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ghost of miles

"The Great Columbia Jazz Purge: Coleman, Evans, Jarrett and Mingus" on Night Lights

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Last week's Night Lights show--an attempt to fill out the story of the so-called "Bad Day At Black Rock," in which Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Mingus were all supposedly dropped from the label in a single day--now up for online listening: 

The Great Columbia Jazz Purge:  Coleman, Evans, Jarrett and Mingus

Some more information and links at the bottom of the post, including a long quote from Clive Davis included in Chris Albertson's 1971 Saturday Review article about Miles Davis.

 

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I know I'm not exactly in the right post but I want to talk about Columbia and Atlantic records in the 70's. I'll just start a new topic if that's the case. 

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6 minutes ago, Holy Ghost said:

I know I'm not exactly in the right post but I want to talk about Columbia and Atlantic records in the 70's. I'll just start a new topic if that's the case. 

Actually working on a sort of sequel to this show that will focus on Columbia’s mid/late 1970s jazz roster, with some commentary from Michael Cuscuna.

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My topic is this: Why and how Atlantic acquired Mingus (again) and Roland Kirk and stuck with him for a very good run of records through the 70's, while Clive Davis was cleaning house, sans Miles of course who was still making booko bucks for Columbia. And for Atlantic, that means both Mingus and Kirk, who were still big names, then there's Lateef and Harris....did Atlantic have a change of heart? Maybe Zep was their cash cow (alas Jones at BN) to continue to promote jazz?

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1 hour ago, Holy Ghost said:

My topic is this: Why and how Atlantic acquired Mingus (again) and Roland Kirk and stuck with him for a very good run of records through the 70's, while Clive Davis was cleaning house, sans Miles of course who was still making booko bucks for Columbia. And for Atlantic, that means both Mingus and Kirk, who were still big names, then there's Lateef and Harris....did Atlantic have a change of heart? Maybe Zep was their cash cow (alas Jones at BN) to continue to promote jazz?

Nesuhi Ertegun was a huge jazz fan.  After his death, Atlantic put out this 5-CD box set to honor him:

Various artists

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On 6/30/2015 at 10:13 AM, clifford_thornton said:

Would love to hear more Coleman & Jojouka.

My old friend Bob Palmer used to talk about this a bit...

He had also had a hand in a film that documented Randy Weston's group going to Morocco to play with the Master Musicians of Jojouka.  It was a striking film which was apparently rejected by whoever had commissioned it.  I managed to view a VHS copy...

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Posted (edited)

On 5/14/2022 at 9:51 AM, Holy Ghost said:

My topic is this: Why and how Atlantic acquired Mingus (again) and Roland Kirk and stuck with him for a very good run of records through the 70's, while Clive Davis was cleaning house, sans Miles of course who was still making booko bucks for Columbia. And for Atlantic, that means both Mingus and Kirk, who were still big names, then there's Lateef and Harris....did Atlantic have a change of heart? Maybe Zep was their cash cow (alas Jones at BN) to continue to promote jazz?

After my last post, I stumbled upon a really decently-priced copy of the Nesuhi box set.  Wow, what a beautiful presentation, including a gorgeous hardcover book with many reminiscences.  This page by Cuscuna answers your question nicely:

Years ago I got tired of people asking me what kind of muslc l Iiked. My standard answer became
"Atlantic 45s and Blue Note LPs." It's concise, it's been true since I was 12 years old, and it stops small talk
dead in its tracks. Of course, the music that resonates with me goes well beyond those records, but
Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic R&B singles and Alfred Lion's Blue Note jazz albums had some amazing
things in common: They were incredibly consistent in taste and quality and used a repertory
group of recurring artists and sidemen that helped create a sound.


Nesuhi Ertegun, brought to Atlantic in 1955 to create a line of LPs from the label's catalog
of singles and to revive its jazz activities, couldn't have been more different in his approach to
making records. Nesuhi was hooked on, to usurp Whitney Balliett's phrase, the sound of surprise.
His talent was identifying and signing artists with a singular sound and giving them the opportunity
to develop in the studio. And his ear was sharp and eclectic. Just consider the fact that he was
instrumental in coaxing Kid Ory out of retirement in 1944 and became Ornette Coleman's greatest
champion 15 years later.


Along the way, he made some of the greatest records that Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz,
Charles Mingus, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Shorty Rogers, Milt Jackson, Jimmy Giuffre, David
"Fathead" Newman, Hank Crawford, John Coltrane, and Coleman ever produced. Although other
duties eventually took him away from hands-on producing, he remained an astute A&R man for
the rest of his life, overseeing a jazz roster that would include Eddie Harris, Charles Lloyd, Keith
Jarrett, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef, and The Art Ensemble Of Chicago.


Nesuhi was intensely loyal to those he befriended, especially artists. People like Mingus,
Tristano, and Max Roach could make a record for Atlantic whenever they wanted--no long-term
contracts, no obligations, no budgets. In 1973 a couple of friends of mine were planning a Charles
Mingus concert at Carnegie Hall and wanted to record it, but they told me Mingus was talking to
Mercury Records about a less-than-favorable deal that would probably rule that out. When I told
Nesuhi he became angry. "Mercury! That's absolutely ridiculous. Charles knows better. Whenever
he wants to make a record, he knows all he has to do is call me. We'll record the concert. We'll
record whatever he wants." The deal was made, the concert was recorded, and Mingus spent the
rest of his recording career at Atlantic.


-Michael Cuscuna

On 5/16/2022 at 9:35 AM, Jim Duckworth said:

My old friend Bob Palmer used to talk about this a bit...

He had also had a hand in a film that documented Randy Weston's group going to Morocco to play with the Master Musicians of Jojouka.  It was a striking film which was apparently rejected by whoever had commissioned it.  I managed to view a VHS copy...

Hey, Jim, I saw The Insect Trust at the Fillmore East, opening for Seatrain and the Mothers.  Hope that scores brownie points!  :g

Edited by mjzee

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4 hours ago, mjzee said:

After my last post, I stumbled upon a really decently-priced copy of the Nesuhi box set.  Wow, what a beautiful presentation, including a gorgeous hardcover book with many reminiscences.

I picked up one as well!  But it has yet to arrive... your comments make me even more eager to enjoy it.

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