3000 Series -
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Creed Taylor left Verve Records in
1967 to accept a lucrative offer producing records for a new jazz
division of Herb Alpert's highly successful independent pop label, A&M Records. Taylor
was guaranteed $1,000,000 over a five-year period by Alpert's
From the very beginning, CTI had a highly
distinctive character. Sam Antupit's much copied design was the height
of elegant simplicity. Each cover named the artist and the album title
on two lines in clean Helvetica typeface while Pete Turner's evocative
photography was framed by swaths of white (for jazz oriented
releases), gray (for pop-oriented releases) or, in two cases (SP-3017
and SP-3018), silver. Taylor also scored hits right from the start,
too, with significant commercial and artistic success for Wes
Montgomery's A Day In The Life
and Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave.
Although the records were officially A&M
releases, a CTI logo was clearly visible on the jackets and labels of
all but two (SP-3030 and SP-3031) of the initial 27 releases. Taylor
produced records for A&M through 1970 and the label continued the
3000 series for its own sporadic jazz releases throughout the
remainder of the decade.
In 1984, A&M re-mastered
and reissued 16 of its best CTI titles - a tribute to the enduring quality
of Creed Taylor's productions. Additionally, A&M also introduced
George Benson's I Got A Woman And
Some Blues for the first time that year and compiled two very
good A&M/CTI samplers (SP-6-3000 and SP-6-3021). Several titles in this series
were issued on CD in 1988-89 with then-innovative digipack packaging.
But these have since gone out of print and are now very difficult to
find (or terribly tattered).
Each of the George Benson and
Wes Montgomery titles were reissued on CD rather generically in 1999.
But since Universal's acquisition of the A&M label, Verve is now
in charge of this series. In early 2000, Creed Taylor's
pre-A&M employer, did a good job reissuing a mere three A&M/CTI
titles (We And The Sea, From
The Hot Afternoon and Tide).
However, none of the other albums from CTI's earliest days have yet to
the light of day on domestic CD.