Weldon Kees was unknown to me when I started processing the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation collection about three months ago. In photographs, Kees has dark hair combed neatly to one side, a matching moustache, and an intense gaze. He was most often photographed wearing a tweed suit with a sweater vest and tie and holding a cigarette. He dabbled in a number of things (among them: Communism, novel-writing, Abstract Expressionist painting, psychotherapy) but, over time, it has become clear that Kees best made a name for himself through poetry.
Blog topic: Sound recordings
On October 14, the exhibit, “Mario Paci and Music Culture in Shanghai: A Special Exhibition in Commemoration of Mario Paci,” opened at Shanghai Symphony Hall to commemorate 70 years since the death of the Symphony’s revered founding conductor. The exhibit is a collaborative project between the Stanford University Libraries, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
Earlier this year the Stanford Media Preservation Lab and Conservation Lab were tasked with figuring out how to playback severely warped paper based disc sound recordings. The recordings in question are from a three disc set titled Man-Talk by Three Great Western Stars and each one-sided disc in the set features a single monologue by John Wayne, Bill Elliott, or Johnny Mack Brown.
Most of the community is aware of the planned development for Stanford’s Redwood City Campus. What few of you may be aware of is that four departments from the Stanford University Libraries (SUL) moved out to Redwood City three years ago. We have been working out of 425 Broadway which is one of the buildings slated for demolition. The development of the new campus necessitates SUL’s relocation from 425 across the street to 500 Broadway – the former home of AMPEX.
The four units moving are: Stanford University Press, Conservation Services, Stanford Media Preservation Lab, and Technical Services branch of Special Collections. SUL staff in these four units have been working for over a year with SUL’s Facilities Department on planning for this interim space. I say interim, because in another 2.5 years, we’ll be moving back onto the new campus.
Open reel tapes, head blocks, and unconventional track arrangements at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab
Part of audio preservation work includes working with media that has peculiar characteristics. Sometimes the atypical qualities are a byproduct of how the recording was made by the recordist. An example of this type of problem that we occasionally see at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab is when an open reel tape is recorded over and there is remaining content hidden in certain spots of the tape. This presents specific problems in capture since tape heads are built for use with specific physical configurations of tracks and thus capturing the hidden spots outside of the normal range of track configuration is near impossible. With this in mind SMPL recently worked on obtaining equipment to address this challenging scenario.
To facilitate research, study, and access to the historical piano rolls in its collection, the Stanford Player Piano Project is designing and constructing a piano roll scanner capable of scanning all of the various types of piano and organ rolls that have been collected to date. This new scanner is based on the work of Anthony Robinson, who is working with the Project to expand upon and improve his earlier design. Monica Caravias, a graduate student at the Stanford Product Realization Lab, is designing and building Stanford’s scanner in close collaboration with Anthony and under the direction of Prof. Craig Milroy. This is the first in a series of reports on the progress of constructing the scanner.
Copies of numerous items from the Archive of Recorded Sound's Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Collection (ARS.0056) will shortly be on display at Bechtel International Center Conference Room at Stanford University, as part of an exhibition entitled Women's Power to Stop War: Celebrating 100 years of Peacemaking. The exhibition, to coincide with Women's History Month and International Women's Day, will run March 1st - March 13th 2016 and is free to the public.
There will also be an Exhibit Opening Event on Tuesday (March 1, 2016) from 5:30-8pm in the Conference Room at the Bechtel International Center.
The producers of Riverwalk Jazz, the popular public radio program dedicated to presenting, preserving and promoting classic jazz, recently issued their acclaimed live production of “Porgy and Bess: A Jazz Transcription” on CD. The original program masters, recorded in 1992 on analog quarter-inch tape, were paged from the Riverwalk Jazz collection held by the Archive of Recorded Sound and digitized at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab for the release.