Nothing says, “hey, check out our rainbow of color” quite like fine, black and white type. ABC-Paramount’s Full Color Fidelity doesn’t mess around with “sound for sound’s sake,” so don’t even bother with them. Their no-nonsense approach to hi-fidelity is stamped on the backs of their coveted releases (this one from Candido in ’57), so have a quick read at the photo to the left and, oh, hey! Produced by Creed Taylor. Listen with confidence, kids.
Let’s take a little look-see through this colorful back catalog to the now defunct A&M Records, shall we? As noted before (I think…), A&M Records was started by Mr. Tijuana Brass himself, Herb Alpert. Groovy, no? If you look closely, you’ll notice a few CTI Records scattered about (Wes Montomery’s A Day in the Life and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Wave), and let’s not forget that CTI Records (Creed Taylor Incorporated) started as a subsidiary of A&M before spreading their independent wings and going solo in 1970, which places this insert somewhere between 1967 and 1970… for what that’s worth. Sidebar, I’m rapidly running out of inserts, and this deeply saddens me. The hunt shall undoubtedly continue.
ABC-Paramount Records: Full color fidelity on a two-tone sleeve. Established in 1955 under the variation, Am-Par Record Corporation (the music collateral of American Broadcasting Company, which was then titled American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters… the more you know), ABC-Paramount Records was home to some of the most prominent voices (I almost went with paramount) the late 50s and early 60s had to offer. With Fats Domino and Ray Charles leading the pack, other lesser-known artists (just because they’re less known doesn’t make them less than) like Mario Escudero, Sabicas, the Les Djinns Singers and Roy Smeck were given a platform with which to proclaim their love for the gift of music.
1961 saw the label branching out (far out, man) into the audacious world of Jazz with their subsidiary label, Impulse (featured in the photo above). Home to the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, the Milt Jackson Quartet and John Coltrane, Impulse was managed by none other than CTI Records himself, Creed Taylor.
The label was eventually sold to MCA Records in 1979, and the relatively short-lived ABC-Paramount Records was discontinued shortly thereafter. As an aside, MCA Records was absorbed and rebranded as Universal Music Group in 1995, and has become the nation’s largest music corporation. The rest, as they say, is big fish eating little fish history (fishtory?).
My apologies to fans of the masterful, and iconic Ian Anderson, but there has never been a bigger, fear-invoking, badass flautist than Hubert Laws. Have a quick look-see at the bevy of influential and groundbreaking artists Mr. Laws has performed with: Chet Baker, George Benson, Ron Carter, Johnny Hammond, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Quincy Jones, Herbie Mann, Mongo Santamaria, Leon Spencer and Walter Wanderley… and that’s only naming about half of his collaborators.
The man was even featured on an early Groove post about the “junk induced, vodka-and-coke spilling, dank, eye-burning, smoke-filled classic for the casual 1980 Contemporary Jazz fan in all of us,” the illustrious Empire Jazz.
The Chicago Theme is upbeat groove-jazz with a Starsky & Hutch-style flair, and comes highly recommended. Released on Creed Taylor’s prominent CTI label back in 1975, this six track funktastic medley tackles such well known incarnations as You Make Me Feel Brand New (covered by everyone from Boyz II Men, to Rod Stewart to Babyface) and Midnight at the Oasis (I can’t help but picture Ron and Sheila Albertson performing an abridged version of this track whilst auditioning for Corky St. Clair’s Red, White and Blaine in the timeless, Waiting for Guffman).
One doesn’t think “badass” when they think of the flute… Hubert Laws is here to rectify that, and but quick!