THE BLUES PERIOD
But quite a few things happened anyway. Looking back on the period of 1956 to 1964, Storyville’s activity centered on traditional jazz and mainly blues. The first great blues singer to arrive in Copenhagen was Big Bill Broonzy in 1956. Many recording sessions followed with Champion Jack Dupree, Robert Pete Williams, Big Joe Williams, Lonnie Johnson, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Memphis Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson and many others. These Storyville recordings made it economically possible, among other things, to record some modern jazz. They were originally released on Sonet, but later reissued on Storyville. Among the artists were Bud Powell and Archie Shepp/New York Contemporary Five, but also several well known Scandinavian artists were recorded such as RoIf Billberg, Max Brüel & Jørgen Ryg.
STORYYILLE AND SONET DIVIDED
From 1964 to 1978, when Sonet and Storyville were divided, not much was recorded or issued on Storyville, except for records by Papa Bue & Liller. These records, however, became great hits and were awarded with silver and gold records. Fessor’s Big City Band was also extremely active at this time, recording either alone or with guest stars from the US like Sammy Price, Al Casey, Doc Cheatham and many others.
of the foreign musicians who visited Denmark during this period passed through
unrecorded by Storyville. But there were exceptions like Eddie “Lockjaw”
Davis and Harry “Sweets” Edison, and the Lee Konitz/Warne Marsh Quartet
recorded in Montmartre as well as in the studio. There were also recordings with
Jesper Thilo and featured instrumentalists Clark Terry, “Sweets” and Al
Grey. Papa Bue recorded with such greats as Albert Nicholas, Edmond Hall, Wingy
Manone and Wild Bill Davison.
obviously had grander ambitions than this like recording resident US artists Ben
Webster and Dexter Gordon - but as the daily work at Sonet came first, these
project where always postponed.
1978, Storyville and Sonet were divided into two separate firms. At the same
time, Knudsen sold 50% of both companies to Sonet in Sweden. Storyville now
began a more intensive business policy by making more recordings and licensing
from Japan. Some of these licensed recordings featured Art Pepper, Anita O’Day,
Barney Kessel, Warne Marsh, Bill Perkins, Pepper Adams and June Christy. In
Denmark, Niels Lan Doky became the first of a new wave of younger musicians who
became a part of the repertoire of Storyville in 1986. The Palle Mikkelborg/
NHØP/Kenneth Knudsen trio recording was a hit.
by Quest, the Mingus Dynasty Band, Klaus Suonsaari Quintet, Jens Winther, Kenny
Barron, Khan Jamal and John Tchicai brought Storyville into the modern era.
the late 80s and early 90s, Storyville issued a batch of ambitious series. The
Masters of Jazz series included 12 different issues on CD and LP with great
artists like Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Duke Ellington,
Ben Webster and Art Tatum. The Blues Masters series also included 12 titles,
only on CD, coming from the great Storyville recordings made in the 1950s and
1960s. The Sounds of New Orleans contains 10 CDs. With all of this renewed
activity, it became impractical for Storyville to have production in Denmark and
administration in Sweden. At the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 1990, a
new Danish Storyville company was opened which consolidated both functions.
When the Sonet owned Studio 39 was closed, it was natural to adapt the building on Dortheavej as Storyville’s home base, with offices and a storage facility. On October 15th 1991, Sonet’s activities were transferred to PolyGram, and Knudsen once again became the sole owner of Storyville. Now all of Storyville’s activities were under one roof.
Along with the record business Storyville now also bought rights to numerous
jazz films from such companies as Official Films (the Soundies) and Pathé
Pictures (the Snader Telescriptions). The company also started licensing film
clips to other film makers and television stations, and a series of jazz home
videos as part of the Storyville catalogue were created for the growing video
market. By 1998 more than 60 home video issues had been issued throughout
Europe, with 20 more to be issued in 1999/2000 as well as NTSC copies for the US
& Japanese markets during 1999.
film production was started in the mid 80’ies when Knudsen met US filmmaker
Don McGlynn in Los Angeles. Don moved to Denmark and was hired to produce
various documentaries such as an internationally successful programme: The Mills
Brothers Story produced in co-operation with the Danish Radio. Another success
called The Spike Jones Story, was produced in co-operation with the estate of
Spike Jones. Along with these projects, Don and Storyville have been involved in
some other exciting programs. They produced a documentary: Chris Barber On The
Road as well as an all music home video with Chris Barber of a studio concert in
Stockholm, and did the same on Niels Lan Doky’s ‘Close Encounter’
recording session. A documentary about Snader Telescriptions called ‘TV’s
First Music Videos’ was also produced.
issued home videos feature artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab
Calloway, Count Basie, Peggy Lee, Nat “King” Cole, Jack Teagarden, George
Shearing, The Mills Brothers, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Stan Kenton, Gene
Krupa, Jimmy Dorsey, Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett, Svend Asmussen, Eddie “Lockjaw”
Davis, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Jordan and a host of others. Recent
issues included such artists as Slim Gaillard, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Big
Bill Broonzy, Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Lockwood, and a host of other new
projects are in preparation such as “The Stars Of Jazz” (a well known US TV
program produced by Jimmie Baker in the late 50’ies). Lately 2 concert
performances of the 40th
anniversary of Chris Barber &