Creed Taylor Death: Creed Taylor, Famed Jazz Producer, Dies at 93!

Creed Taylor, a record producer who died on Tuesday at the age of 93, gave jazz a royal touch from 1953 until the 1990s. He made jazz players sound like aristocrats.

Taylor worked for the Verve label in the 1960s. He backed up pianist Bill Evans with a symphony orchestra, and he gave the world bossa nova, a style of music made by the elite of Rio de Janeiro. He put the work of his artists in gatefold jackets with stylish pictures that showed class. Verve Records said in a statement that he had died.

Taylor’s productions put a lot of jazz stars on the pop charts, like saxophonist Stan Getz and organist Jimmy Smith. Herb Alpert, a trumpet player and co-founder of A&M Records, says of James Taylor, “He was a visionary.” Alpert and the Snapshots Foundation are helping to pay for an upcoming documentary about Taylor.

At his own company, CTI Records (Creed Taylor Incorporated), which was known for its risk-taking and grandiosity, Taylor put out important music by masters like George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Wes Montgomery, Stanley Turrentine, Hubert Laws, Airto Moreira, and others.

“Creed is the reason I got where I am today,” says smooth jazz and fusion keyboardist Bob James. Taylor put James on CTI with four albums and made him a house arranger. James says, “Everywhere I tour, people take me seriously right away because I was so involved with the CTI sound.”

Herb Alpert said that Taylor looked “like an accountant” and that he spoke in a slow, soft way. James says, “But he was very involved and had very clear ideas about how he wanted his projects to go.”

Taylor grew up listening to late-night Birdland broadcasts while living in a remote area of Virginia. He moved to New York after receiving his psychology degree, wanting to get involved in the jazz scene. He offered his services as a record producer to Bethlehem, a struggling label, in 1954.

Taylor “proceeded according to his own taste” from then, according to jazz scholar Dan Morgenstern.

He provided the business a crucial boost when he introduced Chris Connor, an ex-band vocalist with an icy voice, as Bethlehem’s First Lady of cool jazz. Charles Mingus and Carmen McRae were two more up-and-coming greats he helped create before moving on to a brand-new firm, ABC-Paramount.

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There he highlighted Quincy Jones’ work as a big-band arranger and introduced Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, a legendary vocal three. He was given permission by ABC-Paramount to launch Impulse in 1960, where he signed John Coltrane and created Ray Charles.

The following year, Taylor switched from Impulse to Verve, where his passion for Brazilian music was fully expressed. According to his colleague Arnaldo DeSouteiro, a music producer located in Rio, “without Creed, the world would probably never have learned about bossa nova.” Jazz Samba, the first Brazilian jazz album to be commercially successful in America, was created by guitarist Charlie Byrd and pianist Stan Getz in 1962. A Grammy-winning tune called “Desafinado” resulted from it.

On the album Getz/Gilberto, which was released the next year, Taylor paired the saxophone with the singer-guitarist Joo Gilberto, who is considered to be one of the creators of bossa nova.

Taylor made the decision to release “The Girl from Ipanema,” a song that was not very well-known in the United States, as a single. It reached number one, was nominated for a Grammy in the category of record of the year, and brought Getz widespread recognition.

Joo and his wife Astrud Gilberto, whose languid, deadpan vocal symbolized the beach nymph in the song, both gained a global reputation as a result of the track’s success. The track’s pianist and composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, also gained worldwide recognition.

In the year 1967, Herb Alpert and his business partner, Jerry Moss, extended an invitation to Taylor to start CTI as a subsidiary of A&M. When he published Courage, the first album by Milton Nascimento to be released in the United States, he quickly helped create another Brazilian icon.

1970 marked the year when I became an independent company, and soon after, the jazz that Taylor had released there started to cross bridge after bridge.

Red Clay was the record that marked the beginning of Freddie Hubbard’s career as a fusion trumpeter. The bombastic funk interpretation of the Richard Strauss piece “Also Sprach Zarathustra” performed by the Brazilian pianist Eumir Deodato was awarded a Grammy and reached the number two spot.

According to Taylor, Yusef Lateef’s album Autophysiopsychic can be described as “a laid-back rap record.” Lateef played a variety of wind instruments to create world music on the album.

Creed Taylor Death

Esther Phillips, an R&B and jazz vocalist, became successful in the disco scene by performing “What a Difference a Day Makes,” a song made famous by Dinah Washington. Jackie & Roy, a married jazz vocal pair that Taylor had recorded for years, was given the grandest production of their lives: a symphonic album titled Time and Love.

The arrangements on the album, which were done by Don Sebesky, cited Debussy and Bach. Taylor had recorded Jackie & Roy for years. But despite all of its triumphs, CTI was losing money at an alarming rate, and in the late 1970s, the firm declared bankruptcy and became embroiled in a labyrinth of legal disputes.

After reviving the record label for a period of time in 1989, Taylor focused his attention on reissuing the label’s back catalog ever since. Taylor has also been brought into the present day by hip-hop artists, who have sampled the songs that he created hundreds upon thousands of times.

When seen from a greater distance, the significance of Taylor’s contribution is more readily apparent: “He gave elegance to jazz,” according to Herb Alpert. “He was a compassionate human being who genuinely cared about the musicians and wished the very best for them. He wasn’t concerned about his financial situation at all. He did what his intuition told him to do.”

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