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John R.T. Davies deafness?

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  • Michael Rader
    The release of the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band sides on Archeophone/Off the Record has set off a discussion on the Bixography discussion group on the merits
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 7, 2006
      The release of the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band sides on Archeophone/Off the Record has set off a discussion on the Bixography discussion group on the merits of John R.T. Davies' audio restoration work. One contributor revealed an intense dislike for John's work, describing the transfers as . To an extent, Hans Eekhoff comes to John's defence, saying that he virtually invented the art of sound restoration, but also adds, rather snidely: "The last ten years or so before his death he became slightly deaf and because he also didn't want to adopt new digital tools for sound restoration, his work was perhaps no longer of the same quality."

      This comes from a man who has described himself as John's friend and pupil, but at the same time ruined part or all of about 8 reissues on Timeless Historical by overuse of the "new digital tools", most notably CBC 1066 by Ray Miller and 1080, the Fabulous Gennets Volume 2 (the others aren't quite as bad, but there is evidence of overuse on CBC 1046 - the tracks engineerd by Eekhoff- , CBC1060, 1061, 1062, 1063 and 1067). I was told by a since deceased record producer who knew John well that he had been most upset by his treatment by Timeless. Apparently, there was an argument about one of the reissues restored by John and as a result Timeless was giving Eekhoff priority (no doubt as a special "friend" of John's).

      In a letter I have, John complains that human hearing deteriorates from about the age of 20 onwards, but adds that the brain can compensate for most of this loss. John was about 75 when he died, so I'd guess that his hearing was no longer as good as when he started out, but does anyone know if he really suffered from serious loss of hearing? My ears, which are also going downhill, tell me otherwise and at the time of his death, he was still the preferred transfer engineer for Jazz Oracle, Frog, Retrieval, HEP and even Timeless.

      Anyone really know?

      Michael Rader

      Karlsruhe,
      Germany
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    • Michael Rader
      If you bother to read my postings you might have noted an incomplete sentence, reporting from the Bixography discussion group. What the contributor (one Phil
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 7, 2006
        If you bother to read my postings you might have noted an incomplete sentence, reporting from the Bixography discussion group. What the contributor (one Phil Walsh) said was: "metallic, muffled, muddy and the bass freqs always cut out, I had always to pull up the knob of my EQ to have back the tuba or string bass. I got rid of all my records made by John R.T."

        As I said, I'm getting on in age and this is another sign.

        Michael Rader

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      • Howard Rye
        ... There have always been people who have preferred a modernized artifact to attempts to reproduce the original tone qualities. There were once people who
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
          on 8/11/06 7:59, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:

          > If you bother to read my postings you might have noted an incomplete sentence,
          > reporting from the Bixography discussion group. What the contributor (one Phil
          > Walsh) said was: "metallic, muffled, muddy and the bass freqs always cut out,
          > I had always to pull up the knob of my EQ to have back the tuba or string
          > bass. I got rid of all my records made by John R.T."

          There have always been people who have preferred a "modernized" artifact to
          attempts to reproduce the original tone qualities.

          There were once people who preferred the results of using the new tools of
          the 60s, as heard for instance on the Ace of Hearts series. I have little
          doubt that the verdict of history will be with John R.T.'s approach.

          I also can hear no evidence that his work was deterioriating but it is also
          obvious that much of his later output was, as has already been discussed in
          relation to the King Oliver issue, recycled earlier work. It is obvious not
          only because he occasionally admitted it but because mistakes in the
          identification of takes and even titles made much earlier recurred in later
          issues (e.g. the Johnny Dodds and Jimmy Blythe Timlesss CBC1-010) making it
          perfectly clear that the same mastertapes were being used for the digitized
          CDs as had been used for the previous LPs.

          I have never noticed any difference between the final generation Swaggie LPs
          and the CDs of the same material. Has anyone? (Except that the CDs sometimes
          introduce additional distortion, as in the case of the Clarence Williams
          Timeless CDs, which has also been discussed in this list).

          If anyone is suffering from slight deafness it is those who cannot hear the
          spurious tones introduced by the new digital tools, and there are a few
          issues about on which this must be what is happening since they could never
          possibly reach the marketplace otherwise!

          No one's hearing (at least no man's) is as good at 75 as at 35, never mind
          15, but most of what is lost is high frequency noise. However, there have
          been a few people involved with reissues who actually had hearing
          deficiencies which prevented them from hearing the results they were
          producing as others hear them. It would be unfair to name names! But start
          with those who don't notice the janglings and noise-pumping resulting from
          the "new digital tools", which JRTD certainly still did! If you can still
          hear this gunk you've nothing to worry about.

          Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
          howard@...
          Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
        • David Brown
          Thanks Michael and Howard for correct and profound expositions. I regret that the Jazzrescue site seems no more but I remember from there, or some other
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
            Thanks Michael and Howard for correct and profound expositions.

            I regret that the Jazzrescue site seems no more but I remember from there,
            or some other source, JRT reporting that recently his hearing had been
            tested and found to be A1.

            Can anybody find this ? I printed some of the Jazzrescue site but not all.

            The quality of JRT's work stands supreme but was, of course, dependent upon
            source.

            I also hear no evidence of deterioration and, as to re-cycling, there is no
            reason that a 50s dub of a clean copy cannot be preferable to a contemporary
            're-master' of a worn one, analogue technology was unchanged from the 50s.

            Howard, I suggest that a Swaggie JRT LP is the ultimate experience apart
            from the orig. 78. I have recently done comparative listening on what must
            be the same JRT tape source LP and CD and generally prefer the former. Much
            more ambience --a much richer and more natural sound. And without the
            digital 'janglings' etc you so well describe.

            Dave




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Howard Rye
            on 8/11/06 9:41, David Brown at johnhaleysims@yahoo.co.uk wrote: Howard, I suggest that a Swaggie JRT LP is the ultimate experience apart from the orig. 78. I
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
              on 8/11/06 9:41, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:


              Howard, I suggest that a Swaggie JRT LP is the ultimate experience apart
              from the orig. 78. I have recently done comparative listening on what must
              be the same JRT tape source LP and CD and generally prefer the former. Much
              more ambience --a much richer and more natural sound. And without the
              digital 'janglings' etc you so well describe.

              Dave

              Digital v analogue per se is a different question. As I understand it the
              difference tends to disappear if a high enough digital sampling rate is used
              (but it never is).

              I am keeping my Swaggie LPs as well as the CDs even where there are none of
              the digital problems occasionally found on Timeless, but I cannot actually
              hear any difference which I can be sure is not due to the reproduction
              system between them and JSP and Frog CDs from the same tapes. My cartridge
              is unarguably a better cartridge than my CD DAC is a CD DAC. I'll bet that's
              true of yours too, Dave.

              Someone else has made the point that many (though not all) 40s dubbed 78s
              are direct unequalized copies of the originals. Their producers couldn't
              afford the sophisticated distortion systems applied to many (most?) major
              label reissues of the 40s and 50s. The dub-78s may therefore after a further
              half-century provide better sources than the very 78s from which they were
              dubbed. This is depressing, but there it is. One case where this definitely
              doesn't apply is the Oliver/Morton Autograph which is so superior on the
              Retrieval set not only because of John R.T.'s techniques but also because
              this is the first post-78 reissue dubbed from an original Autograph.
              Unfortunately one major producer of dubbed reissues deliberately added
              additional surface noise so that (as he candidly admitted in later life) he
              could later "find a better copy" and sell a new improved dub to the same
              people.

              Dave is right that analogue technology was essentially unchanged from the
              50s, but notions of what reissues ought to sound like have changed a lot.
              Anyone wanting to hear what was thought to be a hi-fi reissue in the 50s
              doesn't need to buy worthless LPs. The earlier numbers in the Classics
              series are full of dubbings of some of the vilest specimens!





              Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
              howard@...
              Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David Brown
              The range of hearing for a healthy young person is 20 to 20,000 hertz. The hearing range of humans gets worse with age. People lose the ability to hear sounds
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
                The range of hearing for a healthy young person is 20 to 20,000 hertz. The
                hearing range of humans gets worse with age. People lose the ability to hear
                sounds of high frequency as they get older. The highest frequency that a
                normal middle-aged adult can hear is only 12-14 kilohertz.

                The above I quote. The Blues World Interview with JRT --still
                online --claims a two year previous hearing test showed hearing to 14 kc.
                Very good for an over 70.

                And how many healthy young people are listening to our music ? And what was
                the highest frequency produced by a 78 ?

                Dave





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Michael Rader
                So I wasn t wrong in characterising Mr. Eekhoff s remarks as snide , another case of making assertions without any proof (Albert will know what I mean).
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
                  So I wasn't wrong in characterising Mr. Eekhoff's remarks as "snide", another case of making assertions without any proof (Albert will know what I mean). Unfortunately I can't engage in an exchange on the Bixography discussion site due to an upcoming business trip to Madrid (Spain).

                  Michael Rader

                  Karlsruhe, Germany
                  > -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
                  > Von: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                  > Gesendet: 08.11.06 16:51:56
                  > An: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Betreff: RE: [RedHotJazz] John R.T. Davies deafness?


                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The range of hearing for a healthy young person is 20 to 20,000 hertz. The
                  > hearing range of humans gets worse with age. People lose the ability to hear
                  > sounds of high frequency as they get older. The highest frequency that a
                  > normal middle-aged adult can hear is only 12-14 kilohertz.
                  >
                  > The above I quote. The Blues World Interview with JRT --still
                  > online --claims a two year previous hearing test showed hearing to 14 kc.
                  > Very good for an over 70.
                  >
                  > And how many healthy young people are listening to our music ? And what was
                  > the highest frequency produced by a 78 ?
                  >
                  > Dave
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  _____________________________________________________________________
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                • Ron L'Herault
                  While in Madrid, make sure you see the Canal Street Jazz Band, run by trombonist Jim Kashishian. They are fantastic. You can contact Jim at kash@ran.es Ron L
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
                    While in Madrid, make sure you see the Canal Street Jazz Band, run by
                    trombonist Jim Kashishian. They are fantastic. You can contact Jim at
                    kash@...

                    Ron L

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com] On
                    Behalf Of Michael Rader
                    Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 12:04 PM
                    To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] John R.T. Davies deafness?

                    So I wasn't wrong in characterising Mr. Eekhoff's remarks as "snide",
                    another case of making assertions without any proof (Albert will know what I
                    mean). Unfortunately I can't engage in an exchange on the Bixography
                    discussion site due to an upcoming business trip to Madrid (Spain).

                    Michael Rader

                    Karlsruhe, Germany
                    > -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
                    > Von: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                    > Gesendet: 08.11.06 16:51:56
                    > An: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Betreff: RE: [RedHotJazz] John R.T. Davies deafness?


                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > The range of hearing for a healthy young person is 20 to 20,000 hertz.
                    The
                    > hearing range of humans gets worse with age. People lose the ability to
                    hear
                    > sounds of high frequency as they get older. The highest frequency that a
                    > normal middle-aged adult can hear is only 12-14 kilohertz.
                    >
                    > The above I quote. The Blues World Interview with JRT --still
                    > online --claims a two year previous hearing test showed hearing to 14 kc.
                    > Very good for an over 70.
                    >
                    > And how many healthy young people are listening to our music ? And what
                    was
                    > the highest frequency produced by a 78 ?
                    >
                    > Dave
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >


                    _____________________________________________________________________
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                    http://smartsurfer.web.de/?mc=100071&distributionid=000000000066




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                  • Joel Fritz
                    I think in many cases recordings from the 20s have very little musical content above 10 Khz or so. Some labels, e. g Paramount, were worse. I feel ambivalent
                    Message 9 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
                      I think in many cases recordings from the 20s have very little musical
                      content above 10 Khz or so. Some labels, e. g Paramount, were worse.

                      I feel ambivalent about the J.R.T.D. restorations. My preference is the
                      sound of a pristine 78 master. In some cases I think he tried to make
                      them sound too much like modern recordings. Some of his other
                      restorations sound more like idealized 78s.

                      I recently played his King Oliver restoration for a friend of mine who
                      had never heard it but had heard several other reissues. He nearly
                      fainted.

                      Your friend,
                      Barrelhouse Solly I

                      It's never too late to do something your parents didn't want you to do.
                      When that time comes Barrelhouse Solly will be there for you. He cares.

                      Music: http://www.myspace.com/barrelhousesolly
                      Fractious Felines: http://ratemykitten.com/my/?gallery=willie_mctell


                      David Brown wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > The range of hearing for a healthy young person is 20 to 20,000 hertz. The
                      > hearing range of humans gets worse with age. People lose the ability to hear
                      > sounds of high frequency as they get older. The highest frequency that a
                      > normal middle-aged adult can hear is only 12-14 kilohertz.
                      >
                      > The above I quote. The Blues World Interview with JRT --still
                      > online --claims a two year previous hearing test showed hearing to 14 kc.
                      > Very good for an over 70.
                      >
                      > And how many healthy young people are listening to our music ? And what was
                      > the highest frequency produced by a 78 ?
                      >
                      > Dave
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                    • Hugh Crozier
                      Ironically enough I spoke to JRT by phone when I was tracing his boxed Armstrong set. I mentioned in passing the quality of his Oliver reissues, and especially
                      Message 10 of 10 , Nov 8, 2006
                        Ironically enough I spoke to JRT by phone when I was tracing his boxed Armstrong set. I mentioned in passing the quality of his Oliver reissues, and especially the fact that the second cornet comes through so clearly. I was surprised that he did not think there was anything of particular note about the Olivers. Many people I spoke to at the time the Oliver double CD was issued were as struck as I was by the high quality, but to JRT they were simply reissues using more modern equipment.

                        And, yes, he did say that reissues should happen every 10 years or so, so there may well be some merit in a reissue now.

                        Hugh Crozier


                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Howard Rye <howard@...>
                        To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wednesday, 8 November, 2006 8:50:00 AM
                        Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] John R.T. Davies deafness?

                        on 8/11/06 7:59, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@ web.de wrote:

                        > If you bother to read my postings you might have noted an incomplete sentence,
                        > reporting from the Bixography discussion group. What the contributor (one Phil
                        > Walsh) said was: "metallic, muffled, muddy and the bass freqs always cut out,
                        > I had always to pull up the knob of my EQ to have back the tuba or string
                        > bass. I got rid of all my records made by John R.T."

                        There have always been people who have preferred a "modernized" artifact to
                        attempts to reproduce the original tone qualities.

                        There were once people who preferred the results of using the new tools of
                        the 60s, as heard for instance on the Ace of Hearts series. I have little
                        doubt that the verdict of history will be with John R.T.'s approach.

                        I also can hear no evidence that his work was deterioriating but it is also
                        obvious that much of his later output was, as has already been discussed in
                        relation to the King Oliver issue, recycled earlier work. It is obvious not
                        only because he occasionally admitted it but because mistakes in the
                        identification of takes and even titles made much earlier recurred in later
                        issues (e.g. the Johnny Dodds and Jimmy Blythe Timlesss CBC1-010) making it
                        perfectly clear that the same mastertapes were being used for the digitized
                        CDs as had been used for the previous LPs.

                        I have never noticed any difference between the final generation Swaggie LPs
                        and the CDs of the same material. Has anyone? (Except that the CDs sometimes
                        introduce additional distortion, as in the case of the Clarence Williams
                        Timeless CDs, which has also been discussed in this list).

                        If anyone is suffering from slight deafness it is those who cannot hear the
                        spurious tones introduced by the new digital tools, and there are a few
                        issues about on which this must be what is happening since they could never
                        possibly reach the marketplace otherwise!

                        No one's hearing (at least no man's) is as good at 75 as at 35, never mind
                        15, but most of what is lost is high frequency noise. However, there have
                        been a few people involved with reissues who actually had hearing
                        deficiencies which prevented them from hearing the results they were
                        producing as others hear them. It would be unfair to name names! But start
                        with those who don't notice the janglings and noise-pumping resulting from
                        the "new digital tools", which JRTD certainly still did! If you can still
                        hear this gunk you've nothing to worry about.

                        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                        howard@coppermill. demon.co. uk
                        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098




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