Zev Feldman: The Jazz Detective Speaks

Leo Sidran By

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In this podcast conversation, record producer Zev Feldman explains how he got started in the jazz business as a young man (in his early 20s) and came up through the ranks of sales ("schlepping a bag of CDs"), merchandising, marketing, distribution -all of the pieces of the business as it existed at the end of the last century. Over time he came to settle comfortably in an area of the jazzosphere that focuses on locating, unearthing and releasing previously unknown recordings. Some people know him as "the jazz detective." Variety magazine called him "possibly the most widely admired archival producer working in the jazz field today," Downbeat refers to him as "The Jazz Sleuth" and perhaps most famously, Stereophile Magazine called him "the Indiana Jones of jazz."

He works with almost every major jazz label and many small independent labels, but his primary professional residence is with Resonance Records. He has shepherded the release of previously unknown recordings by the likes of Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto and many more.

In the conversation it's clear that as big of a jazz fan as he is, he is also in love with the business of jazz records. He goes out of his way to remember and name all of the people in the business who helped him along the way.

Here he talks about becoming a producer ("it was like pouring gasoline on a fire"), the importance of "folklore and mythology" in the world of jazz collecting, why finding the right outlet for a recording is like finding shelter for an orphaned animal, and how he builds relationships.

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