There is a cool story in today’s NYTimes on the restoration of never before heard jazz recordings from the 1930’s, dubbed the “Savory Collection”:
Recorded from radio broadcasts in the late 1930s by an audio engineer named William Savory, it was known to include extended live performances by some of the most honored names in jazz — but only a handful of people had ever heard even the smallest fraction of that music, adding to its mystique.
After 70 years that wait has now ended. This year the National Jazz Museum in Harlem acquired the entire set of nearly 1,000 discs, made at the height of the swing era, and has begun digitizing recordings of inspired performances by Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Bunny Berigan, Harry James and others that had been thought to be lost forever. Some of these remarkable long-form performances simply could not be captured by the standard recording technology of the time. (Mr. Savory used a different format.) The Savory collection also contains examples of underappreciated musicians playing at peak creative levels not heard anywhere else, putting them in a new light for jazz fans and scholars.
There are some short audio samples of the original and remastered versions as well (you can still hear some noise and scratches in the tracks, but the quality is amazing compared to other recordings from the same time period). Continue reading more.