Congrats to Chatham Pianist Lincoln Mayorga

April 23rd, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg

The Doors’ debut album…
The sounds of “Sesame Street”
The Righteous Brothers’ “Lovin’ Feelin’”…
The original cast recording of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate”

They’re all among the 25 recordings recently selected for induction into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, recordings that have been recognized for their cultural, artistic or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy. “Congress understood the importance of protecting America’s aural patrimony when it passed the National Recording Preservation Act 15 years ago,” said Librarian of Congress’ James H. Billington. “By preserving these recordings, we safeguard the words, sounds and music that embody who we are as a people and a nation.”

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And among the honored discs is one by Chatham pianist-composer Lincoln Mayorga. Here’s what the Library of Congress had to say about the 1968 album Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues:

“During college, pianist Lincoln Mayorga became disappointed with the sound of classical piano LPs when compared to those recorded on 78s. Mayorga and longtime friend Doug Sax thought that the tape recorders used for most LP mastering might be the reason. Together, they pooled their resources for a $10 direct-to-disc test recording which supported their theory, but after later unsatisfactory attempts at existing studios, they ultimately concluded the only way to achieve the sound quality they wanted was to set up their own mastering lab, built primarily by Doug’s brother Sherwood. In 1968, to promote their new venture, Sheffield Lab, they recorded Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues direct to disc, running lines from the studio to their next door lab. Eschewing the use of tape recorders meant that the musicians had to play an entire LP side uninterrupted. Hence, if a mistake was made, they had to start over from the beginning. The quantity was limited by the number of cutting lathes because there was no tape master. Each master could be used to make only a limited number of copies before the sound quality deteriorated. Sheffield began selling copies in high-end audio stores in 1970. The response from audiophiles was enthusiastic. Listeners were forced to revise upwards the sound quality capability of LPs. However, major labels didn’t adopt direct-to-disc mastering because of the expense and limited pressing quantities. Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues may not have changed the way most LPs were made, but it raised the bar by showing how good one could sound.”

Based in Columbia County since the mid-’80s, the 78-year-old Mayorga is an acclaimed pianist, arranger, conductor and composer whose recordings and live performances cover the full spectrum of musical styles from rock & roll to classical music. In addition to his own records (released under a variety of different names), Mayorga co-produced Ketty Lester’s hit “Love Letters,” arranged the Standells’ “Dirty Water,” and toured as Phil Ochs’ pianist. As a session musician and arranger, he worked with everyone from Frank Zappa (on the album Lumpy Gravy) to Sam Cooke to Barbra Streisand.

Mayorga also currently hosts a radio show “Monday Musical Matinee,” heard at 12noon on Mondays on Local 518 radio station WGXC 90.7-FM.

GO HERE for the complete list of this year’s inducted recordings…