The UNT Music Library has posted the first ten recordings from its Willis Conover Collection, which were digitized under a grant from the Grammy Foundation. The grant makes possible the digital preservation of the oldest 360 of the approximately 2100 reel-to-reel tapes in the collection, which span the early 1950s through 1969, and include interviews with Dave Brubeck, Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, Billy Taylor, and many others.
The recordings may be found here:
The first ten include:
- interviews with Kai Winding, George Avakian, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Johnny Hodges, and Louis Armstrong with Woody Herman and Bobby Hackett.
- unreleased (as far as we have been able to confirm) Bill Evans Trio at the Village Vanguard
- a program pilot Conover recorded for his early-'50s sponsor, Ballantine Ale
- a small reel sent by Louis Armstrong to his manager, Joe Glaser, which includes a spoken message and recorded music
- a performance by "The" Orchestra of Washington, D.C., a big band promoted by Conover which hosted Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell, among others.
Needless to say, we look forward to adding to the available recordings over the coming months.
Music Special Collections Librarian
University of North Texas