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Don Farwell, past president, PRJC

What if someone told you you could hear King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band as it sounded in 1923? You’d probably laugh, but the fact is that with the release of the Archeophone 2-CD set, “Off the Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings,” you can now hear this great band very much as it must have sounded at Chicago’s Lincoln Gardens.

    Making the appearance of these CDs even more significant is they are the brainchild and creation of PRJC member Dave Sager and recording expert Doug Benson. Dave ...research, assembling the best possible 78 rpm recordings, many in prime condition, and Doug transferred them to the digitized sound that is captured on the CDs. The result is truly astonishing and constitutes an extremely important contribution to jazz history.

    Dave Sager provided the set to both Gary Wilkinson and me. Shortly after he received it, Gary, perhaps unable to sleep, began playing it a 3 in the morning. He tells me that he was unable to stop listening until he had played all 37 tracks! That’s the kind of sledge-hammer impression these CDs are making the world over.

    And we shouldn’t forget Dave’s liner notes, which are superb. As Dan Morgenstern says in his Preface, “[our] enjoyment of the music is enhanced by David Sager’s words, offering many new insights and much new information, and well-reasoned personnel revisions. The latter will undoubtedly trigger discussion among the cognoscenti with the disputable evidence in clearer focus than ever before.”

    The Dixieland Jazz Mailing List is buzzing with excitement about this historic event, and reaction has been nothing short of ecstatic. Brian Harvey, and English radio personality, had this to say: “As far as my ears are concerned, the Archeophones are clearer, much more crisp and enable the listener to hear much more of what was going on within the band. There is much more ’presence’ with this new restoration and for one of the first times since about 1946 I found that playing these titles was very exciting. You can indeed now get a much better idea of the excitement created at the Lincoln Gardens and elsewhere.”

    And hear Steve Barbone, leader of Philadelphia’s Barbone Street Jazz Band: They are FAR SUPERIOR in fidelity to anything you’ve ever heard previously by King Oliver. I bought the set on the advice of a musician pal and was blown away by how much you can hear on this edition. In fact, they are so good that they will take away the argument of the re-creators that they do Oliver note for note so you can hear it in its original fidelity. Archeophone comes close, with the original creator.... This from a muso who doesn’t spend much time listening to dead guys.“

    Get the set so you can hear for yourself. It’s available from the Archeophone Web site
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