Thursday, November 13, 2014

U DIG IT?: Zach Resnick digitizes Mel Lewis's 1982 recording Live in Montreux

The James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection presents

the neUmann DIGITization project
In fall 2013, we gave 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. Their contributions can be found here.  Today we're returning to the project to feature a Mel Lewis recording of Herbie Hancock compositions, many of which will be included on the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble's upcoming December 6 concert. Today's post is by Zach Resnick (OC '16).

Why in general did you want to take part in this project?
I wanted to digitize this record because there wouldn't have been any way for me to hear this music without digitizing the record myself; there is currently no place to buy this record or download any of the audio files. I very much appreciate that something like the Neumann Collection exists so it's possible for a student of jazz at Oberlin to have access to almost any obscure jazz record that is of interest to them.

Why did you choose this particular record?

I chose this record because the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble just received new music, and we're playing four of the five songs on the record. When I play/learn music of any kind that's not original, it's very helpful to have a recording to reference.

How was this experience different from simply locating an existing digital version of the LP on YouTube or Spotify?

Digitizing the record forced me to listen actively and have my focus for the time I was listening to music be solely on the music. As much as I try to do this when listening to music normally, it's somewhat regular that my mind might wander, I'll choose to change the track, or even stop listening completely.

What stood out to you musically as you listened to the recording?
The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra is one my favorite big bands of all time. I haven't heard a bad record of theirs, only ones I think are good and ones I think are great. This recording is special because it featured the music of Herbie Hancock arranged by Bob Mintzer. These are two of my favorite artists who have never been featured by The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra before. The result is fantastic, with the songs on this record being now some of my favorite tracks ever recorded by this band. On top of great songs and great arrangements with outstanding ensemble playing, the solos are out of this world with some of the hottest performers of The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at their career's best. Make sure to watch out for Dick Oatts's solo on "Dolphin Dance," as well as Rich Perry on "Wiggle Waggle."

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.