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January 20, 2008

30 Years of Canadian Jazz Available Online

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz news, Canada

Online Archive Features Concerts, Documentaries, Educational Tools & More

Thirty years of Canadian concerts are being offered free online by Toronto radio station JAZZ.FM91.

Canada’s only 24/7 jazz radio station, JAZZ.FM91 is also the presenter of the Sound of Jazz concert series (formerly Sound of Toronto) which has been running since 1976. The station has taken the original analogue tape reels of these performances along with documentaries about prominent artists and digitized them for streaming audio. These files will be available to the general public online at the Canadian Jazz Archive, www.canadianjazzarchive.org.

The archives feature musicians ranging from student bands to obscure local groups to Canadian jazz giants such as Diana Krall in a 1990 trio concert, along with photos and biographies for each concert, a chronology of Canadian jazz, downloadable education materials, and seven documentaries about Canadian icons such as Lenny Breau, Rob McConnell, Jane Bunnett and Vic Vogel.

The original (analogue) recordings of the concerts were played once and put into storage, but there was a risk of losing them as they were disintegrating. JAZZ.FM91 began digitizing the collection a year ago thanks to a grant from Canadian Heritage. Digitizing meant removing the moisture from the original recordings before converting them to MP3 format, baking them for 8 hours then allowing them to sit for 16 hours. The process ruins the protective coating on the reels, but none of the recordings were compromised during the process.

The recordings will be available in a streaming audio format as downloadable files are not possible due to copyright restrictions. Broadcast requirements mean the audio must be compressed enough to be accessible by nearly any computer, making them less than CD quality.

The site was unveiled with a partial collection of the archive during the 2008 IAJE conference in Toronto this month, with the official launch scheduled for February.

for more info visit www.jazzarchive.ca

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