ABC actually owned the label even before it was badged Command. ABC/Paramount bought a controlling
interest in Grand Award in the 50's, but Enoch Light maintained creative control of the label.
Command was launched to set the new Percussion records apart from the previous Grand Award brand.
The classical recordings came after Command had been very successful in the early "stereo
spectacular" business. Persuasive Percussion was one of the most successful pop records of the 60's
(see Billboard charts, etc). There were several other titles that sold many hundreds of thousands
of copies. All of this provided a lucrative base from which to try a deluxe and expensive way of
making classical recordings. All of this is paraphrased from interviews as told to Richard Gradone
by Enoch Light. In the mid-60's, Enoch Light decided to split away and start his own label where he
was in complete control, Project 3. His business partner, interestingly, was Singer sewing machine
company! The early Project 3 stuff was recorded at Fine Recording but by the late 60's, the
recordings were mostly made at A&R. Project 3 was a very early Quad label. It will be interesting
to see what titles get reissued. That stuff was pretty "Mod Squad" but a lot of fun with very clever
arrangements. More electric than earlier Command, and some more extreme gimmicks, like booking every
studio trombone player in NY to make an album with Urbie Green, etc.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott D. Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:35 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Project 3 masters
Very interesting. I thought that ABC had dumped the idea of recording
on 35mm after they bought the label from Enoch Light. Thanks for the
Quoting Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>:
> Hi Mark:
> All your posts are good news. Good luck with all your reissue efforts.
> So, are those UK reissues made from copies and safeties or worse? Some
> label that was distributed at least for awhile by Universal had out
> some of the Everest Woody Herman titles on CD, made from really bad LP
> transfers. My old quarter-tracks sound better!
> The authorized Everest transfers, done by Classic, sound very good for
> those on the list interested in this corner of music-recording history.
> Bernie Grundman did a first-class mastering job. I prefer the 3-channel
> high-resolution DVD-audio versions, but the vinyl reissues sound better
> than the originals. That's great that more titles are coming.
> Just to clear up one misconception on a related thread. Command
> Classics did continue to record some albums on film after Enoch Light
> left ABC/Command to start Project 3. The last Command Classics session
> done on 35mm was in Pittsburgh in 1967. Interestingly, the main
> engineer on that session, Ted Gossman, was an Everest veteran who had
> made some of the Everest 35mm recordings nearly a decade earlier.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Jenkins" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 9:28 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Project 3 masters
> We actually represent the current owners of the Project 3 catalogue, SPJ
> Music, for licensing. We have not exploited this particular catalogue
> as of yet (as our initial interest was in the Vox catalogue, which is
> also owned by them). I'm in the process of getting a list of the type
> of masters in the archive still extant (multi-channel, 35mm, quad,
> etc.). Presently, the masters for these are in storage in
> Massacheusetts. I do not, as of yet, have a good handle on the
> condition of these, but will update you when known.
> Mark Jenkins
> President, Licensing Division
> Madacy Entertainment LP/Countdown Media
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Scott D. Smith
> Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 5:54 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm magnetic film as a music-master recording
> To the best of my knowledge, Command stopped using 35mm as a recording
> medium after Enoch Light sold the label to ABC Records in 1965. ABC then
> sold it to MCA, who promptly relegated it to the trash heap of
> re-issues. A sad story...
> Richard Gradone did a doctoral dissertation on the career of Enoch Light
> and his record labels while at NYU in 1980. I have never read it, so I
> don't know if it might contain any pertinent information or not.
> I have only a few Project 3 original releases. I know that "Patterns in
> Sound" series was done on 35mm, but after that, I'm really not sure.
> There is also the entire catalog of Project 3 quad releases, which I
> assume were probably done on 4 track tape, but could have been recorded
> on 35mm 4 track mag as well.
> In general, the recordings that Enoch Light did under the Command label
> were considered by many to be both artistically and technically superior
> to the Project 3 releases, which had arrangements which were tended to
> be less interesting than those that were done under the Command label.
> In general, they didn't sell as well as the Command releases did.
> I have no idea what Essex is doing with the current catalog, or even
> where the masters are. My guess is that they are probably in about the
> same condition as the Everest masters.
> The only other possible release I can think of might be the 1957
> (Stokowski) version of "Fantasia", release by Walt Disney under the
> Buena Vista label. Sadly, the original 1939 recording has been lost to
> time, having been recorded on 35mm nitrate film, and later transferred
> to 3 track magnetic film over a jury-rigged class A phone line
> arrangement in 1955. Despite this, Terry Porter managed to clean it up
> fairly well for the 1980 re-release.
> There were also a number of other movie soundtracks which were done on
> 35mm mag for film release, some which ran simultaneous session tapes. I
> know a few scoring mixers who worked in Hollywood during the early
> seventies. They have told me that practices varied from session to
> session. Some would run tape and film, others were done only on film
> (usually four track or six track), and later mixed to a 2 track tape
> master for album release. Since liner notes seldom contained these
> details, they are probably lost to time. Nearly every mixer I've spoken
> to has preferred the quality of the mag film masters over those done on
> tape. This is probably primarily due to the faster speed of the film
> (equivalent to 18 IPS), thicker oxide formulations, and wider track
> configuration (150 mil for 3 track, 100 mil for 6 track).
> Nearly all the mag film that I have worked with from the mid-1950's
> through the late 60's has suffered from some degree of VS, some much
> more so than others. Even film that has been stored in decent vault
> conditions has suffered, primarily due to the fact that most of it has
> been stored in sealed film cans, which doesn't allow for venting of the
> film. Most of the films also suffer from various degrees of base warp,
> which makes for a difficult situation when it comes to maintaining
> film-to-head contact.
> Scott D. Smith
> *Chicago Audio Works, Inc.*
> Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi All:
>> I'm cookin' up some research here and I figured I throw a few
>> questions out to the group. The topic: the use of 35mm mag-film as the
>> main recording medium for music albums.
>> 1. As far as I can tell, before Everest Records started using 35mm to
>> do classical music recording sessions, the only prior use of 35mm as
>> an album-recording or album-mastering medium was a few cases of
>> film-soundtrack albums where the LP master was cut right from the 35mm
>> soundtrack magnetic master. I think RCA issued a few of these early in
>> the LP era but I'm not positive those were from 35mm magnetic masters
>> (they might have been from optical masters from pre-magnetic film
>> days). Any specific pre-Everest titles would be most appreciated.
>> Everest's use of mag-film was circa 1959-60.
>> 2. The mag-film trend was short-lived, I think. As far as I can tell,
>> by 1964 or so, only Command Records was still regularly making 35mm
>> mag-film masters for music albums. Any information on other labels
>> aside from Command and Project 3 regularly using 35mm as their
>> recording and mastering medium in the mid-60's would be appreciated.
>> The last Mercury Living Presence film sessions were 1963. Mercury's
>> pop Perfect Presence series ended in late 1961, if I recall correctly.
>> 3. By the late 60's, I think only Enoch Light's Project 3 Records was
>> still regularly recording and/or mastering to 35mm. If anyone has
>> information different from this, I'd be most appreciative if they'd
>> share it. I think Project 3 continued to use 35mm regularly into the
>> early 70's, even creating 4-track quad masters. But I don't have any
>> specifics about that era and Project 3, so any additional information
>> is greatly appreciated.
>> For those shy and/or discreet, please feel free to ping me off-list
>> and thank you in advnace.
>> -- Tom Fine
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