A mixture of both

by Mark Gabrish Conlan

The process probably varied from label to label, but my understanding of the way it usually worked was that the on-site recording engineer would first inspect the wax or (later) lacquer masters for obvious flaws (like bubbles on the wax surface) that would render a master technically unusable. The producer and the engineer would then decide which "takes" to send to the mastering laboratory for metallurgical processing and the manufacture of test pressings, which would then be played for the producer, the artists and the recording executives, who would have the final decision as to what was issued.

We have a few clues: the rejected take of Frank Trumbauer's "My Pet" survives in a test pressing bearing a note that it has been rejected on the orders of Bob Stephens, Tommy Rockwell's assistant (and later a producer in his own right whose most famous recordings are Count Basie's 1937-1939 sides for Decca) and the notations on Bix's 1925 Rhythm Jugglers date for Gennett that the two songs that weren't issued ("Magic Blues" and "Nobody Knows What It's All About") were rejected for technical (flaws in the wax) rather than musical reasons.

Posted on Nov 1, 2017, 7:26 AM

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