I hear what you're saying, but we just disagree. I don't WANT to see the rough drafts of a writer, I
can make my own rough drafts. I want to read a finished, polished piece of work as the writer wanted
to present it to the world. You don't win prizes for rough drafts, you win prizes for the skill (or
being blessed with an editor who has the skill) to take that rough draft and make it award-winning
As for music, I think a commercial release should be just that, a commercial piece of entertainment
software. Not a textbook on the artist noodling around before and after he finds a groove. In the
jazz world in the LP era, if a label had any vision or budget, they had one or more producers (A&R
man). The good ones of these guys were key in shaping coherent, viable albums. They and/or the
artist would call for "just one more take" and sometimes obtain the true gem. They, either alone or
with the artist and/or other execs would come up with the best sequence of tunes. The end product,
in the best cases, would be a polished commercial product. This is what I'm interested in, their
work of art, not what kind of brush strokes they tried to get there.
And as for the rejected takes and studio chatter, I feel very strongly about this -- if I were an
artist, I would order them destroyed or take possession of all my tapes. This is like an unpublished
manuscript published after a writer is dead, it violates the artists' privacy and cheapens their
art. It's a person's right as a creator to decide what of his or her creative output is put on
public display. I think it's voyeouristic and somewhat goulish not to respect that. I know there are
"must have every single bit of studio chatter" collectors who violently disagree with this! OK, so
you can have that stuff but can I at least have the original albums as they were released as an
artistic and commercial statement? I'm out to be entertained, not watch a guy change his reeds or
play around on a riff until he finds the groove he needs for the master take.
Mike's point about "a sequence for each side" being busted up in the CD era is a good one, in my
opinion. But I've been surprised how well the great albums hang together as one 30-50 minute
sequence. Get over that time limit and it starts to drag for sure, which is another argument against
all the extra scraps. But I never minded putting the scraps at the end, I can just listen to the
album sequence (or either side sequence) and go on to another CD. What is difficult is trying to
piece together an album sequence out of a record-in-studio sequence if an album came from several
sessions spread on several discs. Again, it's a commercial entertainment product. I don't really
care what order it was recorded in as far as a listening experience.
Now that last sentence ties into Michel's point. I think as a WRITTEN discography product, a
reference/academic thing, session order is the logical way to present the data. One thing that would
be great is where an album cat number is listed, in parens state where in the sequence the tune
landed (ie ABD Records X-01 [A2], Columbia Records XC5001 [B5]), at least for the original LP
release. I know it's muddier with stuff that was released very early with perhaps both a 10" and 12"
issue at nearly the same time, but once you get past the early 50's it gets easier. If something was
just a single side (78 or 45), why not an indicator, asteric or something?
Back to MUSIC compilations, I understand why completist sets are done in
chronological/discographical order, although I think it's pedantic and boring to listen to them
straight through. But so why not list the original album titles and sequences for the rest of us who
bought the thing because we can't get the original albums anymore and like the artist? Then, in the
age of iPods, we can somewhat easily reconstruct the albums, not even transfer the junk cuts
(rejected takes and studio chatter) and enjoy the artistic statement as intended by the artist
and/or producer? That's all I'm asking for -- just a simple listing at the end of the booklets,
after the "proper" discography.
And BTW, the same thing goes for non-completist compilations like a record label "story" set or an
artist "overview" set. I think the nearly universal adherence to chronological order is lazy and
anal-retentitve. Why not make an entertaining product? Think about sequence. What songs go together
best? Hire a good DJ or other taste-maker (if such a person exists anymore) if you're more a vault
guy than a producer in the traditional sense?
My bottom line is, I think a finished commercial music product has many hands and there is valid
input from others beyond the artist. When it all clicks, you get a magical entertainment product
that combines a group of creative, well-played and properly recorded tunes with an over-brain
deciding things like sequence and album art so the end product is more than the artistic
performance. That end product is the real entertainment and I think the compilers dismiss it in too
cavalier a fashion.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 2:11 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Sonny Stitt Roost records discography wanted
From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> Did I mention how much I don't like chronological-discography compilations?
> This substitutes the taste and intents of the artist and producer(s) for
> some sort of academic study of a body of work. Boring! Bad enough to waste
> listening time with rejected takes and false starts, but also to destroy
> album continuity and vibe, for the sake of what? I never understood this
> sort of compilation, going back to multi-LP collections of the 70's and 80's.
> -- Tom Fine
I have the exact opposite attitude. The body of work of a performer
exists as it was recorded in the studio. The ordering of the items in
the album is usually an afterthought that rarely includes the performer,
just as the performer almost never knew what the album cover would look
like. If "album continuity" actually meant something, they would record
it in the studio in that order. Just recently I did hear a discussion
by George Avakian about how he decided on programming LP tracks, but
that was his decision alone as producer, not the performer. In a live
concert the performer usually makes the choice. That is not the same.
And if there HAS to be a certain order, every one of their concerts
would be ordered in the exact same order. Some do, and others NEVER do!
The pacing of an LP is different when it is combined into a CD with no
turn-over break. Comments have been made about the British LPs of the
Beatles as opposed to the U.S. albums. Some American listeners were
disoriented when they could only get the British versions on CD, so
Capitol put out a set of CDs of the American albums. But those were
arranged by the Capitol people without any input from the producer or
performers. But it is what the American kids grew up with and they
preferred it. And TRUE Beatles fans want to hear the recording sessions
to learn how the tracks themselves were built. You can't know that from
just the "finished product".
Studying recording sessions with busted takes and alternate takes in
order is similar to studying rough drafts of a writer. Studying the
drafts of great documents like the Declaration of Independence and
speeches like the Gettysburg Address and FDR's Declaration of War where
you can see how words and phrases were tried, changed, and modified
gives great insight into the creative process. Hearing a talented
performer's recording session can be similar. Certainly you have
attended orchestral rehearsals. Same thing. THEN when you hear the
actual performance or the approved take you know more about what went
Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Sonny Stitt Roost records discography wanted
From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, May 03, 2010 3:12 pm
To: [log in to unmask]
In one of my windmill-tilting projects for listening pleasure, I am
trying to deconstruct the Mosaic
set of Sonny Stitt Roost recordings and reconstruct it as the original
albums, in the proper
sequence. I couldn't find any good discography online. Does anyone have
the original Roost records?
Would you be willing to type in the song order and ping me on- or
off-list? Much appreciated, any
and all help. I will gather and organize the total of whatever I get
from the ether and publish in a
subsequent posting to this list.