Thanks a lot for the info, Mike. I wish I had seen that CD out because I
would have bought it. I also wish I had bought more of the Japanese reissues
of Verve and Mercury jazz in the early 1990's because a lot of that material
never was released here and is now only sold as iTunes download (grrrr).
I would have guessed Capitol NYC but when you said Nola for the studio it
makes sense. Nola had a lot of thick drapes around so they got an isolated
sound where the small-group instruments are very precise. Capitol NYC had
pull-down or pull-across drapes, I think, based on photos I've seen but I
might be wrong. They, too, got tight isolation on individual instruments in
The guys with the huge discography site in Japan are very friendly but they
do indeed perpetuate old myths and errors. And they're slow on adding
corrected info, but they have a giant undertaking there. In their defense,
they own a lot of the Mercury LPs, for instance, and, knowing what I do
about how Polygram and then Universal keep some of these vault records, I'd
trust the original LP information over such sources as that multi-book
Mercury discography (which is full of errors).
Here's one huge myth that you can all take to the bank -- there was never
any such thing as a "Mercury Recording Studio" in the 50's and early 60's as
in a place where original jazz recordings were made. This shows up as the
"recording location" in some Polygram and Universal reissues and in many a
discography. Mercury had an editing/sequencing setup in their 5th Avenue
offices, which had its own take sheets and tape box labels saying "Mercury
Recording Studio." This was also used to make safeties of session tapes
(remember that in the "golden era", most sessions were recorded live to
full-track or two-track; the better studios ran two tapes at once, but
still, what you walked out with was it as far as original material). So,
many tapes ended up in the vault with Mercury Recording Studio stationary
and then the people overseeing the first round of Polygram/Verve reissues
dutifully reported that as the source of the recording. The myth was further
perpetuated in that multi-volume discography. For a brief time in the late
60's and/or perhaps early 70's, Mercury did have a recording room in
Manhattan, but this was mostly or totally used for rock albums. They also
briefly had a studio in San Francisco that was sold to Bill Putnam's studio
empire out there. This would have been late 60's timeframe.
As most know, Mercury/Emarcy and Verve are now one in the same for jazz. And
Impulse and GRP have been added under the umbrella since the
Universal/Polygram merger. I would assume Chess jazz is also part of that
I can speak a little bit to Mercury's historic preferences for studios for
jazz sessions. That doesn't mean that all sessions done in these cities were
done only at these studios, but these were the main players.
For New York: Fine Sound (1953-1956), Capitol NYC, Nola Penthouse Studio,
Fine Recording (1958-1971 but Mercury probably made their last jazz session
there in 1964), A&R from the early 60's onward, Bell Sound during their hot
period (early 60s), and probably a couple or a few at Olmstead. For Los
Angeles: Radio Recorders early on and then Capitol and later Bill Putnam's
studios. For Chicago: almost all at Putnam's Universal Studios.
For Verve, Norman Granz did most of his NYC mid-50's studio work at Fine
Sound and some at Fine Recording before he sold to MGM. He also did a lot of
work at Fulton Sound (might be officially called Fulton Studios) and did
some late 50's and very early 60's work at Olmstead (that fantastic-sounding
Buddy Rich album "Blue Caravan") and Capitol NYC and Nola. In California,
Granz did all or most work at Radio Recorders. I'm not totally sure who all
he used for live engineers but I know my father did some of the early Jazz
at the Philharmonic concert recordings in NY. In the late 40's and early
50's, Granz worked at Reeves Studios NYC. Come to think of it, there are
some Verve albums up into the 50's done at Reeves also.
From what I see on Verve reissue discs, there seem to be large gaps in the
documentation. Yet, as of the time that MGM was reissuing Verve on
budget-priced LPs, they usually had studio info and even the engineer's name
listed. And of course this info was listed on every Mercury jazz album for a
while, which particularly irks me when I see a reissue CD with wrong info.
Surely someone at the record company could just look at the LP jacket image
on the Japanese website (many if not most Mercury jazz LPs jacket images are
up there) if they have questions or doubts! In the case of the Impulse
albums, many of those covers are full of studio photographs, and many of the
engineers' names are listed so just a little sleuthing would turn up the
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Fitzgerald" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 6:04 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] original sequence of two Verve records
> At 03:27 PM 10/17/2005, you wrote:
> >I'm hoping someone here has the original LPs of Harry "Sweets" Edison's
> >Swinger" and "Mr. Swing" and can tell me the original song sequences of
> >these albums. Also, if someone has the 1999 briefly-available reissue CD
> >those records, can you tell me where the two extra songs are from, same
> >sessions or different sessions/lineups?
> I do not have the LPs, but do have the CD. It purports to present the
> material as originally issued (and all evidence supports this), so:
> [The Swinger - Verve MGVS 6037]
> Pussy Willow
> The Very Thought Of You
> The Strollers
> Fair Ground
> [Mr. Swing - Verve MGVS 6118]
> Love Is Here To Stay
> Short Coat
> Baby, Won't You Please Come Home?
> Ill Wind
> The two unissued tunes were from the same session (September 15, 1958
> at Nola Recording Studio). On the CD, they are at the ends of each
> disc. How Am I To Know? follows Fair Ground and Blues In The Closet
> follows Ill Wind.
> >PS -- the usually somewhat helpful jazzdisco.org discography was not too
> >helpful in this case.
> Just in case there is any confusion, the above website has nothing to
> do with me. My site is www.jazzdiscography.com - easily confused.
> Afraid I can't recommend the other one. As far as I can tell, they
> don't use the most up to date sources, perpetuate old errors,
> introduce new ones, and don't add much of anything to the body of
> knowledge in terms of original research.
> >PPS -- any idea why that 2-CD set was in print such a short time? The
> >format this stuff is available in now is crappy iTunes AAC.
> Verve Elite series CDs were marketed as limited edition from the
> start. If you really needed to know I could find the little sticker
> that said how many copies for this issue, but basically, as soon as
> this series began, I made it a point to purchase everything. And I'm
> glad I did.
> Completely agree about the downloadable situation.
> mike at JazzDiscography.com