I thought maybe Larry Appelbaum would respond to the questions regarding
this recording, but perhaps he's not on the list, or too busy to respond.
He spoke at the Institute of Jazz Studies a few weeks ago, and here's a
VOA recorded the concert and LC began receiving the VOA archives (many
thousands of recordings) in 1963. Jazz researchers (Lewis Porter in
particular) suspected the existence of the tapes starting in the
mid-1990's and made inquiries, but LC had years to go in their processing
schedule and had never received any kind of list from VOA of what they had
given to LC, so it was simply a matter of waiting for LC to work their
way throught the pile. It wasn't until early this year that the tapes were
discovered. Once they were, the quality of the recording and the
performances was such that there was no problem at all securing the
permissions of the Monk and Coltrane estates for release, and in fact T.S.
Monk essentially took control of the situation and got the record company
Two myths already seem to be growing up around this recording. One is that
the tapes were "previously unknown." Again, researchers had known about
the concert, and surmised that VOA had recorded it. If VOA had recorded
it, tapes were most likely sitting in the vault along with the rest of the
VOA archive at LC, it's just that there was no intellectual control over
that pile, meaning no cataloging data of any kind. The second myth is that
as T.S. Monk has said in at least one interview, "it's a miracle" that the
tapes were found. It wasn't anything of the kind. Rather it was the
result of money and resources being spent on a methodical processing job.
Larry and his staff go into work every day with a new bunch of material to
digitize and catalog, they do the job and they do it well. So many
archives, as we all know, lack the staffing and resources to do the same
kind of methodical, usually thankless work. In this case, we should be
using the Monk/Coltrane issue as an example of what you come up with when
you can process over the long haul.
Wilson Processing Project
The New York Public Library