Rivermont Records was founded in 2003 by pianist and musicologist Bryan S. Wright, PhD, to preserve and promote ragtime, jazz, and "hot dance" music. We believe that the music we feature is timeless and that it is best served by respecting the pioneers who created it a century ago while supporting today's musicians who continue to perform and innovate within its realm.
Rivermont is unique in offering a diverse catalogue that features both reissues of vintage recordings as well as freshly-recorded discs by some of today's most talented ragtime and jazz musicians. If your collecting or listening interests tend to steer you primarily towards reissues of early recordings, why not try a CD or two from our series of contemporary recordings? We think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the current generation of performers, and your support will help to ensure a bright future for ragtime, jazz, and hot dance music in the 21st century.
All Rivermont CDs are packaged with informative and entertaining booklets written by noted musicologists, historians, and the artists themselves. We hope that you will enjoy learning about the music as much as you enjoy listening to it. Our booklets are supplemented with rare photographs, sheet music covers, and in the case of our reissue series, complete discographical information for collectors.
Here are five ways in which Rivermont CDs give you more value for your money:
1. Original transfers - All Rivermont reissue CDs feature our own entirely new transfers and restorations made directly from original master pressings. While many other reissuers of music from the 1910s, ’20s, and ’30s (especially the "budget" ones) seem content to recycle multi-generational copies of transfers made decades ago, we scour collections around the world, seeking out the best condition original discs and test pressings to make our own direct-to-digital transfers on high-grade equipment, enabling us to bring you superior sound quality. Why settle for a CD or MP3 lifted from an LP reissue made from a tape copy of a 78 when we can take you straight to the source?
2. Rare recordings not available elsewhere - We love the music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, and other “greats” as much as anyone, yet you won’t find them on Rivermont CDs. Why? Their enduring popularity has meant that most or all of their recordings are widely available on dozens, if not hundreds, of reissues already. There is so much other worthwhile music of the early twentieth century worth preserving, and so we have decided to focus our efforts on collecting, remastering, researching, and reissuing the recordings of deserving bands and musicians whose work is not easily obtainable elsewhere. In most cases, the historic recordings you find on Rivermont CDs are being reissued for the first time (and in some cases, issued for the very first time in any format). Where other CDs or LPs have reissued a particular recording, we always seek alternative takes whenever possible to complement the other reissues and minimize overlap. You can buy Rivermont CDs without worry of wasteful duplication.
3. Generous playing times - Most Rivermont CDs feature at least an hour of music, and in many cases, you get two dozen or more selections and well over 70 minutes on each disc. At the retail price of $15.95 per disc, this means you’re often paying just 67 cents or less per song.
4. Extensively-researched, substantial booklets - We believe that knowing something about the music you hear and the times and the people who made it can greatly enhance your enjoyment of it. That’s why all Rivermont CDs contain generous illustrated booklets—up to 40 pages each—packed with entertaining and informative liner notes, photographs, and full discographical information. While some other reissue labels simply “scratch the surface” with a token paragraph or two (if they contain any liner notes at all), our booklets draw from painstaking original research, bringing new understanding to the musicians, their music, and the times in which they lived that you won’t find elsewhere.
5. Professionally-manufactured CDs - All Rivermont CDs are professionally glass-mastered and pressed on state-of-the-art equipment. We never use recordable CDs (CD-Rs). CD-Rs have a shorter lifespan and are more prone to playback errors. While many other independent labels turn to CD-R discs to keep costs down, we continue to have our discs manufactured on the same professional presses used by the major labels to bring you the finest quality discs and ensure years of trouble-free playback. The downside of this is that some CDs may go "out of print" as our stock is depleted.
Holding ourselves to these high standards doesn’t come quickly, easily, or cheaply. We invest a lot of time and money in every recording we produce, not because it’s any more profitable, but because we care about the music just as you do. While some other labels cut corners to bring you a CD that’s a few dollars cheaper, we believe in producing recordings of uncompromising quality that will give you more value for your money now and for years to come.