The History of Jazz

30 01 2014

historyjazzThe history of jazz is a long, often-told story for which there are quite possibly over a hundred books. Here at the ARC, we have cataloged more than one thousand books that make reference to jazz in one way or another.

In 2011, Oxford University Press published the second edition of a book suitably titled “The History of Jazz,” written by Ted Gioia. At 388 pages (not counting notes, indexes, etc.), it is a very comprehensive story of jazz: how it was invented and developed; how it went through different phases of popularity; how it grew; how it fragmented into disparate styles; and finally, the state of jazz today.

Having been an avid listener of jazz since the late sixties and having read many books and liner notes dealing with the subject, it can be said that, for the most part, Gioia gets it right. He tells all the key stories and recites all the biographies of jazz’s most important artists in an interesting and concise manner that keeps the story moving at an even pace. Gioia knows his subject well, and he explains it all with the enthusiasm and care that the subject deserves. Indeed, if you read this book, you will find yourself wanting to listen to the recordings that he mentions on nearly every page. Perhaps in the future, books like this will be coupled with a website where referenced recordings may be sampled by the reader. This would make it much easier for the attentive reader to understand what the author is discussing.

However, Gioia gets two things wrong: one is rather major; the other is admittedly nitpicking on the part of this reviewer.

Jazz began splitting apart in several styles most apparently during the forties. Traditional, Dixieland-style had become a cult. Swing was still the thing. Modern styles like bebop and chamber jazz were being played in the clubs. Gioia notes all of this. What he does not note is that rhythm & blues (thus, rock ’n’ roll) also developed out of the swing tradition. The most notable artist (not mentioned at all in “The History of Jazz”) is Louis Jordan. Jordan was an alto saxophonist and singer with the great orchestra led by the influential drummer Chick Webb. After splitting from Webb, Jordan’s small combo recordings were immensely popular and became the template for practitioners of jump blues, and subsequently rock ’n’ roll. The most obvious example would be Bill Haley and His Comets, which is basically a hillbilly act trying to be Louis Jordan and His Tympani Five. Other examples of rock ‘n’ roll having been an offshoot of jazz include Big Joe Turner, who sang with Art Tatum; and Johnny Otis, who drummed behind Lester Young.

Indeed, Gioia’s knowledge of rock music seems to be lacking in other aspects, also. It is more likely that he does not care for it. When discussing jazz styles, particularly fusion’s mix of jazz and rock, the subject of The Brecker Brothers comes up. On page 331 Gioia states that Randy Becker “had played on the first Blood, Sweat & Tears album…” (a fact) but on the next page, when discussing the jazz-influenced horn section of the rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, he states, “…recording of Billie Holiday’s ‘God Bless the Child’ from their debut album…” The song was actually on B,S&T’s second album, possibly confused by the fact that its title was eponymous.

As stated earlier, this latter beef is nitpicking. The former beef, however, is one that is rarely mentioned in jazz histories, as if the authors do not want jazz to be held liable for what passes for rock music in the 21st Century. One can not blame them, but it should be noted here that jazz is even more directly responsible for a phenomena that is even worse than contemporary rock music: smooth jazz!

In all, Ted Gioia’s Second Edition of “The History of Jazz” is a wonderful read. Gioia’s love of the art form is infectious and reading it will send you to where ever you get your music from these days (record store, online store, youtube, etc) to listen to the titles he discusses. It will also send you to the bookstore to read more about the many fascinating characters a tome like this can only allow a few paragraphs to: Jelly Roll Morton, Art Tatum, Benny Goodman, Billy Holiday, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell… way too many to list here!

If you only read one book on jazz in your life, this would be a good one. Read the book. Dig the music.

For more on the author, check out his website:

Fred Patterson, Head Archivist, ARC

SUNDAY – Final Day of ARC’s Holiday Sale

14 12 2013

Sun Dec 15 – Outside it looks like this…D+Kwinter13Inside it’s warm and colorfulpunchbowl– not only records, but lots of lovely housewares from donated estates like this “Slick and Fancy” Jeannette glass punchbowl set with enough cups to egg-knock over your whole family.

Great stuff, good people, all to help support the not-for-profit ARChive of Contemporary Music.  More vinyl and CDs than we’ve had in years – all genres and formats – 45s, LPs, CDs, cassettes, books, posters, DVDs, VHS, magazine and a vintage flea market + yard sale! An incredible collection of punk/new wave 45s + LPs, 3 big boxes of Christmas LPs, 12″ singles and sound effects for sampling.

SUNDAY SPECIALS – all $1 + $2 items, half off. THEN take 10% off the final total if you buy 10 items or more. more info : 212-226-6967   Please tell all your friend about our sale and help support the ARC!

The Wine Is Gone, but We Still Have Plenty of Records

6 12 2013


Archivist Quinn MacRorie pictured before the start of our sale.  Notice the custom ARC wine label courtesy City Winery!


After the ARC Party, no more wine, but we still have lots of great stuff on the wall!

Last night’s members party at the archive was a great success. As you can see from the “After” picture, all of the excellent LPs displayed on our wall before the party started were snatched up by our record-hungry attendees. Fortunately, we have plenty of other excellent selections to replace them, all of which will be available for purchase when our sale officially begins tomorrow at 11:00AM. Get ’em while they’re hot!

ARChive of Contemporary Music • 54 White Street in Tribeca.  Sale everyday from Saturday, Dec 7 through Sunday, Dec 15, from 11am to 6pm.  Cash only – all to benefit the library.

ARC Holiday Record + CD Sale! Dec 7 – 15

19 11 2013

home_imageThe LONG wait is over.  More than 20,000 never before offered recordings just in time for the Holidays.  Join us as for one week every December ARC is the largest record store in New York City!

when: Sat Dec 7-Sun Dec 15, everyday 11 am – 6 pm
where: Our Tribeca space – 54 White St, ground floor
directions: 3 short blocks south of Canal St, between Broadway + Church Take the #1 train to Franklin, or any train to Canal
why: To support the preservation and research activities at the ARC
what: 25,000+ recordings-all genres and formats – 45s, LPs, CDs, cassettes, books, posters, DVDs, VHS, magazine and a vintage flea market + yard sale!
specials: This year there is an incredible collection of punk/new wave 45s + LPs, 3 big boxes of X-mas LPs, more CDs than ever before, + a special Lou Reed section. 100s of modern art, experimental + modern Classical LPs – Glass/Varese/Crumb/Carter/Satie.

All recordings never offered before – we start fresh every sale.  All styles of music in all formats. Cheaper than online prices, no shipping costs and cheaper than downloading.

We hope you can lend a hand by making a donation or joining the ARC. Memberships start @ $50 annually + you can join online via our page (best for matching funds) or through paypal using the button below.

Paper people can always post a donation/membership by mail.

Members attend our pre-sale party on Thurs. evening, Dec 5. Here they can meet fellow ARC supporters, and enjoy food, drink + early shopping.

You can also donate materials. Clean out that closet, check under the bed, un-deck those halls. ARC accepts any and all music related ‘stuff.’ – LPs, CDs, 45s, 8-tracks, books, posters, swag, press kits, memorabilia and ephemera. All contributions are tax deductible.

More than 250,000 recordings are donated to the ARC every year; we sort through these, make sure we have the two best copies in our collection, and sell off third copies. Our sale improves the permanent collection, frees up space and offers everyone a fresh crop of great recordings.

So PLEASE lend a hand – donate, shop and tell folks about our sale! Is that too much to ask?

Contact us if you need more information.
ARC: 54 White St, NYC, 10013

Grubby Dub Surfaces

15 07 2013

Everyone knows that ARC has the BEST interns in the American League, and today’s All-Star is Arlo, who, while inspecting classical LPs for surface worthiness, discovered some booklets stuffed inappropriately in inappropriate sleeves.

DubPoet_scan 1smlWho could have have thought to place these very pricey items (going for up to $125 online) into totally trashed Bach variations?  And why did they choose to snack on Jerk Chicken over the only illustrated page of ‘Inglan’?

DubPoet_scanSmiBut we’re glad to have them, and lucky that Arlo checked before he chucked.

If you’ve listened to the recorded versions of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s dub poetry, the righteous rhetoric tempered by tasty licks, you know how glad we are to have found these.  As Wiki claims, “In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series.”

But I prefer the wax.  Here’s a list of the LKJ LP recording here at the ARC.

• A cappella Live  (Lkj, CD 016, 5”, compact disc, 1996)
• Bass Culture  (Island, UK, ILPS 9605, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Bass Culture  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9605, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Dread Beat An’ Blood  (Heartbeat, USA, 01, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp   , 1981)
• Forces of Victory  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9566, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)
• Forces of Victory  (Island, UK, ILPS 9566, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)
• In Concert With the Dub Band  (Rough Trade, Rough78/LKJ 006, 12”, vinyl disc-LP)
• In Concert With the Dub Band  (Shanachie, USA, 43034/5, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, 1985)
• LKJ in Dub  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9650, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• LKJ in Dub  (Mango, UK, RRCD 34 / (510 170-2), 5”, compact disc,1980)
• LKJ in Dub Volume 2  (LKJ, UK, LKJ LP 009, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1992)
• Making History  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9770, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
• Reggae Greats Linton Kwesi Johnson (Mango, USA, MLPS 9786, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
• Tings An’ Times  (Shanachie, USA, 43084, 5″, compact disc,1991)

There are a lot more out there – feel free to stuff a few into a Bach folio and send ’em on down to the ARC…

Tutti Fruity Rings of Saturn…

1 07 2013

Today John Schaefer’s show on WNYC ( Soundcheck’s Writers Club: Talking with Authors About Music ) will explore music and literature, and just by coincidence, THIS arrived in the mail today.

We’ve added it to our pop music pulp page

I mean how can you NOT love “Carmen Miranda’s Ghost Is Haunting Space Station Three”   Can’t wait for “Jimmy Durante, Vampire From Mars.”

French Girl Paperbacks

28 05 2013

Sure the next ARC sale is looming (June 8 – 16), but does that mean all the REAL fun is over?   Non!   Here’s the latest find from a flea, posted on the French Girl Pulp Page, joining the 66 other lonely and pouting heroines at Oui Oui Pulp.


Record Hunting in Brazil

3 10 2011

While hob-nobbing with Katy Perry was fun, lets get down to the real nitty gritty of the ARC’s Brazilian trip; record hunting.  Our host was Allan Bastos, a collector and dealer from Rio+NYC.  Our point man was Beco Dranoff, a producer, DJ and filmmaker based in NYC + Sao Paulo who is heading up our Brazilian projects.  This dynamic duo made sure ARC met a great many collectors, artists, critics and label and record store owners in Brazil – all in preparation for ARC’s Brazilian World Music Day next September.

My first stop in Sao Paulo was the Galeria do Rock in the old center.  This building used to house a great many record stores, but now has given way to music accessories and swag depots.  More or less the first floor sells hip-hop, the 3d Metal (who could resist the cuddly Goth baby doll), and the 4th floor rock.

And what floors!

One of the last remaining vinyl outlets is Baratos Afins (Cheap + Willing).  Started by Luiz Calanca in 1978, they rightly proclaim themselves an independent pioneer, as both label and retailer.   The store became a label when os Mutantes vocalist/bassist Arnaldo Baptista enlisted Calanca to release a solo LP.  Soon the store became known for releasing ‘underground’ music and rereleasing out-of-print LPs by os Mutantes and Tom Zé.  In time the label issued a wide range of genres: experimental, post punk, garage, modern pop, jazz and metal.

A big thanks to Mr. Calanca who donated a group of his rock and jazz LPs.  Naturally I couldn’t resist this Twist LP.

Another long-lived store specializing in Discos Vinil is Eric Records in the Pinheiros neighborhood of Sao Paulo.

One nice touch is the guitar mosaics in front of the store, continuing the theme of patterned sidewalks you see throughout the city.  Run by Eric Crauford, the shop is chock-a-block with new and vintage plastic, both local and international, surrounded by memorabilia, room after room deep.  By the way those RS 1.99= $1.10.

Beco, who had just produced the fabulous Red, Hot + Rio 2 album (listen or purchase here), was at Radio Eldorado doing an interview.  Later we toured their archive.  The very first record they ever received was by Tony Bennett, but I liked this one.

Here’s a shot of archivist Edgard Conçalves filing some 45s, who’s been here as long as, well, Tony Bennett.  You can listen to Radio E here.

The highlight of the Sao Paulo trip was a visit to a fabled collector who is relocating his 400,000 recordings – here they are, all boxed and labeled and getting ready to enter their new home.  ARC has offered to help to catalog this collection and a large donation of duplicate will be coming our way later this year.

The next day we were off to Rio to give a presentation (details next blog) at Studio X, a Columbia University initiative.   Outside their window we discovered this tidy street vendor where we found good things, in good condition, at about $1 an LP.  Like this gem featuring Baden Powell.

Another highlight was a tour of the Museu da Imagem e do Som  (MIS, Museum of Image and Sound) in Rio, a government supported institution since 1965.  The museum houses about 80,000 recordings, more than half of them 78 rpm discs.  This is a remarkable collection, yet to be cataloged and the metadata made available to the public – but the 78s are all digitized. They are in the process of building their new space (go two-blogs-back to see what the magnificent new building will look like) in the heart of Copacabana beach.   The goal is to offer interactive access to all the materials in a few years.   Thanks to VP Rachel Valença for her time and attention.  We also visited MIS in Sao Paulo, who’s concentration is more on image than on sound.  Thanks there to Paola de Marco.

A cultural organization in the Urca neighborhood is the Instituto Cultural Cravo Albin.  It’s a not-for-profit, called an ONG here (NGO in the EU), founded and run by Ricardo Cravo Albin in 2001.  Mr. Albin is best known for his encyclopedic Dictionary Cravo Albin da Música Popular Brasileira, published in 1997 and available online.

The Institute is built right into the base of Sugarloaf, the rock breaking into some of the rooms.  (I curse my camera, on the fritz that day).  One treat was a reconstruction of a 1930s radio studio, complete with transmitter and microphones reportedly used by a young Carmen Miranda.   A big thanks to Mr. Albin for the donation of some of his publications and the nice bottle of Champagne we had on his porch overlooking Rio.

On the last day in town we visited journalist and critic, Tarik de Souza.  Tarik has the usual wall-upon-wall of LPs, but here’s a peek at his room of reference files on Brazilian artists.  Mr. de Souza will offer an essay on sambalanço, a genre that emerged and was somewhat eclipsed with the bossa explosion, for our Brazilian World Music Day.

So we urge everyone to visit Brazil and to have a listen to the wide range of Brazilian music out there.  A good introduction is our pal Beco’s recent guest shot on NPR’s Alt. Latino program.  They call Beco a “Super Producer,” and he offers you a super taste of the new and wonderful music from Brazil.

Below is a list of the recordings ARC collected on this trip to Brazil.  You can see all of the Brazilian recordings at the ARC that we have catalogued (this is a beta version) so far @

• Manezinho Araujo.   Nova Historia Da musica popular brasileira  (Abril Cultural, HMPB-62-B, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)

• Nina Becker.   Azul  (YB music / Nucleo Contemporaneo, Brazil, AB0001000 / YBCD060, 5″, compact disc, )

• Nina Becker.   Vermelho  (yb Music / Nucleo Contemporaneo, Brazil, YBCD059 AB0001000, 5″, compact disc, )

• Jorge Ben.   “Natal Brasileiro (Que natal e esse)” / “Waimea”  (Somlivre, Brazil, 401.6135, 7″, vinyl disc-Single, 1978)

• Maria Bethania.   Talisma  (philips, 6328 302, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1980)

• Maria Bethania.   Drama  (Philips, 6349.050, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1972)

• Bocato.   Aqui Jazz Brazil  (Baratos Afins, Brazil, BA 044, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1989)

• Bocato.   Sonho de um anarquista  (Baratos Afins, Brazil, BA 034, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1987)

• Cafe Creme.   Beatles Disco  (Pathe Marconi, Brazil, S7PT-15.023, 7″, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1977)

• Silvio Caldas.   Cabelos Brancos  (CBS – brazil, 70001, 12″, vinyl disc-, n.d.)

• Candeia.   Seguinte…: Raiz   (discobertas, Brazil, DB-080, 5″, compact disc, 2011)

• Beth carvalho.   Beth Carvalho  (Tapecar, LP- X – 19, 12″, vinyl disc-, n.d.)

• The Clevers.   Encontro com Clevers (Twist)  (Continental, Brazil, PPL-12.083, 12″, vinyl disc-, n.d.)

• Andreia Dias.   Vol. 02  (Scubidu , SDU-010, 5”, compact disc, n.d.)

• Andreia Dias.   Vol. 1  (Scubidu , SDU001, 5”, compact disc, n.d.)

• Gilberto Gil.   “Chororo” / “Respeita Januario”  (Elektra Records, Brazil, BR 12.024, 7″, vinyl disc-Single, 1978)

• Earl Grant.   This Magic Moment  (Decca, 012.116, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1969)

• dani gurgel e novos compositores.   agora  (Boranda, BA 0006, 5”, compact disc, 2009)

• dani gurgel .   Nosso  (Boranda, BA 0005, 5”, compact disc, 2008)

• Seu Jorge.   Musicas Para Churrasco Vol. 1  (Cafune, Brazil, 60252775092 / AA0040000, 5″, compact disc, 2011)

• Kafka.   Musikanervosa  (Baratos Afins, Brazil, BA 032, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1987)

• Kafka.   obra dos Sonhos  (Baratos Afins, Brazil, BA 043, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1989)

• Gonzalo Labrado Trio.   Imagens Do Brasil  (Baratos Afins, Brazil, BA 039, 12″, vinyl disc-, n.d.)

• Miltinho .   Um Novo Astro  (Solar Fidelity, Brazil, LPP – 2004, 12″, vinyl disc-, )

• Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim.   Miucha and Antonio Carlos Jobim  (RCA Victor, 103.0213, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1977)

• Danilo moraes.   Danilo Moraes  (Scubidu, Brazil , SDU-007, 5”, compact disc, 2003)

• Danilo Moraes.   Danilo Moraes e as criados mudos  (Scubidu, Brazil, SDU-012, 5”, compact disc, 2010)

• Milton Nascimento and Jobim Trio.   Novas Bossas  (Blue Note, 50999 2 14817 2 7, 5”, compact disc, 2008)

• CLARA Nunes.   Alvorecer  (Odeon, Brazil, SMOFB 3835, 12″, vinyl disc, 1974)

• Andre Penazzi.   Orgao Samba Percussao  (Audio Fidelity, Brazil, DFM 3020, 12″, vinyl disc, )

• Percussivo mundo novo.   percussivo mundo novo  (Percussivo Mundo Novo, -, 5”, compact disc, n.d.)

• Elis Regina.   Em Pleno Verao  (Philips, R 765.112 L, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1970)

• Rock in Rio.   Rock In Rio  (–, –, 12″, vinyl disc-, 2011)

• Rubinho.   E Forca Bruta  (Nikita Music, Brazil, NIK001, 5″, compact disc, 2005)

• Raul Seixas.   “Judas” / “Magia De Amor”  (Warner, Brazil, BR 16.096, 7″, vinyl disc-Single, 1978)

• Rodrigo Sha.   Tom  (GO2MUSIC, Brazil, SHA 002, 5″, compact disc, )

• Jussara Silveira.   Entre o Amor e o Mar  (Maianga Discos, Brazil, MG2001c, 5″, compact disc, )

• Jussara Silveira.   Jussara  (Maianga Discos, Brazil, MG0701C / AB0003000, 5″, compact disc, )

• Jussara Silveira e Luiz Brasil.   Nobreza  (Maianga Discos, Brazil, MG1901C / AA0005000, 5″, compact disc, )

• Various Artists.   The New Brazilian Music  (BM&A, Brazil, BMA 2008/01, 5″, compact disc, 2008)

• Various Artists.   The New Brazilian Music  (BM&A, Brazil, BMA 2009/01, 5″, compact disc, 2009)

• Various Artists [ DJ MAM ].   BRazilianLounge RIO  (RIO Prefeitura, Brazil, –, 5″, compact disc, –)

• Vultos.   Filme da alma  (Baratos Afins, Brazil, BA 042, 12″, vinyl disc-, 1989)

• Tom Ze.   Todos os olhos  (Polysom, Brazil, 33069-1, 12″, vinyl disc-, 2010)

Books we added to the collection:

• Chico Buarque De Hollanda.   A Banda  (Livaria Francisco Alves, Brazil,1966).  Paper back. Brittle, spine cracking. Includes lyrics printed from handwritten pages.  Signed, Chico Buarque

• Caetano Rodrigues, Charles Gavin.   Bossa Nova E Outras Bossas : A Arte E O Design Das Capas Dos LPS  (Petrobras, Brazil, 2005).  Introduction by Ruy Castro.  Portuguese / English, 311 pages in 30×30 cm with clear plastic slipcase. 700 illustrated sleeves.  Signed by Charles Gavin to B. George. 23 September, 2011.

• Ricardo Cravo Albin.   Carioquice  (ICCA, Brazil,2011).  “Publicao Trimestral. Ano VII. N:29. Abr/Mai/Jun 2011”  Cultural magazine dealing with life in Rio de Janeiro. Includes articles on Gastronomy, Music, Theater, Urban Issues…

. Choro : Do Quintalo Ao Municipal (Exhibition)  (Faperj / UFF / Sectretarua De Estado De Cultura, Brazil, , ).  Pamphlet is from an art exhibition inspired by the book: Choro : Do Quintalo Ao Municipal (Choro : Cry of the City Yard) by the Author Hernique Cazes

• Lucio Rangel.   Jacob : Revista Da Musica Popular No. 10  (Revista Da Musica Popular, Brazil, 1955).  No. 10 of a 13 part Periodical series.

• Lucio Rangel.   Leny Eversong : Revista Da Musica Popular No. 11  (Revista Da Musica Popular, Brazil, 1955).  No. 11 of a 13 part Periodical series.

• Oito Batutas, Mariza Lira, Fernando Lobo, Clemente Netto, Muniz Sondre. • Pixinguinha – 70 : Cadernos Da Música Popular Brasileira N. 1.  Periodical. Approximately 20p. Collection of Articles about the musician Alfredo da Rocha Viana Jr. aka Pixinguinha. Includes “Bibliografia de Pixinguinha” on the back cover which includes bibliographic information on 16 books.

• Sergio Cabral.   Tom Jobim  (CBPO Campanhia Brasiliera De Projetos E Obras. Brazil, 8585144017, 1987).  Each chapter is first in Portuguese, then repeated in english. 89 pages of Black and White Illustrations. Discography included page 177-213

• Ricardo Cravo Albin.   Vinicius De Moraes  (ICCA, Brazil, 9788598706108, 2010).  Includes CD/DVD.  Signed with personal note to B. George


…when you leave Brazil, do pause and have a listen to the sexy, breathy announcetrix at the international airport – flight “niiiiine” “ooooooo0000h” “nniiiiinneeee” delivered in a telephone sex voice.   Maybe you should stay?

2010 Year-end Roundup!

30 12 2010

ARChive of Contemporary Music 2010 Year-end Roundup!

An overview of last year’s projects and activities

it’s official: the oughts are over….

Uh, did you notice ARC’s subtle new sign outside on White Street?   Yes, we now have the look of a classy taxi stand in Rio thanks to artist Steve Powers who thought our mission was swell, but our street presence a bit dull.  It’s a great gift, greatly appreciated.

Now on to the review.  Last year we started off our end-of-the-year musings with a belief that we were finally exiting, “the second worse year of a pretty bad decade.”  Well that was nothing compared with 2010 as the slow-down slowed downer.  We chronicle and preserve an industry undergoing radical change that is zen-like (no objects), blind (no vision) and cost conscious (broke).  We were offered fewer research jobs than usual, less ‘product’ was donated and negligible financial support from all segments of the entertainment industry.  As to the greater world: small contributors all but vanished and no one in any city, state or federal government has any interest in what we do. On the other hand our larger donors and foundations generously outdid themselves this year, increasing their support. Our mission – oblivious, uncontrollable, uncritical preservation – is intact.  The ARC begins it’s 25th year in Lowest Manhattan, the largest popular music collection in the world.

It’s December and we’ve just ended another successful Holiday Record + CD sale. Once again vinyl is king.  Our sales serve a variety of purposes; publicizing our activities, generating revenues, making space by getting rid of third copies of recordings in our collection, encouraging new donation from individuals and labels, forcing us to throw a nice party and making a lot of people very happy by offering great music at good prices.  We’ve kept detailed data on our sales for over ten years now, and I think I may stop.  It seems that no variable – inventory, staff, cost, publicity, promotion, war, weather, presentation, customers, signage, the economy, the pulse beat of the nation – has any effect whatever on the outcome.  Go figure.

Attending our sale party is just one of the perks of becoming an ARC member. Not only do you meet tons of nice folks, get food and drinks, but you get first dibs on all the best recordings. The next sale is June 11, 2011.  So join the ARC and donate if you’re able.

Here’s what our nifty new membership cards (taken from our original brochure, use of the image donated by artist Ed Rusha) look like – yours for the joining!

Our partnership with Columbia University continues to slowly evolve as we plan more talks and projects away uptown, like the colloquium on collecting and the talk given by Greil Marcus.  We also organized with Elizabeth Davis at the Music Library to purchase a wide range of Cuban CDs  from local distributor Descarga.  The goal is an annual, ongoing purchase to help Cuban labels survive.

Our major project with Columbia remains Muslim World Music Day (MWMD) scheduled for April 12, 2011.  So far hundreds of universities, libraries, archives and individuals have signed on and in January we will make a big push to enlist thousands of participants.  The goals are to increase awareness of a wind range of wonderful music created with roots in the greater Islamic world, place data on all this music in a common database, freely distribute this living discography, and entertain and inform the general public about this important cultural heritage.  Modest, eh?  But it should be fun and lead to other “World Music Days” in the future, perhaps Cuba in 2012.

Thanks to our man in Amman, Kareem Talhouni for all his help.  Designing the MWMD database is Scott San Filippo.  Gracenote has provided funding and tech help, and the Internet ARChive will host the whole shebang online from San Francisco.

A San Fran connection seems to grow stronger and stronger from our POV.  (Remember when NYC was creative?  Interested?  Interesting?).  New partnerships are being forged, and we have hopes of a West Coast office.  Beside the great folks, food, Arhoolie Records/Down Home Music and redwood trails I also saw a very nice exhibit, “Somethin’s Happening Here – Bay Area Rock ‘n’ Roll 1963-73” at the Museum of Performance and Design, co-curated by ARC pal Alec Palao.  Alec graciously donated a copy of the book he put together for the show and 4 CD set chronicling the scene.  Read more about our Barbary Coastal adventures here.

With the trip to SF I violated the prime directive, “Never Go West.”   So it was easy visiting Cleveland’s Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.  The highlight was the Springsteen exhibit, and seeing all the handbills, fliers and promo activities it took to get his early band, The Castiles, off the ground.  I also visited Andy Leach, the Director of the Rock’s Library and Archive, at their new 22,500-square-foot facility housed at Cuyahoga Community College, set to open in May 2011.  (Columbia!  Hello!!! 22,500 sq ft.  Funded by a community college!).  Then it was south to see the impressive   Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives at Bowling Green State University and meet with director Bill Schurk.

Closer to home I attended the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) conference in Philadelphia.  ARC presented a talk last year in Athens and this year we helped them a bit with publicity.  This confab brings together both the technical and physical sides of preservation, and as I always say, where else can you learn about the 600 recorded versions of “Waltzing Matilda” AND how to detect digital audio Interstitial errors?

Musing on occupying spaces in-between, there’s always Paris.  Over there we have a full time champion in Jean Claude Ast, an industry insider who is tramping the corporate and bureaucratic halls of every arrondissement in search of an ARC d’France outpost.

Even closer to home, and maybe even Paris, The Paris Review operates out of their offices a few doors away on White Street.  This summer new editor Lorin Stein wandered into one of our sales and the overwhelming experience inspired an essay on categorization, triggered by our evolving sorting-out of the alphabetized 45s in the basement, “Of C’s and D’s.” Despite our trolling through the “Fs” and “Gs” all they could muster this winter was a quick trip to buy some Christmas LPs to play in the office.  C’est la vie

The blog-o-sphere has become increasingly important to us this year and we made an effort to launch a new story every three days or so.  Hey, for us that’s a lot.  We always try and combine some facts with the fiction in our blogs, usually some far fetched observation coupled with a pile of great covers, reminiscences, news, history or discography based on our collection.  We also learned about Link baiting, a great new phrase for the latest phase of lowly practice.  You see, if you add “Lady Gaga” to a post (and we did, only when it made sense of course) it dramatically upped the number of hits.  Vacuous trumps vicarious every time.

Our blog on the lowly 45 insert, written by Dan Neely and slightly edited by B, was published in the Japanese edition of Wax Poetics in October.  Thanks to Masashi Funatsu and Ken Hidaka.  Study the image of each 45 insert carefully, and send along any you have that are impressively different.  We’re an archive you know, saving minutia so you don’t have to….

We also posted too many of our favorite Cha Cha Cha covers from our collection of over 300.  Worth a look.

And if you haven’t yet taken a peek, we set up a website of covers of pulp paperbacks with popular music references and themes.  It’s not everyday you see a book called, “The Man Who Killed Mick Jagger.”

Last year we began a focus on a few forms of music not well represented in American collections.  Brazilian music continues to be the major focus.  Helping us in this task are Beco Dranoff (film: Beyond Ipanema), Joel Olveira (runs the NY Brazilian record outlet, Tropicallia in Furs), David Byrne (collector, artist), Jerry Rappaport (ex record exec) and Allan Bastos (collector).  Beco and B will vist the big B in May to speak with sister institutions, scholars and collectors.  To date our Brazilian holdings number over 6,000 recordings and growing.

As always, through the generous support of Mr. Richards and the great folks over at Raindrop Services for over a decade now, the Keith Richards’ Blues Collection is one of our greatest assets.

But it’s the day to day donations by the hundreds of music lovers and record people who make us proudly burst at the seams.  Here the rundown on who-gave-what in 2010, beginning with the entertainment industry:

Thanks to Eric Courson, Candice Dorsey, Jennifer Ballantyne  and Sarah @ EMI (762 CDs), Jason Flom @ Virgin Records America (473 CD singles), Kevin Yatarola at Palm Entertainment (36 DVDs, 30 CDs), Keith Masio at Radical Records (33 CDs), Stephanie Bauman at Nonesuch Records (93 CDs), Steve Knutson @ Rough Trade (38 CDs, plus singles + LPs), Other Music (over 2100 CDs), Craig Kallman at Atlantic Records (35 CDs), Gabby Gibb at Sony BMG Legacy (76 DVDs), Mark Beaven and Andrew Kipnes at Advanced Alternative Media (over 3500 recordings), Adam Farber at Legacy (21 CDs, 10 DVDs), Ken Richardson over at Sound and Vision ( 29 DVDs, 106 CDs), Mark Fotiadas @ Mute (469 CDs), Steve Bartels at Island Def Jam (1428 CDs / 10 DVDs), Jon Hafter (2 big boxes including 192 CDs), Dan Storper, Jeremy Boyce and all the folks over at Putyamayo (50 CDs), the mercilessly, unjustly persecuted Limewire (301 CDs) thanks Tom!, Tina Pelikan and Helen Demoz at UMG (430 CDs), Jason Melker and T. Simpson (300 CDs), David and Yale at Luaka Bop (90 Cds),  Electric Cowbell Records (11 Cds) and the 25 CD reissues of Fela Kuti recordings thanks to Factory Records.

Lets not forget Nate Oberstein over at Eagle Rock Entertainment, who not only makes sure we get every new concert release DVD and CD, but makes sure we have plenty of ‘secular’ material for our sale (2135 DVDs + 153 CDs).

Our most important, and largest acquisition this year was donated by Michelle Gelber, lovingly collected by her late husband Eric Schmuckler.  This group contains over 10,000 LPs and 5,000 CDs, all in pristine condition.  Eric was a well known critic and writer for Mediaweek Magazine, and truly loved his music.  You can read a nice obit here.

Behold: the mighty Subaru Impreza canhold ten boxes of 125 LPs without sagging.

While we have yet to process the whole batch, and the donation is arriving incrementally, one happy discovery was a two foot-think run (50 recordings) of Beatles-esqs discs, sorta, kinda, maybe about and because of the Fab Four.  They will join our existing 2 running feet of bad Beatles wannabeats here at the library. There’s a complete discography at the end of our blog.  Pardon the quick out-of-the-box low res pics, but behold some of the singles…

Old pal and venerable collector AP Joseph continues to amaze us with his donation of LPs.  For years now AP has slowly been emptying his larder into ours – mostly rock, mostly mint and a little less mainstream than Eric’s.   A quick look reveals a pile of CRI releases, early Fast Folk – The Musical Magazine recordings plus print mag when they were called “the Coop” in the early ‘80s, and an unusual pair of Jorma Kaukonen acoustic recordings on Relix from the mid-eighties.  Thanks for the thousands AP!

The Teitelbaum family, formerly our neighbors at 54 White St were formally on the move, but before they left donated books, CDs and rooms full of household goods and electronics.  Moving digs continues to be a great impetus for donating materials.  Leida Snow, beyond the hundreds of CDs, LPs and books she donated, gave ARC an extraordinary run of Playbill Magazines.  As this was mostly theater material, we passed it along to Michael Feinstein, who will make it a part of the reference collection being set up by his Foundation.  

Ben Young up at Columbia University Radio’s WKCR, schlepped down three loads o’ goodies this year (1087 CDs, 29LPs).   From a-way upstate came a musty but great pile (787 LPs) from the barn of James Dybas.  Of note are the eleven LPs by Olga Guillot, Cuba’s “Reina del bolero” and the first Latin artist to play Carnegie Hall.

Annual, perennial and millennial serial donors include; Nancy Breslow, Peter Kapp (208 CDs, 179 LPs),  Bruce Alexander, Sara Lazin books (97 books), Andy Cohen (32 CDs), Cory Robbins, B-Bop (375 LPs), Tom Gould of the Bossa Nova Beatniks, Marcos Sueiro Bal, Dan Morgenstern over at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, Billy Adler, the mysterious Herb Jue, Lily Gim, Andy Schwartz (who lucky for us was moving this year and brought in a steady stream of wonderful books, magazines and recordings), Fred Shapiro (1228 CDs, 96 DVDs), E.J. Vaughn, Janice Everett, our very own Fred Patterson, Kevin Lanagan (sheetmusic), Ray Farrell (18 books), Marsha Elliott (69 CDs, 11 books), Anne Leighton (hundred of mags + press kits), Tom Burgess (odd + mysterious LPs + audio playback rarities), Eric Zim, Ida S. Langsam at ISL Public Relations (330 CDs), Brian Gerosa at Gerosa Records in CT (390 CDs), Marc Mueller (11CDs/11DVDs + books), Robert Singerman (462 CDs, 211 LPs, 200 CS, plus…), Jim Leavitt and Anita Contini,  DJ Ray Velasquez (83 CD singles), Andre and the good folks at Wax Poetics (64 magazines + 349 CDs), Jeff Friedman @ Let There Be Neon (1560 LPs), Michael Overn (43 videos), Kenny Margolis, Dave Withers (25 LPs and assorted singles), Kate + Emma + Bobby Haber at CMJ (1080 CDs) and Gene Gritzen (80 Lazer discs) and old pal of Freddie’s from Paris, Philippe Mogane who dropped of some of his Siamese Dogs Releases.

The ARC is near the city’s courts and government offices and a few guards and civil servants are vinyl maniacs.  One long time shopper, Mark who works at the EPA, dropped off this 45 (Perry Como, “Christmas Joy,”  RCA) with a shaped sleeve for our Holiday pleasure.  Curiously, the manufacturer’s number is EPA 497…

Some donation just make us smile. Daily News critic David Hinckley has regularly donated a carload of press kits, books and recordings, twice a year, for some 12 years now.  This year was no exception, the donation of hundreds of CDs only lessened by the fact that the industry sends out so few promo copies these days.  Our favorite treat from his bag of goodies was this Rhino DVD release chronicling the hits of teen sensation Pat Boone, the packaging successfully linking white pop, white pap, white bucks and white bread.

Newbie’s who made donations for the first time include: Jim Oblique (17 CDs / 4 LPs), Alison Masick (408 seven-inch singles), Adam Levine, Judy Kleinberg ( 50 great folk LPs!), Jerry Krasner (254 LPs / 29 singles / 8 seventy eights), Richard Beeson ( 80 LPs / 91 singles / 150 lazerdiscs, plus…), Mark Reich (182 mostly jazz LPs), Oliver Nassimi, Kemper Hyers (62 LPs and 6 boxes of housewares for our sale), Richard Dorfman (214 LPs / 58 seventy eights, plus mags + posters), Ed Katkin (67 LPs), Brian Edwards (who sent his book on rap from Dubai!), Patricia Russell (127 LPs), The Audio Preservation Fund in TX (8 Korean releases of classic 60s LPs), John Kioussis over at the Rocket Scientist store (883 CDs, 123 LPs, 24 DVDs) and Trevor Schoonmaker from the Nasher Museum @ Duke University, who sent along his book on his exhibition, “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl.”

Two of our Boardmembers continue to make mighty fine vinyl contributions above and beyond their monetary support – Nile Rogers, with the help of Sooze over at Nile Rodgers Entertainment + Sumptin Distribution, gave 90 CDS, while Fred Schneider sent some signed B-52 LPs along with his regular assortment of hundreds of vintage, peculiar and rare discs.  Michael Feinstein also sent along a few nice things.

Rounding out our donor list is Dean Taucher has used his clout over at CBS TV to ambush stars visiting various sets and get them to sign records for the ARC.  This year it was a babe triumvirate of signed LPs by Ann Margaret, Sharon Stone and Isabelle Huppert.  As Jerry Lewis usta say, “Thanks Dean.” (he got one signed by Jerry for us last year).

There were countless donations by many others of 1 to 20 items. I’m sure we overlooked some supporters, so please let us know if we did.  The goal is to give everyone a receipt.  All in all approximately. 80,000 new recordings were added to the collection this year.

Lastly our Man of the Year in 2010 is Peter Wright at Virtual Label LLC.  Peter is a long-time supporter of the ARC’s mission who has helped us often, in innumerable ways, over many years.  But this year he even outdid himself, by donating over 600 great CDs, purchasing a corporate membership and purposely overpaying for a cache of rare vinyl at our Winter sale.  Thanks Peter.

Michael Feinstein joined our prestigious Board of Advisors in 2010.   Michael is a champion of the American Songbook, a singer, pianist, musical historian and longtime archivist for Ira Gershwin.  It’s been great fun having him down here for visits and going through recordings, hearing first hand stories about many of the artists.  Michael’s passion for preservation has led him to building an institution in the mid-west to preserve American popular music.  We’ve been helping in this great effort and arranged the donation of     playbills.

The good news is that no one on our Boards died this year.  Sadly a great many old friends did pass on, like long time supporter Jerry Bock. (Jerrold Lewis Bock, 11/ 23/1928 – 11/3/2010).  Back in 1999 Jerry donated his personal collection of over 9,000 Broadway and original cast albums.  Another friend sorely missed is Charlie Gillet (2/20/1942 – 3/17/2010).  I first met Charlie in the 80s, when I fell in love with some of the wonderful recordings he compiled for his Oval Records label in the UK.  His 1970 book, “Sound of the City,” remains an important work.  Over the years I did a few quests stints on his show for Capitol Radio, and recently was a regular listener to his online BBC shows on World Music.

Then there’s Solomon Burke, Ari Up of the Slits, Malcolm McLaren, Dave Noland, Arrow… so many.  We’ll do a full write up for the blog in January on musicians and music lovers who are no longer with us.

Very much alive Fred Patterson continues to garden the ARChive’s collection, planting (making sure that every new recording that enters the ARC is catalogued properly) and pruning (compared to the existing collection for variations). Juan Amaya was part-time staff this year. Keith Streng of the Fleshtones continues to be our go-to guy when we need a major pick-up.

Another constant is the great people who donate time, materials and services to help make our sales a success. Once again Mike Nabors of Bonnie’s Grill in Brooklyn offered beer, hot wings, and this last sale sliders for our Holiday party.  Likewise Emanuelle Chiche, and the good folks @ Bubble Lounge, provided wine and champagne.  Some very fine wines for major ARC donors were sent down by Robert Vizet (that’s B-Bop to you) and Royal Wine Merchants in Lower Manhattan.

Volunteers are the mysteriously generous lot who keep this place humming : Tim Broun, Henry Beer, Patrice George, Jon Hammer, Jessica Thompson, Tom Watkiss, and Joe Flynn. Henry Moskowitz, who was once on a tour group from Carleton College a while back, also lent a helping hand.

Less mysterious, but just as essential are our interns: Arianna Avena, Allison Johnelle Boron, Shelia Byers, Catie Ginsburg, Carolyne Klein and Phillip Meyer.   There were two formal intern programs contributing their efforts to help catalog and work on projects at the ARC in 2010 : Alternative Spring Break via the University of Michigan and Columbia Universities Center for Career Education.  Thanks to Kelly A. Kowatch, Assistant Director, U of M School of Information, Career Development Office for sending along Rob Hoffman, Steve Cherry, Jessica Leigh Hanes and Katherine Jo, Associate Director, Experiential Education and Student Enterprises, Center for Career Education, Columbia and the Arts Initiative who sponsored Annie Minoff, Amar Teredesai and Elizabeth Angell.

The clean-out crew this year- the great folks who buy everything that’s left after our sale – include vendors Gene and Steve Gritzan, Fred Shapiro, Jamal from Village Music World and Allan, our latest and greatest buyer from Brazil.

Blasts from the past who visited this year included Annie Davey, an intern from 1997.  She’s got a band, Lark, and presents art and music shows in the UK.  Former archivist Jon Hafter once again made his annual visit from CA where he runs a film licensing concern, Big Sounds International.  First time in a long time we were happy to see one of our earliest archivists, Sara Prown.  Sara worked at our original location on Chambers St. in 1986, and went on to became a real librarian at Yale.

Look for an influx of bright young interns from Bennington, Pratt and Columbia in 2011. Big thanks to all.

Scans of labels and covers art continue to be the ARC’s most requested work.  There were fewer major research projects in 2010 – no gigantic jobs like last year’s two thousand scans for the Grammy Hall of Fame.  We pretty sure it’s the recession and dwindling need for quality imagery, or the truth, and not our services.  There were the many, everyday scans and audio research projects for the industry, and some interesting ones like for Emergency Records, Sample Clearance (locating Mr. Leon Sylvers III), scans of a rare 10” Slayer LP for Sony, locating LPs for Oprah Magazine (including one by Peggy Lipton), a rush on a high rez scan of Abbey Road for Bloomberg News and locating Mickey Newbury’s “Looks Like Rain” for Jessica over at the Magic Shop.

We hosted a few academic events and workshops in our White street space this year.  In February there was a talk on the Jazz Loft Project by Sam Stephenson from Duke University, revolving around the work of W. Eugene Smith, in conjunction with the publication of Sam’s book and a NY gallery show.  Also speaking was Christopher Lacinak of AudioVisual Preservation Solutions.   It was organized by Dave Noland, one of the great folks we lost this year.

Our space hosted two Scandinavian fiddle related events this year, a NY Spelmanslag rehearsal and a fiddle workshop by Ellik Frissel who taught a class in Swedish tunes from Dalarna.  ARC is a great empty space when the sale is not in progress and we are looking to offer it to others a great deal more in 2011.

ARC was the subject of one short film by Goldmine Magazine and filmmaker Michael Cumella who have been documenting great collections.   We are also featured in an Italian documentary on collecting and crate-digging by Paolo Campana titled, Vynlemania.  As usual, both the BBC (Radio 4) and MTV did a shoot or two here this year, using our lovely space as a backdrop.

Apple stock may be rising, but not in our book.  This year we had many a new item bite the dust before it’s due date, like an iMac, and a big screen monitor.  Not to mention the logic board on our main computer dying in early December, right before our sale.  On the good side are the good forks at Tekserve and Andrea Suarez who donated a shinny used 17” PowerBook.

One sinister preoccupation this year was dealing with the NY State.  For some reason Workman’s Compensation equated the work we do here at the ARC  – cataloging recordings and filing papers – with operating heavy machinery, harvesting cotton, or maybe shipbuilding (as in the Robert Wyatt cover above) and imposed a $177,000 fine!  It took six months and valiant efforts by Boardmember Alan Bernstein, and the offices of State Assemblyperson Deborah J. Glick and State Senator Daniel L. Squadron to straighten things out.  This from a State that admits to spending $277,000 annually on housing one juvenile offender in upstate facilities!

Upcoming projects in the coming year include loans to the MOMA for the Looking at Music series curated by Barbara London, of course the Muslim World Music Day in April and we have a proposal in with The Library of Congress to create a digital librarian project, “Born2Lose.”

Honest, I promise to follow up with some IDEAS about what happened and things that piqued our curiosity (Benford’s Law, Ghengis Khan, Diderot’s creation of the Creative Commons) in 2010.  But for now all the facts, above, are quite enough to muddle through and get out in a timely manner.  Everyone who sent materials or a monetary contribution should expect to get a notice by e- or ordinary mail by the end of January.

Again, You can make a donation these days through Paypal or via the ARC website, <>.   If you can help out with materials or make your donation, please let us know.

Lastly, no, I mean it, we have to thank the Jaharis Family Foundation for their generous support of many years.

We can’t thank you enough.

Keep in touch.
B. George, Director

The ARChive of Contemporary Music

ARC is a not-for-profit archive, music library and research center located in New York City. The ARChive collects preserves and provides information on the popular music of all cultures throughout the world. Since 1985 our holdings have grown to two million sound recordings, making the ARChive the largest popular music collection in the World.

Members of the Board of Advisors are: David Bowie, Jellybean Benitez, Jonathan Demme, Ellie Greenwich, Jerry Leiber, Youssou N’Dour, Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Nile Rodgers, Todd Rundgren, Fred Schneider, Martin Scorsese, Paul Simon, Mike Stoller and Jerry Wexler

We are located at : 54 White Street, Tribeca, New York City, 10013
tel : 212-226-6967
e :

face :

Sale Continues

13 12 2010

The sale is still going strong, but bad weather and the bad economy, are not our friends.   But YOU can befriend us anytime by coming down and shopping at our Holiday Record + CD Sale!   NOW through Dec 19, everyday 11-6pm.

Just arrived – new for this year – Live at the Barbican Theatre 2006 by Os Mutantes – CD donated by Luaka Bop – David Byrne’s labelHelp support the ARChive – a not-for-profit music library – America’s largest and BEST popular music collection.

YOU could also donate recordings and materials to the collection – we take any music or music related materials – LPs, CDs, books, posters, etc.

We’re still hugging the ground floor @ 54 White St. 3 short blocks south of Canal, between Broadway & Church in Tribeca. Take the 1 train to Franklin, or any train to Canal.

CDs are NEW donations from record companies, NOT used, returns or defects! Mostly pop and rock recordings. Collectible LPs are priced below book value. Hundreds of CDs are priced at $1 to $5 each. Cassettes + Classical LPs – 2 for $1.00 Just released NEW & HOT CDs are $5 – $10.

PLUS – 7″ singles. The endless job of alphabetically sorting the singles continues in the basement, and it looks like third copies of the letters “E” “F” and “G” will be on SALE. many desirable and hard to find – PLUS Old + new music books, books of all kinds actually – sealed/unopened LPs – African, Reggae & world-music releases – videos. Sorry to say the laserdiscs are all gone! – 60s psychedelic posters

THIS YEAR $5 specials – Sony Yule log DVDs, just released by Johnny Cash, Mariah Carey and Kenny Chesney; Nearly all Resident CDs, on Mute records (more than 1/2 the price of downloading); Return To Forever DVDs, live @ Montreux (cheapest on Amazon = $9.91)

One of our neighbors moved – and they were food stylists, so TONS of high end and junky kitchenware was donated to the Astroturf Yardsale of 50s kitchen stuff and clothing!!!

Tell Your friends = face, tweet, link + blog us.


You can now join the ARC online – members attend two parties here every year at the ARC and get first choice for all items at our sales.

… or call for details – 212-226-6967


%d bloggers like this: