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Orrin Keepnews, RIP


Mark Stryker
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I think Jim was referring to Milestone, not Riverside--implication that given the trends & currents of the 1970s/80s, certain artists such as Rollins, McCoy Tyner, etc. might not have recorded as prolifically in that era if it hadn't been for Milestone. (Somewhat like Granz and his stable of artists on Pablo during the same period.)

Oops -- I need to read more carefully.

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Joe Henderson too...if Joe didn't record for Milestone when he did, who would he have recorded for? And Galaxy, Art Pepper (although that might have been just a "folding in" from Contemporary?), and Johnny Griffin, and Red Garland coming back, all had product on a family of labels with established distribution and promotional channels.

Note though, that Landmark really had none of that, and succeeded accordingly. FWIW.

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Joe Henderson too...if Joe didn't record for Milestone when he did, who would he have recorded for? And Galaxy, Art Pepper (although that might have been just a "folding in" from Contemporary?), and Johnny Griffin, and Red Garland coming back, all had product on a family of labels with established distribution and promotional channels.

Note though, that Landmark really had none of that, and succeeded accordingly. FWIW.

Agree whole-heartedly about Milestone (especially Joe), but I think you're underestimating Landmark output -- even if in no way in the same class as Milestone overall. There are some real Landmark gems there, particularly outstanding LPs by Bobby Hutcherson (Color Schemes!, In the Vanguard, Cruisin' the Bird) and Mulgrew Miller (Work, Time and Again, Day to Day, Countdown), plus there were two Buddy Montgomery records (a cat VERY deserving of attention) and some oddities like that Yusef in Nigeria record. Oh, I recall liking the Jimmy Heath date, and while the Donald Byrds pretty much suck because Donald was out of gas and chops by then, they are what they are and kind of interesting from historical perspective in all kinds of ways. But Byrd is an obscure coda. The best of the Hutcherson and Miller dates are really great, and I'm grateful for the Montgomerys.

Carry on ...

Edited by Mark Stryker
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Joe Henderson too...if Joe didn't record for Milestone when he did, who would he have recorded for? And Galaxy, Art Pepper (although that might have been just a "folding in" from Contemporary?), and Johnny Griffin, and Red Garland coming back, all had product on a family of labels with established distribution and promotional channels.

Note though, that Landmark really had none of that, and succeeded accordingly. FWIW.

R. Bialek Buys Milestone Line Billboard 2 September 1967

https://books.google.com/books?id=fCgEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA10&dq=milestone%20records%20dick%20katz&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=milestone%20records%20dick%20katz&f=false

Audio Fidelity to Distribute Milestone Line Billboard 24 October 1970 (Dick Katz, President, Keepnews back from recording Joe at the Lighthouse)

https://books.google.com/books?id=gSkEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA3&dq=milestone%20records%20dick%20katz&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q=milestone%20records%20dick%20katz&f=false

Fantasy Adds Milestone Line Billboard 2 December 1972

https://books.google.com/books?id=Ig8EAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA4&dq=fantasy%20milestone%20billboard&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q=fantasy%20milestone%20billboard&f=false

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Joe Henderson too...if Joe didn't record for Milestone when he did, who would he have recorded for?

... and what would the music have sounded like? Keepnews put Joe in a lot of different contexts whereas his live gigs were all following the same basic scheme.

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Joe Henderson too...if Joe didn't record for Milestone when he did, who would he have recorded for?

... and what would the music have sounded like? Keepnews put Joe in a lot of different contexts whereas his live gigs were all following the same basic scheme.

But, realistically-- i.e. financially-- what options did Joe have? Barely enough work and $$$ to keep a small group going, let alone anything more "ambitious," i.e. costly.

29 April 1972 Billboard

https://books.google.com/books?id=mEUEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA14&dq=joe%20henderson%20orrin%20keepnews&pg=PA14#v=onepage&q=joe%20henderson%20orrin%20keepnews&f=false

"He is working on an lp with Joe Henderson which an amalgam of ideas and technologies. Henderson is a new member of Blood, Sweat and Tears, and his playing of tenor sax, soprano sax, flute and alto sax turns him into his own band. He will play all these instruments on the upcoming Milestone LP*. Multi-tracking and overdubbing will be used to generate an excitement which rock listeners can appreciate."

* Black Is The Color

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Joe probably would not have minded living in San Francisco, working and teaching locally, and keeping up his lifestyle, which is pretty much what he did once he and Milestone parted company and until, really, Verve picked up on him and got him some spotlight. From what I can tell, his "pursuits" were as few as they were intense.

Black Is the Color = good (enough) overdubbing record. Multiples = damn fine, borderline great, overdubbing record.

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Joe probably would not have minded living in San Francisco, working and teaching locally, and keeping up his lifestyle, which is pretty much what he did once he and Milestone parted company and until, really, Verve picked up on him and got him some spotlight.

From a short conversation I had with him, I got exactly that impression.

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I am immensely grateful that Orrin Keepnews loved jazz. and that he devoted himself to the "preservation" of jazz. from my perspective, he certainly made the most enormous contributions. the character I "knew" throughout many decades was a brilliant, kind, witty, articulate, knowledgeable curmudgeon. and after so many of our mutual musician friends were gone, I was even more addicted to hearing his wonderful stories about these people. no one could tell stories like Orrin. thanking you with my whole heart, Orrin. please rest in peace and jazz sounds.

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