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And The Band Played On

Published on: February 24th, 2011

Walking into the old nightclub, the sound of blaring trumpets muffle into a trembling hi-hat. The dusk-filled room moves around to the clinks of shot glasses and light taps of the toes and heels. The finger-zinging double bassist picks at the strings to manipulate the soft, quick bellows, as the clarinet steps in with short, vibrant notes that set the mood of Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

With the recordings of the Big Band Era in possession, the University of Colorado Boulder American Music Research Center holds the history of the up-beat, catchy tunes that dominated the Roaring Twenties and lasted until the 1960s. CU’s Glen Miller Archives include thousands of recordings by Glen Miller and his Orchestra, as well as many popular artists and musicians from the “Big Band Era,” including more recently: the Ed Burke collection.

“We have the announcer’s voice, the advertising, everything,” said Professor Tom Riis, director of the American Music Research Center in the College of Music, in a press release. “It is also in remarkably good condition, as the tapes were made directly from the transcription discs loaned to Ed by the radio stations.”

Big band jazz took the reins of American popular music, becoming one of the most memorable music revolutions in the history of the U.S. Early in its history, jazz dominated the streets and nightclubs of New Orleans, becoming a pivotal genre of music that is still played everywhere today.

Now adding to one of the most significant big band jazz collections, the Ed Burke collection has recordings from Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, according to a press release.

The collection of famous singers and musicians is named after Ed Burke and consists of about 1,400 reel-to-reel recordings of radio shows that played the big shots of the Big Band Era. CU archive curator Alan Cass was excited about the new addition to the Glen Miller Archive, as he explained how grateful the CU Research Center is to “…Ed Burke for his lifelong dedication to preserving an important segment of American popular music,” announced in a press release.

Not only does the collection contain many rare recordings of famous jazz musicians and singers, Ed Burke also collected photos, magazines and documents from the Big Band Era that will be preserved with the rest of the historical music archives.

To get a taste of the jazz that shook the foundation of the 30s, join the CU Jazz Ensemble for their Spring Swing concert on Feb. 27 at 2pm. Also, if you can’t wait until the concert, recordings from the Glen Miller Archive are played every Saturday at 5 p.m. on radio station AM 1430; recorded sessions can be found at studio1430.com.

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