Concord Music Group Labels
In 2004 Concord Records acquired Fantasy, Inc., owner of Prestige, Fantasy, Milestone, Riverside, Specialty and Stax Records. Concord then combined with Fantasy to form the independent Concord Music Group. That same year, Concord first partnered with Starbucks to release Ray Charles’s Genius Loves Company – which won 8 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. In 2005, the company acquired the classics and jazz label Telarc International. On December 18, 2006, Concord announced the re-launch of the soul label Stax.
On March 12, 2007, Concord Music Group and Starbucks jointly founded the Hear Music label. Hear Music’s initial release, Paul McCartney’s Memory Almost Full, was released in June of ‘07. Hear Music has since released albums by artists that include Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, John Mellencamp and more. In 2008, Village Roadshow Pictures Group (VRPG) and Concord completed their merger resulting in the creation of the new diversified entertainment group, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. In April 2010 it was announced Paul McCartney has transferred distribution rights to his post-Beatles output to Concord from EMI.
Concord purchased Rounder Records in 2010. Distribution is mainly handled by Universal Music Group. In smaller markets, such as those in Africa and Eastern Europe, local independent labels that represent Universal license the catalogue. Since 2010, Concord Music Group is divided into 3 umbrellas: Concord Records Group, Fantasy Records Group & Telarc Records Group. It is now the 5th largest record group in the world.
(Est. 1973, includes Jazz Alliance, Neon Tonic, and Playboy Jazz) Concord\'s flagship label, Concord Jazz, has been releasing critically acclaimed recordings since its inception. The label has been home to such legends as Art Blakey, Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Stan Getz and Mel Torme, as well as some of today\'s most popular recording artists. Also in the Concord Jazz family of labels are the Jazz Alliance, Playboy Jazz and Neon Tonic.
(Est. 1980) Concord Records founder Carl Jefferson created the Concord Picante imprint to provide a much-needed home for such seminal Latin jazz musicians as Cal Tjader, who released the label's first album, the GRAMMY-winning La Onda Va Bien. A quarter of a century later, the label boasts an all-star roster of Latin music legends.
(Est. 1969, includes Concord Vista, Feinery Records, Monster Records) Born from the Concord Jazz Festival in Northern California, Concord Records grew into family of labels that includes several key partnership and imprints, In 1999, entertainment veterans Norman Lear and Hal Gaba purchased the label, attracting such artists as Barry Manilow, Peter Cincotti, Ozomatli, Ray Charles, and Maurice White. Concord Records is also home to many other labels including Feinery.
(Est. 1951) Two years after establishing his Good Time Jazz label as an outlet for traditional jazz, Lester Koenig ventured into modern jazz with Contemporary Records. It was the first label to record jazz in stereo. The label captured the cream of the Southern California jazz scene and cut two albums by East Coast tenor titan Sonny Rollins and launched the recording career of jazz revolutionary Ornette Coleman.
(Est. 1949, includes Debut Records, Galaxy Records, and Kicking Mule Records) Brothers Max and Sol Weiss started Fantasy from their plastic molding business. Fantasy began hitting platinum many times over with the rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fantasy also formed or purchased a number of other labels including Galaxy, Debut and Kicking Mule.
(Est. 1949) Founder Lester Koenig started Good Time Jazz by recording a group of moonlighting Walt Disney employees known as the Firehouse Five Plus Two. The Good Time Jazz catalog was acquired in 1984 by Fantasy, Inc. In 1993, new recordings began appearing on Good Time Jazz by the Silver Leaf Jazz Band, Tim Laughlin, Jacques Gauthe, and Scott Black's Hot Horns, all New Orleans-based artists.
Established in 1990, Heads Up International has been successfully carving its niche in the world of contemporary instrumental music. In addition to numerous Grammy awards and nominations, the label has also garnered awards from various high-profile music publications and other industry organizations for its combination of brilliant artists, compelling repertoire and high quality production standards.
(Est. 2007) The Hear Music label became a joint venture between Concord Music Group and Starbucks in 2007. The label develops emerging artists with inspired vision and extraordinary talent and also serves as a home for established artists with timeless resonance. Hear Music advocates creative control for artists and encourages musicians to stretch and take risks, which the new label believes will result in compelling music choices for consumers.
(Est. 1966) Producer Orrin Keepnews had little trouble attracting top-flight jazz artists to his new Milestone label. Although Keepnews departed the company in the early-'80s, the label remains active with a roster that includes, Arturo O'Farrill, Manny Oquendo & Libre, Joe Locke, Jimmy McGriff, Hank Crawford, and Sonny Rollins, who has been a Milestone recording artist for over 25 years.
(Est. 2007) To celebrate the Festival’s 50th Anniversary, the Monterey Jazz Festival and Concord Records partnered together in 2007 to form Monterey Jazz Festival Records in order to present some of the finest, never-before-released performances from the Festival’s storied past. MJFR is also committed to looking forward—not only by presenting new works and all-star collaborations for future release, but as a not-for-profit label. The profits realized by MJF will be re-invested into its year-round jazz education programs benefiting students and young people around the world.
(Est. 1982) Created under the Fantasy, Inc. umbrella, Original Blues Classics has been a tremendously successful program of reissues. Under this name facsimiles of original editions of blues LPs have been reissued on CD. The LPs were originally released on Riverside, Prestige and and its subsidiary Bluesville that had been purchased by Fantasy.
Created under the Fantasy umbrella in 1982, at the advent of the then-new compact disc format, Original Jazz Classics has been a tremendously successful program of CD reissues. Its premise was simple: to present memorable jazz albums with original covers and notes, which had been unavailable for years. The vaults of the Fantasy-affiliated labels Prestige, Riverside, Contemporary, Galaxy, Milestone, Debut, Jazzland, and Pablo hold some of the most important jazz ever recorded. Drawing on this wealth of material, Original Jazz Classics grew to over 1,000 titles. In 2010 Concord Music Group launched a new series of reissues extending the popular Original Jazz Classics (aka OJC) brand. Already at more than 30 volumes, the Original Jazz Classics Remasters is a series of deluxe reissues of all-time classic jazz albums, featuring 24-bit remastering from the original analog master tapes for vastly improved sound quality, newly written liner notes by respected jazz historians, and often previously-unreleased tracks from the original recording sessions.
(Est. 1973) Jazz At The Philharmonic founder Norman Granz so missed the recording aspect of the music business, which he\'d abandoned in 1962 when he sold his Clef, Norgran, and Verve labels to MGM, that 10 years later he decided to take the plunge and start up yet another label, Pablo. The label has remained active, mining the tape vault for unissued treasures and producing new sessions.
(Est. 1994) Russ Freeman, founder of the popular contemporary jazz group The Rippingtons, and Andi Howard created Peak Records. This new independent label grabbed industry attention as the artist roster grew to include some of the leaders of the adult contemporary and smooth jazz scene. In 2004, Peak Records added American Idol finalist LaToya London to its roster.
(Est. 1949) Originally called New Jazz, Prestige became the leading purveyor of what is now known as acid jazz with its recordings of Jack McDuff, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Charles Earland, and others. Prestige became part of the Fantasy group of labels in 1972.
(Est. 1953) Launched by traditional jazz enthusiasts Bill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews, Riverside became one of the premier purveyors of modern jazz. With Keepnews producing the sessions (and writing the liner notes), Riverside soon brought such giants as Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, and Wes Montgomery to the forefront of American music.
(Est. 1946) The name Specialty indicated that, unlike the major labels, this one specialized in particular kinds of music: blues and gospel. The Hollywood-based firm became a leader in both fields and also played a key role in the development of rock 'n' roll upon signing Little Richard in 1955.
(Est. 1959, includes Volt Records) Stax Records is synonymous with Southern soul music. Among the many artists who scored hits on Stax and its Volt subsidiary during the Sixties were Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MGs (an interracial instrumental quartet that also served as the company\'s rhythm section), Sam and Dave, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, and the Dramatics.
(Est. 1997) Founded by the legendary pianist/composer/producer Chick Corea and music industry veteran Ron Moss, Stretch Records has become known for its presentation of "music with no boundaries." The first Stretch title, John Patitucci's Heart of the Bass, was released in 1992. Stretch joined Concord in February 1997.
(Est. 1959) Guitarist John Fahey launched Takoma Records with partner Ed Denson, and they became instrumental in spreading the new music to audiences worldwide. Besides Fahey, the label's roster included such fellow guitar innovators as Robbie Basho, Peter Lang, and Leo Kottke, in addition to legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman Bukka White.