PE0084. ARTHUR PRYOR and his Band: Echoes from Asbury Park. (Canada) Archeophone 5008, recorded 1903-13. - 777215110038
“One of the premier conductors of the early 20th century, Pryor was second in reputation only to Sousa, and his band traveled the world spreading Pryor's fame for ragtime, classical adaptations, and masterful musical precision. Guided by trombonist and Pryor expert David Sager, we have assembled these 25 recordings into two simulated ‘concerts’, presenting them the way that visitors to New Jersey's resort spot, Asbury Park, might have heard them in the first decade of the last century.
A brass band concert a century ago, and the arrival of the celebrated bandmaster, was an event with as much buzz surrounding it as a modern rock concert might have. In 1903 Arthur Pryor, late of Sousa's Band, put together an ensemble of top musicians and soon became a star attraction all across the country. Before long, Pryor's Band were a regular attraction at Asbury Park. Archeophone recreates the feel of an afternoon and an evening concert at the park by sequencing these early recordings much the same way Pryor himself would have. Additionally, the opening matter of the lavish 24-page accompanying booklet is designed to simulate a period concert program!
Fans of military band music have much to look forward to here. In addition to some terrific marches, such as W. Paris Chambers' ‘Falcon March’ and E. E. Bagley's ‘National Emblem’, several of Pryor's own pieces are featured: ‘The Victor March’, with its prominent bass drum, the lilting ‘After Sunset’, the whimsical ‘Louisa’, the tone poem ‘In Lover's Lane’, and best of all, a little ragtime, ‘Razazza Mazzazza’. Pryor was personally responsible for helping to spread ragtime's popularity throughout the world, and when he conducts his own ragtime compositions, you can see why.
Arthur Pryor was also well-known for his skilled craft in transcribing classical works for his ensembles. This ability is on ample display on the ‘Felsenmuhle Overture’ by K. Reissiger and the LA FORZA DEL DESTINO - Overture. Also note Hector Berlioz's ‘Rakoczy March’ from THE DAMNATION OF FAUST is here too, as well as the BOHEMIAN GIRL - Selection by Michael Balfe.
Like any concert, ECHOES FROM ASBURY PARK takes an occasional time-out from the ensemble pieces to offer up a solo or two. Simone Mantia, Pryor's fine second-hand man and euphonium (dubbed the ‘Pryorphone’) wizard, gives a stunning performance on ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (with variations), aided by the Zon-O-Phone Band. On ‘Polka Fantastic’ and ‘Oh, Dry Those Tears’, it's all Pryor. On the former he gives a technically brilliant performance on trombone, while on the latter we get his favorite encore, an absolutely beautiful song. For the haunting final scene from Verdi's AÏDA, Pryor is joined by cornetist Emile Keneke in a performance that will leave you breathless. The RIGOLETTO Quartet is equally impressive, featuring Pryor, Kenecke, Mantia, and Walter Pryor (Arthur's brother, also on cornet).
Arthur Pryor was one of the most important stars and recording innovators of the early industry and thus deserving a place of prominence in any discussion of the acoustic-era. Archeophone is proud to include Pryor and his band. With 25 stirring selections, a 24-page booklet with beautiful illustrations, and scholarly notes by David Sager, ECHOES FROM ASBURY PARK is another top-notch Archeophone release.”