The Savory Collection 1935-1940

Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set


The Savory Collection 1935-1940
Then came the shock of my life! Could it be? Basie,then Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, and that was just in the first couple of boxes! The discs were mostly aluminum – that was unusual – and in varying states of decomposition, but some were absolutely pristine. Gene asked if I would like to take a few discs back to New York to sample. I managed a seemingly disinterested “Well, if you’d like me to”, grabbed a handful, including an unblemished 12” Basie Honeysuckle Rose and got out of there before he could change his mind - Loren Schoenberg
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies

6 CDs -  $99.00


Our Most Momentous Release In Years!
A Treasure Trove of Previously Unknown Music.

For Loren Schoenberg of the Jazz Museum of Harlem, it's the discovery that capped nearly forty years of searching. For us at Mosaic, it's the "find" that has us re-examining an era we thought we knew inside out.

And now, for listeners, it's an historic and fleeting opportunity to own a treasure trove of previously unknown music.

Mosaic Records presents "The Savory Collection" - six CDs with 108 tracks locked away for more than 70 years and finally available on CD for the very first time anywhere. The recordings are from the personal collection of Bill Savory, a quirky and secretive studio engineer in New York whose day job in the late 1930s and early 1940s was transcribing radio broadcasts for foreign distribution, and whose nighttime passion was turning on the disc recorders to pull in and preserve what was happening in the clubs of New York City and other cities.

Hidden Away. Until Now!

It was an era when TV didn't exist yet, live music was everywhere, and radio stations would serve it to their audiences - in what everyone thought were once-in-a-lifetime experiences. But no one counted on a guy like Bill Savory being on the other end of a radio signal.

Savory had always been cagey and unresponsive when asked about his collection. There were rumors it contained jewels. We're here to report - it does:

" Thirteen tracks from the original, under-rated John Kirby sextet featuring some of the finest soloists of the day: Buster Bailey, Charlie Shavers, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle and O'Neill Spencer.
-Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald and Roy Eldridge as guest stars on the CBS radio hit of the day "The Saturday Night Swing Club".
-Broadcasts from the legendary Café Society, Famous Door, Panther Room, Onyx Club and regularly scheduled radio programs with a cream of jazz stars.
-Joe Sullivan improvising at the piano - solo -- during a private party. A chance for him to loosen up, stretch out, and experiment.
-And an unknown version of "Body and Soul" by Coleman Hawkins, recorded live just seven months after his earth-shattering recording in 1939 that most listeners believe laid down an entirely new point of view about jazz soloing. As important as that original recording was, this newly-found version might be EVEN BETTER.
-A wealth of classic Count Basie live when Lester Young, Herschel Evans and were with that classic, trendsetting orchestra making jazz and big band history.

Moldering in a Garage. Smoldering on the Turntable

Scott Wenzel of Mosaic was with jazz educator and musician Loren Schoenberg to help catalog and bring these precious discs to NY from Chicago where they were being stored. Loren, as senior scholar and archivist at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, made the deal to acquire them and the hope was that someday they would be made available to the public. And, thankfully, now these boxes of shellac and aluminum discs are you to finally hear in brilliant sound thanks to the artistry of jazz fan and restoration engineer extraordinaire Doug Pomeroy. Music that was salvaged of an amazing array of performances that define the era.

In addition to the tracks and dates listed above, we also found these incredible gifts:

-The Martin Block Jam Sessions from WNEW - featuring extended jams featuring Lionel Hampton with Herschel Evans, the tenor saxophone player cut down by heart disease just a month after this recording; Joe Marsala with Bobby Hackett, Joe Bushkin and others; Jack Teagarden playing "Jeepers Creepers" (a song just one month old); and a Fats Waller jam with Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, Bud Freeman, and Charlie Shavers that is the essence of joyful expression.
-Glenn Miller doing "Tuxedo Junction" - a song he had performed only once before live. One day later, they'd be in the studio cutting the legendary track we all know on Bluebird.
-A Randall's Island jazz festival from May of 1938 that came before Newport or anything else. The festival went on for hours in front of 23,000 fans. It was thought to be entirely lost. Savory recorded just four titles by Basie and one by Stuff Smith.

"Imagine finding an unknown play by Shakespeare or an unknown novel by Mark Twain," said Schoenberg upon hearing the recordings. "That's what this is."

The Sound of a City

Most recordings in the collection were from dates in New York, the center of the world in jazz in that era. Other recordings in this collection were from clubs in Boston, Asbury Park, and Chicago, or from the radio studios of WNEW, CBS and NBC.

Swing was still a significant factor, but the earliest strains and seeds of bebop were being planted. Everything was happening at once. At clubs such as Café Society, the Savoy Ballroom, and the Onyx Club. Or at a place called the Fiesta Danceteria on 42nd street, "the world's first self-service nightclub," where Hawkins topped his own recording of "Body and Soul" in a performance that was never meant to be immortalized. It was just a night like any other night, and there was magic every night.

Imagine Count Basie at the Famous Door with Lester Young, just three years after Lester's recording debut. He was first heard on songs such as "Boogie Woogie" and "Lady Be Good" with Basie, and here he was performing them live. And alongside him was Herschel Evans, whose talent can now be reassessed.

Or, revel in the showmanship and exuberance of Fats Waller from a place called The Yacht Club, where the fun and frivolity of a casual club date takes you deep in the world of these men and women who did this night after night.

You couldn't see it at home - or Savory from his recording studio -- but you can imagine the spotlight hitting the microphone and Ella Fitzgerald or Mildred Bailey stepping into the light to hold a room - and a radio audience - in their hands.

The Sound of an Era

Those artists are all here on the Savory collection, along with Teddy Wilson, Albert Ammons, Benny Carter, Bobby Hackett, Chick Webb … the list goes on and on.

Savory's achievement in recording and preserving this material can't be overstated. You could be at home around your radio, but you didn't have the equipment in the studio where Savory tinkered and invented. The glory of these broadcasts in many cases heard here is that he was capturing live music without the limitation of a 3 or 4 minute 78 rpm recording. If the club version of a song went for six minutes, no matter. Savory got every note of it.

Don't Delay

As fans and listeners, we're indebted to Bill Savory's son, Gene, who finally agreed to part with this collection and share it with the world. And to the Jazz Museum of Harlem, which is doing the right thing by making it widely available.

But - there are limits!

And our Mosaic release of this material, packaged in our signature black box, in a numbered edition, with our exclusive booklet (written by Loren Schoenberg, including many rare photographs from the era) is strictly limited.

Please join us in celebrating this very special time in music, and this unsurpassed document of it. Order today!

Read More About TheSavory Collection:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »

  • Booklet
  • Audio Quality
  • Photography
  • Sample Session Notes
There is no better person to write these notes than the celebrated Loren Schoenberg who has written so many of our Mosaic booklets. Loren is the man responsible for bringing to light these storied recordings which were taken off the air and his in-depth knowledge of the music and history of these long awaited recordings is one of the highlights of recorded jazz history.

What makes this set so unique is that practically every one of these recordings have never been heard before. They are broadcast material that was professionally recorded onto lacquer discs and aluminum discs by Bill Savory and through today’s advances have been lovingly restored by the pre-eminent engineer and restoration engineer Doug Pomeroy.

Photo Copyright © Protected
TheSavory Collection
We have brought together some rare photos of the various artists in this set many of which are unknown. Everything from Miller to Fats to Basie and even a Martin Block Jam Session photo from the studios of WNEW.

Coleman Hawkins And His Orchestra

We start with the piece de resistance, so entrancing to the critical community when its discovery was announced in August 2010 that it ended up on several of the “Best Recordings” of the year. This, even though only a small segment had been made available.

Coleman Hawkins (1904-69) single-handedly created the idiom for the tenor saxophone in jazz. Before he came to maturity, however, Sidney Bechet and Adrian Rollini had already taken giant steps on the soprano and bass saxophones respectively, establishing the idea that the saxophone could be used to make great jazz. It was left to Hawkins to process the innovations of Louis Armstrong in an intensely personal way, and fashion out of them his own voice.

There are very few musicians in any genre that remained protean figures for as long as Coleman Hawkins did. When he gave up the cello for the saxophone in the early 1920s, not only was his chosen instrument considered a joke at best, there was as yet no model for coherent jazz improvisation. Miraculously, at the age of 35 he would have a hit recording that remains one of the most sophisticated and challenging creations ever to come remotely near the best-seller’s list. And by the age of 59, Hawkins would more than hold his own in studio encounters with John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins – both of whose careers would have been unimaginable without Hawkins’ precedent.

We defer to saxophone virtuoso James Carter for his reflections on the 1940 tunes captured from New York’s Fiesta Danceteria, which, according to the announcer was “the world’s first self-service nightclub!” Hawkins’ residency there was short-lived, as he paid scant attention to the owner’s requests that the band’s songs be as short as possible to encourage the dancers. What we hear here is proof positive of Hawkins’ decision to play music the way he wanted to, with an extended instrumental solo of unbridled brilliance.

For us aficionados of Coleman Randolph Hawkins, his name is synonymous with the Rosetta Stone of tenor saxophone recordings: none other than the October 11, 1939 studio recording of Body And Soul! In this 1940 outing with his big band in tow, Hawkins sees his previous two choruses and ups the ante by playing an additional two choruses to boot building on an already rock solid blueprint of sublime tenor chanting! In Hawk's extended reading, I hear familiar quotes from '39 but he's not resting on the laurels of a successful recording because he continues to challenge himself by using the two additional choruses to gain swinging momentum and further prove that even after his five year absence in Europe that he's still the Father and the emancipator of the tenor saxophone!


Click here to write a review

  Simply Astonishing
I am thrilled that this material -- rumored to exist for decades -- has finally been exhumed, and made available in such gorgeous quality by the dedicated folks at Mosaic. Every track brings a dollop of joy. I sincerely hope this box set will be the first in a series, as no doubt there are still many treasures waiting to be restored.
  Just buy it!
Stop reading the reviews! Just buy this set. Really. Theres material here that youll never get to hear any other way. I patiently wait for the day that Mosaic resolves all the copyright issues and releases the rest of the Savory material. And when that happens, Ill buy that set the second it comes out too!
  Great live swing recordings
This is really a treat! Its almost a whos who of swing playing live with pretty good sound quality - as good as youre going to get for a 1930s live recording. Just in the first few tracks you have Coleman Hawkins doing a live recording of his classic rendition of Body and Soul and Ella Fitzgerald singing A Tisket A Tasket. If youre shopping on this website you must be a jazz fan, and if youre a jazz fan youll want this in your collection.
  But Not For Me
I am loathe to be the discouraging word here, but... In the bad old days before I discovered Mosaic my old jazz collection was freighted with cheesy foreign imports where I had to listen not TO the recording but THROUGH the flaws to try and mentally construct what the actual sound of the band was like. As my Mosaic collection grew, I cheerfully retired lost? that skill. The material here is 5 star, its certainly a 5 star artifact, but I just cant get past the distortion, crowd noise, surface scritchs, etc. to get to the music.
Some unbelievable music here!
  The Savory Collection. Allready now a collectors item
Only three days in my possession I listened to all the six CDs. It is magnificent hearing Wilson, Waller and Basie in this audio quality. Late thirties! A must have!
  What an amazing treasure!
This may be the most historically significant Mosaic release since Dean Benedettis Charlie Parker recordings. An extraordinary collection of unheard-since music from the golden years of swing and radio. Hawkins Body and Soul may be worth the price of the whole box, but the Fats and Basie material ... two full discs in Basies case ... is also phenomenal. In fact nothing here is short of wonderful and this sets very existence is miraculous.
  Unbelievable music!
This extraordinary set is beyond sensational. Do not miss this one!
This is just an unbelievable set.So much incredible music. Can we hope for a second volume?
  A Lost Time Recovered
Please, please, not every cut is a masterpiece. But the Fat Waller tracks and the two discs devoted to Basie would make this a must-have for any serious collector. Basie throws in a few plinks, Papa Joe breathes onto the high hat, and Lester just rolls on. Yes, there are some rarities here, and I dont want to take away from them, but I hope they made the Basie discs out of everlasting material.
  Extraordinary Music
There is so much here, and all of it is amazing. Bud Freeman, Lester Young, Fats Waller, Stuff Smith, the Teddy Wilson Big Band! Bravo to everyone who made this set possible. Thanks!
  My Dumb Mistake
Sorry, its not two nights, I thought so from the sound. The recordings are taken from a bunch of different performances. My dumb mistake. Anyway, the music is great with Herschel Evans and Count Basie soloing superbly. The electric feel of so many of the tracks is exciting, and especially on disc 5 - theres no better Basie recorded to my ears.
  Basie Orchestra
Just got the set and have only listened to the last two discs, the Basie Orchestra recordings. Theyre extraordinary recordings. The orchestra is tight, high energy, and the rhythm section is incredible! On the first half theres more of ensemble feel to the orchestra with Evans and Basie tossing around solos with Buck Clayton and Lester Young. Both Evans and Basie hold their own, never heard Basie so good. The second location recording focuses more on Clayton and Young, like so many of the studio recordings. Jimmy Rushing is wonderful throughout both nights. Overall, these are extraordinary recordings of an orchestra on two very good nights - no, make that two great nights of music.
  Great broadcast recordings
All very interesting. Invaluable time capsule from 1936-1940. I especially liked the Coleman Hawkins air checks from the Feista Danceteria, the John Kirby band CBS shows, the air checks from the Manhattan Center. Bob Inman in his Swing Era Scrapbook told of these performances. Two negative notes from my perspective. One the inclusion of the Glenn Miller air checks, in my opinion, were unnecessary. Not because i dont like his music. But because there are a plethora of complete Miller broadcasts available currently on cd. And i think that the Joe Sullivan improvisations border on the incoherent! These are a waste of cd space!
  Any additional releases?
Bravo to the team that brought these recordings to release. Just curious: will any new Benny Goodman material from the collection be released? Thanks again for a great job!
  ...any day now?
When will this actually ship?
  National Jazz Museum of Harlem
I found a couple of the CDs in the Savory Collection and think theyre just wonderful.The verbal chatter of the musicians are particularly priceless.

The Savory Collection 1935-1940
The Savory Collection 1935-1940
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
6 CDs - $99.00

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