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Record Label Profiles

Half Note Records

By Published: March 10, 2007
Odean Pope's Locked and Loaded is another example of Levenson's insight into how to make a record succeed. Pope's Saxophone Choir was not an act one would expect to hear in the Blue Note, but the producer enticed Michael Brecker, James Carter and Joe Lovano to appear as guest artists with the veteran he knew they admired, to make it work. (Ornette annotated the disc.) Similarly, he brought in James Blood Ulmer and Hamiet Bluiett to guest with Carter's Organ Trio for a date he describes as "avant roadhouse music . Levenson reunited Kenny Garrett with Jeff "Tain Watts on the drummer's Detained date and brought together Brecker with his hero Elvin Jones on the latter's record The Truth. He's also justly proud of his work producing Gil Goldstein's Under Rousseau's Moon, which earned two Grammy nominations and the label's ongoing relationship with Kenny Werner, in documenting the great pianist's work with his trio (Peace) and quintet (Democracy).

This year the label is entering a venture with McCoy Tyner, who has appeared in the Blue Note regularly through the years and is now represented by the club's management wing. The pianist's new imprint MTM (McCoy Tyner Music) will be produced and distributed by the label. "We have two recordings that are in the can now. One is a record involving guitar players, Levenson says. "The other date is a live date at Yoshi's... It's a very spirited and energetic record.

A record recorded in one club, released by a label named after a different club, which is owned by another club. It all makes perfect sense when the music is this good.


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