CTI Records

CTI Records
CTI's logo design.

CTI Records (Creed Taylor Incorporated) was a jazz record label founded in 1967 by producer/A&R manager Creed Taylor. Initially, CTI was a subsidiary of A&M Records, but the label went independent in 1970. Its roster of artists included George Benson, Bob James, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine and Deodato.

Kudu Records, CTI's sister label, was launched in 1971 and was oriented towards soul jazz, featuring releases by Grover Washington, Jr., Esther Phillips, Hank Crawford, Johnny Hammond, Grant Green and Idris Muhammad.

Don Sebesky initially created many of the arrangements for the labels, later joined by Bob James and then, in the mid-70s, David Matthews. Every session featured some of jazz's finest players-- bassist Ron Carter, guitarist Eric Gale and organist Richard Tee appeared on many recordings, while Bob James or, in the early years, Herbie Hancock were frequently on piano. Taylor mostly used one studio for his recordings, Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, with Rudy Van Gelder engineering nearly all sessions until the later years of the label.

The CTI output was generally successful, both commercially as well as artistically, becoming a leading force in jazz for the decade. CTI's biggest seller was Deodato's album, "Prelude" which reached #3 on the Billboard Top 40 albums chart in 1973 - an unusual achievement for a record on a jazz-based label. A single from the album, "Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)" climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as becoming a worldwide hit (#7 UK). Other albums that were major popular successes included Grover Washington, Jr.'s "Mister Magic" and "Feels So Good" (both #10 in 1975), Esther Phillips' "What A Diff'rence A Day Makes" (#32 in 1975), and Bob James' "BJ4" (#38 in 1977).

Salvation Records was a subsidiary label which released 10 albums during its existence, including material by Roland Hanna, Johnny Hammond, Gábor Szabó, Airto and New York Jazz Quartet.[1] Greenestreet and Three Brothers were also short-lived affiliated labels.

Taylor had previously founded Impulse Records and worked for Verve Records, earning a reputation as a respected producer of jazz albums. His productions for CTI shared a characteristically warm ambience and helped to establish smooth jazz as a commercially viable musical genre. The label also became well known for its striking album sleeve designs, some of them featuring vivid photographic images by artist Pete Turner.[2][3]

CTI Records declared bankruptcy in 1978,[4] but most of its catalog has remained in print. CTI's post-A&M Records output is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment and distributed by Masterworks Jazz, while Grover Washington, Jr.'s Kudu albums have been re-issued on Motown and its MoJazz imprint. In addition, Bob James' four CTI albums are now owned by him while Seawind also own their CTI back catalog. Meanwhile, the early A&M releases are now distributed by Verve Records, a division of Universal Music Group, where, ironically, Creed Taylor helped to make his name.

Partial discography


External links

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