The jazz musicians who did not starve | Culture

I have been meditating for a while about the paradigm shift we are experiencing. Reggaeton and other music urban they have overwhelmed rock, pushed out of the media and reduced—except when it is presented in stadiums—to irrelevance. A similar earthquake occurs to me: the one suffered by jazz during World War II and the years after.

They will remember what happened. Many big band they disintegrated due to gasoline rationing—which made getting around difficult—and the enlistment of young musicians. When they returned, they discovered that the clubs preferred to hire small groups. had arisen the bebop, who did not invite to the dance. And more direct music took off, like the rhythm & blues and the country&westernpredecessors of rock and roll. And there was hostility, as can be seen in the 59th minute of Blackboard Jungle (here, evil seed), when the students smash the teacher’s records.

And yet, jazz survived. Thanks to meetings of great figures such as Jazz at the Philharmonic, by Norman Granz, who was already setting up tours in 1945 and in 1952 he made the leap to Europe. In addition, there were the open-air festivals (the first Newport was held in 1954) and the record companies that took advantage of the technological possibilities of the LP. It was then that some producers who were racking their brains looking for ways to sell jazz became relevant.

The most successful was Creed Taylor, who just died at the age of 93. She had, it must be said, an ambiguous reputation. There are fans who believe that she will burn in hell for rebounding inventing the smooth jazz, but Taylor did not force the artists to follow his formulas: they were mutual agreements where both parties sought visibility in stores, presence on the radio and, ultimately, sales. Besides, whatever his commercial sins, he was the founder of Impulse!, an essential label where he signed John Coltrane and tested some of their marketing intuitions: a recognizable aesthetic on the covers and their double sleeves.

Creed Taylor, center left. along with the singer and actor Sammy Davis Jr., collects the award for the album ‘Getz/Gilberto’, which included ‘The Girl from Ipanema’, accompanied by Astrud Gilberto (left) and Monica Getz (wife of Stan Getz) at the delivery of the 1964 Grammys.

Taylor only directed Impulse! for one year: in 1961, he jumped to Verve, where he served as producer for Bill Evans, Jimmy Smith, Cal Tjader and Wes Montgomery. Above all, he had the intuition of the possible brotherhood between jazz and that sinuous music that came from Brazil, the bossa nova. under the title of jazz-samba joined in 1962 Stan Getz, saxophonist difficult to deal with, and guitarist Charlie Byrd, who had discovered bossa in Rio de Janeiro. He was quite a hit, although he was overshadowed in 1964 by the billionaire Getz/Gilbertwhere the saxophonist adjusted to the carioca idioms of João Gilberto Y Antonio Carlos Jobim. there it started Girl from Ipanema his international career, provoking the wrath of Brazilian purists: in the version singlelasting 2 minutes and 47 seconds, only the voice of Astrud Gilberto, João’s wife, a non-professional vocalist who sang in English (in the LP version, they both sang) was heard.

The idea for the cutout, of course, was Creed Taylor’s. All that he had learned he transferred to his private label, CTI, which debuted in 1967. For example, it changed the resource to the aged standards by versions of hits of the sixties He tempered the sound with understated orchestral arrangements by Don Sebesky, later replaced by Bob James and David Matthews. He achieved a visual identity for his covers, based on nature photos, usually signed by Peter Turner; Generally, only portraits of the artists appeared on the covers on releases by Kudu, a sublabel dedicated to the soul-jazz.

The signing list included Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Randy Weston, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Joe Farrell, Ron Carter, Quincy Jones, Stanley Turrentine and, yes, plenty of Brazilians. All with an excellent level, which explains why they have been frequently reissued. There are audiophile editions, remastered by Rudy van Gelder, who was sound engineer on many of the original sessions.

Creed Taylor was probably a better producer than he was a businessman: his distribution deals with A&M and Motown ended badly, and he never managed to keep control of everything published by CTI. But for someone who came to New York with the plan to play trumpet in a group of bopit cannot be said that he had a bad race.

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