NPR logo Making Two Lists, Checking Them Multiple Times

Making Two Lists, Checking Them Multiple Times

Strings and Keys cover. i

The cover art to Charles Mingus & Spaulding Givens' Strings & Keys, on Mingus' own Debut Records. hide caption

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Strings and Keys cover.

The cover art to Charles Mingus & Spaulding Givens' Strings & Keys, on Mingus' own Debut Records.

1. I was recently reminded of this discussion about the continuing relevance (or not) of jazz record labels. And for whatever reason, I got to thinking about jazz musicians who start their own record labels.

These days, just about everybody seems to be self-releasing. But I'm not just talking about putting out your own product: I'm curious about the artists who are interested in doing the work to curate, record and market discs (and digital files) for themselves and their fellow musicians. The story starts with Charles Mingus and Max Roach's Debut Records in the early '50s, of course, but it continues from there. I started thinking up a list of those still in operation — but I'm sure I'm forgetting some. So help us out: what are some other artist-owned labels? And what does it say about this point in jazz history that career musicians are doing ever more of the work on the business end?

Artist-Operated Record Labels:
Dave Douglas, Greenleaf
Anat Cohen, Anzic
Tim Berne, Screwgun
Assif Tsahar, Hopscotch
Eivind Opsvik, Loyal Label
Greg Osby, Inner Circle
Kendrick Scott, World Culture Music
Chris Speed, Skirl
Branford Marsalis, Marsalis Music
Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records
John Zorn, Tzadik
Jeff Gauthier, Cryptogramophone
Taylor Ho Bynum, Firehouse 12
Bugge Wesseltoft, Jazzland Recordings

2. The other list I'm making is my personal calendar of shows to see in New York City, where I'll be all next week. In an experiment, I'm going to try to see at least one musical performance every night, and briefly document what I find in this space. (No guarantees though!) The Twitter account should have up-to-the-minute updates if you're that curious. Any suggestions of anything I may not have heard about?



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