Wed. May 29th, 2024

Photograph by William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Assortment, Music Division, Library of Congress/Getty Pictures

Decca Data can boast a beautiful and eclectic again catalogue that features The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Vera Lynn, George Formby, Luciano Pavarotti… and Winston Churchill. However the label has additionally been house to some terrific jazz over the a long time as nicely.

The primary commerce adverts for the “Decca Document” appeared within the July 1929 version of Melody Maker, and inside two years, the report firm had acquired the British franchises of Brunswick – bringing their first jazz stars, resembling Cab Calloway and The Mills Brothers, into the fold.

“The place’s the melody?”

One of many label’s largest successes within the mid-30s was with the million-selling Andrew Sisters, who had modeled themselves on the singing of Ella Fitzgerald, the jazz singer chargeable for so many nice Decca recordings throughout 1934-55. Musicians knew that Decca was a benchmark for prime requirements. “Decca’s studios in New York Metropolis have been in a protracted, rectangular room. On the far finish was a big image of an Indian maiden, standing up and holding her hand within the air, as if signaling that she had a query,” recalled singer Maxene Andrews. “Within the ‘dialogue balloon’ she was asking: ‘The place’s the melody?’ As you have been recording on the reverse finish, you couldn’t assist seeing that query. It was staring you within the face your complete time you have been singing.”

In Europe, Decca additionally pressed a big proportion of early Riverside, Up to date Vogue, and Esquire releases, ensuring that their first-class engineering abilities have been put to good use, and permitting them to launch music by jazz musicians as acclaimed because the saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.

“Provides the track an entire new worth”

The jazz maestro Louis Armstrong joined Decca in 1935 and, over the following 9 years, he laid down greater than 150 sides together with his bands, a few of them extremely industrial tracks. “A musician ain’t supposed to simply play one sort of music,” Armstrong mentioned on the time. The outcomes spoke for themselves, as Armstrong’s Decca singles include a few of his best-known music – recordings that stay vastly fashionable.

Billie Vacation had grown up as a fan of Armstrong and was very happy to report for a similar label as him. She joined Decca on August 7, 1944, when she was 29. She was dropped at the label by Milt Gabler – the person who had been courageous sufficient to report her track about lynching, “Unusual Fruit,” for Commodore Data – after he had turn out to be the A&R chief at Decca.

Vacation’s first track for Decca, “Lover Man (Oh, The place Can You Be?)” – a gradual ballad typically merely generally known as “Lover Man” – reached No.16 within the charts and was later inducted into the Grammy Corridor Of Fame. Throughout her years at Decca, Vacation’s voice turned increasingly delicate. Bob Haggart, who was Vacation’s musical director on a number of the Decca periods, was at all times enthralled by her reward of re-shaping melodies. “The 1947 track ‘There Is No Better Love’ is a superb instance of how Billie may take a regular tune and add her Midas contact to the present melody – giving the track an entire new worth,” mentioned Haggart.

In September 1949, on considered one of her final Decca appearances, Billie Vacation shared a recording date with Armstrong. Trumpeter Bernie Previn, who performed on the session, recalled how excited she was on the prospect of working together with her idol. They collaborated fantastically on “You Can’t Lose a Damaged Coronary heart” and “My Candy Hunk O’ Trash.”

“One of many coolest and most prestigious labels of all time”

Different greats of the period to report for Decca and its subsidiaries included Louis Jordan – his great hit track “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” – bassist Ray Brown, singers Mel Tormé and Teddy Grace and bandleaders Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, and Duke Ellington. Presently, Decca in America was producing round 135,000 discs a day.

The 2013 compilation Rely Basie: The Unique American Decca Recordings – which seems in our information to the 50 greatest jazz albums of all time – introduced collectively all the perimeters that Rely Basie recorded for Decca between 1937 and 1939, and captured one of many best ever swing bands at their most vibrant. Basie’s good band on the time included the saxophone maestro Lester Younger, in addition to vocalists Jimmy Dashing and Helen Humes.

Within the post-war period, Decca turned a groundbreaking house of pop and rock – with a steady that included The Rolling Stones, Them, Tom Jones, The Who, The Moody Blues, and David Bowie – however they continued to again jazz, together with some early British releases by George Melly. As a part of his work for Decca, the late producer Tony Corridor, who died in June 2019, revived the subsidiary Tempo label and produced periods by jazz acts resembling Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Dizzy Reece, and Victor Feldman for the label, earlier than the imprint was discontinued in 1961.

Jazz within the twenty first century

In latest occasions, a number of the hottest jazz musicians of the twenty first Century have signed to Decca Data. When Common Music’s Common Classics and Jazz (UCJ) labels have been rebranded Decca in 2009, it introduced Jamie Cullum into the fold. Cullum had been snapped up by Tom Lewis in 2003 and went on to determine himself as a global star. New Jersey-born singer Melody Gardot was one other necessary signing.

In September 2013, Gregory Porter launched Liquid Spirit on Decca within the UK (through Blue Be aware France), an album that introduced chart success with the title track, “Hey, Laura,” “The In Crowd,” “No Love Dying,” and “Water Underneath Bridges.”

In 2018, Decca signed the actor and jazz fan Jeff Goldblum to make his recording debut on piano. “I’m so glad to be in cahoots with the great individuals at Decca, one of many coolest and most prestigious labels of all time,” Goldblum mentioned.

Any label that may swing with Basie, scat with Armstrong, beguile with Vacation, and entrance with Ella definitely deserves to be known as “cool” and “prestigious.”

Decca: The Supreme Document Firm – The Story Of Decca Data 1929-2019 will be purchased right here.

Searching for extra? Uncover the complete historical past of Decca Data, “the supreme report firm.”

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