CTI RECORDS FOUNDER SUCCUMBS


CREED TAYLOR: CTI RECORDS the Next Wave

By Robert J. Carmack

Recently we lost a monumental figure of an era in music, Jazz in particular, Creed Taylor. Taylor pronounced dead in his home in Nuremburg, Germany. It appeared that he was unable to recover from a severe stroke just prior to his death. Beginning in 1950s Taylor excelled in productions and talent scouting. This led to the early creation of the “house that TRANE” built, Impulse Records, circa 1960. Also during the early years at Impulse, he again struck gold by signing saxophonist, Stan Getz. That alliance spawned several hit albums and a “Bossa Nova ,USA movement. In addition to Getz, he also introduced the world to Joao Gilberto. He penned several Bossa Nova hits, none bigger than the Girl from Ipanema, sung in both English and Portuguese by his beautiful and sultry wife, Astrud, a  multi-Grammy-winner for the Getz/Gilberto Album.

One of Creed’s inspiring heroes in music was the creator of Jazz at the Philharmonic, Norman Granz. He made monumental concerts and tours in Europe with some of the biggest and brightest Jazz stars out of USA.Taylor easily slipped into that Granz role of A&R/ Producer for Verve Records in Jazz division.

One of his top collaborations in music was with the great conductor and arranger, Don Sabesky. Who’s fingerprints were all over the best of Verve artists on the roster. The other great collaboration and “Gold Strike” discovery was the quite different guitarist, Wes Montgomery. He had a smooth delivery with more of a “thumbing” approach as oppose to strumming with pick. Also, he added a technique which some called a double-stop chording effect. This allowed Montgomery to play clean and still swing hard as required by jazz idioms. This writer was first faced with that sound in early/mid-60s album cuts from album Moving Wes, Bumpin, Tequila, Going Out of my Head, & who could forget the very soulful “Bumpin” on Sunset a multi-award winner cut and composition. It was the “Darling” of the Pop & jazz Radio audiences. Again, Taylor brings in Don Sebesky and his orchestra on the Montgomery sound and popularity. Claus Ogerman was prominent on the Tequila album. Taylor being the talent scout he was, found out “He” was being recruited by a new label in pop and mainstream music. Herb Alpert of Tijuana Brass fame was earning Big buckets of money in his new label via the Tijuana Brass, Baja Marimba band and other POP and novelty records selling like hot cakes to a starved audience. As Creed Taylor was coming over to the Herb Alpert/Jerry Moss label, To develop their new jazz division under the small creative label CTI(Creed Taylor Inc.) the first fruits were an album entitled, A Day in the Life (made popular by the Beatles)other great songs on that album were  Watch what happens, When a Man loves a woman, California Nights and Angel, all anchored by the title track, A Day in the Life.(1967)

It appeared to me, even at the young age of 17, I could draw that, this was a brilliant move by Alpert/Moss label. Ripping-off a keystone artist on his previous label at Verve, and introducing this fabulous guitarist to a new hip and open-minded audiences. An artist who could play jazz at its highest level , while still being approachable by young and older audiences. Heavy pop tunes were selected by Taylor, like the Association, Beatles, other popular young group tunes. They were brought back to life with jazz guitar on not only radio, but by 1968, Wes Montgomery was on Prime-time TV shows produced by Alpert/Moss. Needless to say, this garners TV show awards for the young Record label. Unfortunately for A&M Records, Wes Montgomery was dead by summer of 1968. Reeling from their loss of the Cash cow in Montgomery hits that played on AM and FM stations and network television.

One of the biggest decision made by Creed taylor was to now reorganize his role and position with A&M.. He then crafted a deal where A&M would now be the prime Distributor of CTI Records products.

Taylor went to work immediate putting a plan of action in place by signing big name jazz artists who had recently left other mainstream labels and was being reinvented by Taylor in his new label image of , Young sounds of electronic instruments, and popular compositions recently heard on the Radio in all genres; Soul, POP, Latin and Middle of the Road audiences. `Officially beginning in 1969/70.. you saw Taylor create some new jazz classics with older jazz artists,Quincy Jones,Nat Adderley, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Milt “Bags” Jackson, George Benson, Deodato, Joe Farrell were scattered around the charts in early 70s radio and concerts. Just like Blue Note records grew its roster of players by recording early and often with stars and their friends that they brought with them regardless of stature or standing.

Taylor, like Blue Note records used only the best in Recording and Engineering by bringing in Rudy Van Gelder on most of their choice records. The third leg of this trifecta is vivid grahics & museum quality photography. Some CTI favorites of mine are, Follow Your Heart Joe Farrell, African Cookbook Randy Weston, Straight Life Freddie Hubbard, Also , Creed spun-off even edgyier artists which a had a R&B/SOUL slant to it . KUDU RECORDS, being its answer to contemporary jazz being played with the technology of that day in Keyboards, recording, sounds, adding different rhythms and grooves . Wild Horses Rock STeady Johnny Hammond Smith, Grover Washington, Little Esther Phillips, Eric Gale, and Hank Crawford all Funky and greasy but smooth in the Pocket groove makers playing on Pop record and soul stations all over the country, many Grammy nominations and high record sales from artist who never imagine the type record sales they were now getting after signing with CTI Records.

In a sidenote many years later, Mr Creed Taylor scored again with a veteran artist ,some thought would never compromise on style and approach. He even convinced Nina Simone to record a very successful album Baltimore”. The title track was a Reggae Beat with Strings, written by Randy Newman and arranged by Dave Matthews in my opinion, one of the very best ever by CTI.

Follow this writer on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com / blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com

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BOBBY WEST: A PRODIGAL SON RETURNS


By Robert J. Carmack

It comes as no surprise that, whenever a well respected musician comes to LA and, they are a part of the World Stage Eco-System and family at that. The ”hipsters, cool gents and lovely ladies show up and out at the Leimert Park performance space known as the WORLD STAGE. Recently , just such an event occurred when master pianist and jazz musician Bobby West appeared as part of their ongoing Jazz Stream Series sponsored by Guess Foundation.  A lot was going on at the same time with reunions of all sorts , musicians, students of music and jazz aficionados welcomed Bobby Home at the Stage. Bobby of course had a power trio, made up of his long-time friends in Bassist Christy Smith, who just happened to be in town and drummer Fritz Wise. 

One could run down a yeoman’s list of accolades but , according to writer R J Smith, author of James Brown’s bio said this recently in liner notes from “Leimert Park After Dark..” West sounds hold California light, it is aspirational, nimble. He sails on top of the beat, gets your attention with a playful statement of melody that ties wit, candor, and precision together. His playing feels conversational, yet every moment matters. He is reaching for grace.

In my humble opinion, West makes the necessary moves on the bandstand ,but he never “text” in his efforts from first set to last set of night. I love the way he infuses both the elegance of a symphonic pianist while capturing all the drama, and Noir of a Thelonius Monk or a Nimble Bud Powell in his right hand. But he is a master of locked-hand style of soloing, still bursting out with panache and gusto. I hear the influences of the masters, but I also hear Bobby being Bobby.  Some how, He’s able to bring two schools of approach to his style of playing music… whether he’s doing a Duke Ellington or Duke Pearson or Stevie Wonder composition. He brings the pain in his artistry, but he also brings the intellect and sinewy ideas and concepts around capturing you as a fan for life.

I have worked with Bobby West on various projects and jams. His approach to any situation is always professional, direct and very soulful.. Bobby can play some Funk, Hip hop or Charles Mingus jazz suites. Physically he reminds me of a cross between Bobby Timmons and bassist Cecil McBee. Again, if you came to hear some corny keyboards mushy soloing through the changes of jazz classic Forget about it.. No Sir!!  Its Carnegie Hall every time Bobby touches the keyboard. Articulate and profound musician from Los Angeles, California.

Award-Winning Playwright Set to Direct Hit Musical Revue Club Alabam


Hipster Sanctuary

Tu'Nook
Award-winning Playwright and Poet, Tu’Nook has been tapped to direct the Theatre Perception Consortium’s production, The Club Alabam. It was announced recently by Robert J. Carmack, company Marketing and Media Consultant.
Tu’Nook is an educator,performance poet,playwright and actress. She has been published in Guild Press Anthology,  “Full Circle Eight”, UCLA’s Black English Student Association Journal “TAZ” and, in the anthology, “Butterflies” on the Wind from Hunan/Guild Press Publishing House in China. Tu’Nook also has performed in various poetry venues and theatrical projects in Southern California.
TuNook  Alabam! 007
She is a co-author of the stage play, “Sweetwater Blues”, “DaRoot”, “Return”, and “North On South Central”. a 1940s jazz musical that was a 2004 NAACP Theater Award winner, Howlin’ Blues and Dirty Dogs(the life of Big Mama Thornton) a 2010 NAACP Theater Award winner, and the “Fiancée of Voo Doo. (an African Folktale)
While she takes her work in theater very serious, she still have…

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HORACE SILVER:LET’S GET TO THE REAL NITTY GRITTY 1928-2014


Hipster Sanctuary

posted by Robert J. Carmack                           #@blues2jazzguy

On June 18, we lost one of the few remaining Jazz giants, pianist Horace Silver.  As a serious fan of this man’s music, I have to take you all the way back to my early teen days in junior high, when I first heard a tune called Filthy McNasty.  A live set (recorded at the Village Gate) finds pianist/composer Horace Silver and his most acclaimed quintet (the one with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Roy Brooks) stretching out on four selections, including this song “Filthy McNasty in May 1961 .

Silver Keys

Its 1963, while most kids my age were groovin’ to Motown sounds,  a handful of  my special friends  and  I were learning instruments.

We soon got to take our parents records to…

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BLACK MUSIC MONTH SIZZLES??


Black Music month Sizzles! (OP/ED)

Los Angeles,Calif._ June Glides into Summer 2021 with a Bang as Throwbacks are “IN” Again!

In a recent conference on the state of affairs in music and entertainment. Though the scene looks devastated in some areas, and just plain “Busted and Disgusted” conditions for bars/supper clubs even at 50%.

One half of maximum patronage at one time is not cutting it”. In Los Angeles county alone, where a large portion of restaurants are under water. especially the small “Mom & Pop” cafe/ bistros for a niche market, they’re hit the heaviest. Musicians and all the support within the Entertainment business are hoping to see a major change by summer. The summer may be the “Sink or Swim” time for medium, large chains, and entertainment businesses. Follow us on @FreedomJazzDance at Facebook pages or email us at pocketjazz@musician.org

Pocket Jazz Presents  team are readying themselves with an eclectic bunch of dramatic shows with music of the era , such as Sam Cooke Legacy Revue, Nina Simone Tribute:High Priestess! Or, Charlie Parker Legacy Compositions:Wounded Feathers!  featured as a point of information and historical “Edutainment” series. Included, an Interview show about Artists interviewing Artists about ART.

ON FACEBOOK: Pocketjazzpresents page/ @FreedomJazzDance

Bombingham 63/ (They Called it Dynamite Hill) ~ produced by Robert J. Carmack and Vel Omarr with Naomi Stenson. Cast members ..Naomi Pryor-Stenson -Ms. Collins / Mechelle LaChaux- I.Willie Johnson -Music Minister, wife of Dr. Johnson/ Robert J. Carmack -Dr Robert J. Johnson

Vel Omarr, who stars as Sam Cooke in the original story, The Awakening stated, “We’re not just putting on a show, but actually in some cases , shedding new light on old myths and half truths . Black artists and their historical status” are sometimes left for self-interpretation. Pocket jazz produced a one night only show in 2018 .. it was a sold out performances, but could not extend the performances beyond the one night only dates.

COMING 2021/22

Pocket Jazz Presents~High Priestess- a Nina Simone Tribute~moving, dramatic showcase of the social /protest music from early 1960s. 1965 setting in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Calif. : while rehabbing from an injured right hand, Nina is surprised when interviewed by a reporter from Ebony magazine.  but he’s also from her hometown in North Carolina. Special curated songs and music, original writings based on a play  written by R.J. Carmack. Historical material about civil rights, the leaders who were part of the struggle. running time for show is 90 plus minutes. And, a Q&A session for ½ hour post-performance by artists and directors. Target : Educational , Theaters,and dinner clubs. Running time:2 hours Fees: TBA

Sam Cooke Legacy series: L.A. early 1962-1964 -dramatic scenes infused with the very popular Sam Cooke songs performed to perfection by Soul Singer/actor, Vel Omarr -5-7 piece band plus backing vocalists, additional actor-L.C. Cooke / brother. Show running time is 1.5 hours.

One thing for sure, Summer 2021 is certainly going to be a swim or sink moment in my humble opinion. As part of a creative team of artist, we look forward to audience returns in 100% formats.

Kamaad Tauhid is a contributing editor at Hipstersanctuary.com @blues2jazzguy email: pocketjazz@musician.org

Best Yard Bird 99th Event: 21 Toot Salute in Los Angeles


Hipster Sanctuary

August 29th is a very famous birthday for various people..One for Michael Jackson so-called King of Pop, but this one is about the King of Be Bop Saxophonists Charlie Parker or, aka, Yard Bird! The Jazz community in Leimert Park was honoring the “Bird” on his 99 birthday.

Parker a 34 year old man died in March 1955, months before his 35th Birthday. Before that happened, Yard Bird or “Charlie’ was known as the absolute truth on jazz saxophone. Most youngsters or vet musicians wanted to play and sound like him..some even went to the pits of hell with major drugs and its abuse to follow the Bird. After saying all that, Robert J. Carmack wrote a play about the man, about the two inner-men other that “Bird,” Most people knew nothing about.. the others were the man as Father, Husband and musical genius!. Carmack’s play was not being performed…

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HOWARD RUMSEY: SAYING GOODBYE TO L.A. JAZZ PRESENTER 1917-2014


Hipster Sanctuary

posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

ahmad Jamal Ahmed Jamal Trio at the Famous Lighthouse Cafe

Howard Rumsey, a jazz bassist and entrepreneur who helped popularize the notion of a progressive West Coast jazz scene in the 1950s as leader of the Lighthouse All-Stars, died on July 15 in Newport Beach,Calif. the cause was complications of pneumonia, said Nancy Simonian, a longtime friend. He was 97.

Growing up in the early 1960s in Los Angeles gave me lots of opportunities. To learn an instrument, and get skilled enough to play in various church and school orchestras and marching bands, If you were like me that was not enough, I liked jazz when most of my friends and peers were boppin’ to Motown.

One of my greatest opportunities came in the form of playing saxophone in a youth band sponsored by the late Gerald Wilson and the Grant Music Center, Henry Grant, Conductor…

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EVERYTHING/EVERYTHING RIC POWELL Chats with..VOICES FROM THE WINDOW


DON’T miss out on a candid and soulful chat with musician, songwriter,record producer AND MUSICIAN, RIC POWELL stopped by the studio during Black History month, and we were able to finally get the video edited and readied for action. a fun time was had discussing the historical debut album of Donny Hathaway.. where Ric attended Howard with the great Donny Hathaway and gigged around the DC area.

Check Out Ric Powell as special guest of Voices From the Window… the Donny Hathaway story regarding Everything /Everything! Now debuting new Virtual Online Show.. view the show at Facebook group,

“Black History” 365 & at Pocket jazz Presents pages ..all on Facebook April 25th – recurring shows on Demand

https://www.facebook.com/ric.powell.92

Artists Donny Hathaway/ Ric Powell Producer / Drums/percussion

SOUL MUSIC IS AGELESS..LIKE LOVE and ROMANCE VEL OMARR ~ HERE & NOW!


Soul singer and actor, Vel Omarr .. making a strong statement for Love.

Catch Vel Omarr in his latest dramatic production with Pocket Jazz presents: The Awakening with Vel Omarr as Sam Cooke.. Catch your copy of his latest recording , How can I make You Mine.

go to http://www.vel-omarr.com or Soultown Artist on Facebook

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