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date: 22 February 2020


  • Barry Kernfeld,
  • Howard Rye
  •  and Dave Laing


American record company. It was founded in New York by Herb Abramson and Ahmet Ertegun (1923–2006), both jazz and blues enthusiasts, in 1947, primarily to issue African American music; it achieved considerable commercial success with recordings of musicians whose work encompassed jazz, blues, and rhythm-and-blues. Ertegun’s brother Nesuhi (1917–89) joined the organization in 1955, and supervised artists and repertory for the LP catalogue; around the same time the company established a new label, Atco, which was chiefly devoted to popular music. During the late 1950s and early 1960s the company made significant recordings marking the emergence of the free jazz style, but by the middle of the decade it was primarily known for soul music; in 1966, at the height of the company’s success in this field, it founded the Vortex label for the release of jazz records. During this period Atlantic and its subsidiaries recorded many significant artists: the singers Lavern Baker, Ray Charles, Ben E. King, Esther Phillips, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding; the vocal groups the Coasters, and the Drifters; and the jazz musicians Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, Charles Mingus, the Modern Jazz Quartet, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. It also presented gospel groups and important white popular musicians, including Bobby Darin and Sonny and Cher....

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