[Date] Friday, August 25 2017 18:00 (expected to end at 19:00)
[Venue] Intermediatheque 2F Lecture Theatre ACADEMIA
The number of seats is limited to 48. We request your comprehension.
[Organization] The University Museum, the University of Tokyo
[Cooperation] Hideki Umeda + Mac Sugisaki
[Program Conception] Intermediatheque Department, The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT)
A cycle of gramophone concerts is regularly held within the lecture theatre ACADEMIA of the Intermediatheque. This concert series focuses on the Satoshi Yuze record collection, from which we select famous 1920-1940s jazz recordings. We play them on the illustrious Victrola Credenza and other gramophones, in order to share a quality of sound which has now vanished from public spaces.
In the 1930s, jazz was being recognized as dance music constitutive of American culture, but there were music amateurs who considered it to be a purer form of art. Among them the Hot Record Society, whose members were managing a record shop, editing a jazz magazine and producing reissues of rare records. Its leader, Steve Smith, founded an independent record label in 1938, and until 1947 produced highly original records by traditional and swing small bands. Here, we will select a dozen gems from these original issues, starting with Sidney Bechet’s legendary recordings, and offer a comprehensive panorama of these groups pursuing the highest form of swing.
On the Cycle of Gramophone Concerts
“Gramophone”, “Phonograph”, “Graphophone”, “Zonophone”… After the invention and diffusion of a mechanical system capable of recording and playing back sound, it took several decades before the terminology designating this device took root. It is said that meanwhile, the perplexity of people discovering this enigmatic piece of furniture emitting wonderful sounds was beyond imagination, ranging from curiosity to fear. However, with the generalization of LPs, CDs and digital audio files, gramophones have fallen out of use, and those remaining in museums simply exist as exhibition items. This concert series aims at activating the gramophone again as a playback device, in order to appreciate its possibilities anew.
The University Museum, the University of Tokyo holds various gramophones in its collections. One is the famous Credenza VV8-30, produced in Canada in 1925-1928 by Victrola. Another one is a unique device based on the Credenza with an original amplification system, made in 1931-1932 by instrument designer Isamu Hirabayashi (1904-1938).
These gramophones will play a wide range of music, and various types of records. Among them, a most precious source of music is the Satoshi Yuze collection, donated to the University Museum in 2012. This private record collection, focusing on jazz music and amounting to over ten thousand items, also contains numerous SP records. By playing on luxurious gramophones the collection constituted by Satoshi Yuze, which is the work of a lifetime, we will not only introduce rare recordings, but we will also share the quality and deepness of a sound lost with the advent of the digital era. In the iPod age, by getting together within the Intermediatheque lecture theatre and experiencing musical gatherings from another era, we intend to develop the museum space into a site for synaesthesia.