Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Bakersfield Mystery

Just missed out today bidding on three reel-to-reel recordings of Duke Ellington on Ebay. Drat!

The bidding finished at 6:30-ish Greenwich Meantime and I had failed to rouse from a Chateauneuf du pape (we do things in style at Villes Ville) induced slumber to check that I had not been out bid. I awoke at seven.

The listing description ran:

"3 Reels - Duke Ellington California Concert Vintage 10.5" Reel to Reel Recordings

I had approximately 900 of these most of which were classical music recorded in the early 1950's, I would assume these were from a similar time period, but not sure. Come to find out, they were very high quality FM recordings. I have no idea if these are as well, and I don't have any more information on these than what you will see in the pictures. I haven't verified the music noted on the reels, cards, or cans, is actually on the reels, but so far, all have been on the ones checked by other buyers. These came from a very organized collection of almost 1000 reels, so most likely they're good, but you are buying these as is."

The cans are labelled "Bakersfield Concert" and the date given on one of the reels is May 1952.

This is interesting because no mention is made of any concert in Bakersfield during May 1952 in any of the Ellington reference works. is this a hitherto unknown concert recording? Unless the lucky bidder gets in touch, I shall probably never know now.

The problem is, studying the band's itinerary (here), it is highly unlikely that they could have performed in Los Angeles during this month. Is the recording simply mis-labelled?

The band was in Bakersfield in March 1952, however. A recorded performance from the month of March does exist (details here)but no specific date nor location is known. Could this be the recording on the tape? Or is it a completely 'fresh' and unknown date?

Well, the world of Ellington aficionados is quite small so something might turn up about this tape and this sale one day. I'll keep you posted!

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