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colinmce

Major Label Jazz in the 1990s

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Major labels releasing jazz in the 1990s. Who knew?

Hey, it's coming up on a quarter-century now. About time for one of these rediscovery things.

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Sonny Simmons on Qwest

To my mind, one of the most surprising major label releases.

Is "Qwest" really a major label?...just asking....

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwest_Records

Qwest Records is the American record label started by Quincy Jones in 1980 as a joint venture with Warner Bros. Records, and owned by Warner Music Group. although Jones was still under contract with A&M Records through 1981. George Benson's 1980 Give Me the Night LP was the first release on Qwest, although this release was shared with Warner Bros. Records, where George was under contract. One of the first artists signed to Qwest was goddaughter Patti Austin, producing Every Home Should Have One in 1981.

Although it focused on the R&B market primarily, its most notable signings were Frank Sinatra (whom Jones produced in the 1960s), Tevin Campbell, Radiance, and British post-punk groups New Order and Joy Division.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwest_Records

Qwest Records is the American record label started by Quincy Jones in 1980 as a joint venture with Warner Bros. Records, and owned by Warner Music Group. although Jones was still under contract with A&M Records through 1981. George Benson's 1980 Give Me the Night LP was the first release on Qwest, although this release was shared with Warner Bros. Records, where George was under contract. One of the first artists signed to Qwest was goddaughter Patti Austin, producing Every Home Should Have One in 1981.

Although it focused on the R&B market primarily, its most notable signings were Frank Sinatra (whom Jones produced in the 1960s), Tevin Campbell, Radiance, and British post-punk groups New Order and Joy Division.

Same question...does that, fairly limited, roster of artists make it a major label? Anyone know how many albums were released by Qwest?

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It was a sub-specialty Warner label, and can essentially be considered as such. The title in a case like this is a mere formality and is essentially for vanity purposes.

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Totally agree, Qwest was Warner Brothers. And Simmons' "Ancient Ritual" was the most shocking release I've ever come across, due to any number of factors, including that I didn't think Simmons was even still alive (remember, that was pre-internet for us normal folks).

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CJ, I think that Warner's relationship with ECM ended ca. 1982. It was about then that ECM cassettes were being dumped, sold for a dollar each.

Thanks for that info!

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When Jimmy Smith recorded "Go For Whatcha Know" as a one off for BN in 1986, he was signed to Qwest for like 3 or 4 years in a holding pattern. Of course I think the only thing that was Quincy related JOS appeared on during that era was "Bad". Milt Jackson did some fine work on Qwest, I remember hearing some stuff of of "Burnin in the Woodhouse" on WSQX in Binghamton. Before they went as a full on NPR affiliate, they had a lot of local programming, they played a lot of Doubletime Jazz releases then too, Hank Marr, they always played a lot of Joey D, etc. One record that was getting serious play there and at WHRW FM at Binghamton University my alma mater was John McLaughlin's "After the Rain", that one was huge.

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There are actually two Simmons discs on Qwest, Ancient Ritual and American Jungle.


Ancient Ritual is the better of the two, from what I recall.

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CJ, I think that Warner's relationship with ECM ended ca. 1982. It was about then that ECM cassettes were being dumped, sold for a dollar each.

Cassettes, hell, LPs! WHOLE LPs, both sides with music, not the bargain jobs like they'd import from god knows where that only had half-grooves on one side, or all the grooves on the other. No sir, REAL records!

I think it was between 1984-86 when the big ECM LP dump hit the stores here, definitely before our son was born, but after we had moved back to Dallas. I know I had the free time to drive around all day looking in the cutout bins at all 492.091 record stores in the greater DFW area armed only with a tank of gas and about $30 cash, and it usually being enough.That would have been in that window.

Hell, even the sorryass "Record Town" mall stores in the mall, you know, the ones that were about as wide as an Italian alley and had ALL (i.e. JUST) the hits, they'd have a dinky little half-din cutout rack full of ECM LPs. It was one of those rare unambiguous Carpe-Diem moments in record buying history. I was buying shit I didn't even want to hear just because it was so cheap, you know, well, I MIGHT like it after all...

I remember finding the cassettes in a small record store in a mall in Harrisburg, PA. I lived in that area from Feb., 1982, through Feb., 1985.

Jim, you put your time frame at 1984-1986. So it looks to me like both you and I stumbled across our ECM cutouts some time in 1984!

Edited by GA Russell

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There are actually two Simmons discs on Qwest, Ancient Ritual and American Jungle.

Ancient Ritual is the better of the two, from what I recall.

My opinion also, and by no small degree. Ancient Ritual was super-strong.

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Wasn't there an all-star Miles tribute on Warner, too (not on QWest)?

IIRC Atlantic did a number of jazz titles back then, Kenny Garrett, Bags, Jacquet, Fathead ...

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Dave Kikoski's E (Epic / Sony)

MI0001550863.jpg

Gary Bartz, THE BLUES CHRONICLE: TALES OF LIFE (Atlantic)

MI0002052881.jpg

James Clay, COOKIN' AT THE CONTINENTAL (Antilles / Island / Polygram)

MI0001562733.jpg

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Antilles had a pretty sweet run there for a quick minute.

I think Bartz might actually have had a deal with Atlantic, several albums came out.

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Antilles had a pretty sweet run there for a quick minute.

I think Bartz might actually have had a deal with Atlantic, several albums came out.

Yes, on both accounts. And Gary had an Atlantic release prior to THE BLUES CHRONICLES... THE RED AND ORANGE POEMS. Also a sort of comeback for Eddie Henderson via that date as well. Fine record, "straight ahead," but TBC is more personal, more Bartz-ian in its explicit concept-album-ness.

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If Gramavision is a major label, I'd throw Anthony Davis into the ring as well. He also recorded his opera of Malcolm X for Koch... bigger indie I guess, rather than a major.

John Carter and James Newton were also on Gramavision. :tup:tup:tup

EDIT:

Just remembered: Bob Moses made a couple great records for Gramavision too. :)

Edited by HutchFan

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Bounce of the Sugar Plum Fairies, Don Byron, Bug Music

Sing a Song of Song, Kenny Garrett, Songbook

Body and Soul, Jason Moran, Modernistic

Hard Times, Bill Frisell, With Dave Holland & Elvin Jones

Mona Lisa, Sonny Rollins, +3

Bye Bye Blackbird, Keith Jarrett, At the Deer Head Inn

7th Ave. Stroll, Mark Whitfield, 7th Ave. Stroll

Seven Steps, Cassandra Wilson, Traveling Miles

Felicidade, Joe Henderson, Double Rainbow

Unison, Dave Douglas, The Infinite

Soppin' the Biscuit, Roy Hargrove, With the Tenors of Our Time

Oú es-tu, mon amour? Charlie Haden Quartet West, Always Say Goodbye

Sunflowers, Wynton Marsalis Septet, The Marciac Suite

I purchased a lot of major label jazz in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, I made a compilation of some of my favorite songs from my post-1990 jazz CDs (the track listing above). I still like and listen to most of these songs and CDs. One of the things that I noticed about the compilation at the time (and now) is how much was done in tribute to others. The only song among these that I heard live and near the time of the CD’s release was the Garrett tune. That show will always be very special to me.

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Wasn't there an all-star Miles tribute on Warner, too (not on QWest)?

This one here was on QWest if AMG is right:

MI0000516624.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

never liked it much, but haven't heard it since the late 90s.

re Blue Note's 80s/90s activities, there's a dedicated thread about it:

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Sing a Song of Song, Kenny Garrett, Songbook

Body and Soul, Jason Moran, Modernistic

Unison, Dave Douglas, The Infinite

Sunflowers, Wynton Marsalis Septet, The Marciac Suite

I purchased a lot of major label jazz in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, I made a compilation of some of my favorite songs from my post-1990 jazz CDs (the track listing above). I still like and listen to most of these songs and CDs. One of the things that I noticed about the compilation at the time (and now) is how much was done in tribute to others. The only song among these that I heard live and near the time of the CD’s release was the Garrett tune. That show will always be very special to me.

Those are four great songs! Sunflowers is my absolute favorite Marsalis tune. Songbook by Kenny Garrett is a VERY strong record and still gets consistent airplay here, and the Infinite, while indisputably derivative of late 60's Miles, is also an excellent record in its own right.

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Don Pullen - Random Thoughts, Kele Mou Bana and Ode To Life

Wynton Marsalis - Big Train

Stan Getz - People Time

Couple of good Tom Jobim one's around - Brazileiro, Jobim and Friends

Monty Alexander - Yard Movement, Stir It Up

Charlie Hunter Trio - bing, bing, bing!, Ready....Set....Shango!

Lee Konitz - Another Shade of Blue

Gerry Mulligan - Re-Birth of The Cool

Bill Holman - A View Fom The Side

And on the jazz reissue front, a wonderful, wonderful era for Verve.

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I'm not sure if I'll get flamed for being a neo-bop apologist, but I think this is a terrific album that has some of Payton's best work:

61kiq1x9sBL._SL1000_.jpg

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I'm not sure if I'll get flamed for being a neo-bop apologist, but I think this is a terrific album that has some of Payton's best work:

61kiq1x9sBL._SL1000_.jpg

I like that one, too!

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Dewey Redman, Cecil Taylor, Elvin Jones. Momentum Space. Verve. Major. Nineties. Jazz.

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