|Tom Hull's Village Voice Review Drafts|
|ocston -> arch -> vv|
by Tom Hull
This article is an unpublished draft.
[INTRODUCTION] It takes two to make new jazz records: an artist to create and a businessperson to cover expenses. Although small jazz labels proliferated in the early LP era, by the '60s and '70s the record industry's consolidation into a handful of majors shrunk the opportunities to record jazz while other factors undermined its popularity. But gloomy days in America coincided with an explosion of indies abroad, especially for free jazz. The tide began to shift back in the mid-'90s, when production costs dropped and the worldwide market opened up, making it much easier to start and sustain small labels. Without hurting the European labels' growing local market and talent base, this let new American labels rejoin the game. The four remaining major megacorps, who command 75 percent of the record market, own and recycle much of jazz's recorded legacy but produce little new jazz beyond a couple dozen exceptionally important artists. The flagship brand names--EMI's Blue Note and Universal's Verve -- release fewer new jazz albums (albeit often good ones) than many independents, while Sony/BMG and WEA are barely in the business. The market structure, with many artists dividing few sales -- often as few as 1000 copies, rarely more than 30K even with promotion and distribution -- just doesn't suit their business model. So virtually all new jazz comes out of independent companies. What follows is a sample of some of the larger and/or more interesting ones, but there are many more--over 800 without getting into single-artist outfits. For each I've provided a founding date, country, approximate album count, and finally a single pick hit. Arbors [1989, US, 160] Mat and Rachel Domber started Arbors to record Rick Fay, a friend who had played saxophone for forty years but never cut a record. Since then Arbors has expanded from trad to more swing-oriented jazz, even picking up artists that Concord cut loose, like Ruby Braff and Warren Vaché. But a distinctive feature of Arbors' catalog is the parade of first-record senior citizens, like Jane Jarvis, Jerry Jerome, and Sammy Sherman. Another is that they love birthday parties, especially for octogenarians. Pick hit: Ruby Braff/Ellis Larkins, *Calling Berlin Vol. 1* . Atavistic [1986, US, 200] Kurt Kellison's label started with Glenn Branca's Symphonies, figured reissuing the collected Lydia Lunch would be a coup, dipped into the local Chicago jazz scene and came up with Ken Vandermark. Along came John Corbett with the idea of an Unheard Music Series and, well, 53 albums later you still have to go to Europe to find comprehensive sets of old American jazz and blues, but the ultimate repository of the German avant-garde is on this American label. Pick hit: Vandermark Five, *Target or Flag* . AUM Fidelity [1997, US, 25] Steven Joerg launched this small label to carry on work with Joe Morris and William Parker, who he had worked with while doing publicity for Homestead, a noise rock label that dabbled in fringe jazz. Joerg caught Parker at a point when he was just emerging as a leader and David S. Ware on the rebound from Columbia, before he took a year off to indulge his Shrimp Boat fantasy. Pick hit: David S. Ware Quartet, *Corridors and Parallels* . Ayler [2000, Sweden, 60] Jan Ström's label specializes in live gigs from the Glenn Miller Café and rare archives from avant-gardists who never caught a break, including the first records under their own names by the lates Arthur Rhames and Mongezi Feza and the still-living Henry Grimes. Pick hit: Anders Gahnold, *Flowers for Johnny* [1983-85]. Black Saint/Soul Note [1975/1979, Italy, 700] Back in the '80s Giovanni Bonandrini's labels were home for a who's who of the American avant-garde, and were properly celebrated by critics even though sales were paltry -- bestseller David Murray topped out at 21k. Soul Note is less out and more European, but not much. Pick hit: George Lewis, *Homage to Charles Parker* . Cadence Jazz/CIMP [1980/1995, US, 400] Bob Rusch's empire grew out of *Cadence* magazine, which doubles as a catalog for his distribution business -- 12,000 obscure jazz titles on 900 labels, plus books, audio equipment, and socks. Along the way he started a label, then another. Both are avant-garde foundries, but CIMP has fussy audiophile engineering by Marc Rusch and classy artwork by Kara Rusch. Pick hit: Tyrone Hill/Marshall Allen, *Out of the Box* . Clean Feed [2001, Portugal, 35] The Americans in Pedro Costa's catalog are staunch freedom seekers like Charles Gayle, but they provide broader name recognition to frame locals like Bernardo Sassetti and Carlos Zingaro, who in turn underwrite the label with local sales. Pick Hit: Ravish Momin Trio Tirana, *Under the Banyan Tree* . Concord [1973, US, 650] Carl Jefferson plunged into the record business four years after he organized the Concord Jazz Festival, named for his northern California home town. Up to 1999 Concord recorded 900 albums, mostly in the post-bop swing-influenced style that peaked in the late '50s. When he started the style was decidedly retro, but he made it mainstream again. He rejuvenated the careers of oldsters and found young players to carry on the flame: from Stan Getz to Scott Hamilton, from Ruby Braff to Warren Vaché, from Herb Ellis to Howard Alden, from Rosemary Clooney to Susannah McCorkle. Then in 1999 the company was bought by a venture group headed by Norman Lear. They moved the company to Beverly Hills, slashed a third of their catalog, sold nearly five million copies of Ray Charles' duets, and acquired the as-yet-undigested Fantasy, whose huge catalog includes many of the classics that Concord aspired to. Pick hit: Marian McPartland, *Plays the Benny Carter Songbook* . Cuneiform [1984, US, 225] Steve Feigenbaum's notion of Adventurous Music centers on the jazz-rock convergence of Anglo groups like Soft Machine circa 1970 and wanders from there, tracking Paul Dunmall and Keith Tippett into the present, Chris McGregor and John Surman into the past. Pick hit: Brotherhood of Breath, *Travelling Somewhere* . Delmark [1953, US, 375] Bob Koester started hustling records and tracking down bluesmen like Speckled Red in St. Louis, but soon moved to Chicago and took over the Jazz Mart record store. Perhaps better known for blues, Delmark's jazz side has waxed and waned over the years tracking the Chicago scene, which means it had a blip in the AACM heyday, and is way up since the mid-'90s. Pick hit: Kahil El'Zabar Trio, *Love Outside of Dreams* . ECM [1969, Germany, 900] Manfred Eicher has maintained such a consistent look and feel for ECM's releases that they're more like a genre than a catalog. While the earliest were pointedly avant-garde, Eicher soon gravitated to a chillier shade of cool jazz -- in effect, he made free jazz safe for the world by slowing it down and making it think. Working through major distributors, he also sold a lot of it -- four million copies of Keith Jarrett's *Köln Concert*. ECM's New Series branched into classical music via Steve Reich and Meredith Monk but expanded to include the Hilliard Ensemble's mediaeval chorus juxtaposed with Jan Garbarek's sax. World music got no separate series, because artists from Don Cherry to Dino Saluzzi made the sort impossible. Pick hit: Jan Garbarek, *Witchi-Tai-To* . Fantasy [1949, US, 2800] Founded in San Francisco, Fantasy was a small mostly-jazz label until Sol Zaentz bought the original owners out in 1967 and a year late struck gold with a local rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Zaentz used the profits to go on a spree, acquiring important jazz labels like Prestige, Riverside, Milestone, Contemporary, and Pablo, as well as r&b labels Specialty and Stax. Although Fantasy and its subsidiary labels continued to record as much new jazz as anyone -- Sonny Rollins has worked on Milestone since 1972 -- the accumulated back catalog looms large. Fantasy has kept more old jazz in print than any of the majors. However, in 2004 Fantasy was acquired by Concord, putting its future in jeopardy. Pick hit: Sonny Rollins, *This Is What I Do* . FMP [1969, Germany, 140] Founded as a collective of improvising musicians, the anarchists put Free at the front of FMP and sought to overthrow the establishment through the Globe Unity Orchestra. Peter Brötzmann, Peter Kowald, and Alex von Schlippenbach were major figures here, but their most famous production was in 1989, when Cecil Taylor manhandled every vangardist on the continent, recording eleven CDs in as many nights. Pick hit: Charles Gayle, *Touchin' on Trane* . Fresh Sound [1983, Spain, 1100] Jordi Pujol's fascination with "the fresh sound of the west coast" led him to license a large catalog of cool jazz. As his business grew, he added more labels covering a wide range of Spanish and Latin American (especially Cuban) music. But his passion was jazz, and he's developed into one of the most prolific producers around. From the late '80s he recorded west coast veterans like Bud Shank and Bill Perkins and in 1995 he started his Fresh Sound New Talent series to record relative unknowns -- 220 albums later many FSNT artists are no longer unknown, like Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jeremy Pelt, Miguel Zenon, and the Bad Plus. Pick Hit: Reid Anderson, *Abolish Bad Architecture* . Hat Hut [1975, Switzerland, 300] Werner Uehlinger launched his label to provide an outlet for Joe McPhee, but after four albums he started adding other artists: Steve Lacy, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, the Vienna Art Orchestra. Soon he had one of Europe's premier avant-garde labels. Pick Hit: Steve Lacy, *Morning Glory* . Hep [1974, UK, 240] Alistair Robertson's label started archiving classic jazz and radio shots, but also has a fine series of 90 new recordings informed by if not necessarily in the old vein -- Herb Geller is, Jessica Williams isn't. Pick hit: Michael Hashim, *Green Up Time* . HighNote/Savant [1996, US, 160] Houston Person has recorded dozens of albums for three labels going back to 1966, but he's only worked for one person: Joe Fields, who signed Person to Prestige, then Muse, and finally Jazz Depot -- the umbrella for these two interchangeable labels. Fields' mainstream spreads from soul men like Person and Fathead Newman to friskier sorts like Ricky Ford (on Muse) and Arthur Blythe (on Savant). Pick hit: Sheila Jordan, *Little Song* . Jazzology/GHB/Audiophile/Circle/Progressive [1949, US, 700] George Buck started Jazzology to chronicle Chicago-style trad jazz, then added GHB for New Orleans, and went on to pick up other labels steeped in jazz tradition. Progressive? That's the one Stuff Smith is on. Pick hit: Bob Wilber, *Dancing on a Rainbow* . Justin Time [1983, Canada, 300] Jim West started local with Oliver Jones, then gradually added more Canadian talent, like Diana Krall and D.D. Jackson. Krall went on to Verve, but Jackson led to David Murray, who found a home for his Senegal, Guadeloupe, and Latin Big Band projects. And Murray brought further connections, ranging from Hamiett Bluiett to Abdoulaye N'Diaye. A license deal with Enja broadens the label's global sweep while they pick their way through old Montreal gigs for their Just a Memory series and keep looking for the next big singer. Pick hit: David Murray, *Like a Kiss That Never Ends* . Leo [1979, UK, 400] For Leo Feigin, jazz was the scent of freedom wafting into his native Soviet Union via the Voice of America. Later, in England, the wind shifted when he received a smuggled tape of the Ganelin Trio -- the free jazz underground from Russia. Unable to find a label to release the tape, he started one. Pick hit: Ganelin Trio, *Ancora Da Capo* . Nagel Heyer [1992, Germany, 175] The Nagel-Heyer family -- Frank produces, Sabine runs the company -- got its start taping Hamburg concerts by swingers like Harry Allen and Randy Sandke, becoming the European stopover for expats from Concord and Arbors. Lately they've inched into slightly more progressive terrain, giving no-longer-fashionable hard boppers like Eric Reed and Donald Harrison a new lease on life, and even risking some Europeans. Pick hit: Warren Vaché/Bill Charlap, *2gether* . Palmetto [1990, US, 100] Matt Baltisaris picks "left of center" musicians, takes them to an old barn in Pennsylvania where he has a studio called Maggie's Farm, produces their records, and markets them as a slightly more creative advance on the middle of the road. He has scored especially well in *Downbeat*'s polls. Which means he's doing something harder than advancing the state of the art -- he's nudging the state of the public. Pick hit: David Berkman, *Communication Theory* . RED [1977, Italy, 135] Sergio Veschi's label name is an acronym, not a manifesto, but the music could be called progressive mainstream. Americans like Dave Liebman and Bobby Watson found a home here, alongside an imposing group of Italians. Pick hit: Massimo Urbani, *The Blessing* . Sharp Nine [1995, US, 30] Marc Edelman can get defensive about his hard bop, a style perfected forty years ago, but nobody since the '60s has brought it so crisply to life. Pick hit: David Hazeltine, *The Classic Trio* . SteepleChase [1972, Denmark, 635] Built around American emigrés -- Kenny Drew, Duke Jordan, Dexter Gordon -- and local bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Nils Winther's label went on to attract much of the new talent that emerged in the late '80s -- Joe Locke, Rick Margitza, Rich Perry, Doug Raney, Steve Slagle, Dave Stryker, just a few names on a long list. Pick hit: Archie Shepp/Horace Parlan, *Goin' Home* . Stomp Off [1980, US, 400] Nothing old ever dies as long as you keep it working, which is what Bob Erdos has done here, with a lot of good-old-timey bands for fun and a few artists like Keith Nichols, Ted Des Plantes and Marty Grosz who find new angles in Fletcher Henderson and Fats Waller. Pick hit: Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, *Hot and Sweet Sounds of Lost New Orleans*  Sunnyside [1982, US, 225] François Zalacain got into the business to make a record for a friend, pianist Harold Danko, and one thing led to another. Not a label with a vision for the world, but they have good ears and good enough business sense, augmenting their own recordings with selections from other labels, especially from Europe. Pick hit: Barney Wilen, *New York Romance* . Telarc/Heads Up [1980/1989, US, 800] Originally a classical label highly regarded for its sound, Telarc is one of the few independents that thinks and acts like a major -- getting big chain distribution and winning Grammies. Their jazz lineup is peppered with big names -- Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, and McCoy Tyner are just the pianists, and Geri Allen is a smart addition. Heads Up's catalog is split between smooth jazz and world, a near clone of EMI's Narada. Pick hit: Roseanna Vitro, *Catchin' Some Rays*  Thirsty Ear [1990, US, 90] A rock label with Throbbing Gristle and Scraping Foetus took a fateful turn in 2000 by hiring Matthew Shipp to direct a line of avant-jazz records: the Blue Series. The combination mutated into a fusion of free jazz and electronics, with guest DJs joining and recycling the mix, but it also provides an outlet for adventurous jazzers like Tim Berne and David S. Ware. Pick hit: William Parker, *Raining on the Moon* . TUM [2003, Finland, 12] An impressive start for a label that aspires to compete with ECM and and main avant-garde labels of Europe. So far the artist roster is overwhelmingly Finnish, but the music is inventive and varied, the packaging distinctive, the booklets informative. Pick hit: Juhani Aaltonen, *Mother Tongue* . Tzadik [1995, US, 385] John Zorn is as wrecklessly prodigious with his label as with his music. Who else would throw himself a birthday party and get ten albums out of it? Zorn plays on or composed 96 albums in Tzadik's catalog, including old work going back to 1973, but that barely accounts for a quarter of Tzadik's 386 titles. The catalog splits into series reflecting such Zorn interests as Film Music, New Japan, and Lunatic Fringe, but the most substantial one is Radical Jewish Culture, which could be *Pincus and the Pig* or could be *Yo! I Killed Your God*, but is definitely not your bubbe's klezmer. Pick hit: Roberto Rodriguez, *El Danzon de Moises* . Winter & Winter [1997, Germany, 150] Musically Stefan Winter's label carries on from his earlier JMT label -- common artists include Paul Motian and Uri Caine -- but the new booklike cardboard packaging, with its firm snap to hold the CD in place, feels like a luxurious indulgence. But while the JMT's are being repackaged, the new music cultivates new idiosyncrasies: jazzed up Mahler, reimagining cabaret, exploring Mexico, remaking Tin Pan Alley. Pick hit: Uri Caine, *Bedrock* . [SECOND BATCH] Accurate [1987, US, 100] Boston was home to many musicians but no labels, so when Russ Gershon started releasing his own Either/Orchestra records, friends and fellow travellers came calling. Pick hit: Either/Orchestra, *The Calculus of Pleasure* (1990) Adventure Music [US] Arabesque [1983, US, 170] Originally and predominantly classical, thirty percent of the catalog is jazz now, ranging from Charles McPherson to Myra Melford, with a dash of latin tinge here and there. Pick hit: Horace Tapscott, *Thoughts of Dar Es Salaam* (1997) Asian Improv [1987, US, 50] Jon Jang and Francis Wong founded this to focus on Asian-American jazz musicians. Since then the music has broadened to hip-hop, traditional, and spoken word, and the Asian connections expanded westward to India and Iran: Vijay Iyer and Hafez Modirzadeh. Pick hit: Asian American Jazz Orchestra, *Big Bands Behind Barbed Wire* (1998) Boxholder [1998, US, 45] Lou Kannenstine's retirement hobby is to release avant-jazz from Vermont -- an often intriguing mix of old tapes and new oddities, such as William Parker vamping behind Dave Budbill's poetry or Bill Cole's digeridoo. Pick hit: Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble, *Seasoning the Greens* (2001) Criss Cross [1980, Netherlands, 265] Gerry Teekens got his start recording Americans like Jimmy Raney and Warne Marsh as they passed through Holland, then started making trips to the U.S. to scout out younger mainstream players -- Walt Weiskopf and John Swana are typical examples, Bill Charlap a notable alumnus. Pick hit: Mark Turner, *Yam Yam* (1994) DIW [before 1986, Japan, 300] Pick hit: David Murray, *Deep River* (1988) Dragon [1975, Sweden, 220] The Swedish jazz that makes up the bulk of this catalog leans toward the mainstream, including historic releases from important figures like Stan Hasselgård, Arne Domnérus and Bengt Hallberg, although there are some more avant moves. Mixed in are gigs from visitors, most notably Sonny Rollins. Pick hit: Lars Gullin, *Vol. 4: Stockholm Street* (1959-60) Dreyfus [France] Drimala [US] Dune [UK] Emanem/Psi [1974, UK, 160] Martin Davidson calls it Free Improvisation -- a music that takes a key idea from jazz and inflates it into its own universe. It's difficult stuff, as demanding of the listener as the musician. One such musician is Evan Parker, who manages the Psi boutique. Pick hit: Paul Rutherford, *The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie* (1974) Enja [1971, Germany, 670] Horst Weber looked to Japan for artists and sales. Matthias Winckelmann welcomed a left-leaning range of American artists, then spread his net to gather artists from everywhere fusing everything -- Abdullah Ibrahim, Dusko Goykovich, Yosuke Yamashita, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Gilad Atzmon. The founders split in 1986 but both continued to release albums under the Enja name as well as Tiptoe and Tutu. Pick hit: Abraham Burton, *The Magician* (1995) ESP-Disk [1966, US, 45] Bernard Stollman's motto was "the artists alone decide what you will hear," but you may wonder whether artists from Albert Ayler to Frank Wright, including some non-jazzers like the Fugs and the Godz, weren't just testing him. The catalog has kicked around, but Stollman reformed the company in 2003 and has started remastering, even coming up with some unreleased tapes. Pick hit: Albert Ayler, *Spiritual Unity* (1964) Evidence  Intakt [Switzerland] Knitting Factory [US] Label Bleu [France] Lake [UK] MaxJazz [1998, US, 35] Richard McDonnell has put together a handsome series of right-of-center albums, long on piano, longer still on female vocals. Although unlike most conservatives, they're less interested in rolling back progress than playing within their often well-honed talents. Pick hit: René Marie, *Vertigo* (2001) Nine Winds [1977, US, 140] Vinny Golia is the west coast's answer to John Zorn, all the way down to running a company that goes way beyond his own voluminous work. Less hyper, of course: cooler music, smaller catalog. Pick hit: Dick Berk, *Bouncin' With Berk* (1990) Okka Disk [1993, US, 40] Ken Vandermark plays on more than half of Bruno Johnson's discs, and Vandermark collaborators play on most of the rest -- Georg Gräwe and Evan Parker are the only unassociated names to show up as much as twice, once as a duo. Pick hit: School Days, *Crossing Division* (2000) Omnitone [US] PAO [Austria] Philology [Italy] Pi [US] Playscape [1999, US, 30] The next step up from a single-artist label is one that documents a small circle of closely-aligned musicians -- in this case, Michael Musillami's crew are tight enough they could pass as Thomas Chapin's virtual ghost band. Pick hit: Tom Christensen, *New York School* (2004) Premonition [1993, US, 25] Pick hit: Patricia Barber, *Modern Cool* (1998) Ropeadope [1999, US, 30] Most titles have a jazz component, but they have something else, such as the Tin Hat Trio's bluegrass angle or the matchup between ?uestlove, Uri Caine, and Christian McBride on *The Philadelphia Experiment*. But is it jazz when the label also sells hats and jackets? Pick hit: Yohimbe Brothers, *Front End Lifter* (2002) Savoy Jazz [US] Sea Breeze [US] Shanachie [US] Smalls [US] Songlines  Splasc(H) [1982, Italy, 350] Storyville [1952, Denmark, 550] Karl Emil Knudsen got his start by licensing import 78s, added live tapes from visitors, picked up old air shots, dug up series of Collector's Classics and Nostalgia Arts, and eventually granted himself a Doctor of Jazz Archaeology. While the catalog is deepest in trad jazz, it samples later developments, including Scandinavians ranging from Papa Bue to John Tchicai. Knudsen died in 2003, and Edition Wilhelm Hansen has taken over the company. Pick hit: Vic Dickenson, *Gentleman of the Trombone* (1975) Stunt [Denmark] TCB [Switzerland] Thrill Jockey [1992, US, 150] Voiceprint [UK]
[ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION] Jazz musicians create new jazz every day, but the small subset that gets preserved through recording is always a compromise between the musicians and the businessfolk who run record labels. This is the real free market capitalism, where more than 800 labels compete for the work of several thousand jazz musicians, where even the largest labels have little if any advantage, and where even the most marginal musicians can parlay their day job savings or a loan from a kindly aunt into their own label -- which is plenty if they're satisfied just to document their creativity and pick up a little extra cash at gigs. This isn't true of the record industry as a whole, where four megacorps control 75% of market, squeezing out or co-opting in almost everyone else. But jazz is a tiny part of the music market -- its own vibrant litle world -- and the majors do business there primarily to exploit old property rights. If we ignore, as most jazz fans do, the smooth jazz idiom, none of those four majors produce more new jazz albums than any of the top dozen independents. Their brand names -- EMI's Blue Note and Universal's Verve -- earned their fame back in the '50s and '60s when they were independent. Sony/BMG and WEA have even less to do with new jazz -- a couple of name players each. The majors can offer top musicians prestige, publicity and distribution, but all that costs control, and money is always a gamble. In the long run, that someone like James Carter works for majors, while Chris Potter goes for larger independents and Ken Vandermark favors tiny labels is as personal a choice as their wardrobes. The free market has produced some interesting effects, even if lots of money isn't one of them. One is that successful label owners are the ones who manage to keep afloat, not the ones who occasionally strike it rich. Such owners get much of their satisfaction from the music, so they are deferential to and appreciative of the musicians. Most got into the business because they were fans -- in many cases they started their companies to record a neglected musician-friend. This tends to produce a lot of records -- even if many have trouble selling 1000 copies, low costs keep the game going. What follows is a sampling of independent jazz labels -- a small subset really, with most of the larger ones and some interesting cases among the smaller ones. Two major trends are under-reported: single-artist labels and what might be called artist coop labels -- labels that provide marketing and distribution services for finished product. (ArtistShare is one that's gotten a lot of press lately, but there are others like Innova, and the borderline is fuzzy given that many small labels let artists keep their copyrights.) The list includes a founding date, country, and approximate album count in brackets following the label name(s). European labels are less important now for American jazz musicians than they were in the '80s, but they're no less important overall because the jazz market in Europe is if anything larger than in the U.S., and an increasing percentage of the world's jazz musicians are European. The album counts just give a rough approximation of size. They may include out-of-print and/or non-jazz, but most independent labels (unlike the majors) manage to keep most of their catalog in print. After all, they're in business for the music. [ORIGINAL OUTLINE] Here's what I'm thinking about jazz labels: general introduction: the interesting question here is how labels form the creation of new jazz short section on major labels, maybe just one paragraph one paragraph each on 20-40 representative labels: when/who founded, what kind of jazz they're into, how prolific, how important, maybe a typical record or focal artist. here's a first-pass quickie list, from which some might drop, and others join (lots more where these came from): [...] [INTRODUCTION] might start with Norman Granz for some examples of how some labels cause new jazz to be created: JATP, Parker + strings, Tatum's solo/group masterpieces, Ella's songbooks, Oscar Peterson's meet-ups, then maybe go into Pablo and Basie's last big bang then widen the net a bit: maybe Orrin Keepnews, Bob Thiele, Joe Fields (some good candidates will show up later) maybe do something on the early history of artist-owned labels (Mingus, Paul Bley, Carla Bley) deal with the majors: the four majors have about 75% of total market share for records; don't know jazz percentage, but it is probably less (for new jazz, as opposed to reissues, probably a lot less) something brief on reissue labels, which basically splits between the majors who own everything and the European reissue companies who use the 50-year public domain rules. then deal with the independents, alphabetically [LABELS: MAJORS] EMI: Blue Note [Capitol Jazz, Pacific Jazz], Narada [Higher Octave] Universal: Verve [Impulse, GRP] Sony/BMG: Columbia, Bluebird, Legacy WEA: Atlantic, Warner Bros., Rhino [#1: LABELS: MUST] * Arbors [US] * Concord [US]: Peak, Picante; Fantasy: Milestone, Prestige, Riverside, OJC/OBC * ECM [Germany] * Fresh Sound [Spain]: Blue Moon * Palmetto [US] * Thirsty Ear [US] * Tzadik [US] [#2: LABELS: PROBABLY] * Atavistic [US] * Aum Fidelity [US]: Riti, High Two * Ayler [Sweden]: Silkheart * Black Saint/Soul Note [Italy] * Cadence [US]: CIMP * Cuneiform [US] * Hat [Switzerland] * HighNote/Savant [US] * Justin Time [Canada] * Leo [UK] * Nagel Heyer [Germany] * Sharp Nine * Steeplechase [Denmark] Storyville [Denmark] * Sunnyside [US] * Telarc [US] * Winter & Winter [Germany]: JMT [#3: LABELS: MAYBE] 482 Music [US] Accurate [US] (Russ Gershon) Adventure Music [US] (Mike Marshall) Arabesque Between the Lines (Franz Koglmann) Boxholder Challenge [Netherlands] * Clean Feed [Portugal] Criss Cross [Netherlands] Daddy Jazz [US] * Delmark [US] DIW [Japan] Dreyfus [France] Dragon [Sweden] Drimala [US] Dune [UK] Emanem [UK]: Psi (Evan Parker) Enja [Germany] * FMP [Germany] * Hep [UK] Intakt [Switzerland] * Jazzology [US]: GHB, Audiophile, Circle, Solo Art, American Music, Progressive, Black Swan Knitting Factory [US]: Evolver, JAM Label Bleu [France] Lake [UK] MaxJazz [US] Nine Winds [US] (Vinny Golia) Okka Disk [US] Omnitone [US] PAO [Austria] Philology [Italy] Pi [US] Premonition [US] * RED [Italy] Savoy [Japan] Sea Breeze [US] Shanachie [US] Smalls [US] Songlines Splasc(h) [Italy] * Stomp Off Stunt [Denmark] TCB [Switzerland] Thrill Jockey [US] * TUM [Finland] Voiceprint [UK] Water [US]: Black Beauty [#4: LABELS: UNLIKELY] A440 Music ACT [Germany] (dist. HighNote) Alanna Altrisuoni Arkadia Babel Balance Point Acoustics Baldwin Street Music Basin Street Black & Blue [France] Bleu Regard Blujazz Caber [UK (Scotland)] Cadillac CAM Jazz [Italy] Candid CAP, aka Consolidated Artists Capri Caprice [Sweden] Chesky [US] Chiaroscuro: Downtown Sound Conduit Cryptogramophone Curling Legs [Norway] Daddy Jazz Data [Netherlands] Double Time Dr. Jim [Australia] ESC ESP-Disk [US] Effendi [Canada] Eremite [US] Erstwhile [US] Evening Star [US] Evidence Favored Nations FMR [UK] Gazell [Sweden] Geestgronden [Netherlands] Gemini [Norway] Half Note Imogena Intuition [Germany] Ipecac IPO Koch Konnex [Germany] Linn Mack Avenue Mapleshade Marge [France] Matchless [UK] Moers [Germany] Mons [Germany] Mutable Naxos N-Coded Music Ninth World No More [US] Not Two [Poland] Nuscope Ogun Panda Digital Passin' Thru PfMentum [US] Phontastic Piadrum Plainisphare Potlatch Power Bros. [Poland] Random Acoustics Rastascan Red Toucan Reservoir Ropeadope Rune Grammofon Sackville Sanctuary [UK]: Castle, ASV/Living Era, Black Box Sindrome: Hyena Sirocco Jazz Sittel Smalltown Supersound [Norway]: includes Smalltown Superjazz Sonet Sons of Sound Summit Timeless Treader Victo [Canada] Whaling City Sound Zoho [#5: LABELS: UNNECESSARY (many, many more)] Gramavision Liquid 8 Rounder: Smithsonian/Folkways Wounded Bird [#6: LABELS: ARCHIVAL] Allegro [US]: Jazz Legends Archeophone [US] Avid Classics [France] Collectables [US] Disconforme [Andorra]: Definitive, Jazz Factory, Yemaya DRG Dutton Vocalion [UK] EPM [France]: Doctor Jazz, EPM Musique, Hot 'N Sweet, Jazz Archives, Zeta Frog Giants of Jazz Harkit [UK] Hindsight Jasmine [UK] JSP Lonehill Jazz [Spain] Neatwork Ocium [Spain] Past Perfect Proper Music [UK] Retrieval (now owned by Challenge) Snapper: Affinity, Charly, Recall Soul Jazz: Universal Sound Sounds of Yesteryear Spotlite VSOP [#7: LABELS: ARTIST (extended)] Acta (John Butcher) Amulet (Billy Martin) Asian Improv (Jon Jang) BVHaast (Willem Breuker) Barking Hoop (Kevin Norton) Daagnim (Dennis Gonzalez) Flying Note (Kali Z. Fasteau) GM (Gunther Schuller) Hopscotch (Assif Tsahar, Susie Ibarra) IAI (Paul Bley) Incus (Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Tony Oxley) NatSat/Libra [Japan] (Satoko Fujii) Playscape [US] (Michael Musilami) Ramboy (Michael Moore) Random Chance [Germany] (Georg Graewe) Screwgun (Tim Berne) Slam (George Haslam) Spartacus (Tommy Smith) Summerfold (Bill Bruford) [#8: LABELS: ARTIST (major)] Marsalis Music (Branford Marsalis) Stretch (Chick Corea) [#9: LABELS: ARTIST (Co-op)] ArtistShare Innova [US] Origin [US] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- There's been a recent explosion in high-profile artist labels, where the artist handles production and hooks up with a distribution deal. Examples: Chick Corea: Stretch [Concord] Branford Marsalis: Marsalis Music [Rounder] Dave Holland: Dare2 [Sunnyside] Dave Douglas: Greenleaf Music [Koch] short section on artist labels maybe a short section on European archive labels
I asked these questions of many publicits and labels. Got a few answers back.
The main file for collecting notes is here.
A chart of jazz labels sorted by number of releases in 2004-05 and by mentions in my database (presumably a representative sampling of jazz labels by importance over a longer period of time) has been moved here.
Verve/Impulse new jazz releases 2004 (8):
Blue Note new jazz releases 2004 (16):