Swingfan 1022 LP "Cootie Williams - Hot Lips Page" (a collector's under-the-radar pressing from the late 60s - you might remember the LPs on this label from way back, Mike ...).

His somewhat later (1944) recordings for the Hit label were on Phoenix LP 1 and also must have been out on a Storyville LP of the late 70s/early 80s. I have the sessions from Jan. to August 1944 (all 16 tracks from these 4 sessions) on a Spanish license pressing (Discofon J 4436) of the Storyville LP.
The (rare) recordings on the "Typhoon" LP on Affinity come from the Majestic label (mostly), plus some from Derby and Mercury.

A few more tracks from the post-Duke era of 1946-48 can be found on "Things Ain't What They Used to Be"  on Jukebox Lil LP JB-623.

This may not be of much help as almost all these are on European labels but "one never knows, do one?" ^_^

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Mark Stryker said:

I have the two Columbia 2-CD sets from the early 90s title “The Duke’s Men Vol 1 and 2.” Nicely annotated but not crazy about the early digital transfers (CEDAR). So, what are the quality options on CD or vintage LPs for this material? 

I have the RCA small group stuff 1940-46 on French black and white LPs — off-the-charts great musically and sonically, but I’m looking for the the stuff on the Columbia family of labels in better sound.

 

the Columbia issue CD transfers are actually fine, but extremely poorly eq'd. Which means that the sound is all there but needs, yes, to be restored. Which is crazy if you are a consumer but amusing and fun if, like me, you are fond of showing what idiots the engineers on these major labels have been (this, btw, is also true of the much hated Jelly Roll Morton BMG box; I can make that thing, with digitial eq, sound fantastic. Larry Gushee was amazed).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, AllenLowe said:

the Columbia issue CD transfers are actually fine, but extremely poorly eq'd. Which means that the sound is all there but needs, yes, to be restored. Which is crazy if you are a consumer but amusing and fun if, like me, you are fond of showing what idiots the engineers on these major labels have been (this, btw, is also true of the much hated Jelly Roll Morton BMG box; I can make that thing, with digitial eq, sound fantastic. Larry Gushee was amazed).

Interesting, though I probably don’t have to point out that I am the sort of high-interest, knowledgeable consumer who is absolutely willing to pay a premium for reissues that I don’t have to fucking EQ myself. In a sane universe, that would be the company’s responsibility.

 

Edited by Mark Stryker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Interesting, though I probably don’t have to point out that I am the sort of high-interest, knowledgeable consumer who is absolutely willing to pay a premium for reissues that I don’t have to fucking EQ myself. In a sane universe, that would be the company’s responsibility.

 

I have to admit that I take some satisfaction in just being able to make stuff sound like it should. But the insanity is that, with these Ellingtons, it's not just a matter of making them sound better but like completely starting from scratch.  It is idiotic.

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

the Columbia issue CD transfers are actually fine, but extremely poorly eq'd. Which means that the sound is all there but needs, yes, to be restored. Which is crazy if you are a consumer but amusing and fun if, like me, you are fond of showing what idiots the engineers on these major labels have been (this, btw, is also true of the much hated Jelly Roll Morton BMG box; I can make that thing, with digitial eq, sound fantastic. Larry Gushee was amazed).

This is a question I've been wondering about lately. You always see PD labels proclaiming DIGITALLY REMASTERED! when you know damned well they stole the tracks from Chronological Classics or someone like that. How much can you actually change the sound using EQ? It's my (extremely poor) understanding that EQ is best used as a subtractive rather than additive process. If the track you have to work on has no low end, can you really create a low end using EQ?

10 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

A few more tracks from the post-Duke era of 1946-48 can be found on "Things Ain't What They Used to Be"  on Jukebox Lil LP JB-623.

Thanks. Depending on which tracks you're referring to I assume they would be in this box: Blues, Boogie & Bop—The 1940s Mercury Sessions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

the Columbia issue CD transfers are actually fine, but extremely poorly eq'd. Which means that the sound is all there but needs, yes, to be restored. Which is crazy if you are a consumer but amusing and fun if, like me, you are fond of showing what idiots the engineers on these major labels have been (this, btw, is also true of the much hated Jelly Roll Morton BMG box; I can make that thing, with digitial eq, sound fantastic. Larry Gushee was amazed).

I've heard the results of a similar effort at re-eq'ing the Victor and Victor/Bluebird singles from the big Ellington Centennial box. The "fixed" versions were better by leaps and bounds - not a subtle difference at all.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, mikeweil said:

 

Diving into Ellingtonia is dangerous - the more you find, the more you want. More smal group stuff on this:

R-10550904-1579359873-4536.jpeg.jpg

This is still available from Amazon. (Takes some digging.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

Thanks. Depending on which tracks you're referring to I assume they would be in this box: Blues, Boogie & Bop—The 1940s Mercury Sessions.

Possibly, at least partially. That would be the radio box, right? I've got the "other" Mercury box from that period.

8 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

This is a question I've been wondering about lately. You always see PD labels proclaiming DIGITALLY REMASTERED! when you know damned well they stole the tracks from Chronological Classics or someone like that.

 

Chronological Classics was OK, but never was the final word about top-notch remasted sound improvement, though, IMO.
And in the end it is up to everyone to decide if he accepts "digitally remasterd to death" reissues or is happy with reissues of rare(st) material where the clicks, hiss and warts of the source 78s are still audible (cf. the Cootie Williams 78s on Hit and Majestic, not to mention reissues by much obscurer artists).

Re- who "stole" from whom, it would be interesting, for example, to compare the Jimmy Jones tracks on the "Wax Sessions" CD shown above and the same tracks on Jones' CC reissue (I already had the CC reissue of these tracks by Jimmy Jones so finally skipped the Wax Session CD though I had had it on "Watch" for a long time on Amazon).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The wax sessions were poorly recorded and the Storyville CD probably is probably as good as it will get. Here's one track from the CD quoted above (should play by clicking on the link in your browser):

https://storage.googleapis.com/cloudplayer/samples/22%20You're%20Driving%20Me%20Crazy.flac

You're Driving me Crazy - Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Jones, Billy Taylor

You can listen to samples of all the CD here, and read the liner notes by Dan Morgenstern: https://archive.org/details/cd_the-wax-label-sessions_various-artists-al-hall-ben-webster-denzil

Edited by hopkins

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/27/2021 at 8:57 PM, Captain Howdy said:

This is a question I've been wondering about lately. You always see PD labels proclaiming DIGITALLY REMASTERED! when you know damned well they stole the tracks from Chronological Classics or someone like that. How much can you actually change the sound using EQ? It's my (extremely poor) understanding that EQ is best used as a subtractive rather than additive process. If the track you have to work on has no low end, can you really create a low end using EQ?

Thanks. Depending on which tracks you're referring to I assume they would be in this box: Blues, Boogie & Bop—The 1940s Mercury Sessions.

with the right digital eq you can do incredible things - I re-did the Morton from the BMG box and Larry Gushee, sitting in my basement, was absolutely astounded, saying he had never heard it sounding so good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

with the right digital eq you can do incredible things - I re-did the Morton from the BMG box and Larry Gushee, sitting in my basement, was absolutely astounded, saying he had never heard it sounding so good.

So it's not true: you can polish a turd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/30/2021 at 8:25 PM, Captain Howdy said:

So it's not true: you can polish a turd.

Yes, I have done this many times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re Ellingtonia from this era, don’t overlook Mosaic’s Classic Capitol Jazz Sessions box. The entire run of discs 9 and 10 comes from Ellington sidemen—Cootie Williams’ big band plus dates led by Rex Stewart, Sonny Greer, Louis Bellson, and multi-instrumentalist Murray McEachern, who did a trombone stint with Duke. The Capitol box is a real treasure trove.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@AllenLoweScrew IP ownership, you should make these available!

Edited by Hoppy T. Frog
Replying to Allen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/20/2021 at 5:52 PM, Hoppy T. Frog said:

@AllenLoweScrew IP ownership, you should make these available!

some day; it's very labor intensive. When I get better maybe I'll show some samples.

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.