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Creed Taylor


Creed Taylor revolutionized the respectability and popularity of jazz with CTI Records. In fact, some of the most significant jazz of the last half of the 20th century has been fashioned under Taylor's guidance and supervision.

Taylor has been especially influential in the packaging of music. His records are as much art to see as they are to hear. With heavy, glossy, gatefold covers featuring stark design and striking photography, his records have the sound and feel of something bearing unusual class and great quality.

After earning a degree in psychology in the early 1950s, Taylor played trumpet in clubs around Virginia Beach. He relocated to New York and secured a venerable post as head of artists and repertoire at Bethlehem Records. He produced a wide variety of jazz for Bethlehem before he took a higher profile position with ABC Paramount during the late fifties. At ABC, he produced some jazz and a great many more vocal recordings that enjoyed popular success. ABC also issued several records at the time under Taylor's name (Ping Pang Pong and Lonelyville) with music and orchestral guidance by the great film and TV composer Kenyon Hopkins, one of Taylor's first "house" arrangers.


Article: Album Review

Henry Franklin: Jazz Is Dead 14

Read "Jazz Is Dead 14" reviewed by Chris May

Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad's Jazz Is Dead label is a moveable feast when it comes to consistency. In its fourteen albums date, there have been some great ones, some not so great ones and a couple of duds. With bassist Henry Franklin, however, the label has come up with a blinder, its most satisfying ...


Article: Album Review

Qasim Naqvi / Wadada Leo Smith / Andrew Cyrille: Two Centuries

Read "Two Centuries" reviewed by Chris May

Strangely, given their similar ages and trajectories, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and percussionist Andrew Cyrille have worked together infrequently. But when they have, the results have been spectacular. In 2018, Smith and Cyrille collaborated with guitarist Bill Frisell on the well received Lebroda for ECM. Lebroda was produced by Sun Chung, who has since ...


Article: Building a Jazz Library

Herbie Hancock: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Herbie Hancock: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May

The title of Herbie Hancock's 1973 hit single “Chameleon," pulled from his jazz-funk monster Head Hunters (Columbia), was an apt one. Hancock had already undergone several transformations: from the blues-and-gospel-infused vibe of his Blue Note debut, Takin' Off (1962), to more experimentally inclined Blue Note albums in the mid-to-late 1960s, and on to his early 1970s ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Revisiting a classic conversation with Creed Taylor from 2015

Read "Revisiting a classic conversation with Creed Taylor from 2015" reviewed by Leo Sidran

Creed Taylor was an inspiration to generations of music lovers. He was behind some of the greatest records ever made. He passed away earlier this week at the age of 93.For forty years, Creed Taylor was one of a small handful of jazz record producers and label managers who shaped and defined the sound ...


News: Obituary

Creed Taylor (1929-2022)

Creed Taylor (1929-2022)

Creed Taylor, a highly influential and maverick jazz record producer and entrepreneur who recorded virtually every major jazz artist while in charge of the music at six major record labels over the course of his career, died August 22 in Winkelhaid, Germany, following a stroke suffered weeks earlier. He was 93. His son, John, announced Creed's ...


Article: Building a Jazz Library

CTI Records: Ten Tasty Albums With No Added Sugar (Almost)

Read "CTI Records: Ten Tasty Albums  With No Added Sugar (Almost)" reviewed by Chris May

Few jazz producers divide opinion as much as Creed Taylor. He is a hero to many and a villain to as many more. His fans love him for his high production values. His detractors accuse him of dumbing jazz down with excessively sweetened orchestrations and other sales-oriented compromises. Nowhere is the dispute more heated than over ...


Article: Interview

Creed Taylor, Incorporated: The AAJ Interview, Part 1-3

Read "Creed Taylor, Incorporated: The AAJ Interview, Part 1-3" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

This interview was first published at All About Jazz in July 2004. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Introduction Without the contributions of producer and entrepreneur Creed Taylor, the past, present and future of jazz would be differently written. Five decades ago, Creed Taylor produced some of Bethlehem ...


Article: Album Review

Various Artists: First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection 50th Anniversary

Read "First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection 50th Anniversary" reviewed by Chris May

This review was first published at All About Jazz in May 2011. The headline news on this lavishly packaged, four-CD collection of the work of the Impulse! label's founding producer, Creed Taylor, is that it includes three previously unreleased tracks by John Coltrane. These were recorded during rehearsals for what would become the saxophonist's ...


Article: Building a Jazz Library

Creed Taylor Productions, Part 1

Read "Creed Taylor Productions, Part 1" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Part 1 | Part 2 The place in jazz history held by Creed Taylor is impeccable, stylish, and essential. He produced some of the best music for some of the best labels dedicated to jazz, then formed his own label and with meticulous preparation and his musician's ear kept on making great jazz ...


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