We are thrilled to finally share the wonders of the Savory Collection with the rest of the world. It’s the end of a 36-year quest that is centered on the wondrously strange and brilliant William Alcott Savory (1916-2004).
A trained musician and audio engineer, Savory served in the U.S. Navy where he developed radar technology and flew as a test pilot. But first and foremost, Savory was a music lover who single handedly captured hundreds of hours of top-shelf music off the air in the six years preceding America’s entry into World War II. By day, he recorded commercials off the air for a transcription service. But by night, Savory compiled a musical treasure chest, recording the jazz artists he loved off the radio.
The live nightclub and ballroom performances he captured were longer and more creatively daring as the artists were freed from the constraints of the conventional studio.
Packed away for decades and only rumored to exist, the Savory Collection was acquired by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in 2010, the culmination of a 36-year quest by jazz historian Loren Schoenberg. The discovery made headlines around the world, including the front page of The New York Times.
“Sometimes a recording feels like art history, not just social history,” wrote critic Ben Ratliff. “Among the recently discovered jazz recordings made by William Savory, at least a few rise to this level . . . All that I’ve heard are special.”
We’ve spent the past seven years lovingly restoring this treasure into high-fidelity gems. And now we are thrilled to share the wonders of this music with you.