You may have noticed that I have been neglecting this blog in recent months. One reason is that I have been devoting much time to another blog, WBAI-NowThen, which I started about three years ago when I discovered that the station had stagnated and was being run by opportunists who abuse it and have taken the intellectual level way down. My love affair with that station goes back more than fifty years. The chance of it surviving this latest management team is slim—it has already lost the overwhelming majority of its listeners, which is not good for a listener-sponsored radio station.
The other reason for my neglect is that my reel to reel tape decks are not up to snuff—I am working to correct that, In the meantime, I had also shipped several tapes to my friend, Karl Emil Knudsen, in Copenhagen, but he passed away before he could return them, leaving bit of a mess. Karl Emil never took to gadgets, so many details were stored in the computer we all are born with. At first, tracking down the tapes led to —the place where he stored much of his information—was his own memory. We had known each other since the early Fifties, and he used to stay with me when he came to New York on business. So, there was nothing around to guide Karl Emil's family or staff in making the proper disposition of my tapes, and I was in no rush to claim them. This blog eventually changed that, so I began to explore where they might be located and a vague trail led to the Center for Danish Jazz History at Aalborg University. They have a big chunk of Karl Emil's collection, but none of my tapes.
|Meade Lux Lewis in the studio, November 1, 1961. (photo Chris Albertson)|
Then, recently, Karl Emil's longtime friend, Mona Granager, found them. Mona's name is well known among record buyers, and almost synonymous with Storyville Records, Karl's label, which she helped him run for many years, and continues to manage. It turned out that my tapes were stored at the Royal Library in Copenhagen. Now they are at Storyville, ready to be digitized and sent back to me on discs. Not everything I had hoped for was there, so such things as my interviews with Billie Holiday, Rex Stewart and Willie "the lion" Smith are probably still buried in my tape closet, but there are some goodies that I expect to be sharing with you soon. In the meantime, here's something to caress your ears: Meade Lux Lewis playing "Rough Seas." It's from the session we did at Plaza Sound Studio, above Radio City Music Hall, November 1, 1961.