Sunday, 6 December 2009


Feeling a bit cheerier. Still not running (looks like it may be a long lay off), but at least I can cycle without too much discomfort, and importantly without pain.
So it looks as though I'll be "confined" to a bike for a bit! Have to try and talk Anne into letting me get a new one!! Been out twice this weekend each time for over two hours with the old heart rate monitor averaging about 151 - so, thank god, I'm back into the cake burning zone!

Anyway. There are other reasons to be cheerful... Like cheap jazz thanks to UK copyright laws!!
When I first got into jazz the shops would be full of a plethora of cheap, and annoyingly badly packaged, compilations of jazz from the old trad bands and big bands of the thirties and forties.
If that's your bag - great. And I must admit that I did buy one or two. But most of the jazz that I listen to is more contemporary - a mere 50 years old in some cases. And that's the important bit... 50 years. Because in the good old UK after 50 years copyright expires (much to the disgust of Sir Cliff-scrotum face-Richard apparently). This means that everything recorded before then can be freely distributed and shared (I think - though I may be over simplifying).
So what does that mean in real terms? Well, the fifties were a very productive time for jazz. Productive in terms of both output volume and creativity. And it means that a lot of that good stuff is now becoming cheap - very cheap.
"Avid Jazz" have released a series of double CDs of albums all recorded prior to 1959. So for £5 you can pick up four albums by Sonny Rollins or four by Stan Getz.
I've picked up a few of these bargain CDs (Dizzy Gillespie, Zoot Simms etc.) and I have to say that I'm quite impressed.
Now, there are drawbacks - just because the copyright has expired that doesn't give any old distributor free access to the original master tapes. So these "re-issues" are I think simply copies of good quality first pressings. They have been, apparently, "digitally remastered" but I think that means nothing more than they have been quickly run through some standard software to eliminate the worst crackles or tape hiss. The result can mean that sometimes you don't quite get the crystal clarity you would hope for - but the sound is more than adequate. Lack of access to the masters means that the albums are pretty much presented the way they were when they were released in the 50s - no "extra" tracks or alternative takes here.
On the plus side Avid have gone to the bother of reproducing the original linear notes from the albums as well. So quite nice packaging.
These double CDs are great value and offer a good way to "get into" and "discover" some of the great jazz men of the 50's and at £5 for 38 tracks even work out cheaper than downloads.

No comments: