Masterworks Jazz celebrates the 40th anniversary of CTI Records, the beloved jazz label founded in 1970 by producer Creed Taylor, beginning October 5 with the release of six classic CTI titles remastered on CD followed by CTI Records: The Cool Revolution, a deluxe 4-CD multi-artist box set retrospective on October 12. Two weeks later on October 26, the double-CD restoration of California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium (1971) will be released with 90 minutes of music rarely heard and never before available. The 40th anniversary commemoration will also include reissues of 6 more classic CTI albums, plus four collectible vinyl LPs in the coming months.
CTI Records: The Cool Revolution will contain four hour-long-plus discs, each presenting a thematic overview of a particular aspect of CTI: Straight Up Jazz, Deep Grooves/Big Hits, The Brazilian Connection, Cool and Classic. The 39 tracks in the box set – as well as all CTI anniversary edition titles – are remastered for the first time from the original analog 1/4-inch tapes. Reissues producer Richard Seidel and engineers Mark Wilder, Maria Triana and Dave Darlington recapture the rich, distinctive sound of the original LPs achieved by Taylor and original engineer Rudy Van Gelder. CTI Records: The Cool Revolution includes a lavishly illustrated 20-page, LP-sized booklet containing rare photos, plus new liner notes by noted jazz critic Dan Ouellette with comments by CTI artists and enthusiasts.
The 2010 edition of California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium is the most complete version of the historic Hollywood Palladium all-star concert recorded July 18, 1971. It doubles the content of the original five-song LP release with five additional tracks - three of them previously unreleased - and restores the original concert sequence for the first time. Creed Taylor hand-picked a dream team of CTI artists for the occasion: Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Hank Crawford, Stanley Turrentine, George Benson, Johnny Hammond, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham and Airto Moreira. Liner notes are by multi-Grammy winning musician-producer Bob Belden who says California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium "...ranks up there with the greatest jazz concerts of all time..."
There will also be a full slate of classic CTI album reissues packaged in eco-friendly softpack sleeves that replicate the original gatefold LP design and their iconic covers most with photos by Pete Turner. Six titles will arrive on October 5: She Was Too Good To Me by Chet Baker, God Bless the Child by Kenny Burrell, Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard, Stone Flower by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Morning Star by Hubert Laws (first time on CD), and Stanley Turrentine's Sugar. Upcoming January 2011 CD releases include White Rabbit by George Benson, All Blues by Ron Carter (first time on CD outside of Japan), Prelude by Deodato, Pure Desmond by Paul Desmond, Concierto by Jim Hall, and Milt Jackson's Sunflower.
October 26 sees 180-gram vinyl LP reissues of 4 classic CTI albums using the original gatefold sleeve designs accompanied with digital download cards: Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine's Sugar, White Rabbit by George Benson and Prelude by Deodato.
In the 1970s, CTI, its music, its style and its discriminating quality transformed contemporary jazz. The roster worked almost like a repertory company, in which great musicians took turns in the spotlight and accompanying each other. The albums they and their colleagues created set new standards in their look as well as their sound. "[Creed Taylor's] plan was ingeniously simple, yet famously maverick: record top-tier musicians, keeping their artistic integrity intact while also making their art palatable to the people. CTI thus achieved that rare balance of jazz and commercialism," writes Dan Ouellette in the liner notes. CTI surpassed the majors and fellow indies to be named the #1 Jazz Label of 1974 by Billboard. The immediate success of CTI's recordings has echoed across the decades in a profound influence on jazz, pop, R&B and hip-hop.
For more detail, check out my CTI Records discography.