Thursday, January 05, 2017

Andre Kostelanetz, 1934-1946

Andre Kostelanetz 78s for our January 5th--what could be better?  We have Andre's two 12-inchers for RCA Victor--Chant of the Weed/Rumba Fantasy (1935) and Revenge with Music (1934).  And I may be the only person in the world--and a Boomer, no less--who doesn't think the "weed" in Don Redman's Chant of the Weed means marijuana.  I think it's one of the many back-to-Africa songs of the period--otherwise, what is the "Come home" stuff about?  It's a joint calling out to the smoker?  Seems like a stretch.

I mean, when your joints are calling you to "come home," it's voluntary rehab time.

And we have six V-Disc sides, most of which cut off abruptly at their close (I didn't do it).  The most glaring example is the clipped closing kettledrum on Warsaw Concerto, and I think I just originated a phrase ("clipped closing kettledrum").  Not sure.

The 1938 Brunswick sides--Turkey in the Straw and Bugle Call Rag--are even further than the two RCA sides from the Kostelanetz sound we're used to, with Rag sounding in places like Spike Jones before Spike Jones.  And the V-Disc recordings, though they date from Andre's Columbia period, don't have quite the same soupy, distantly miked sound.  It's what Kosty might have sounded like had he stayed at RCA.

The Kostelanetz original, Impressions of Basie (Count Basie, of course), is fun, even if it's the usual orchestrated boogie-woogie masquerading as concert jazz.  Listen to the Rock Around the Clock phrases at the start!

All have been carefully processed by me with VinylStudio.  I created the playback curves mostly from scratch--the Columbia presets were little help.  Interestingly the V-Disc Warsaw Concerto sounds as muddy and murky as the Columbia release, though they're different recordings.  Maybe the engineers erred on the side of emphasizing the lower frequencies, afraid they'd lose the percussion or something.  They didn't.

Part 1  Andre Kostelanetz Part 1

Part 2  Andre Kostelanetz Part 2

Chant of the Weed (Donald Redman)--Andre Kostelanetz Presents (Victor 36161; 1935)
Rumba Fantasy--Same
Oklahoma! Medley--AK and His Orch. (Columbia 7417-M; 1944)
Medley from Snow White and Pinocchio--AK and His Orch. (V-Disc 609; 1946)
Saint Louis Blues--Same
Impressions of Basie (Kostelanetz)--AK and His Orch. (V-Disc 147; 1944)
Malaguena (Lecuone)--Same
Fire Dance (De Falla)--AK and His Orch. (V-Disc 639; 1946)
Turkey in the Straw--AK Conducts (Brunswick 8214; 1938)
Bugle Call Rag--Same
Revenge with Music--AK Presents (Victor 36142; 1934)
Warsaw Concerto (Addinsell)--AK and His Orch. (V-Disc 549; 1945)



Buster said...

Thanks, Lee - it's great having more downloads from you!

Aging Child said...

Merry New Year, Lee - and thank you for the sounds, and for your, well, sound work.

Could you explain what you mean by "playback curves"? I don't have VinylStudio (*yet*), and no real expertise... so you might have to keep it to monosyllable words.

Cheers, sir!

Kind regards,
A. Gene Childe

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Buster--My pleasure. Let me know what you think of the sound on these (but only if you liked it! (-:)

A. Gene--It's an equalization curve, and it's the inverse of the recording eq curve used by a given record label. Typically, during recording, the bass was cut back and the treble pushed out (my own term), so that on playback the bass could be boosted and the treble diminished. This allowed the upper frequencies to be heard past the surface hiss on playback (Dolby was the same principle), and, bass-wise, it allowed companies to conserve groove space (since lower feqs equal more widely spaced grooves). It was an ingenious way of working past the limitations of the (analog) disc medium.

The rapid speed of 78s (which ranged from something like 76rpm to 80rpm) was another part of the noise-conquering process. And that is pretty much what I know, and if I sound anything like an expert, it's a tribute to my writing ability, not my technical knowledge.

Hope that helped. It's a simple principle, but of course getting things to sound right is an art first, technical exercise second.

Buster said...


I listened to the set yesterday, and I have to say I enjoyed the contents as much as anything I have heard lately. Nice work!

For flexibility in adjusting frequency response, you may want to look at the Har-Bal Equalization System, which uses a graphic approach to adjusting the frequency curve.


A man for whom Christ died said...

Mr. Hartsfeld,
Josh Owens of Hartford, KY here, long time no talk! You may have addressed this in an earlier post, dunno, but I can't seem to see the Download Links after clicking on the links you provide. This occurs with Box and Zipyshare (sp?). Even when I clicked on the Download Button in Box, (when you used Box), nothing happened. I'd love to be able to get this neat stuff, but just can't see it!

Romans 11:33-36 KJB


Lee Hartsfeld said...

Hi, Josh.

Sorry for the late reply--I've been very sick. Everyone has come down with a multi-week cold/flu virus that has a tendency to progress into bronchitis and/or pneumonia. So, lots of fun!

Is another page popping up when you click the Download button? If so, just close that page and re-click on the button, and it should work. It's a major pain, I know. Not sure what's happening with Box. Can you tell me which link or links this is happening with? Thanks.

Groovesaver said...

Thanks for the early Kostelanetz .