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Larry Kart

Help getting a musician hooked up w/ a good label

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Recently I reconnected with an instrumental soloist whose first self-produced album mightily impressed me some 25 years.  (I'm not going to mention his name for reasons that should become clear.) Years ago he moved to a non-major European country and has been making music there ever since. I just tracked down several of his recent CDs, and was delighted to find that he has evolved into a highly individual world-class player., which I suspect might be the case. Problem is that his CDs are literally or otherwise CD Baby-level products -- not that well recorded, seemingly rather casually produced, often with local players who are not in his league. Now I'm not this guy's mother or nursemaid, but I begin to gnash my teeth when think of how he'd sound on, say, on Criss Cross with some of that label's corps of players and with its top-notch sound, the latter especially because this guy is a "sound" player par excellence. 

I asked him yesterday in a e-mail whether there are no good studios accessible to him where he lives, or is the problem there primarily financial, and I have yet to hear back. I also told him that somehow he needs to find better people to play with. (It's not so much that they're not that good but that they take their little apprentice solos and then tiptoe timidly into the woodwork, while this guy's music calls for forthright group interaction.) If I could pull Gerry Teekens' coat to him, or pull the coat of anyone else of that nature and stature in the business, Teekens et al. might all agree with me that this guy is indeed a world-class player who deserves a shot.  Anyone have any ideas of how I might proceed here? He does have CDs that could be auditioned. Or am I just being an officious busybody.

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Posted (edited)

You do know that Gerry Teekens died on October 31, 2019? I have no idea who runs Criss Cross right now, or who owns the label.

Gerry Teekens / Criss Cross

Edited by J.A.W.

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It seems to still be in the hands of the Teekens family, but whether there will be any new releases, I don't know. 

There was a release in June this year, however recorded in 2018. On the Criss Cross website it says "

This release is a tribute to my father and our grandpa Gerry Teekens Sr, founder of Criss Cross Jazz who passed away October 31, 2019.

Jerry Teekens Jr, Bo Teekens, Amber Teekens." 

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Yes, I knew but I forgot. Sorry.

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4 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

Or am I just being an officious busybody.

If the guy is happy with the life-decisions he's made, then maybe?

I mean, some are more than happy, either immediately or eventually, to not have to deal with all the intrinsic bullshit of "the business". Selling something borne of love (assuming that it is borne of love and not vanity/ego/predatory impulses/etc #youmightbesurprised)....there is no one right answer for that. That's a deeply personal decision.

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How happy he is at age 48 or so in his relatively small European pond I don't yet know, which is why I raised these questions with him the other day and why I wonder now if I'm being an officious busybody. Maybe the has no particular desire to go through what he thinks he might have to go through to make a record or so that would be worthy of his gifts, or may be he thinks that his CD Baby efforts with the local B team are just fine.  But knowing what he can do, it's not so much that I feel for him but that I feel for the art. It's not like he's Charlie Parker, but if you happened upon the young Bird and he said "Leave me alone with this Jay McShann stuff, I just want to hang out here with my wife and my mom" how would you feel? What this guy can do at his best is special; I know it.

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So you want to guilt him into sharing?

This "art" crap is real, yes it is, but selling it is not. I think that since people make art but business sells it, you should allow people to determine for themselves how they do or do not get sold. The world will continue on, as it will with art. That's the essence of personal freedom, really.

 

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