CTI Records: 1989-Now
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CTI Records: 1989-1998
After a rather lengthy absence from recording, Creed Taylor reintroduced the CTI label in October 1990. Nearly a decade had passed since CTI's last new release. In that time, the CD had been introduced and completely overtook the LP medium, where CTI had once thrived.
Taylor's return was aided in no small measure by a $3.3 million settlement from Warner Bros. over a George Benson contract dispute and the support of Tokyo-based hotel and department store financiers, the Saison Group. He arranged distribution through the huge, worldwide power of Polygram. But after the first two releases (Rhythmstick, Song Of The Sun), he had made a new distribution arrangement with the California-based Mesa/Bluemoon. This lasted for the label's first ten releases (those with catalog numbers preceded by "R2"), then Taylor arranged for Koch International, a very powerful Canadian distributor and jazz label in its own right, to take over distribution.
Predictably, Taylor started big. All-star aggregates were collected for studio sessions at Rudy Van Gelder's (Rhythmstick), a first-call touring band was formed (Chroma) and new, emerging talent was welcomed into the now-legendary CTI stable (Jim Beard, Charles Fambrough).
Certainly the vision was as grand as ever. Indeed, Taylor even helmed six high-definition video productions for the then-emerging laser disc market (distributed by the now-defunct A*Vision for the US and Pioneer for Japan).
But the results weren't as grand as they once were. Taylor was, perhaps, straddled by an era of jazz dominated by re-boppers and modal copycats and nothing really exciting happening with the music. Also, CD packaging didn't permit the visual impact Taylor once had when his records hit the stores.
Perhaps, too, Taylor misjudged a new generation of listeners or, possibly, the listening needs of his longtime fans. The predominate direction of the new CTI was designed for the smooth jazz, "NAC" or "quiet storm" radio formats. But none of the releases fashioned for this audience (Lost Voices, The Power Of Cool, I'll Be Over You or Vineland Dreams) caught on.
Still, Taylor produced some especially fine music during this period, notably Larry Coryell's superb Live From Bahia, the Don Sebesky-arranged Fallen Angel, pianist Ted Rosenthal's tremendous Calling You and Charles Fambrough's energetic and exciting Blues At Bradleys.
CTI Records: 2002-2009
In the early part of the 21st century, producer Creed Taylor launched a web site devoted to his half-century legacy as a musical proginetor. While the site - once located at www.ctijazz.com and www.ctirecords.com - was intended to be a CTI Records resource, Taylor provided a retail sales outlet for readily available CD issues of his many Bethlehem, ABC, Impulse, Verve and CTI albums and several other discs that Taylor himself favored.
Taylor also provided many of Chuck Stewart's session photos, personal reminisces and critical plaudets on the site and an opportunity to order such late-period CTI CDs as the Absolute Brass compilation and Jürgen Friedrich's fine (yet hastily compiled) Summerflood (first issued in Europe in 1998).
Creed Taylor's CTI Jazz site disappeared from the Internet in early 2010.
CTI Records: 2009-Now
Creed Taylor formed a "CTI All-Star Band" in 2009 to perform a three-week concert tour in Europe, starting at the Motnreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The first concert was recorded and filmed in high definition for later release on CD and DVD.
The line up of players included Hubert Laws on flute, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Bill Evans on sax, Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Airto on percussion, Flora Purim on occasional vocals, Niels Lan Dokey on piano and keyboards and Jamie Cullum on vocals for a cover of "Use Me." Todd Bashore, a veteran of Charles Tolliver's band, arranged the band and contributed sax. The schedule of dates for the group (without Randy Brecker, who had to depart early for a Polish tribute recording he participated in) includes:
Later concerts were discussed for the United States and Canada as well as Japan and Korea but these never materialized. Producer Arnaldo DeSouteiro, one of the great friends to this site and a jazz historian and CTI connoisseur of the first order, attended the Montreux concert and filed his report on his Jazz Station blog: part 1 and part 2.
In November 2010, Japan's King Records issued a CD, DVD and Blu-Ray of the Montreux Jazz Festival performance.
Issues: CTI 10000, CTI 847 199-2 [CD], CTI, 67221-2 [CD]
Song Of The Sun
Issues: CTI 847 926-2 [CD], CTI R2 79478 [CD],
CTI 67222-2 [CD]
Music On The Edge
Issues: CTI R2 79475 [CD], CTI 67223-2 [CD]
The Proper Angle
Issues: CTI R2 79476 [CD], CTI 67224-2 [CD]
Ernie Watts with Gilberto Gil
Issues: CTI R2 79479 [CD], CTI 67225-2 [CD]
Issues: CTI R2 79480 [CD], CTI 67226-2 [CD]
Issues: CTI R2 79481 [CD], CTI 67227-2 [CD]
Live From Bahia
Issues: CTI R2 79482 [CD], CTI 67228-2 [CD]
Issues: CTI R2 79483 [CD], CTI 67229-2 [CD]
Issues: CTI R2 79484 [CD], CTI 67230-2 [CD]
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