Bursens Arburo Dance Organ
(Jazz Orchestra)

About This Archive CD Recording
Recorded circa 1968-69 at Hathaway & Bowers, Inc.

Bursens Arburo Dance Organ -- a.k.a. Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., "Jazz Orchestra."

Kathy Hathaway (sister of Terry Hathaway) enjoying the (Arburo) Jazz-Orchestra.

Arburo organs, like the one featured on this Archive CD, were manufactured and used during the 1950's and early 1960's, and were of the highest quality. The name Arburo is a contraction of the manufacturer's name, Arthur Bursens. Distribution was limited mainly to Belgium and Holland. No two were exactly alike, so that each instrument offered something special to its proud owner. Arthur Bursens made almost everything, including the pipework, which was made from lumber carefully seasoned and aged in his own warehouse. The pipework, which is extensive and beautifully voiced, is concealed behind the velvet curtains providing the colorful backdrop for all the displayed trapwork and accordion. The accordion, a high quality one originally costing about $400.00, is an actual playing instrument, as are all the percussive devices displayed at the front of the instrument. To heighten the listening experience, various lighting effects controlled by register perforations in the music roll cause recessed areas in the decorative facade to glow and change colors while the music plays.

It was in late 1967 that Dave Bowers and Terry Hathaway visited Arthur Bursens in Hoboken, a suburb of Antwerp, Belgium. His big warehouse, where Mr. Bursens stored surplus organs awaiting shipment to a commercial location or that were in for repairs, was jammed full of some thirty plus idle and unwanted Arburo Dance Organs, no two alike. All were gleaming and fitted with beautifully painted facades, each one still in excellent operating condition. Unfortunately, the popularity for such instruments had generally waned, with most commercial establishments wanting newer and more modern entertainment, in order to attract and accommodate the flood of more youthful patrons that demanded the "rock and roll" music gaining popularity everywhere. Thus, new electronic systems replaced the old pneumatic machines, with the forlorned organs sitting unwanted in Bursens' large warehouse building. With no foreseeable commercial future for the colorful machines in Europe, the entire hoard of Arburo organs was purchased and shipped to the Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., facility in Santa Fe Springs, California, and subsequently all the organs were resold to eager American buyers.

To promote the Arburo organs, one of them -- after it was carefully allowed to acclimate to the relatively dry Southern California climate -- was tuned up and the pneumatic mechanisms adjusted and tightened. This fixed and prevented the numerous detrimental air leaks that occurred due to the slight shrinkage of wood and the otherwise tight fitting leather gaskets used in the various valve chests and control devices. Then, to make the generally unknown Bursens instruments more readily palatable to a new American audience, the front facade was partially redecorated by a local artist and collector, Don Rand, and the name "Jazz Orchestra" was emblazoned across the top. Soon thereafter the "Jazz Orchestra" was recorded for a vinyl LP recording and dubbed the "World's Most Marvelous Mechanical Invention." The newly christened "Jazz Orchestra" was placed in a prime location in the Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., showroom and demonstrated at every opportunity. Thus, in the U.S. the term "Jazz Orchestra" eventually became somewhat synonymous with "Arburo."

The instrumentation colorfully lighted and displayed in the decorative facade consists of an accordion, bass drum, snare drum (with both stick and brush effects), tenor drum (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a tom-tom), wood block, maraca, tuned temple blocks, ride cymbal and crash cymbal. The pipework, all of which is concealed behind the bright red velvet curtain (providing the colorful backdrop for the displayed trapwork) mostly fills the instrument's large chassis. It consists of violin, viola, violoncello, flute, jazz flute (which produces the ethereal warbling sound), a mellow trumpet type reed and a large rank of tibia pipes, which gives the instrument its wonderful foundational bass tones.

Recorded circa 1969 in the Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., showroom, the original 1/4 inch analog stereo tapes for the music on this Archive CD were long ago lost, making it necessary to recover the audio signal from an original vinyl LP album. (The Jazz Orchestra LP albums were sold through Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., circa 1969 and offered for sale up through 1972.) Once the audio from the source LP was digitized, it was carefully processed to remove simple impulse noise, such as pops and ticks, a commonplace problem for vinyl recordings. Next, the "cleaned" audio signal, free of impulse disturbances, was again processed to remove low frequency rumble, vinyl surface noise components and some objectionable 60 and 120 Hertz mechanical motor and pump noise from the Arburo organ itself. Lastly, the audio signal was equalized to remedy any bias introduced by the vinyl LP recording process. A few occasional and minor defects in the original transcribed audio signal necessarily remain, but the result of all this time consuming effort, using professional quality audio restoration software, is the recreation of an enjoyable listening experience from long ago.

The musical selections on this CD consist of popular music from the 1950's and early 1960's, all of which is nicely arranged to display the capabilities of the Arburo Dance Organ perfectly. Most tunes were arranged by Arthur Prinsen of Brasschaat, Belgium, a well known music arranger of the time for many fair, street and dance organs. Historically, then, the toe-tapping melodies you will hear represent the autumn years of pneumatic automatic musical instrument manufacturing, and what was heard at the end of any widespread commercial use for such machines. With this Archive CD you can once again relive and dance to the popular tunes of the 1950's and early 1960's as played by the venerable dance organs of late, listening to music that remains as favorite "oldies" amongst many collectors living today.

Bursens Arburo Dance Organ (Jazz Orchestra)
12 Tracks -- Total Time: 45:04

1.Medley of hits from the 1950's including: I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts and Auf Wieder Sehn
2.Music, Music, Music
3.Winchester Cathedral
4.Medley of traditional marches including: Mary Ann, Colonel Bogey March, Tipperary March
5.Never on Sunday
6.Petite Waltz
7.Mona Lisa
8.Waltz-Polka Medley including: You Can't Be True Dear
9.Waltz of the Alps
10.A Merry Widow Waltz Medley
11.Yellow Rose of Texas
12.Potpourri including: Valencia, Marcheta, Adios Muchachos and others

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