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Re: [RedHotJazz] Box sets

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  • David W. Littlefield
    ... I prefer the boxed sets, but in double-CD jewel boxes, not the 3-4-CD boxes, which are so hard to store. I like thick, informative booklets, but print em
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 11, 2004
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      At 01:41 PM 10/11/2004 +0200, Michael wrote:
      >With all of this discussion on boxed sets, what are list members� opinions
      >on large and expensive boxed sets?

      I prefer the boxed sets, but in double-CD jewel boxes, not the 3-4-CD
      boxes, which are so hard to store. I like thick, informative booklets, but
      print 'em on thinner paper--I think Frog has the right idea for multiple

      I don't mind buying sets as individual CDs, if that's what it takes to fund
      the projects. Fortunately, 2-CD jewel boxes are relatively easy to find
      these days, at least in the USA. But then combining the paperwork is
      variously problematic.

      I wish all labels would have a track list w/playing times on the back cover
      of the booklets so one could discard any unnecessary tray cards. I think
      the booklet design of the Retrieval NORK set is ideal. If JO were to ask
      me, I could go on at greater length.

      I emphasize the storage aspect, because when one has a large collection,
      it's a hassle, because serious CD storage units seem to be unavailable.

      >How much are you prepared to spend,

      Except for Bear Family, non-budget reissue sets, eg Mosaic, JO, generally
      seem to be priced so each CD costs about the same as separate CDs, so the
      price is fine, it just hits one hard, but only once. I hate the LP-sized
      Mosaic boxes, because the books are a bloody pain to store--I still haven't
      found a convenient place chez moi for the last 3 Mosaic booklets...

    • Michael Rader
      After launching the thread in box sets, I think I should state my own opinions which might draw some comments from others. After some hesitation to replace my
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 12, 2004
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        After launching the thread in box sets, I think I should state my own opinions which might draw some comments from others.
        After some hesitation to replace my LPs, I have for some time been buying more or less symstematically all well-engineered CDs on such labels as Frog, Jazz Oracle, Retrieval, Timeless etc. These include some multiple sets (usually doubles, but recently some trebles), which I've gone along with, although in some cases after a delay (waiting for a slack period for other desirable releases).

        With regard to complete sets by artists, I definitely prefer to see them issued in installments, e.g. the 4 boxes of 3CDs each on Bix, the eight individual Bessie Smiths, the seven Ben Pollacks etc. The major problem is that some of these sets might not be completed. The French "Masters of Jazz" label reissued a wonderful series on Sidney Bechet which even included some previously unissued recordings, such as film soundtracks or recordings with Jabbo Smith. Unfortunately, the label seems to have ceased to exist, so is was never completed. The same goes for a marvellous complete Jelly Roll Morton set, although there were only one or two volumes to go.

        I have several of the early Mosaic sets, including some on LP. For me, there have been some problems with their recent productions:
        • They have insisted on issuing large sets, starting with their complete Commodore set of three boxes of over twenty records shortly after there had been major reissue programs by the then owner of Commodore on LP which made a lot of their stuff freely available.
        • Some of the sets cover a big range of music and sometimes duplicate things readily available elsewhere. While I bought their box of „Captitol Classics“ it contains a considerable amount of music I probably wouldn't have otherwise bought. A similar problem exists with the „Condon Gang“ box. I'd very much like the Rampart Street Paraders and the some of the other recordings, but buying the box would mean a lot of duplication. In such cases, it's sometimes good to wait for such organisations like Collectibles to get around to them. I bought almost all of Wilbur de Paris' output on LP only to find them reissued on Collectibles(!)
        • The Bix/Tram/Tea set contains much material I already have in very good sound elsewhere: the Bixes on Origin, the Tram on TOM and the Teagardens on Jazz Oracle, Conifer and one of Joe Showler's labels. There a couple of recordings I'd like, such as the two opening Trumbauer examples or the Bee Palmers without digital artifacts. The Louis Prima/Wingy Manone collection is frustrating if you've invested in the Collectors Classics CDs engineered by John R.T. Davies which duplicate Manone. The most desirable Venuti-Langs were available on a "legitimate" JSP double. They could easily have done another double using work done for a pair of LPs on the Venuti Orchestra and so on.

        As I've already said, Mosaic is planning a Red Nichols Five Pennies set. I wonder how many CDs that will include. I transferred my Five Pennies LPs to CD a couple of years back and filled about 6 CDs with an incomplete set, so it's going to be about 10, which works out to over 150 bucks. That's a sum I think several times about spending but probably will eventually – at latest when Mosiac announces that supplies are running low.

        If I were a real Charley Patton nut, I would have splashed out on the Revenant box, although I agree with the assessment that it's really silly in some ways. As it is, I already had most of the sides on Yazoo and Herwin LPs, but the JSP box did come as a real temptation (saved the work of doing transfers from LP to CD).

        I guess there is a market for things like the Revenant and also Bear Family boxes, but this is only for the dedicated. More casual listeners will prefer individual samplers of the „best of“ variety, but it also takes a very strong will to resist such tempations as boxes sold at the price of 1 to 2 regular CDs.

        In summary then, I prefer the "installment" approach. The problem with that is that the labels sometimes give special benefits to buyers of "complete" works, even if they originally issued them in dribs and drabs.


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      • Pavel Pitra
        Hi Sheik, Michael and all, I m only interested in the 20s and very early 30s and I m not much into pure blues, so this reduces the amount of material that I
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 13, 2004
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          Hi Sheik, Michael and all,

          I'm only interested in the 20s and very early 30s and I'm not much
          into pure blues, so this reduces the amount of material that I would
          like to buy. On the other hand I'm a "completist" (?) - i.e. I like
          to have all of the recordings by a specific artist or orchestra.
          Therefore, I prefer complete reissues to "best of" or other types of
          selections. Since I'm not particularly rich, I prefer the boxes
          because the "price per track" is in general lower. Moreover I resent
          with sadness the problem with individual CDs that you mentioned -
          some of the series never come to completion. This is for example the
          case of the Annette Hanshaw project on Sensation, and might also be
          the case of the George Olsen set on Renovation, although they seem to
          have released the second volume recently (but it took them maybe 2
          years since the first one; fortunately I managed to get the complete
          set from a private source).

          On the other hand some large sets are very expensive and if they
          duplicate too much what I have already I'm not ready to buy them,
          whereas I would potentially buy one or two CDs from the series. This
          was for me the case of the Venuti-Lang set on Bluenote (?) / Mosaic
          that I didn't buy, although I was thinking about for some time.
          There is also the storage problem mentioned by Sheik - if I had the
          choice, I wouldn't buy a set presented in a "book-format". And I
          would suggest - again in agreement with Sheik - that the boxes should
          be packed in a 2CDs per "standard" jewel-box form.

          Finally, the cheap boxes allow me to listen to things that are
          slightly beyond my main interest and I wouldn't buy them otherwise.
          Concerning the JSP - I wasn't aware of their recent methods, but they
          are really cheap and I was happy with the Armstrong or Venuti-Lang
          sets. Recently I bought the Bunny Berigan set. I don't know if it was
          stealt from elsewhere, but I am not aware of it's existence on
          another label. If *this one* existed on Jazz Oracle, Frog or
          Timeless, I would have bought it there (I buy nearly systematically
          all of their production). But I wouldn't buy and expensive reissue of
          Jimmie Rodgers (that I bought on JSP), since I'm only marginally
          interested in this kind of music and I don't look for perfect

          What I would expect from a good box set? Complete discographic
          details (personnel, matrix and catalogue numbers, recording dates -
          like Jazz Oracle), chronological order (unlike the JSP Dorsey
          brothers), completeness if possible (not omitting dance tunes for
          example - I like the waltz version of In My Merry Oldsmobile by
          Goldkette + Bix that I never heard before the OJL set). Some
          additional notes are welcome. I think that Jazz Oracle is a perfect
          example of how booklets should be done.

          does it make any sense?

          cheers, Pavel
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