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Ronnie Matthews at WBAI - 1965

It was WBAI's first marathon, some say the first on-the-air marathon any radio station threw for its own benefit. This one, a last-minute act of desperation, was successful beyond all expectations, bringing in more money than was pledged. One reason for  things going so well was that the jazz community responded when I reached out to it.

We could not afford the tape that would have been needed to capture it all, but I brought from home my B&O tape recorder and plugged it directly into the line. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough tape to record with my machine's optimum quality, so I had to slow the speed down to 3 3/4 i.p.s. and set it for four mono tracks. It speaks well for B&O that this resulted in listenable recordings—not good, but listenable.

Here is pianist Ronnie Matthews performing Duke Ellington's Prelude to a Kiss.

If you would like to know more about Mr. Matthews, who passed away two years ago, here is a link to his Wikipedia biography.

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