Monk-Coltrane tape newly discovered
WASHINGTON – Edward R. Murrow’s rooftop broadcast from London during a World War II air raid, astronaut Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” report from the moon and composer John Williams’ musical tribute to a galaxy “far, far away” are among the latest recordings set for special preservation in the Library of Congress.The library also announced Tuesday the discovery of 55 minutes of tape made by Thelonious Monk’s jazz quartet, including tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, in Carnegie Hall. The concert was not commercially recorded.It was found by Larry Appelbaum, the library’s jazz specialist and acting head of its magnetic recording lab, when he was making digital recordings of tapes recorded by the Voice of America in 1957 for broadcast abroad.Monk’s music was not among the 50 items chosen for the third annual addition to the National Recording Registry.All sorts of recordings go into the registry. This year’s collection includes everything from elephant sounds to President Woodrow Wilson’s 1923 speech on the fifth anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. It is the earliest surviving record of a regular news broadcast.Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s speech to Congress in 1951 marks his recall from duty in the Korean War by President Harry Truman after the general urged invading China. It’s famous for his quotation, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”Also preserved is an NBC broadcast of Charles Lindbergh’s arrival and reception in Washington after his solo flight to Paris in 1927.Greg Lukow, who heads the office in charge of the registry, said the library is required by law to select recordings that will benefit the whole field of recorded sound. The recordings must be at least 10 years old, he said, “so we have at least a bit of the judgment of history on our side.”Recordings must also be “esthetically, historically or culturally important to the American citizenry,” Lukow said. “That is to say, these are not the greatest hits or the best-of awards, but rather the registry establishes a canon of sound recordings important to the history of America.”The registry searches out the best and most representative recordings and makes them available to scholars and the general public. Some are protected by copyright and so cannot be put on a Web site in the way the library does for many other types of record. Lukow said the library does not try to improve or change the original sound in any way.There’s plenty of music being preserved, from Victor Herbert’s “Gypsy Love Song” of 1898, through Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” in 1939 and Williams’ 1977 soundtrack to “Star Wars” to pioneering rock band Nirvana’s 1991 album “Nevermind.”Fred Astaire and his sister Adele are featured on a 1926 recording of George Gershwin’s first Broadway hit, “Lady Be Good,” with the composer at the piano. Al Jolson is heard singing Gershwin and Irving Caesar’s song “Swanee” – Gershwin’s first hit.Gershwin’s own piano, which the library owns and exhibits, was played at Tuesday’s announcement by Michael Feinstein. He was an assistant to Ira Gershwin, George’s brother and frequent lyricist.Classical recordings include Sergei Rachmaninoff playing his Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1929; a 1939 Boston Symphony performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”; and a 1958 performance of Handel’s “Messiah” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Philadelphia Orchestra.From the rock era come James Brown’s 1965 “Live at the Apollo,” the Beach Boys’ 1966 “Pet Sounds,” 1971’s “The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East” and Public Enemy’s 1989 “Fear of a Black Planet.”—On the Net:National Recording Registry: http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-nrr.htmlAudio samples of some of the recordings are available at:http://wid.ap.org/features/soundregistry05.html
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