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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Runnin' Wild - Dick Schory

Portrait In Jazz
Runnin' Wild
Dick Schory's Percussion And Brass Ensemble
Stereo Action
The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow
RCA LSA-2306

From the inside sleeve: The stage of Orchestra Hall, which comfortably accommodates the full Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is a jam-packed maze of two truckloads of brass and percussion instruments, 23 musicians, microphones and other recording gear. Conductor Dick Schory is perched high on his podium in full commands of the musical activities. Deep down under the stage, producer Marty Gold works wonders in coordinating musicians, sound men, engineers, stagehands and people running for coffee.

The "Stereo Action" series was RCA's attempt to show-off their stereo engineering. The results were sometimes mixed. Some LPs in the series go uncomfortably "wild" with stereo effects that detract from the music and other sets are presented with more subdued effects and are therefore more enjoyable for us to listen to today. In this case, it seems like Schory probably followed marching orders to assemble a set of tunes to help showcase "stereo sounds" in a variety of ways. The variety leaves us with a set that isn't thematically focused. Some tracks sound almost early 60s Command label "cartoony" and other tracks, like the sample featured above, sound more "serious"or "dramatic". All-in-all, however, a good listen.

The real success for RCA, aside from good (but, thankfully, not in your face) stereo separation, was the overall feat of engineering. The big sound was made bigger by acoustics of the theater in which the set was recorded. The engineers deserve credit for the spectacular job they did capturing the rich sound.

Brass Jockeys
Me And My Shadow
Portrait In Jazz
Mama's Gone, Goodbye
But Not For Me
Love For Sale
Runnin' Wild
Lazy Bones
Down Home Rag
Thou Swell

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