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Hardbopjazz

The face of a jazz label which kept the company alive.

23 posts in this topic

Can you think of artists that a jazz label stayed afloat because of him/her? 

I can think of these three. 

John Coltrane - Impulse. 

Jimmy Smith - Blue Note.

Miles Davis - Prestige.

Would Wes or Monk be a strong candidate for Riverside?

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Was Prestige really that dependent on Miles Davis? Would they have gone under if they had not had Miles? Or isn't this just wishful thinking, given their overall catalog (many of their other acts were no slouches either, after all)?

But what about James Brown and the KING label in the 60s??

 

 

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1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

Norah Jones - Blue Note?

Those first two albums by her somehow sold nearly 40 million copies combined.  I assume that helped extend the classic BN reissue schedule, though I think most of it was already out by then.

Edited by felser

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Prestige...King Pleasure, Annie Ross...they had hits early on, Prestige did.

And Gene Ammons, always popular!

For BN B4 NoRa, what was that group, US3? Cantaloopin' (On A Sunday Afternoon?)

4 minutes ago, felser said:

We can thank her for all of those miraculous BN reissues in the 90's.

Wow, she was banking BN even before her first record came out?!?!?!?! :g

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7 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Prestige...King Pleasure, Annie Ross...they had hits early on, Prestige did.

And Gene Ammons, always popular!

For BN B4 NoRa, what was that group, US3? Cantaloopin' (On A Sunday Afternoon?)

Good point on US3.  Hand on the Torch was a gold album, sold a LOT of copies. and was a decade before Norah Jones.

14 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Wow, she was banking BN even before her first record came out?!?!?!?! :g

Yeah, I fact checked myself on that one and edited it even before I saw your comment.  Man, seems longer ago than 2002 or whatever on that album.

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Somebody here said that Gene Harris 3 Sounds were carrying BN for a while at one point.

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2 hours ago, Hardbopjazz said:

Can you think of artists that a jazz label stayed afloat because of him/her? 

I can think of these three. 

John Coltrane - Impulse. 

Jimmy Smith - Blue Note.

Miles Davis - Prestige.

Would Wes or Monk be a strong candidate for Riverside?

Isn't it Lee Morgan - Blue Note? I always thought "The Sidewinder" was the record that pulled Blue Note out of a bit of a tailspin?

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Yeah, "The Sidewinder" and also "Song For My Father" were the top sellers, but I was looking for artists that over a loner stretch of time sustained the label. But I guess this discussion can focus on one release too.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Somebody here said that Gene Harris 3 Sounds were carrying BN for a while at one point.

They would have outsold Jimmy Smith?

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I think this was after Smith left BN and had taken up at Verve (where he started of with a BIG bang), but before Sidewinder. 62-65, roughly.

Not my claim, though. IIRC, somebody (Dan?) brought it up here a few years ago. I was a little surprised, but it would make sense.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I think this was after Smith left BN and had taken up at Verve (where he started of with a BIG bang), but before Sidewinder. 62-65, roughly.

Not my claim, though. IIRC, somebody (Dan?) brought it up here a few years ago. I was a little surprised, but it would make sense.

I've never had reason to believe The Sounds "carried" Blue Note but my understanding is that they were consistent sellers, and you did need those to put out any number of other records by more adventurous musicians (Can I have a HAAG please?).  But Jimmy Smith probably did that too, thru out the same period. 

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Both JOS and the 3 Sounds sold well enuff to get full color covers (a rare privilege @ BN), but the Sounds left for greener pastures first - their last BN session during their initial tenure was June '62 and Smith's last recording for BN were Feb. '63.  AND they both left lots in the can which the label doled out for decades after, starting during what we're imagining to be a dry time for them.  BN during the Alfred & Francis years was no doubt a day to day struggle. it's why so many great sessions went unreleased.  Beyond that, details are kinda sketchy.

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6 minutes ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Both JOS and the 3 Sounds sold well enuff to get full color covers (a rare privilege @ BN), but the Sounds left for greener pastures first - their last BN session during their initial tenure was June '62 and Smith's last recording for BN were Feb. '63.  AND they both left lots in the can which the label doled out for decades after, starting during what we're imagining to be a dry time for them.  BN during the Alfred & Francis years was no doubt a day to day struggle. it's why so many great sessions went unreleased.  Beyond that, details are kinda sketchy.

I remember reading somewhere that the initial release of Tina Brooks' "True Blue" sold under 1000 copies, which would certainly explain why his other albums stayed in the can.

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It is known that BN's break even point while still a two man operation was somewhere 'in the low thousands', so your estimate of just how poorly True Blue sold is probably at least ballpark right.

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I think Ella pretty much carried Verve in the early years.

 

 

gregmo

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Later in Prestige's life, how about Groove Holmes with the Misty single, and the Soul Message and Misty albums?

My guess for Riverside would be Monk in the later '50s, and Cannonball during the Kennedy administration.

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Gene Ammons was a big seller for Prestige. However, the Miles albums sold well.

It is definitely known that Jimmy Smith saved Blue Note, from 1956 onward. They had gone through the trauma of starting 10" LPs, and then, soon afterward, had to re-tool with 12" LPs. They began recording Jimmy in early 1956 and issued albums quickly. They were, at the time, the only label with B3 recordings in the new style. Alfred even wanted to drop the company and become Jimmy's manager.

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1 hour ago, Stonewall15 said:

Dave Brubeck on Fantasy. Also with Miles also helped Columbia.

Columbia had Johnny Mathis, "Sing Along With Mitch" , the "West Side Story" original cast and movie soundtrack albums, etc.   They were not depending on Miles and Brubeck for survival.

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