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Space Age Music Maker

Creed Taylor

  • Born 13 May 1929, Lynchburg, Virginia

I mention Creed Taylor here primarily in order to give proper credit to Kenyon Hopkins, who composed and arranged Shock, Lonelyville, and other albums that appeared under the name of "The Creed Taylor Orchestra" on ABC-Paramount Records.

Taylor's career as a performer ended, in fact, about the time he graduated from Duke University and left the school's "Ambassadors Dance Band." He went into the music business in New York City, and quickly moved up through the ranks, becoming head of Artists and Repertoire (A&R) at Bethlehem Records in 1954. He moved over to run A&R for ABC-Paramount in 1956. Taylor does deserve recognition for his active and continued support for jazz. While at ABC, he founded Impulse, which was one of the most important jazz labels of the 1960s, with a distinctive orange-and-black gatefold design featuring artists such as Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, and Gary McFarland.

Taylor left Impulse for Verve in 1962, and was responsible for the decade's best selling jazz album, the enormously influential Getz-Gilberto, which spawned the bossa nova Space Age Pop standard, "The Girl from Ipanema". In 1967, he moved to Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss's A&M label, initiating a jazz series that featured (some would say milked like cash cows) Wes Montgomery and Paul Desmond. At the time, many jazz critics dismissed these records as commercial pandering, but in recent years, they have brought the works of Walter Wanderley, Cal Tjader, Willie Bobo, Gary McFarland, and others a new generation of fans who appreciate the fusion of jazz, pop, and Latin rhythms and styles. He finally formed his own label, CTI, in 1970, and quickly turned it into the most financially successful jazz label of the 70s. CTI's roster included many of the most popular jazz-fusion artists, such as Hubert Laws, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, George Benson, and Eumir Deodato.


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