MK: Benny Goodman @ Carnegie Hall?

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MK: Benny Goodman @ Carnegie Hall?

Postby lukpac » Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:45 pm

I've come across bits here and there about the history of this one, but the story still isn't totally clear to me. If I'm understanding things correctly, original acetates were found in the '50s, which led to the original LP issue. The tapes created for that were used for the old Columbia CD, while in recent years, aluminum transcription discs were found and used for the latest issue.

Alas, much of the concert has been "lost". True, he concert was recorded and is available on CD; however, the technology of recording was very primitive. Only three microphones were used -- a 144BX above the conductor's podium and two others at ends of the band. The feed went offstage to a mixer and then to a CBS truck in the alley. Strangely, engineers on site did NOT control the mix. Therefore the settings were the same for each song. From there, it was sent by broadcast-quality telephone line to the CBS master control room downtown who then patched it on to Harry Smith's Artist's recording studio and Raymond Scott's Universal Recording studio. Both studios cut acetate records but they were limited to 8 minutes 45 seconds each. Thus, two turntables were in constant use in each studio --- alas, synchronization had not been invented and half the recordings are at a slightly different speed than the others. In the CBS studio, a master was cut on a 33" aluminum studio transcription discs. The aluminum discs were filed away and "disappeared"

Benny Goodman eventually came into possession of the acetates. Because Goodman had used musicians from a variety of bands, contract difficulties made it virtually impossible to issue a recording. Everything faded from view until about 1950 when the acetates were discovered in (of all things) his sister-in-law's house. Needless to say, the quality had degraded even further. With heroic engineering, it was possible to restore about 75% of the concert. The re-engineered version was issued in 1950 and became one of the first of the 33-1/3 rpm long play records to sell over a million copies. A rework of this recording is available on CD. In early January of 1998, it was announced that the aluminum studio masters had been rediscovered, allowing the entire concert to be reproduced with much better fidelity.

Now, it's been years since I've heard the original CD set, and I've not heard the new set. Apparently Phil Schaap is responsible for the new set, I know you (MK) have had some issues with. What's your take on things?
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby dudelsack » Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:32 pm

Ugh, Schaap? Good luck.

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Postby RDK » Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:39 pm

A lot of people dislike the remastered Columbia release because of the sound, prefering instead the "import" versions (Definitive, Avid, etc.) that "steal" the noisy Schaap version but no-noise out some of the surface noise. Haven't heard the import versions to compare, but this sure sounds like a case where NR was used to good effect.