my own reference.
Orchestra of Chicago.
to George T. Simon, the Benson Orchestra of Chicago, led by Don Bestor,
was: "... one of the best bands of the twenties.. Its music was rhythmic,
crisp and clean." Simon mentions that (later) during the Big Band Era,
Bestor "fronted a less impressive outfit", but doe snot mentin if this
went by the Benson Orchestra name, nor whether it recorded or not. As the
tunes were on the Zonophone label, we can assume that these were
the ‘original' 1920s Benson Orchestra of Chicago. The orchestra initially
recorded for Victor and Zonophone in 1921. Bestor appears on record only
during and after 1923. [Simon, The Big Bands, p496; Rust, Jazz Records,
was an Australian contralto, and on 30 April 1903, recorded the first disc
for Victor's Red Seal label, designated for ‘celebrity issues'. Ada Crossley
lived in Tarraville near Yarram and her name is commemorated by an elderly
care facility, Crossley House.
Davidson and His A.B.C. Dance Orchestra.
Jazz on Record (Mitchell), lists this band but not the three records that
I list in the Orchestra category. This appears to be the orchestra he led
(as director) from 1938 to 1940. His previous orchestra was Jim Davidson
& His New Palais Royal Orchestra, which recorded between June 1933
and May 1938. Recordings under the A.B.C. name commenced in June 1938 till
March 1940. All recordings were made in Sydney.
first discs were released way way back in 1890. The Berliner discs were
made for children by a company called Kammerer and Reinhardt and were 5
inches in diameter giving about one minute playing time, and 3 inches.
Discs of 3 inch were used in talking dolls. It was nearly a decade
later, in 1898, that Emile Berliner founded the German branch of The Gramophone
Company, and pruduced 6¾ inch discs giving about 2 minutes playing
time. In 1903 Victor in the USA released the 10-inch disc with a
playing time of three minutes. In 1903 the first 12 inch discs were released,
by Victor, who had also released before this the 7 inch disc (1901-03),
which they soon abandoned. An 8 inch disc was discontinued in 1908. There
were also a numbr of other odd sizes released by various companies: 8 inch,
9, 10¾, 11, 13¾, and 20 inch. In 1924, HMV produced a 1
inch record containing a brief version of God Save the King. I don't know
Scott de Martinville, a Parisian typesetter and tinkerer, developed what
he called the Phonautograph , and on 9 April 1860 made what is arguably
the first sound recording - rivaling Edison's claim. The 10-second recording
of a singer crooning the folk song ‘Au Clair de la Lune', was recorded
on the Phonautograph by etching the sound waves onto a sheet of paper blackened
by smoke from an oil lamp. The ‘recording' howver could not be played back.
On 27 March 2008, the New York Times announced that scientists at the Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory in California, led by David Giovannoni,
had used optical imaging to extract sound from the patterns inscribed on
the paper nearly one and a half centuries old. Scott's 1860 phonautogra,
was made seventeen years before Edison received a paatent for the phonograph,
and twenty-eight years before an Edison associate captured a snippet of
a Handel oratorio on a wax cylinder. The Scott recording was made available
on the internet. I heard it but could not made out anything intelligible.
But then, I'm going deaf!
state when the first jazz record was released would require a definitive
statement on just what is jazz. A ‘ragtime' recording was made in London
on 4 May 1899 called Rice's Ragtime Opera, played on guitar and mandolin,
but that is stretching the credibility to suggest that it was true ragtime
a la Scott Joplin. On 18 Septembeer 1899, You Got to Play Ragtime, was
recorded on Berliner disc, played by the United States Marine Band; then
a banjoist named Richard L. Weaver recorded Ragtime Dance on 14 December
1899. Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag was recorded on disc in 1906. It appears
that the first true jazz recoding so accepted as that was by the Original
Dizieland Jazz Band, recorded on 26 February 1917, made by Victor (USA).
The record, consisting of Dixieland Jass Band One-Step, and Livery
Stable Blues, sold over 8 million copies over the following eight years.
Columbia had actually recorded them a month before, with Darktown Strutter's
Ball, and Indiana, but the recordings were attrocious due to Columbia's
inexperience in recording the five jazz instruments; Columbia decided not
to issue the record,and the ODJB went to Victor who released their
recording. It is stated that Columbia ‘reversed their decision' but whether
their ODJB record was ever released I am not sure. The first big band was
that of Art Hickman and His Orchestra at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco
in September 1919, for Columbia. Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra made his
forst recording in November 1920, for Victor. The tunes: Whispering and
The Japanese Sandman which sold over a million records in five years.
Jenkins and His Orchestra.
was a pianist, and arranger for Isham Jones, and later for Woody herman
and others, who formed a ‘commercial' orchestra. He wrote the somewhat
mournful ballad ‘Goodbye', popularised by Benny Goodman. I am tempted to
record this myself playing clarinet so it can be played back at my funeral
but it is best that I go out to the sounds of BG - why submit the
mourners, if there be any, to further distress!
and Vertical Recording.
The recording stylus vibrates from side to side in a groove of constant
depth. The recording pickup is a sharp needle which follows the meanderings
of the recorded track. These were known in the early days when vertical
recording was still around, as, wait for it - needle recordings. ‘Modern'
78rpm records have lateral recording.
recording: Also called hill-and-dale recording, the recording stylus moved
up and down when making the groove. Thus the groove profile was of constant
width but varying depth depending on the intensity of the vibration. Playback
was by means of a rounded sapphire stylus. The thick Edison discs, and
Pathe records, were vertically cut. [From The Illustrated History
term raised by Simon in The Big Bands; appears to refer to the quality
of musicianship of the band rather than the type of music they played -
but generally refering to dance bands of forgettable quality. Even so,
some ‘Mickey Mouse Bands' weaned musicians who went on to personal fame
in the Big Band Era because of the quality of their playing. I get the
impression that invariably these bands played seet or dance music - in
other words they did not swing due to "... the sectrion's inherent conservatism,
bands that phrased in an old-fashioned way and blazed few new trails",
but were readily accepted, particuarly in the (USA) mid-west. Simon, in
The Big Bands, does not put them down, and recognises their place in the
dance band world, listing nine leaders of such bands. [Simon, The big Bands,
p491] Max Kaminsky in his My Life in Jazz also refers to society bands
and Mickey Mouse bands.
Graphophone, Gramophone. All quite confusing really. Firstly, it
was Edison who used the word ‘phonograph', which played a brass cylinder
and wqs marketed by the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company, New York, which
was founded in 1878. A prime use was in talking dolls , and in the office
for disctation; music was not considered. On 20 October 1881, Alexander
Graham Bell, his cousin Chichester Bell, and Charles Sumner Tainter
presented their Graphophone' to the Smithsonian Institution in Wshington.
This could be seen as ian improvement on Edison's cylinder playing machine
in that it used wax cylinders. (There were other differences - for example,
the Edison Phonograph had a fixed stylus with the cylinder moving laterally,
whilst the Graphophone had a (laterally) fixed cylinder with the stylus
moving laterally. The Bells and Tainter approached Edison to amalgamate
resources but Edison rejected them. Rebuffed, they sold their machine to
a group who formed The American Graphophone Company, in Washington. The
battle was on. The U.S. Gramophone Company was founded in Washington in
1893 by Emile Berliner, to manufacture and market the disc records that
he had patented, with the first discs going on sale the following year.
The National Gramophone Co was formed in 1896 to market Gramophone machines
and disc records. A remarkable fallout and legal squabbles led to Beliner
unable to sell his own product in the USA. The Gramophone Co was founded
in London in 1897. This became The Gramophone and Typewriter Company Ltd
(G&T) in 1900 to produce and market the machines and records made in
London, Paris, Moscow and St.Petersburg. The His Master's Voice trademark
with Nipper the dog, was established in 1899, but not used in the UK till
1909, when the HMV label was first introduced. (Previously the ‘recordinging
angel' logo was used). After many mergers and buy-outs, G&T led to
the establishment of the formidable Electrical and Musical Industries (EMI)
in April 1931.
First pre-recorded cylinders for private use made by the North American
Phonograph Company, released 1 April 1892. Edisons wax Amberol cylinders
released October 1908, and the Blue Amberols in 1912. Columbia however
ceased cylinder production in 1912.
Berliner's discs for kids.
First 10 inch disc, 78rpm released, by Victor. The 10 inch ‘78' remained
in production till 1959 when EMI called it quits in the UK in favour of
the microgroove. Its demise however commenced not long after the LP was
introduced, but there were still recordings of pop stars such as Elvis
and Little Richard in the mid-1950s.
12 inch disc released.
First double-sided discs.
Edison released the Diamond Disc.
Electrical recording introduced.
LP discs at 33 rpm introduced, by Columbia.
45rpm 7-inch disc intriduced, by RCA Victor.
1960s: The 10inch LP abandoned, leaving only the 12 inch 33 rpm, and 1o
inch 45 rpm records as standard.
take it for granted that when a neddle is placed at the start of a record,
ie, at the outer edge of (most) records, it will ‘automatically' take up
the groove and commence ‘playing'. Observation of most ‘modern' 78s, and
indeed all microgroove recoerds, show one or two widely spaced ‘tracks',
ie a groove widely spaced, prior to the densely packed tracks of the record
proper. These are ‘lead-in' tracks that ‘pick up' the stylus and ‘carries'
it onward to the music groove. But this has not always been so. Up until
1930, the needle relied on the mechanical pull of the needle toward the
centre due to friction between the needle and record material, thus bringing
it in to the start of the music groove. Thuws there was a smooth
‘ring' around the music ‘tracks'. Indeed, some early records even had a
lip on the outer circumference of the record just in case the laws of physics
did not co-operate and the arm with stylus wanted to slide off the record.
By 1936, all records had lead-in tracks.
was it? I cannot find a formal definition. It is refered to frequently
by George T. Simon in The Big Bands, and appears to refer to those large
hotel (ball)room bands that played sweet dance music to the upper echelons
of city society. [Simon, The big Bands]
turned at either 80 or 160 rpm. The early yellow wax cylinders (and dictation
cylinders) turned at 80 rpm, whilst the black moulded, and Amberols were
played at 160 rpm. Disc rotation varied, with the hill and dale records
being played anywhere from 80 to 120 rpm - it was generally stated on the
label at what spped they should be played.
more ‘modern' 78s were supposed to rotate at that speed but it could vary
from 75 to 84 rpm. The Diamond Disc was required to spin at 80 rpm, and
some specific labels require a speed of up to 80rpm - usually this was
noted on the label. But the question is often raised - why 78 rpm - and
45 rpm, and 33 rpm. Firstly, considering the early accoustic
reproduction of sound by means of vibration alone, the speed of the needles
along the track is important. If too slow, the sound reproduction is compromised,
becoming poor as the speed slows. The setting for this has to consider
the inner tracks of the record which has a slower linear speed than the
other tracks. If the speed is too fast, the needle can ‘zip' along and
glide over the track without vibrating to its optimum. Also, faster speeds
mean longer tracks, which cuts down the duration of the tune over the fixed
size of say a ten inch disc. By trial and error the industry determined
that aan optimum speed was around 80 rpm. This standard could have been
adopted, and certainly can be reproduced on a wind-up player. But consideration
neded to be given to the electrical recording equipment, and it was this
equipment which set the speed. It has to do with the advent of the synchronised
electric motor (not sure of the date - early 1900s I presume). A synchronised
motor rotates at a speed relative to the frequency of the AC power it uses.
In the USA, AC power was of 60 hertz, ie 60 cycles per second. This is
3600 cycles per minute. My understaning is that a synchronised motor rotates
at a speed relative to the hertz of the current, thus a synchronised more
would rotate at 3600 revolutions per minute. The recording cutter needed
to rotate at the same speed as the player, and at a much less rotational
speed, so gearing was required. To give a rotational speed of the optimum
of around 80, the gearing would need to be 3600/80 = 45:1. Oops! Gears
are best manufactured with an even number of cogs, so lets see what,
say, a ration of 46:1 would bring - this is 78.26 rpm. Round it off, and
there is your answer. As for the other ‘microgroove' speeds, the ratio
calculations still apply as synchronised motors were used: divide 3600/108
and you get 33 rpm, divide 3600/80 and you get 45 rpm.
But arn't these speeds too slow, according to the criteria for linear speed
mentioned previously? No, because technology resulted in electronic amplification
allowing a smaller needle (point) that did not need to ‘vibrate' so vigorously
to provide an audible sound, and technology and material (vinyl) provided
the ability to have ‘narrower' width tracks to allow more ‘grooves' per
inch and hence more recorded sound per record. All very interesting!
Oliver and His Orchestra.
was initially an arranger for Jimmie Lunceford and Tommy Dorsey, but did
not form a big band until after the Big Band Era was virtually over. The
band did not last, but Oliver went on to arrangeing and conducting for
the likes of Frank Sinatra, and also led a nine-piece group which featured
on the popular Jackie Gleeson show.
& Group Names
Dance Orchestra Ben Pollack's Orchestra. On Winner
Orchestra Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra. On Winner label.
Stompers Devine's Wisconsin Roof Orchestra. On Winner Winner
Joe Jackson Benny Goodman. According to Hammond, occasionally used
by BG when recording with Columbia as a sideman
whilst cotracted with Columbia. BG recordedmfor
Irving Mills on the Columbia label till 1934 (when he switched to
ChocolateDandies Led by alto-saxophonist Benny Carter. Recorded on