Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins Among Jazz Gems Showcased in 'The Savory Collection'

William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
Ella Fitzgerald

Apple Music will exclusively release the project with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on Oct. 14.

It’s a real-life treasure hunt that lasted more than 30 years. But now jazz fans can listen to the fruits of that long pursuit on Oct. 14 when the National Jazz Museum in Harlem exclusively releases the first volume in The Savory Collection through Apple Music.

“Imagine finding an unknown play of Shakespeare’s or an unknown novel by Mark Twain -- that’s what this is,” declares Loren Schoenberg, founding director and senior scholar of the National Jazz Museum. “It’s as close to a musical time capsule as you’ll ever find. You are right there, in the moment, hearing never-before-heard sounds in truly remarkable fidelity.”

Formally titled The National Jazz Museum in Harlem Presents the Savory Collection, Volume 1 — Body and Soul: Coleman Hawkins and Friends, the series’ first release is comprised of 18 digitally restored tracks recorded between 1936-1940. In addition to jazz tenor saxophone legend Hawkins, the set features such swing era icons as Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller and Lionel Hampton. Two grat tracks are available now through pre-orders at iTunes.com/SavoryCollection and AppleMusic.com/SavoryCollection:

Hawkins and his orchestra’s 1940 live, six-minute take on “Body and Soul”-- two times the length of the original studio recording-- and “Dinah,” a track from a 1938 Hampton jam session. Noted historian and filmmaker Ken Burns wrote the project’s accompanying foreword.

These tracks -- performed in nightclubs and ballrooms -- have never been heard since they were initially broadcast on the radio decades ago. Long-rumored to be in existence, these performances were recorded off the air by sound engineer and jazz fan Bill Savory. It was Savory’s son Eugene Desavouret who discovered the unique archive of 975 discs and hundreds of hours of music that were subsequently acquired by the National Jazz Museum.

The Savory Collection, Volume 2 will be released later this year, boasting rare tracks performed by the Count Basie Orchestra with saxophonist Lester Young. Additional volumes are slated to be issued in 2017.