Long-standing Prism Sound user David Hadzis, owner of Geneva-based studio Arthanor Productions and Project Manager at the United Music Foundation, has just received the Best Reissue Award 2014 from the French Acad©mie du Jazz for his project Sidney Bechet in Switzerland.
Hadzis has been using a Prism Sound multichannel ADA-8XR audio converter since 2006, and the unit was instrumental in re-mastering archive material of the legendary jazz soloist for this project, which was conceived and produced by Hadzis..
"It all began when a friend told me about some unreleased Bechet recordings that were supposedly at the RTS (the national Swiss Radio and TV network)," he explains. "At that time, their management granted me full access to their archives, so I was able to conduct all the research I needed, identifying along the way some recordings that nobody knew about; the more material I was finding, the more the project was expanding. And then I also found more tapes in private vaults as well as tons of previously unseen pictures, negatives, press reviews. I also conducted lots of research in local and national libraries where all local newspapers were archived."
The result was eventually a box set containing four CDs and a 216-page book.
"I have always done a lot of research on master tapes, tape libraries, old equipment, picture libraries, information," Hadzis continues. "I believe that the true value of vintage recordings can only be displayed when putting them back in their original context. So in some way, it is also an historians work."
The ADA-8XR was used to preserve all the original tapes and the 78rpm acetates from a period of 1949-1958, Hadzis shared the work between the unit in his own studio and one at Audio Gecko in Montreuil, near Paris, which had the equipment required to play the acetates. For the tapes he used Otari MX-5050BIII and Studer A-812 tape machines, all wired with Vovox Purum cables. All material was then processed in Pro Tools and a huge restoration project ensued, using either Gecko Audios Cedar unit or Celemony Capstan, iZotope RX 3 and 4 and some other bits and pieces at Hadzis own studio.
"It was months of work, especially in dealing with the tapes severe dropouts, mainly due to the edit splices being done manually without gloves back in the 50s," he says.
The award has been the icing on the cake for the project, which amongst a wealth of other material captures the legendary gig that Bechet performed on his 52nd birthday at the Victoria Hall in Geneva in May 1949. Not only does it also powerfully illustrate the capabilities of the ADA-8XR, it is vindication for the hard work that Hadzis put into the project.
"I thought it was a wonderful way of celebrating my 30th year in the music industry, he says. But also, more seriously, I thought it was a wonderful way to prove to the many people and companies who did not to support us during our fundraising campaign that we were serious and could really make this project happen. And there will be more to come."
All proceeds from the sale of the boxed set will be used for future projects involving the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of recorded music heritage. Indeed, Hadzis is currently in the process of successfully preserving some 1970s master tapes, most of which he says are suffering from sticky shed syndrome and even mould.