Robert Noel Parker (24 December 1936 – 30 December 2004) was an Australian sound engineer, jazz expert and broadcaster, well known for his radio series Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo.
Born in Sydney, Australia, he worked for the Commonwealth Film Unit then moved to Britain in 1964 to work in the film and television industry. On returning to Australia, he received a commission from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for a radio series on jazz.
As a collector of records from the age of twelve, he had built up a large collection of vintage music. He developed a system for transferring recordings to digital media, eliminating noise, adding stereo and enhancing acoustics. He first used an analogue machine, the Packman Audio Noise Suppressor, and later digital equipment from CEDAR Audio Ltd to transfer, retouch and enhance recordings.
With these techniques he produced reproductions of jazz records of the 1920's and earlier that are not only free of surface noise but reveal details, subtleties and a sense of presence that were not previously evident on the records, even in LP re-issues.
He used his enhanced 78rpm transfers in a long-running radio programme Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo, first broadcast in May 1982 by ABC Radio and later carried by BBC Radio 2, amongst other stations.
His transfer of "Milenberg Joys" performed by McKinney's Cotton Pickers was adopted by him as the theme tune for his broadcasts.
He settled back in Britain and set up his own studio in Devon, and followed on from his radio show with a series of vintage record transfers under the banners Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo and The Classic Years in Digital Stereo.
This is the third of four CDs in the Robert Parker series that reissues a cross section of early jazz recordings from a regional area. The music ranges from the famous (Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington) to the lesser known (Charlie Johnson's Paradise Ten, Lloyd Scott and Freddy Jenkins). Veteran collectors will prefer to skip this sampler and get the complete sessions elsewhere but listeners just beginning to explore early jazz should find these early recordings (which range from pre-swing to some heated jams) worth investigating. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
01 Jelly-Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers: Burnin' The Iceberg
02 King Oliver & His Orchestra: Strugglebuggy
03 Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra: Sugar Foot Stomp
04 Bessie Smith Accompanied By James P. Johnson: Lock And Key
05 Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra: San
06 Miff Mole & His Little Molers: Imagination
07 Eddie Condon & His Footwarmers: Makin' Friends
08 Fats Waller & His Buddies: The Minor Drag
09 Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra: East St. Louis Toodle-Oo
10 Charlie Johnson & His Orchestra: Hot Bones & Rice
11 Luis Russell & His Orchestra: Dr. Blues
12 Fess Williams & His Royal Flush Orchestra: Feelin' Devilish
13 Lloyd Scott's Orchestra: Happy Hour
14 Casa Loma Orchestra, The: Casa Loma Stomp
15 Jungle Band, The: Dog Bottom
16 Cab Calloway & His Orchestra: Minnie The Moocher
17 Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra: Stratosphere
18 Clarence Williams' Washboard Five: Cushion Foot Stomp
19 Freddie Jenkins & His Harlem Seven: I Can't Dance
20 Eddie Lang - Joe Venuti & Their All Star Orchestra: Farewell Blues
Robert Parker's radio podcasts (recommended!)