Columbia Introduces First LP Record

On June 21, 1948, Columbia Records introduced the first LP, or “long playing” record.

At the time the LP was introduced, nearly all phonograph records for home use were made of an abrasive (and therefore noisy) shellac compound, employed a much larger groove, and played at approximately 78 rpm, limiting the playing time of a 12-inch record to less than five minutes per side.

33 1/3 RPM Long-playing record

33 1/3 RPM Long-playing Record

The new product was a 12 or 10-inch fine-grooved disc made of vinyl and played with a smaller-tipped “microgroove” stylus at a speed of 33⅓ rpm. Each side of a 12-inch LP could play for more than 20 minutes. Only the microgroove standard was truly new, as both vinyl and the 33⅓ rpm speed had been used for special purposes for many years, as well as in one unsuccessful earlier attempt to introduce a long-playing record for home use. Although the LP was especially suited to classical music because of its extended continuous playing time, it also allowed a collection of ten or more typical “pop” music recordings to be put on a single disc.

Previously, such collections, as well as longer classical music broken up into several parts, had been sold as sets of 78 rpm records in a specially imprinted “record album” consisting of individual record sleeves bound together in book form. The use of the word “album” persisted for the one-disc LP equivalent.

Tate – MoMA – Frick, Major Art Galleries Online

Another Non-Musical Post

The Internet is just a wonderful, and powerful thing. Did you know that you can tour most of the great art galleries in the world right from your easy chair? Several of them include an option that lets you save your own personal collection of your favorites, so you can come back and view them any time you like without having to go through searches or numerous page views.

National Gallery - west wing

National Gallery - west wing

One of my favorites is the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., partly because it has a huge collection of Rembrandts. The building is an architectural stunner and the art is wonderfully displayed. The collection also includes a very small work by Leonardo da Vinci, painted on a block of wood and painted on both front and rear. It is displayed, out on the floor in a special case that gives a 360-degree view as you can walk behind the painting. The scene on the rear is exactly what a viewer would have seen in real life if standing behind the subject. Incredible! What a mind that guy had.

The Tate Gallery, in London offers a virtual map of the gallery. As you mouse-over the various rooms you get a note of the period or artists displayed within. Click on the room and you can see the works within and can save them to your virtual collection. It is a great way to plan your visit and make sure you don’t miss a favorite while there.

The Guggenheim site lets you tour the collections in New York City, Venice, Berlin and the new Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Once your are in your chosen collection, click on any piece and a wealth of information pops up. It is a new, and very enlightening, way to experience these great works. Very educational!

Reubens Wife & Child

Reubens Wife & Child

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City has a terrific site with all sorts of capabilities. There is database feature that lets you set your search criteria and then look through all the works that meet those data-points. They also have what are, in effect, virtual lectures, organized around interesting topics like “Art of the First Cities,” or “How van Gogh Made His Mark.” You can save a personal collection of art from The Met, too.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City has one of the coolest of all the sites. The collection is displayed, onscreen, as artwork only. No text. Mouse-over an artwork and the Name, Artist and Date pop up. Again, you can save your own personal art gallery to revisit.

My favorite gallery of all, at least for a live visit, is The Frick Collection in New York City. Not only is it a stunning collection of art, but it is presented in the actual Frick Mansion on 5th Avenue, just across the street from Central Park. You get to see the art just as old Henry Clay Frick, one of America’s industrial giants, enjoyed it as he walked around his splendid home. Major rooms have a virtual tour video that lets you scan 360 degrees, zoom in and out and see the room and its art almost as if you were walking around inside. On my visit there, I delighted browsing his personal library, with works like J. H. Jesse’s English Histories, History of the U.S., and Book of Wealth by George Bancroft.

My advice is to spend a little time with these great resources. The links are scatttered throughout this post, but here is a recap to make it easy for you:

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Tate Gallery, London, UK

The Guggenheim Museum, NYC – Venice – Berlin –  Bilbao

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Frick Collection, New York City

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Steve Tyrell

I mentioned that a friend of mine was in New York City a couple of weeks ago, and saw Cole Porter‘s piano in the cocktail lounge of The Waldorf Astoria.

She had asked me for ideas on where to go for some good music one evening. After checking around on what was happening (thanks New Yorker magazine) I recommended they consider seeing Steve Tyrell, who was performing at The Blue Note.

Steve Tyrell at The Blue Note

Steve Tyrell at The Blue Note

They went, and they really enjoyed it. The Blue Note is a terrific, intimate venue for this kind of act. The performance was built largely around Steve’s Back to Bacharach album, but included some tunes from the Great American Songbook. At the very beginning of his music career, Steve worked as an assistant producer for Burt Bacharach, and he has a special feel for all the Bacharach/Hal David material.

Back to Bacharach album

Back to Bacharach album

On most tunes, Tyrell’s voice has certain rough, growly quality. I think of it as “a little taste of Louie.” This makes for an interesting interpretation of some of the classics on his Standard Time album, which includes several of my all-time favorites like Stardust. Probably my favorite track on the album is Fats Waller‘s Ain’t Misbehavin’ from way back in 1929.

Tyrell followed up Standard Time with A New Standard offering more of the great old stuff. This time we get Cheek to Cheek , I Can’t Get Started and Smile. Where you really hear “a little taste of Louie” is on A Kiss To Build A Dream On. It’s not Louie, but it’s close.

Any of you who saw my post on the Denise Brigham recording sessions for Hotel Lafayette knows that I am always intrigued by the process behind the final track. While not quite the same as the ‘live look” at the recording process we saw there, the following video has Steve talking about what it was like working with, and learning from, Burt Bacharach, as well as some of the production work and strategy that has gone into some of his best tracks.

Steve Tyrell will take over at The Carlyle Hotel for a run fro November 10- December 30, plus a special performance on New Year’s Eve. We recommend it. Read more of this post

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