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Various Artists: The Savory Collection 1935-1940 (Mosaic)

Review of six-CD set of historic jazz radio broadcasts recorded by engineer Bill Savory

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Cover of The Savory Collection 1935-1940
Cover of The Savory Collection 1935-1940

Certain collections of music are so rich and deep that it feels like a listener could almost swim in them. This six-disc, 108-track set feels bottomless. It also represents one of the greatest provenance accounts in all of jazz. Someone ought to write a short story about it.

Bill Savory was a reticent New York recording engineer in the 1930s and 1940s who had a cool nocturnal habit: While transcribing radio broadcasts for foreign distribution, he liked to multitask, flipping on his recorders and capturing what was going out over the airwaves from live jazz-club performances that were only meant to be heard once. That is, if there had been no Bill Savory.

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