The Great Columbia Jazz Purge: Coleman, Evans, Jarrett, And Mingus

Fascinating to see the influence of a major label behind the Jazz Fusion trend of the 70s. By the way, it seems that Clive Davis strategy of updating the sound of a fallen great, so successful more recently with Santana and Rod Stewart was already being tried in the early 70s….

Jazz producer Michael Cuscuna says that Evans, Jarrett, and Mingus were all dropped on the same day, and that Coleman’s release was a separate matter. He thinks that Coleman’s often been grouped with the other three because his departure happened around the same time and that it makes for a sort of “Mount Rushmore of jazz” apocryphal story. He emphasizes that labels failed to pick up artist’s options all the time, generally because their sales weren’t up to expectations, but says that the “Bad Day at Black Rock” still came as a great insult to those who loved jazz. He also points out that all of these acts were not in the mold of fusion, which was riding high on Columbia at the time with Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Miles Davis’ electric period. Herbie Hancock, who began recording for Columbia in 1973, took his music in this direction as well.

via WFIU Public Radio.