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Creed Taylor, Jazz Giant And Impulse! Founder Has Passed Away At The Age of 93


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Through Verve Records, Creed Taylor probably did more to create the 1960s international jet set aesthetic than any other single artist.  

And let's not forget his role in the career of Thee Great Kenyon Hopkins, particular with regard to The Sound of New York, Lonelyville, and the trilogy of Shock, Panic, and Nightmare.  

RIP.

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Blue Note and CTI were my primary intros to jazz in the early to mid 1970’s. George Benson lps, Hubbard’s Red Clay and First Light and others were records that my friends I returned to a lot if for no other reason than that none of us owned a lot of records in the first place. Maybe it’s unfair to think of CTI first when thinking of Creed Taylor but they got me started on this road.

Edited by Tom in RI
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For as long as he did, he made a lot of records that a lot of people listened to. No small feat, that. And a lot of them were actually good in substance, the most important consideration of all.

I'm eternally grateful that not everybody went about making records that way, but I'm also eternally grateful that he did.

If it was that easy, everybody would/could do it.

It certainly seems that he lost his mojo at some point and never got it back, but...shit happens, right?

RIP

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

It certainly seems that he lost his mojo at some point and never got it back, but...shit happens, right?

I think he lost his mojo when he lost Don Sebesky at CTI.  Bob James was a large step down, and David Matthews was then another large step down.

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9 minutes ago, felser said:

I think he lost his mojo when he lost Don Sebesky at CTI.  Bob James was a large step down, and David Matthews was then another large step down.

Your idea of MOJO is worlds away from mine.

He seemed to make choices to find a larger audience by bloating backgrounds and smoothing out corners. This happened well before the exit of Sebesky.

Edited by Chuck Nessa
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I don´t have many Verve Records from the 60´s, I think I have that Wes Montgomery album with Wynton Kelly Trio, live at that Half Note ? I think I saw his signature on the back cover and then thought it is "Cecil Taylor".....

About Impulse I didn´t know that he had founded it. I always had thought it was Bob Thiele. Other then Verve, I have lots of albums from Impulse. 

About CTI, I love "Red Clay", it´s one of my very favourite albums in general, and one of Hubbards best albums. I might listen to the following Hubbard albums for CTI too, if it´s good stuff. I think I bought that Chet Baker at Carnegie Hall once, with Bob James playing acoustic and electric piano. Maybe in general CTI didn´t have so much that I used to listen to. I heard people loving Bob James, people who otherwise didn´t know other jazz artists....., but he´s cool, he can play...

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I can't say enough about CTI and the albums I grew up with. Like was said above a lot of the albums really aged quite well, California Concert, all the Hubbard's, Turrentine's and a lot of the Benson's, the Joe Farrell's remain classics. Higher Ground, by Johnny Hammond (with some of the best Joe Henderson of the 70s) and Soul Box I love. I'd love to get the Vocalion SACD of the latter

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He seemed to be fixated on bringing some great jazz artists to a wider audience by having them play material that didn't sound like straight-ahead jazz. He was even turned down by Mel Lewis for wanting to  put out the first Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band in a much different form than Mel wanted it in.  CTI was built around Ron Carter as the foundation of the label, and would be built up from RC as the foundation with sidemen like Hancock and Cobham, and arrangers like Sebesky and Deodato adding strings to the horns His formula also included newer sound technology than other jazz labels, resulting in a more glossy sound than jazz records were used to being known for having.

When the formula worked, which IMHO it did on one Wes cut, one Turrentine cut and the "Pure Desmond album, the results were fabulous. All three of those artists (plus Ed Bickert and Freddie Hubbard) never got such a strong,full sound out of their instruments (except Hubbard) than they did on that label.

The two main controversies were the material he had Wes record, and the denunciation of the Randy Weston album by Weston himself. I liked Blue Moses, myself.

RIP.

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6 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

I don´t have many Verve Records from the 60´s...

1960s Verve albums are essential to understanding - and partaking in - the international jet set aesthetic.

9 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Your idea of MOJO is worlds away from mine.

He seemed to make choices to find a larger audience by bloating backgrounds and smoothing out corners. This happened well before the exit of Sebesky.

"Bloating" the backgrounds is precisely what drew many of us to CTI albums.  Without the backgrounds, those albums become run-of-the-mill quasi-jazz records.  The backgrounds made them something special, conveying that delirious, introspective early-70s post-Jesus Christ Superstar ethos of ecology and solar energy.  

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While I was not a big fan of the CTI sound, he helped keep jazz alive and moving forward into the 70's. I sometimes wonder what would've happened if he didn't do these CTI albums.

For some reason, I always thought that Taylor was a black man. Don't know why, but I did. I was pretty caught off guard when I saw his picture in the linked obit.

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17 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

1960s Verve albums are essential to understanding - and partaking in - the international jet set aesthetic.

"Bloating" the backgrounds is precisely what drew many of us to CTI albums.  Without the backgrounds, those albums become run-of-the-mill quasi-jazz records.  The backgrounds made them something special, conveying that delirious, introspective early-70s post-Jesus Christ Superstar ethos of ecology and solar energy.  

And that was what kept me away from his CTI records. In my very very  large record/CD  collection I only have perhaps 2 or 3 CTI albums. 

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9 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Your idea of MOJO is worlds away from mine.

He seemed to make choices to find a larger audience by bloating backgrounds and smoothing out corners. This happened well before the exit of Sebesky.

He did, but there is a difference in doing that well (Sebesky) and doing that poorly.  Those differences are meaningless if you reject the form in general (for instance, I don't know the difference between good or bad  gangsta rap, or good or bad opera, because I can't stand gangsta rap or opera), but have significant meaning if you enjoy the form.  I have room for both AACM and CTI in my collection and listening enjoyment. 

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Those records were good for jazz in the sense that, yes, wider audience. Larger audience doesn't mean that all music's audience grows equally, but it does mean that the water rose high enough so for a little while it was one nice big lake that all the fish swam in, instead of a collection of individual landlocked stock ponds. People will go to a lake for recreation. Stock ponds, not so much.

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The physical edition of this set seems to have gone OOP (weirdly enough, I’d pulled mine off the shelf just several hours before news of Taylor’s death broke—it includes Michael Bourne’s old WFIU theme music, Joe Farrell’s “Follow Your Heart”), but used copies are floating around online, and it’s on Spotify. Highly recommended as a CTI overview, along with the expanded CD reissue of California Concert:

CTI: The Cool Revolution

 

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