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A&M  

David Buckley

American record company. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1962 by the former US army trumpeter Herb Alpert and the promoter-producer Jerry Moss. For its first few years, A&M depended largely on revenues from Alpert’s own recordings. His easy-listening instrumental music recorded with the Tijuana brass had sold over 20 million copies by 1968, when the company’s turnover was $50 million. In 1966 A&M also scored success with Sergio Mendes and the Sandpipers’ single, “Guantanamera.” Moss, however, was keen to broaden the appeal of A&M, and began recording such West Coast artists as Captain Beefheart and Dr John. In 1969 the label opened its first British office and by the early 1970s A&M also signed American recording deals with such artists as Procol Harum, The Move, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Cliff, and Cat Stevens.

By the 1970s A&M were established as the most successful independent record label in the United States. In March 1977 it signed the British punk group the Sex Pistols, but dropped it after six days after complaints from other A&M artists. A&M showed more commitment to the new wave by signing the radio-friendly act The Police. In ...

Article

Alessandrini, Rinaldo  

Richard Wigmore

( b Rome, Jan 25, 1960). Italian harpsichordist, organist and conductor . Largely self-taught, he conducted his first major concert, of Cavalli's Calisto, in Rome in 1985, with a group of singers that were to form the nucleus of a permanent ensemble, Concerto Italiano. The ensemble's first recording, of Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals, was widely acclaimed for its passion and colour, winning a Gramophone award in 1994; subsequent recordings have included madrigals by Monteverdi, Marenzio and Frescobaldi, and vocal works by Lassus. In 1995 Alessandrini founded the complementary Concerto Italiano instrumental ensemble, with whom he has performed and recorded concertos by Bach and Vivaldi, and made an imaginative recording of Bach's Art of Fugue. His other recordings include Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, vocal works by Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Pergolesi, and Handel's Roman oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. With Concerto Italiano he has appeared at major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe. In ...

Article

Alexander (Pollack), Leni  

Raquel Bustos Valderrama

(b Breslau [now Wrocław], June 8, 1924; d Aug 7, 2005). Chilean composer and educator of German origin. She emigrated to Chile in 1939 and adopted Chilean nationality in 1951. She studied with Frè Focke (1949–53) in Chile and with René Leibowitz and Olivier Messiaen in France in 1954. Through several significant educational projects she contributed to a better public understanding of contemporary music in Chile; she also promoted Chilean musical culture in Europe. Her works won international prizes and she received commissions from patrons and organizations in Europe and the USA. Her music, modernist in style and sometimes using sounds generated by unconventional means, includes two ballets, Las tres caras de la luna (1966) and … a false alarm on the nightbell once answered cannot be made good, no ever (1977–8), and several works for full orchestra, including Cinco epigramas (...

Article

Alís (Flores), Román  

Marta Cureses

(b Palma de Mallorca, Aug 24, 1931; d Madrid, October 29, 2006). Spanish composer. He began his musical studies at the Barcelona Conservatory with Gabriel Gálvez, Luis Millet, Juan Pich Santasusana, Joan Gibert Camins, Joaquín Zamocois and Eduardo Toldrá, and later removed to Geneva to broaden his training. His tireless professional work extended beyond composition to directing various musical and ballet groups, orchestration, performing as a pianist, music criticism on radio and television, and teaching. He taught composition and fugue at the Seville Conservatory until 1971, then composition at the Madrid Conservatory until his retirement in 1997.

Alís’s works number about 200 and comprise a wide variety of genres. Many of them were commissioned by various official organizations. Among them are the orchestral Sinfonietta, Música para un festival en Sevilla, Homenatge a Antoni Gaudí, Seis remembranzas a Eduardo Toldrá and Rêverie, all of which bear witness to his mastery of orchestration, tone-colour and intensity. Equally well known are his pieces for piano, his choral pieces and his string quartets. In addition to his serious music, he composed, orchestrated and conducted commercial and incidental music for publishing houses, CDs, theatre, radio, television and the cinema. A member of various juries of international competitions, he was made Commander of the Imperial Hispanic Order of Carlos V and received numerous honours and prizes....

Article

Alpert, Herb  

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...

Article

Atkins, Chet  

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...

Article

Capitol  

Brian Moon

Record label. In 1942, Glenn Wallichs, a music retail store entrepreneur, Johnny Mercer, a singer, composer, and lyricist, and Buddy DeSylva, a songwriter and movie executive, formed the company in Los Angeles, California. They hoped to establish a West Coast alternative to the major pop labels located in New York. The American Federation of Musician bans (also known as the Petrillo bans) between 1942–1944, and later in 1948, gave the fledgling company some protection from competition by allowing Capitol’s early successful recordings to go uncontested and uncovered. Recordings by Peggy Lee, Johnny Mercer, Ella Mae Morse, Jo Stafford, Stan Kenton, and Paul Weston enabled the company to become the fourth largest label in America by 1950. During the next decade, Capitol specialized in orchestral, often jazz-inflected arrangements of popular songs, featuring singers Nat “King” Cole, Dean Martin, Keely Smith, Frank Sinatra, and others. Many famous pop and jazz arrangers, including ...

Article

Clement, Cowboy Jack  

Roben Jones

[John Henderson ]

(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).

Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...

Article

Concordia  

Frances Barulich

Firm of music and book publishers. Concordia Publishing House was founded in St. Louis in 1869 by immigrant German Lutherans for the purpose of printing their hymnals and other church literature, and takes its name from the Lutheran Book of Concord (1580). Its catalog, which has included music since ...

Article

County  

Benjamin J. Harbert

Record label. Established in New York in 1963 by David Freeman, County Records has helped to preserve and disseminate old-time music through re-releases of prewar string bands and field recordings. The original LP anthologies brought together 78s from Freeman’s collection of 1920s music; these artists include The Skillet-Lickers, Charlie Poole, and Uncle Dave Macon. In 1964, Freeman worked with Charles Faurot, who collected field recordings of living banjo players who played in the older clawhammer style. The best known work to come from this County series is the three volume Clawhammer Banjo. These records of Southeastern clawhammer banjo became source material for a new generation of revivalists who otherwise would not have heard these musicians. The 15 musicians recorded include Kyle Creed, Tommy Jarrell, and Wade Ward (the latter had also been recorded by folklorist Alan Lomax in 1959). In 1974, Freeman relocated County Records to the small town of Floyd, Virginia and grew the label through retail mail order. The label continues to reissue old-time and bluegrass music digitized on CDs. They also sell related books and video....

Article

Death Row  

Alyssa Woods

Record label. Death Row Records was formed in 1991 by former football star Marion “Suge” Knight and rapper/producer Dre (Andre Romelle Young) in Los Angeles, California. The label’s first release was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic in 1992, a groundbreaking album that paired explicit and often violent lyrics with commercial beats that were based on older soul, funk, and R&B songs. The musical style of The Chronic became known as “G-Funk” (Gangsta-funk), a style that dominated many of Death Row’s early albums as well as most West Coast gangsta rap throughout the 1990s.

Death Row achieved immense success within a few years, partly due to aggressive marketing to mainstream audiences, and partly due to a successful distribution deal with Interscope. Death Row Records became a target of the controversy within the gangsta rap industry due to the constant legal problems of Suge Knight and many of the artists signed to the label (for example Snoop Dogg, and later Tupac Shakur). As a consequence of public debates surrounding gangsta rap’s promotion of violence and drugs, Interscope’s parent company, Time-Warner, eventually dropped Interscope as a distributor in an effort to distance themselves from Death Row....

Article

Discography in the United States: General considerations  

David Hall, Gary-Gabriel Gisondi, and Jim Farrington

Although there are no standards for discographies, the key elements given for each recording in nearly all discographical listings are the name of the record label, issue number, and program contents; the physical characteristics of the recording itself, such as type, size, the number of channels, playback speed, and type of groove, are also considered important features of true discographies. The complex catalogs that have come to be known as “systematic discographies” include such further details as master numbers (or matrix numbers for the earlier galvano-processed discs); take indicators (or transfer numbers for discs processed from tape sources); the date and location of, and the key participants in the recording session; the date and place of publication, and publisher of the various issues and reissues (with label names and numbers). Before the development of long-playing (LP) recordings, a unique matrix number was etched, embossed, or stamped onto the surfaces of most discs, near or under the label. However, early cylinders often bear no markings, making identification difficult if the recording has been separated from its container. Since it was a common practice for several versions of a performance to be made (in case of mishap, or with many cylinder recordings because producing multiple copies from the same master was difficult), each of the versions (or “takes”) was customarily assigned an additional number or letter, which was placed immediately after the matrix number. The convention of matrix and take numbers was abandoned with tape mastering, in which a fully edited master tape could be developed from all the material recorded during the sessions; successive modifications of a given master tape may be identified on the finished disc by the transfer numbers. (...

Article

Discography in the United States: Jazz discographies  

Edward Berger and Jim Farrington

Accurate information about recorded performances is essential in jazz, where recordings rather than scores or sheet music are the principal sources for study. Take numbers are particularly important to the study of jazz, since two versions of the same piece, recorded only minutes apart, may differ significantly. With the advent of the LP tape mastering in the late 1940s (and subsequent elimination of unique disc masters), the discographically convenient use of matrix and take designations was lost; an LP may contain many unrelated performances of diverse origins (even within the same track), the identification of which poses particular problems for the discographer. These difficulties are often compounded by insufficient or misleading information supplied by record manufacturers.

The first extensive discographical works were devoted to jazz. The term “discography” itself was introduced in the 1930s as growing numbers of jazz enthusiasts sought to establish accurate information about personnel and recording dates. Early researchers also had to contend with the pseudonymous issuing of numerous recordings by well-known jazz bands. The field of jazz discography has been dominated from the start by Europeans. Two pioneering discographical works were published in ...

Article

Discography in the United States: List of Discographies  

David Hall, Gary-Gabriel Gisondi, Jim Farrington, and Edward Berger

Writings published in or otherwise distinctive to the United States. Period of coverage is given in brackets.Library of Congress, ed.: The National Union Catalog: Music and Phonorecords (Ann Arbor, MI, 1958 [1953–7]; New York, 1963[1958–62]; Ann Arbor, 1969[1963–7]; 1973[1963–72]; Totowa, NJ, 1978[1973–7]; Washington, DC, 1979– [1978–1989] as Music, Books on Music, and Sound Recordings)Catalog of Copyright Entries, ser.3, pt xiv: Sound Recordings, ed. US Copyright Office (Washington, DC, 1972–7; as ser.4, pt vii, 1980– [coinciding with the implementation of the copyright act of 1976]); now available at http://cocatalog.loc.gov.Sibley Music Library Catalog of Sound Recordings, ed. Eastman School (Boston, 1977)B. Rust: Discography of Historical Records on Cylinders and 78s (Westport, CT, 1979)The Rigler and Deutsch Record Index: a National Union Catalog of Sound Recordings (Syracuse, NY, 1985) [pt 1: 78 rpm recordings in the holdings of members of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections; in microform. These records were in the RLIN database until its merger with OCLC in 2006, at which time only modified bibliographic records were added to OCLC]...

Article

Document  

Thane Tierney

Scottish record company. It was originally established in Austria in August 1990 by musician, painter, and record collector Johann Ferdinand “Johnny” Parth. As far back as the 1950s Parth had reissued vintage recordings, first on the Jazz Perspective and Hot Club de Vienne labels. In the mid-1960s, after consulting with Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records, Parth and his ex-wife Evelyn launched Roots Records with the goal of creating an Austrian counterpart to Arhoolie; the label, which produced limited-edition reissues (released in America on the Arhoolie label), folded in 1970.

In 1990, using Godrich and Dixon’s Blues and Gospel discography as a guide, Parth undertook the task of attempting to reissue every American blues, gospel, and spiritual recording made between the late 19th century and the early 1940s. He subsequently launched a similar endeavor for vintage American country music. Under Parth’s stewardship, Document produced nearly 900 albums with artists including Thomas A. Dorsey, Lonnie Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and many others. As a result of his success, the Blues Foundation granted him their “Keeping the Blues Alive” award. In ...

Article

Dover  

Frances Barulich

Firm of publishers. In 1941 Hayward Cirker established the firm in New York as a dealer in academic remainders. He issued his first reprint in 1943, and Dover has since become known for its reissues of scholarly texts. Although it specialized initially in scientific literature, the firm soon extended its interests to other areas, including music. Notable among its reprints of music texts are works on Johann Sebastian Bach by Albert Schweitzer and Philipp Spitta, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s ...

Article

Duke/Peacock  

Joe C. Clark

Record company founded by Houston-based African American entrepreneur Don Robey in 1949. It focused primarily on rhythm-and-blues and gospel music. Robey’s initial label, Peacock Records, was created to record bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. The label also recorded Big Mama Thornton’s rendition of “Hound Dog,” which was later covered and made famous by Elvis Presley. Gospel artists including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Bells of Joy joined the label and provided much of its success during the early 1950s.

In 1952 Peacock acquired the Memphis-based rhythm-and-blues label Duke from WDIA DJ David James Mattis. Its roster included Rosco Gordon, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Johnny Ace. Robey later formed additional subsidiary labels: Sure Shot; Song Bird, which featured gospel music; Back Beat, formed in 1957 to meet the growing teen market; and Peacock’s Progressive Jazz label.

In 1973 Robey retired and sold the Duke/Peacock label, affiliated labels, and publishing companies to ABC-Dunhill Records. Its catalog consisted of nearly 2700 songs and approximately ...

Article

Editura Muzicală  

Alice Tacu

Romanian music publishing house, founded in 1957 in Bucharest. It was established at the initiative of Ion Dumitrescu, the director of the Romanian Union of Composers and Musicologists at that time, was organized as part of this institution’s departments, and subsequently was under the Union’s administration. Its official launch was understated, probably due to repeated previous efforts to establish a publishing house department within the Union, often due to difficulties and uncertainties in legal status. Previous to this founding year, the Union, in its attempt to encourage Romanian music and make it visible to a wider audience, collaborated with private publishing houses, Romanian or foreign, and was connected to the establishment of a Music Department (1954) within a well-known arts and literature publishing house, E.S.P.L.A. (Editura de stat pentru literatură şi artă). It is with this music department within E.S.P.L.A. that the Union’s publishing activity increased and the complete publishing process became professionalized especially in regards to the musical graphic norms for scores and musicological books. Here the editorial staff began to form, and they took their knowledge to the newly formed Editura Muzicală a few years later (...

Article

Elektra (record company)  

Thane Tierney

Record company. It was established in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1950 by student entrepreneur Jac Holzman. With $300 of his own money and $300 borrowed from classmate Paul Rickolt, the St. John’s College junior launched his label with EKLP-1, New Songs by John Gruen, recorded in a single three-hour session. Holzman subsequently dropped out of college, moved back to his native New York City, and relocated Elektra’s headquarters to Greenwich Village. Early successes included blues albums by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and folk albums by Jean Ritchie and Theodore Bikel, the latter of whom bought a 5% share of the fledgling company. In the early 1960s the label continued to work mainly in the blues and folk arenas; notable signings included Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Koerner, Ray & Glover.

In 1964 the label expanded into classical music with the launch of the Nonesuch imprint, and by the mid-to-late 1960s Elektra moved aggressively into rock, signing Love, the Doors, and the Stooges, among others, while still keeping its folk roots nourished with new artists, including the Incredible String Band and Tim Buckley. In ...

Article

Epic  

Christopher Doll

Record company. It was established by CBS in 1953 as a subsidiary of Columbia Records. Although from the start its issues included jazz and pop, Epic for many years was known primarily for its recordings of George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra (including those made with a young Leon Fleisher as piano soloist). In the latter part of the 1950s, as rock and roll began to overtake the industry, the company struggled to find itself artistically and commercially, accumulating an odd assortment of American, Australian, and European performers representing a wide array of classical, jazz, and popular styles.

The label’s fortunes began to change in 1964 with its participation in the British Invasion. Epic distributed the American releases of the Dave Clark Five and the Yardbirds and later those of the Hollies and Donovan. The true turning point for the company was the signing in 1967 of Sly and the Family Stone, whose critical and financial success helped redefine the label as a youth-oriented powerhouse. The company expanded through the 1970s, achieving unimaginable heights in the 1980s with Michael Jackson’s mature solo work (...