To complete this years “Creed Taylor Month” here is “CTI On CD Only Volume-2”. Volume-1 was included in this post.

As with the first volume, this mix was compiled to demonstrate some of the great music Creed released after the supposed demise of CTI in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, depending on where you read about it. The music included here are all new releases at the time. This list doesn’t include any tracks or albums from Creed’s earlier catalogue that has been remastered for rerelease. My count is there are some twenty-six CD’s. My plan is no repeats from Volume-1, no more than one track per CD.

Volume-2 starts out more down tempo, reflective and features some of the biggest Jazz stars that recorded with Creed earlier and some much newer, younger artists. Interestingly, Creed ended CTI as it started. A few of the last original CTI releases were were bought to Creed as finished masters, to release. I’ll include details with each track below.

picture of a pile of CD's from the CTI label with books next to them.

The playlist contains tracks from the last two KUDU albums, way after most people believed KUDU stopped issuing albums. Recorded and produced from late 1990 onwards, as Doug Payne notes “Taylor was, perhaps, straddled by an era of jazz dominated by re-boppers and modal copycats and nothing really exciting happening with the music. Also, CD packaging didn’t permit the visual impact Taylor once had when his records hit the stores.” and the music had to fit into “the smooth jazz, “NAC” or “quiet storm” radio formats.”[1]CTI RECORDS: 1989 – NOW (dougpayne.com). That said, there are some great albums, and many great tracks among this period.

It’s worth noting that some of the tracks included were released some 10-years later in MP3 format by one of the later Taylor companies CTI JAZZ Online.

At the time these were released in digital format, Amazon wasn’t selling digital music files, Apple iTunes had just been announced. NAPSTER was still a primary source of pirate MP3 music files in frequently very dubious quality. Whatever you think in retrospect of CTI going down that path, it was a pretty brave attempt to retain some quality control in their music product. The Internet Archive still has samples of some of the CTI on CD tracks from ctijazz.com. Again, this was 2002.

Press Play and read on. This mix will also be available on youtube, and this post will be updated at that time. The playlist is below.

The Playlist

  1. ctproduced mix intro – Phil Ramone, Bill Evans – Creed Taylor
  2. Theme From The Devil’s Toothpick Perhaps my favorite of all the CTI only on CD albums. It actually features music from the film soundtrack of the same name[2]https://www.discogs.com/master/810347-Various-Music-From-Inspired-By-The-Film-The-Devils-Toothpick. Effectively the penultimate album released on the KUDU label. This track features Klyde Jones, vocals.
  3. Overture – Chroma. A short bridge track taken from the CTI 1991 CD and Laserdisc, “Music On The Edge”[3]Chroma – Music On The Edge | Releases | Discogs. Chroma were the then CTI All-Stars co-produced by Jim Beard. This album was recorded and filmed live in concert in Tokyo on October 25th and 26th, 1990 at Gotanda U-Port Kan-i Hoken Hall.
  4. Gabriela’s Song – Larry Coryell – Another track from an album soundtrack to a CTI film/laserdisc, the 1992 CTI “Live From Bahia”[4]https://www.discogs.com/master/496603-Larry-Coryell-Live-From-Bahia film. What makes this track interesting are not just the musicians which include Coryell, Billy Cobham, Donald Harrison and many others, but it was one of the few CTI releases issued on four different mediums. It was released on laserdisc and VHS tape, it was also released on CD and MP3 format.
  5. Redwing – Larry Coryell, Peabo Bryson & Grover Washington, Jr. – From the 1995 Coryell album “I’ll Be Over You”[5]https://www.discogs.com/master/332594-Larry-Coryell-Ill-Be-Over-You. Another album issued as CD and MP3 format. Many of the tracks Coryell recorded and worked on during this period found themselves a home on other albums from CTI only on CD era.
  6. Evolution – Thus Spoke Z – Title track from the album of the same name[6]https://www.discogs.com/master/1467562-Thus-Spoke-Z-Evolution-Acid-Jazz. The last album released on the KUDU label. Marketed to the then emerging “acid jazz” genre. Features a real cornucopia of tracks and samples; Ventures into electronic music and features among other Grover Washington Jr. just a couple of years before his untimely death. Produced by Taylor, but co-produced by Chuck Loeb, and Terry Silverlight, with engineer Adam Kudzin.
  7. Thunder (In The Sky) – Duke Jones – Trumpeter Albert “Duke” Jones debut 1994 album[7]https://www.discogs.com/master/368651-Duke-Jones-Thunder-Island. All the tracks either use Denise Stewart for lead or backing vocals; also features the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section in the guise of Gary Bias, Nolon Smith and Ray Brown. Remarkable in so much as it was issued on the Three Brothers Music label and licensed through same. The album also has four co-producer credits including Jones himself, Norman Connors among others. The album though was not produced by Creed, it was produced by David Lewis, a one-time member of Atlantic Starr along with Duke Jones.
  8. Bijou – Ted Rosenthal – Rosenthal’s 1992 album “Calling You”[8]https://www.discogs.com/master/837537-Ted-Rosenthal-Calling-You represents a great slice of contemporary jazz from the mid-90’s. Gone are the commercial covers meant to make the album more broadly acceptable, and income’s the thumping electric bass of Kevin Eubanks and the bass of Eddie Gomez; Lew Soloff on flugelhorn; also featured alongside Rosenthal’s piano is 2022 NEA Jazz Master Donald Harrison on alto-sax.
  9. Squids – Randy Brecker – From the compilation CD “Absolute Brass”[9]https://www.discogs.com/release/5411880-Chet-Baker-Randy-Brecker-Art-Farmer-Roy-Hargrove-Wynton-Marsalis-Wallace-Roney-Absolute-Brass. This is actually a track from the Chroma “Music On The Edge CD”, but features Randy Brecker and is credited as Brecker on this compilation. “Absolute Brass” was not sold in stores, it was only available through the old ctirecords.com or ctijazz.com. The CD cost variously $10.98, and later $17.98, but was also available free with any purchase over $25.
  10. Sparks – Charles Fambrough – From Fambrough’s 1992 album “The Charmer”[10]Charles Fambrough – The Charmer | Releases | Discogs.
  11. Show Me – Ernie Watts with Gilberto Gil – From the 1991 album “Afoxé”[11]Ernie Watts with Gilberto Gil – Afoxé | Releases | Discogs. Watts had two albums on Quincy Jones QWEST in the early 1980’s. When people criticize Creed for being commercial, they’ve clearly never heard these albums. The second of these, “Magicians” had Watts at the helm of a boat that was firmly yacht rock, especially as he produced the album. This 1991 album, produced by Taylor definitely puts Watts in a more leewood direction to what most would recognize as smooth jazz. That said there are some good tracks on the album, “Show Me” being one of them.
  12. The Tropic Of Cool – Donald Harrison – One of the latter CD albums featured here, “The Power Of Cool”[12]Donald Harrison – The Power Of Cool | Releases | Discogs by NEA Jazz Master and Chief Donald Harrison. The album is a great vehicle for his sax. “The Tropic Of Cool” leads out the album with Harrison on Soprano Sax, most of the other tracks see Harrison on alto-sax.
  13. Vera Cruz – Larry Coryell. OK, I said only one track from each CD and this is the second from “Live From Bahia”[13]https://www.discogs.com/master/496603-Larry-Coryell-Live-From-Bahia. “Vera Cruz is a Milton Nascimento’s track ”first heard on the composer’s 1969 CTI album Courage was also covered on Astrud Gilberto’s 1971 CTI album Gilberto with Turrentine and a different version of the same performance also features on Stanley Turrentine’s CTI compilation LP The Sugar Man and some CDs of the tenor saxophonist’s Salt Song.”[14]Detail from Doug Payne, SOUND INSIGHTS: Emphasis (dougpayne.blogspot.com)

That’s a rap for the second “CTI: On CD only mixes” for Creed Taylor month 2022. What did you think? favorite tracks, tracks you’ve never heard before?

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