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hartwiseOffline
Post subject: Gene Krupa & Orchestra Acetate  PostPosted: Oct 08, 2014 - 06:07 PM
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Can anyone shed some light on this acetate I found in a large jazz collection recently? Don't know if you can see it in the scan but the station is WNEW and obviously it's from 1943. This starts with some audience applause and then someone (Krupa maybe?) speaks saying "now you know what we mean when we say cookin' with brass". A bit more talk which mentions a Gene someone (not Krupa) and then the song starts. I think maybe he says Gene Howard who was a vocalist with the Krupa band and this song does have vocals. It ends with a great trumpet solo. Any ideas about whether this would have been recorded only for radio broadcast or something else? Any help will be greatly appreciated.



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AudioGasoline
Post subject:   PostPosted: Oct 09, 2014 - 10:36 AM
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My guess is that this was likely recorded during a performance at Steinway Hall (the NOLA studio was in the top floor of the same building - in fact, I think it still is), or a performance at Carnegie Hall (which was/is across the street). OR, it could have been recorded off the air during a WNEW broadcast. A listen can usually tell you, if it's playable at all, since radio recordings usually sound pretty washy.

Radio history buffs may be interested in the WNEW (AM) call letters - they were pioneers in many of the concepts that are common in radio today: hourly news updates, "morning shows", disc jockey personalities, all-night broadcasting, and they were famously one of the first stations (if not THEE first) to play standard music records over the air. In the mid 30's, stations were still doing a lot of spoken shows (like acting over the radio); broadcasted music was usually performed in-studio by house bands or guest artists, or records were played via exclusivity contracts between artists and networks. WNEW is generally considered the first station to start playing commercial recordings over the air without these contracts. They were sued by Fred Waring and Danny Kaye (and others) and won, opening the door for stations anywhere to openly broadcast "over-the-counter" recorded music. Quite a big deal, in light of where this change has brought us today.

The purpose of the recording is more speculative, but since it's stamped "Master", it was likely copied to some extent. It was common practice at the time to record performances and make copies for other radio stations in the network to broadcast. Many times, these copies were done on acetate because they were cheaper, easier to ship across the country and weren't intended to be used long-term. Presumably though, copies wouldn't carry the "Master" stamp.

The date on the record is most interesting to me, assuming that it's a recording/performance date. 1943 was the year he was arrested for marijuana, including felony charges. The arrest was in late January, and the case/jail time dragged out through the end of summer. It was very messy: he was arrested, made bail, charges changed and then re-arrested, re-bailed (two or three times, IIRC). He served a total of about three months over the course of 6-8 months, and all charges were eventually dropped (after final sentencing) because of poor police work. This record is dated May of that year, which is right in the middle of all this, but during the "make bail and get re-arrested" period. He must have performed little during this time, and the fact that the court proceedings were in San Francisco while this record appears to be from New York is interesting and opens a lot of questions. Perhaps this was recorded from a NY radio broadcast of a performance from elsewhere. So hard to tell, but I like the mystery.

You've got a nice find there, IMHO. It might not have a high resale value, but is a great little piece of history. Krupa's band broke up during his final stint in jail, and it was with the new band that he developed the small-ensemble bop sound he is now mostly known for. Harder to find the earlier big-band pieces with his first orchestra. If it were me, this baby would be a keeper - although, depending on condition, I might be scared to play it even once.
 
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rooster
Post subject:   PostPosted: Oct 09, 2014 - 05:24 PM
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That is a very cool find. In 1943, radio was king. Clearly this is a live recording from old time radio. It could have been recorded for any number of radio shows that were broadcast from WNEW, probably during 1943. I have four or five remote broadcasts by Gene Krupa, and this doesn't seem to be from any of those. As AG pointed out, Krupa had his problems in 1943, so he probably didn't record too many discs in that time period. In addition, the song, "In The Blue Of The Evening" is generally associated with Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra, not Krupa (although others did record it). All in all, like AG, for me this would be a keeper.


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hartwiseOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: Oct 10, 2014 - 09:30 AM
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Thanks for all the great info AG and Rooster! I love the mystery of it as well and don't plan on letting this disc go anywhere except maybe to a young collector in town who is much more into jazz than I am. When I showed it to him he said it was the coolest thing he had ever seen! Very, very interesting that this was recorded during the time that Krupa was going through all the arrest problems. The disc is in decent shape with some scratches and I've only played it a couple of times. I may play it once more and record it into the computer. I'll post a link if and when I do so you can hear it and maybe help figure out who's speaking and who's singing. Thanks again!
 
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