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Chuck Nessa

Robert Sunenblick RIP

33 posts in this topic

Wow. Before Resonance, Uptown was the archival jazz label. I'm glad he put out so many great recordings and I can only hope there's someone in the family willing to carry on i his memory, or that whatever tapes are still held still see release someday.

RIP and thanks for the music.

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Uptown was more than just archival...a lot of work there. RIP.

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Wow! This is a shock. I can't imagine anyone willing to put out the kind of "labor of love" releases that Uptown did.

I had my problems with Bob and some of his business practices, but I have nothing but admiration for his productions.

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Sad news indeed. I've enjoyed many of his recordings.

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Very sad.  A great man for the music.  RIP.

And sorry for your loss, Chuck.  I know you worked with him for awhile, and put out some great projects including the Mingus.

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Sad news, and yes, a big loss if it means the end of Uptown (David Sunenblick’s name appears on the new Serge Chaloff Rock Island 1953 release... perhaps he’ll at least carry through with whatever Bob might have had on the drawing board?).  I’ve sung the praises of Uptown CDs numerous times on-air. Much appreciation to Mr. Sunenblick for expanding the discography of mid-20th-century jazz.

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7 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

Wow. Before Resonance, Uptown was the archival jazz label. I'm glad he put out so many great recordings and I can only hope there's someone in the family willing to carry on i his memory, or that whatever tapes are still held still see release someday.

RIP and thanks for the music.

Yes, what will happen to the Left Bank tapes he never put out? He got about 20 total.

Bertrand.

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Very sorry to hear this. R.I.P.

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12 hours ago, JSngry said:

Uptown was more than just archival...a lot of work there. RIP.

That's what made it the archival label. So much attention to all aspects of presentation. I can't imagine Bob made much if any money on his label, and if it was profitable early, it couldn't have been very profitable post-2000 or so. Jazz needs benefactors like him.

I actually conversed a bit with him by email about the Picadily tapes and release plans. Looking back I do see him mentioning having a "lot" of masters ready to go just pending notes from whoever caught that gig. Now seeing Bertrand's mention of "20" West Bank tapes, I really wish I had asked him what else he had gotten with the Sonny Red recording.

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Thank you for your service, Dr. Sunenblick. RIP.

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A major loss for the music we love!

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2 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

That's what made it the archival label. So much attention to all aspects of presentation. I can't imagine Bob made much if any money on his label, and if it was profitable early, it couldn't have been very profitable post-2000 or so. Jazz needs benefactors like him.

There's this little nugget was buried in a court filing from 1995 (https://www.leagle.com/decision/19951511895fsupp61611408):

From the inception of his UPTOWN RECORDS label in 1979 to the present, Sunenblick has produced and released a total of 35 recordings under the mark UPTOWN RECORDS, selling 80,000 units in the form of vinyl records, cassette tapes and compact discs, originally through the mails. (PX 95). Sunenblick testified that gross revenues have exceeded $400,000, although the record further establishes that the business has incurred an overall net loss of $134,644, and has only made a modest net profit in six of the fifteen years in question. Although Sunenblick's records have been sold in some large retail outlets, such as Tower Records, J & R Music World and HMV, as well as smaller outlets, it is only in three years out of fifteen (1983, 1988 and 1989) that Sunenblick has sold more than 5,000 records overall in a given year. Only three of his recordings (chief among them the Maria Muldaur Transblucency recording, UP27.25) sold in excess of 5,000 units.

I doubt that he made much money off of Uptown Records. It sounds like this was more of a labor of love than a money-making venture.

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The Diz & Bird sold around 50,000 IIRC.

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I hope his family can continue his wonderful work.

Bertrand.

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2 hours ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

There's this little nugget was buried in a court filing from 1995 (https://www.leagle.com/decision/19951511895fsupp61611408):

From the inception of his UPTOWN RECORDS label in 1979 to the present, Sunenblick has produced and released a total of 35 recordings under the mark UPTOWN RECORDS, selling 80,000 units in the form of vinyl records, cassette tapes and compact discs, originally through the mails. (PX 95). Sunenblick testified that gross revenues have exceeded $400,000, although the record further establishes that the business has incurred an overall net loss of $134,644, and has only made a modest net profit in six of the fifteen years in question. Although Sunenblick's records have been sold in some large retail outlets, such as Tower Records, J & R Music World and HMV, as well as smaller outlets, it is only in three years out of fifteen (1983, 1988 and 1989) that Sunenblick has sold more than 5,000 records overall in a given year. Only three of his recordings (chief among them the Maria Muldaur Transblucency recording, UP27.25) sold in excess of 5,000 units.

I doubt that he made much money off of Uptown Records. It sounds like this was more of a labor of love than a money-making venture.

and that was before the decline and fall of record stores.  Reading thru that court decision I have to guess that the two "uptown records" agreed to live and let live as no one forced him to change the name.

3 hours ago, JSngry said:

Just meant that they began life with non-archival releases, and a good number of them.

https://www.discogs.com/label/162238-Uptown-Records-2

Indeed! And what's that Joe Thomas/Jay McShann?  Looks right up my alley ...

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End of an era.  Hopefully not but probably.  I have many of the Uptown releases and always looked forward to them. They were like mini Mosaics.  RIP. 

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I'm embarrassed to admit being ignorant of that Alan Eager album until today.

61v0smSMXsL._SL1280_.jpg

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59 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I'm embarrassed to admit being ignorant of that Alan Eager album until today.

61v0smSMXsL._SL1280_.jpg

I had it and traded it. I don't know if my take on it would be different today, but it didn't do much for me back then.

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I'd be interested as a document, not sure if I'd enjoy it or not.

I do remember a Cadence interview with him from I guess about the same time. He talked about enrolling in some jazz-ed program at some college, and nobody knew who he was, had never heard the name and just figured he was some old guy trying to learn how to play. He was kinda dismissed out of hand, and he thought that was pretty funny.

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There’s a thread about Sunenblick’s passing on the Facebook Lester Young Appreciation Society page in which John Burton says he was working on a “Bird In L.A.” release with Bob. John says it’s all done except for the packaging and that he hopes to still put it out. Loren Schoenberg also mentioned that he’d written the notes for a 4-CD set of 1944 Lester Young w/Basie broadcasts that never came to pass. (Loren mentioned this project to me a couple of years ago and I think it was originally slated to come out not long after the 8-CD Prez Mosaic hit the streets.)

Edited by ghost of miles

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