Tuesday, February 18, 2014

U DIG IT?: Max Bessesen digitizes Anthony Braxton's 1975 recording Five Pieces - 1975

The James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection presents
neUmann DIGITization project

We're now giving interested students the chance to choose an LP to digitize from the ca. 50,000 jazz-related recordings currently in the Neumann Jazz Collection and then to answer a few brief questions about their experience. If you'd like to be a part of the project, you can find out more information here. Today our post is by Max Bessesen (OC '16), who chose the 1975 album Five Pieces - 1975 by Anthony Braxton (Arista AL 4064).

Why in general did you want to take part in this project?
I have a special interest in jazz and I am a saxophonist myself. I wanted to see the Neumann Collection as it is such a great resource that I wouldn’t otherwise have much access to. 

Why did you choose this particular record? 
I chose this record because I have listened to it a great deal on YouTube, and I was interested in hearing it with better quality. I also wanted to see how the track names actually looked on the record!

How was this experience different from simply locating an existing digital version of the LP on YouTube or Spotify?
The process of listening to a vinyl record is one that encourages us to sit down and just listen without distraction. Even as a musician I often find it difficult to hollow out time to just absorb an album of music. So this was an immersive experience. It was also a great chance to listen to a record that I don’t think many people have heard, but that I think is really great and deserves broader recognition. So I’m really happy it will be in a more accessible place.

What were some of the highlights of the recording for you?
The first track of the second side (I won’t try to re-create the name) is a very interesting composition, and I think it highlights Braxton’s ability to create a wide variety of textures and provide platforms for spontaneous creation in his band. He’s able to keep a long tune (over 17 minutes) engaging throughout. As a saxophonist I like to listen to Braxton’s articulation—it’s really unique!

Can other students listen to the LP now that it's been digitized?  
Yes, just click here and, when prompted, enter your ObieID and password.  If you’re off campus, you’ll need to authenticate using Oberlin’s VPN.