I never met Creed Taylor, but nonetheless, his work as the visionary owner of CTI RECORDSS was a big influence in me. If you were to have paid a visit to my dorm room in 1974, in between Miles, Jimi, plus most of the popular commercial soul/funk artists of the day, you would have heard the music of CTI RECORDS blasting away. The music of CTI was quite diverse, revolutionary yet somehow also mainstream at the same time.
It was also a perfect fit for what was then a brand new Jazz radio station in NYC called WRVR at 107.3 on the FM dial. It was located right next to WBLS at 107.5 FM on the radio dial. But it was also just to the left of WBLS in its musical orientation as well. It was a 24/7 commercial jazz station for which the music of the CTI RECORD LABEL was a perfect fit. Yet sometimes we called this “BBQ MUSIC,” because it fit perfectly into multi-generational Black American situations.
Here is a partial list of the artists on the CTI RECORD LABEL:
George Benson, Ron Carter, Eumir Deodato, Phil Upchurch & Tennyson Stephens, Astrud Gilberto, Freddie Hubbard, Bob James, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Beck, Hank Crawford, Grant Green, Idris Muhammad, Esther Phillips, Johnny “Hammond” Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Grover Washington Jr.
I highly recommend that you take a good strong listen to any of these artist work from the early to mid 1970’s. You will get hooked!
If you don’t want to take my word for it, just listen closely to early hip hop and you will hear mucho/macho Bob James, Grover, Upchurch & Tennyson etc. being sampled!
(I have a few choice cuts below)
The music on these albums were works of art. They seemingly all fit into that very narrow space that exists between Jazz & Soul/Funk and it filled that space with magnificent artistry. In addition to the music being works of art, so were the album covers. The album covers were always “gatefold” and filled with high gloss, pro level photography, that many people I knew both then and later framed and hung on their walls.
Perhaps some of you out there were big fans of the CTI label?
RIP – Creed Taylor