Concord Music Purchases The Iconic Savoy Label

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 01:53 AM Written by 

 

nowsthetime-bird

On September 21,  Concord Music, the massive music concern who own the catalogs of independent labels like Stax, Specialty, Fantasy, Rounder, Vanguard, Sugar Hill, Telarc and many other similar record companies, added another hallowed label to their vast holdings. Savoy Label Group, a hallowed name in postwar American jazz.  Savoy, like the others, has vast holdings of vintage material (over 3000 recordings) and has continued to release contemporary jazz and, on their 429 label, new recordings by classic rockers like Los Lobos, Robbie Robertson, Boz Scaggs and LL Cool J.

Founded by Herman Lubinsky (1896-1974) in 1942, Newark-based Savoy, along with Chicago's Chess Records, King Records in Cincinnati , the Aladdin and RPM labels in LA and Atlantic Records in Manhattan, became titans among the many independent companies that emerged after World War II. Herman was TJ Lubinsky's grandfather.

Savoy became known for a number of areas, but particularly jazz, gospel and R&B. The label appeared at an exciting time for jazz. With World War II winding down, a new and exciting "modern" style of jazz known as Bebop was evolving from the swing music of the 30's and early 40's. Featuring (mostly) small groups, Bebop or Bop was alto saxophonist Charlie ("Bird") Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, visionary and influential virtuosos. Some jazz on other small labels as well eventually appeared on Savoy as well, sometimes purchased by Lubinsky.

Savoy released the first discs by both and groundbreaking material by Fats Navarro, Pittsburgh's own Erroll Garner and Johnny Costa, Little Jimmy Scott, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, the George Shearing Quintet and Sun Ra, as well as vintage swing, gospel and R&B by Johnny Otis, Big Maybelle and gospel by James Cleveland and Clara Ward. On occasion they released a bit of country (Dick Thomas's 1945 hit "Sioux City Sue").

Here are some of their best known jazz and R&B titles. Savoy changed hands various times after Lubinsky died in 1974. It's likely that hallowed catalog, both old material and new, will be available in every format from vinyl LP's to digital.

1945:

"Groovin' High" The Dizzy Gillespie All Stars (Charlie Parker, alto; Clyde Hart, piano; Cozy Cole, drums; Slam Stewart, bass; Remo Palmieri, guitar) One of the first great Bebop records.

"Now's The Time" Charlie Parker's Ree Boppers. (Parker, alto; Miles Davis, trumpet; Curly Russell, bass; "Hen Gates" (Dizzy Gillespie), piano; Max Roach, drums.  His first name's correctly spelled on the label above but misspelled on the red label at the top of the page.  Also note the label proclaims this a "be-bop" release.

"Somebody Loves Me" The Erroll Garner Trio (George DeHart, drums; John Levy, bass).

1949:

"The Huckle-Buck" Paul Williams & His Huckle-Buckers. Yes, it's more or less "borrowed from Parker's "Now's The Time." It became one of the biggest R&B hits of the year.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.