New vrs Old Big band Albums!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetrmb, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. trumpetrmb

    trumpetrmb New Friend

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portsmouth, England
    I'm just curious really as to everyones opinion on old and new recordings. I've been trawling through my 'old school' big band albums of late, enjoying the lead playing of Benny Bailey, Bud Brisbois, Conrad Gozzo. I have to say that i love the sound of those recordings! Albums like (Buddy Bregman's) Swingin' Kicks, Kenton In High-Fi sound so much more alive than their modern day brothers. At risk of smacking the hornet's nest I think that when you compare them to Phat band, Grp etc recording's (as great as the playing is on them) they sound a bit flat!! Old school kicking new school's arse!!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    The new bands feature a lot of screaming brass, but the three trumpets in Goodman's band, Chris Griffin, Ziggy, and Harry), sounded as good, and bright and brassy as anyone ever did!!
  3. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    One of the biggest factors in the two is recording tech.
    Older big band recordings , even the stereo ones tended to use simple mic placement.
    Just 2 well placed mics in front of the band and one or two more for soloist/vocals.
    Also they tended to use "live" takes... that is all in one shot through the music a few times then maybe some brush up sections for editing.
    Newer digital age recordings are exciting in their own right.
    Clean crisp recordings , great mix, almost flawless notes and hard to detect any splices if there are any. Yet sometimes I feel the seat of your pants thrill of "live" (in the studio) performance is missing.
  4. trumpetrmb

    trumpetrmb New Friend

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portsmouth, England
    I totally agree with you Steve. I love the sound of 'one take' recordngs. It annoys me sometimes at how polished and compressed albums are nowadays. Not that it is typical of big bands only, look at the backlash from Metallica's last release. It's a shame because the playing is so good by all of these fantastic players.
  5. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    I agree with your and the others observations. I have a significant number from my collecting over the last 50 yrs or so. Kenton in Hi Fi was one of my earlier ones (found stereo later). Other include many other Kenton's, Glen Gray, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Ted Heath, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, Maynard, Bill Chase, etc. I still like to load a platter up and enjoy the ambience. CD's are OK, but feel a bit sterile compared to the analog originals.
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    It's interesting to go to sites like the Airmen of Note website - you get recordings of the same piece of music over decades - slightly different arrangements, different band directors etc - but you can range from 1962 through to the mid 2000's. It's an interesting ride - careful, there is a lot of music there.
  7. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009

    Yes, Airmen of Note is a great group. We luckily get them here in Montgomery every Christmas so youhave a mix of both the older big band charts and Christmas music big band. Personally, I think Christmas songs are perfect for jazz bands.

    As others noted, there is nothing like a live recording. Buddy Rich's Mercy and Swingin' New Band are both fabulous live, as well as Kentons Live at Redlands and-the most famous among those here -Maynard's, Live at Jimmy's. There is something about the sound of a live recording, rather than takes from a studio, that makes it sound "right." A lot of the studio recordings seem so sterile -and, if you think about it, one would NEVER hear a band like you hear from many of the studio productions.
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree with Rick, it's too sterile. It's not so much studio verses live, all though I do prefer live.It's the way the musicians are miked,one mike per person . This takes the blend and dynamics out of the hands of the musicians and puts them in the hands of the mixer. To me the sound is too homogeneous,not real.
  9. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    I agree. I forgot about the live albums mentioned above plus Kenton's Live at the Tropicana, The classic Road Show at Purdue with June Christy, the 4 Freshman and Brass albums, Gerald Wilson, etc. I have enjoyed the Airmen of Note's stuff for years and was able to download a bunch of their tracks some years ago.
  10. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    A little to the left here; but the first live Big Band I ever saw was the Daly-Wilson Big Band in the early 1970s (Ed Wilson Trom, and Warren Daly Drums). That Band played everything - sponsored by Benson & Hedges, so politically incorrect these days, but those guys could swing. A great Band to watch, but costly to keep on the road.

    I love the sound of the Miller Band, Dorsey, Goodman, then it moves to a new gear with Basie and Ellington, then sideways with Kenton - different focus on musicality. Then Buddy Rich and Ferguson. I get moved spiritually when I hear some of these guys,

    The new Big Bands are for entertainment, and I think that is good to keep the opportunity there for Pros to get a play.

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