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Duke Ellington - Black and Tan Fantasie (1927)

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Published on Aug 27, 2008

From October 26, 1927, here is Duke Ellington's landmark recording of "Black and Tan Fantasie." Growling trumpeter Bubber Miley, along with trombonist Joe Nanton, are the star of this record. The pressing heard here is actually from the 1930's and is a dub of the original recording. I included it as an example of how these studio dubs sounded to record buyers who played them on acoustic machines, which is to say 'very good.'

The record player is an Orthophonic Victrola model VE4-4X, or "Granada". The "E" in the model number indicates that the Victrola is fitted with a synchronous A/C motor instead of a wind-up motor. The machine has a full "orthophonic" playback system (for electrically-recorded records) including the special orthophonic sound box with a duralumin diaphragm and a folded exponential horn inside of the cabinet. Although the gigantic Credenza Victrola produced deeper bass, the Granada had the most accurate overall frequency response of all the acoustic Orthophonic Victrolas. The serial number indicates that this machine was probably manufactured in 1926.

I shoot my video with a Sony Digital 8 format camera. For audio, I use a Shure SM-57 microphone on a stand placed about 4 feet in front of the Victrola horn. I use "soft tone" needles to keep from overloading the microphone. The mic is plugged directly into the video camera. The videos are edited with Windows Movie Maker. I use Sound Forge 9 to clean up the audio, but don't worry -- you're hearing the record exactly as the Victrola plays it!

For more great music, videos, and trivia from this era, please visit my website, http://www.virtualvictrola.com.

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