This is the story of perhaps the greatest all star jazz band ever, as well their later derivatives. The performances, the recordings, the artists and more. It’s a long read, press play, and read on.
While you read and listen, ask yourself what you would pay today to see a CTI re-union performance, George Benson, Ron Carter, Bob James, Airto, Deodato, David Matthews, Steve Gadd, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, Harvey Mason, John Tropea, Jim Beard, Randy Brecker, Patti Austin, and
Doc Gibbs backed by a full horn and string section, conducted by Don Sebesky or maybe Quincy Jones. As you’ll see, first time around, you could have seen them for less than $10, sometimes less than $5!
The concerts, and a selection of individual artist live performances are listed chronologically. If you are looking for a specific year or grouping, this selectable index may help get you there quicker.
Introduction – Independence to the last Evans
Live as strategy
1971 and California Concert
1972 Hollywood Bowl, Olympic Jazz, Châteauvallon France
1973 Space Concert and Paramount Northwest
1974 Asia and Japan
1975 Ahmanson Theatre, LA, Schaefer Festival NYC
1976 The start of the end / Bootlegs
1977 CBS emulator All-Stars
1980’s Fuse One
1990 and Chroma
2000 All-Star comeback
That’s All Folks
Creed Taylor spent much of late 1969, and1970 signing artists, inking deals, and releasing initial albums for the newly independent Creed Taylor International company and CTI jazz label. As 1971 rolled around, Creed put in motion a plan to launch a more popular soul/jazz/funk label KUDU. Also in 1971, CTI sent out the CTI All-Stars review, for the first time. In many ways, like many of the initiatives that Taylor undertook, it was unique for a Jazz label to do this.
Modelled after the Motown and Dick Clark reviews of the 60’s but aimed at a crossover audience, jazz, broader than the George Wein small theatre shows, yet more affordable and more accessible than Norman Ganz “Jazz At The Philharmonic”. The 1971 tour was a teaser to spread music of jazz, blues and soul, and build reputation for the artists and labels.
As 1970 came to a close, CTI issued their first artist live album, Bill Evans – Montreuax II. Recorded at the Casino De Montreux, Switzerland, on June 19th, 1970 and produced by Evans longtime muse and manager, Helen Keane.https://www.discogs.com/Bill-Evans-Montreux-II/master/218896 – I assume this was a master Keane bought to Taylor to release and distrubute.
Live was an important part of the strategy
Increasingly, closure of small clubs, musicians, especially typically jazz instrumentalists, were finding it harder and harder to get gigs to pay their way outside of the studio. Long road tours had a devastating and exhausting impact for the musicians, especially in the south. Segregation was still a real issue to deal with on tours with a group of mixed race artists such as those at CTI. Taylor’s solution, ignore the south. After researching and compiling this, I’m astounded that the All-Stars never appeared in Houston, Dallas and only once in 1973 in Atlanta.
If you wanted to be successful outside of the coastal cities, you had to have coverage. At the same time, rock and pop was filling massive auditoriums and sports arenas, with musicians making more money in one night that jazz musicians would make in a month, or longer. Lastly, with new labels, it was important to gain as much publicity and cross promotion as possible, as economically as possible to promote the artists and sell their albums.
Allowing musicians to record an album, then hit the road with a leader and four of five sidemen was never going to make the same impact. Also, the promo work needed a much bigger staff and budget, hustling radio stations, get news coverage, was labor intensive in the days when FM, the jukebox and newspapers were still king. The live performances, using an ensemble lineup, would address multiple needs of the new CTI/KUDU record labels and their artists.
The 1971 Tour
In a rare initiative, jazz producer Creed Taylor last week dispatched a package of recording stars, all constituents of his CTI label, on a brief concert tour.Leonard Feather – The LA Times, 19th July, 1971 P14
For the 1971 tour, musicians included Hubert Laws on flute, Hank Crawford on alto sax, Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Johnny Hammond on electric piano and organ, Airto Moreira on percussion, Billy Cobham on drums and Ron Carter on bass. We know George Benson is on the album, so he must have been a late addition or alternatively, since we also know the album was overdubbed, he may have been added then.
|1971||7/16||Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco featured Laws, Crawford, Turrentine, Hubbard, Carter, Airto, Cobham|
|7/18||Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles – Recorded and released 1972 as California Concert: Live At The Hollywood Palladium CTX 2+2.California Concert – The Hollywood Palladium | Discogs Audio only. Arnaldo DeSouteiro has a blogpost from 2010 that covers the release history of this live concert album, right up to the 40th anniversary double CD re-issue.Jazz Station – Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s Blog (Jazz, Bossa & Beyond): CTI All Stars: “California Concert” to be reissued as a 2-CD set with five bonus tracks … Continue reading The Hollywood Palladium California Concert album was the “labels first independently distributed release”Cash Box May 10th, 1975 P16|
|7/19||South Gate Palace, Los Angeles – Two tracks from this concert, Sugar and Red Clay have made it onto CD reissueshttps://www.dougpayne.com/ctid7072.htm / Doug Payne CTI Discography|
The tour was seen to be very successful, the Hollywood Palladium concert was a capacity crowd of 5,000 peopleRecord World, February 5th, 1972 P36. Tickets were $5 in advance, or $6 on the door, described in the live album liner notes by Leonard Feather as a ” fairly high tariff”.
1972 Winter and European Tours
In 1972, following on from what was apparently a very successful Summer-Jazz tour, CTI announced details would first be domestic only midwest college winter tour, coordinated with the release of the Summer Jazz “Live At The Hollywood Palladium” album. After the domestic tour, the CTI All Stars would for the first time tour internationally. The early year, midwest college tour shows would have a similar lineup to the 1971 tour, but add Esther Phillips, Grover Washington Jr, and switch out Billy Cobham for “award winning”Record World, February 5th, 1972 P36 drummer Bernard Purdie. Frankie Crocker, of WLIB New York would MC the concerts. Prices for the winter concerts ranged from $4.50-$6.50.
Creed Taylor, president of CTI Records and KUDU Records, will be sending out his Winter Jazz concert show to Detroit, Mich., Cleveland, Ohio, and Chicago, Ill., with guitarist George Benson, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, flutist Hubert Laws, saxophonists Stanley Turrentine, Hank Crawford and Grover Washington Jr., bassist Ron Carter, percussionist Airto, organist Johnny Hammond and singer Esther Phillips. . . .Record World, February 5th, 1972 P36
The addition of Esther Phillips wasn’t coincidental, KUDU were just releasing her album From A Whisper To A Scream, and Crawford’s second album Wild Horses Rock Steady was also released coincident with the tour.
The tour was being booked and managed by Peter Paul of CTI. At the same time, CTI were moving to their One Rockefeller Plaza address in New York City. In discussing the tour after the Midwest concerts, Creed Taylor told Billboard magazine, “Our type of concert package has never been made available to the public before. We are presenting a completely rehearsed package with each act doing 15 minutes with backing by the other members of the cast. The artists play the tunes they have recorded, that’s what the public likes.”Billboard magazine April 27th, 1972 P20
In discussing the tour with Jim Knippenberg of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Creed Taylor said “We’re trying to get the precision of a group like Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears, I want it to sound like a professionally done record even though it’s live.The Cincinnati Enquirer, 20th February, 1972 Taylor went on to predict taking the tour to a number of Eastern cities after the Midwest. The tour included its own equipment truck, lighting and sound men.
The first four dates in the 1972 tour were the MidWest College tour. Targeted with advertising specifically to college audiences.
|1972||2/24||Cincinnati Music Hall|
|2/25||Cleveland Music Hall|
|2/26||Chicago Opera House|
|2/27||Detroit Ford Auditorium|
|6/30||Madison Square Garden Felt Forum, New York|
|7/30||Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles – Recorded/Released as CTI Summer Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl Live, for whatever reason it was not released until 1977, and then as One, Two and Three. Audio only. Each of the albums was a single LP record in a gatefold sleeve. Interestingly this has never been released on CD in the USA, while it has been released on double CD in Japan. Again, DeSuiteiro has detail about the releasesJazz Station – Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s Blog (Jazz, Bossa & Beyond): CTI All Stars’ legendary 1972 LA concert, “CTI Summer Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl” back on CD! … Continue reading, but doesn’t state why it was never released on CD in the USA. I have heard that there were legal constraints on it’s USA release which involved artist payments, otherwise it would make a great release as the sound quality is excellent. This may also account for why this album is not available on commercial streaming services in the USA.|
|8/20||Kongresshalle, Munich (Germany) known as the Olympic Jazz concert put on as part of the open ceremony celebrations – Broadcast on FM radio, bootleg recordings available. Arnaldo Desuitero’s Jazz Station blog has a post about this concerthttp://jazzstation-oblogdearnaldodesouteiros.blogspot.com/2009/04/cd-of-day-cti-all-stars-live-in-munich.html / CD of the Day – “CTI All Stars: Live in Munich”, and a 3x CD. Posted as audio to YouTube, note the youtube video claims Frankfurt Kongresshall. This is incorrect.|
|8/23||Châteauvallon Festival, France – Broadcast on French state radio and television service, ORTF. Various unofficial recordings of this broadcast exist, including this YouTube video, audio only. There are a number of single track videos on YouTube, the sound is good but the video very low-res. Freddie Hubbard, . This is the closing track, by Esther Phillips on YouTube (4m 2s).|
For the June 30th Felt Forum concert, the lineup was expanded to include Milt Jackson and Joe FarrellBillboard magazine, June 24th, 1972 P6 and Bob JamesCash Box magazine, May 20th, 1972. Speaking to Billboard magazineBillboard magazine, July 29th, 1972 P4 prior to the Hollywood Bowl concert, Peter Paul, CTI Talent director, announced they’d be recoding the concert following the success of the “California Concert: Live at the Hollywood Palladium”, and said that the lineup had been expanded to include Jackie and Roy. Jack DeJohnette would take over on drums from Bernard Purdie. Missing from the announcement, but joining the CTI All-stars on stage was Deodato. Frankie Crocker would again M.C. but by now had moved from WLIR to WBLS New York.
In the December Record World Jazz chartRecord World December 12th, 1973 P33, Turrentine’s Don’t Mess With Mr. T, Deodato 2, Benson’s Body Talk, Grover Washington Jr.’s Soul Box, Airto’s Fingers were all in the charts, so it’s hard to argue with the strategy.
1973 Space Concert and Paramount Northwest
For 1973, CTI started out by tweaking their concert formats. Vic Chirumbolo, the CTI marketing vice president, said “CTI has broken down its large artist touring package into “mini concerts” with two and three acts like Grover Washington Jr. and Gabor Szabo or Johnny Hammond-Esther Phillips. Hank Crawford or Stanley Turrentine and Hubert Laws. This concept allows the artist more time on stage to develop his art”Billboard magazine, June 3rd, 1973 P50.
The result of this was indeed a number of smaller live sets, as Taylor tried to balance getting artists into the studio to record and out on the road to tour at the same time.
On January 12th, 1973, Hubert Laws appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York City, with Hubert Laws (f); Bob James (p); Gene Bertoncini (g); Ron Carter (b); Freddie Waits (d); Dave Friedman (vib). – Hubert Laws – Carnegie Hall (CTI 6025) is comprised from material recorded at this concert, but as Doug Payne notes “Additional material was certainly recorded during this performance, however it remains unissued.” CTI DISCOGRAPHY: 1973-74 dougpayne.com
On March 3rd, Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine appeared at the Chicago Opera House; Chicago, Illinois, and the next night, March 4th at the Ford Auditorium in Detroit, with Herbie Hancock (el-p); Eric Gale (el-g); Ron Carter (b); Jack DeJohnette (d). The recordings from those concerts were released as In Concert – Volume 1 (CTI 6044) https://www.discogs.com/Freddie-Hubbard-Stanley-Turrentine-In-Concert-Volume-One/master/220970 and In Concert – Volume 2 (CTI 6049) https://www.discogs.com/Herbie-Hancock-Freddie-Hubbard-Stanley-Turrentine-Ron-Carter-Jack-DeJohnette-Eric-Gale-In-Concert-Vo/master/220978. In 1976, the albums were combined and issued in Spain as In Concert. They’ve also been re-issued on CD in their combined format in Europe, Japan and the US.https://www.discogs.com/Freddie-Hubbard-Stanley-Turrentine-In-Concert/master/807733
April 20th saw the CTI 2001 Space spectacular to celebrate Deodato’s Prelude album, his first for CTI. The concert, at Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, New York was a celebration for what had become Deadato’s signature track Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) (an arrangement of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey). Interestingly, a Bob James arrangement had been used to open the Hollywood Bowl concert in 1971, as well as others. The Deodato version would become CTI’s biggest selling single, number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on 31 March 1973 and number 7 on the UK Singles Chart. It won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance(as always confused, because it was awarded in 1974)Eumir Deodato | Artist | www.grammy.com.
Deodato, and of the CTI artists had been been at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in New jersey the week leading up to the concert recording Deodato’s second CTI album, Deodato 2.
Reviewing the Space concert for Record World, Toni Profera described the show as “One of the finest, well programmed jazz shows New York has seen in a very longtime.”Record World, May 5th, 1973 P34
Double dates at the Paramount Northwest
1973 saw the first of what what would become regular visits to Paramount Northwest. However, there is often confusion over when and where this was. As can be seen from the posters below, there were live events on both July 28th, and July 29th. The latter is always remembered, the former almost never. According to WikipediaArlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – Wikipedia, what is now known as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, entered into a partnership in 1972 with the Seattle based Paramount Norwest group, and the Portland Paramount Northwest was born. It appears that there was recording at both performances.
|1973||4/20||Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, NY. Deodato Prelude launch party, themed as CTI Space Concert. Filmed by CTI for TV special or as a full length featureThe company has moved into film production as an adjunct to its artist promotional activities. The film of a CTI sponsored concert at the Felt Forum in Manhattan features Deodato (whose new LP was … Continue readingBillboard magazine, June 23rd, 1973 P50. No known release. Audio released as CTI 6041 Deodato* / Airto* – In Concert. Expanded in 1989 as Deodato – In Concert Deodato, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Eric Gale, Ron Carter, Airto(opener plus group inc. Flora Purim), Jack DeJohnette, Bob James and the CTI Strings, 13-piece jazz string section.|
|7/21||Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta Municipal Auditorium|
Esther Phillips, Milt Jackson, Hank Crawford, Hubert Laws, Johnny Hammond, Eric Gale, Ron Carter, Jack Dejohnette, Ralph McDonald, Bob James and the CTI Strings.
|7/28||Paramount Northwest, Portland, Oregon|
George Benson, Ron Carter, Jack DeJonette, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Airto Moreira, Johnny Hammond Smith & Stanley Turrentine.
|7/29||Paramount Northwest, Seattle. broadcast on KBCS-FM, Seattle public radio 7/29.|
Musicians as 7/28. According to DeSouteiro and Payne, a CD version of this concert was available in 2009. Jazz Station – Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s Blog (Jazz, Bossa & Beyond): CD of the Day – “CTI All Stars: Live in Seattle” (jazzstation-oblogdearnaldodesouteiros.blogspot.com)
Posted to the ctproduced youtube channel (same as top of this post).
In addition to their performances with the All-Stars, and to promote their own albums between the Space concert and setting out for the Atlanta and Northwest concerts, many of the All-Stars would have also been involved in George Weins “Newport in New York” extravaganza. Starting June 28th and going through July 8th, Wein put on concerts all over New York City and on Long Island. Gerry Mulligan, George Benson, Grover Washington, Jr., Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Hubert Laws, Airto, all put in at least one performance.
For most of 1973, CTI/KUDU had a quarter, at least 10 albums in the Jazz top-40. Here in May 1973, they have thirteen albums in the chart, with Deodato firmly at #1
In December it was announced that Deodato had signed a long term contract with MCA Records.Cash Box – December 29th, 1973 P9
1974 Asia and Japan
Almost a year to the day from the CTI All-Stars performance at the Paramount Northwest, they’d find themselves back, with another date in Vancouver, before flying direct to Japan to perform live for the first time. Japan, and to an extent, Korea, had long been fanatical consumers of jazz, not least because of the presence of US troops. Today Japan has a thriving and outstanding jazz culture and musicians of it’s own, but still hosts concerts, tours, and some of the seventies jazz musicians even live in Japan. However, researching details is hard because typically their websites use non-roman characters. I’d love any details you have on any of these Japanese performances.
|1974||7/26||Paramount Northwest, Portland, Oregon – “videotaped for future distribution to 150 major markets”.Cash Box, August 4th, 1974|
Grover Washington Jr, George Benson, Johnny Hammond, Ron Carter, Hubert Laws, Ben Riley. YouTube has a low-res video with good audio (54-mins). Production Facilities by Northwest Mobile Television; “A Get Down Production”.
|7/27||Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, CanadaThe Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)|
22 Jul 1974The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
29 Jul 1974 Musicians as 7/26, the paper lists Ralph McDonald(Drums), as “tentative” and describes him as “closely associated with CTI, has yet to have a solo album released on the label.” In the Monday review of the concert, they confirm Ben Riley, and add Hank Crawford.
On November 24th, 1974 a concert featuring Gerry Mulligan Chet Baker, Stan Getz and Buddy Rich was recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and released as Carnegie Hall Concert by Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. Sidemen of note included Bob James, Ron Carter, Harvey Mason. The album was released in 1975 as Volume-1(4-tracks), Volume-2(4-tracks), and a double album(8-tracks).Gerry Mulligan / Chet Baker – Carnegie Hall Concert | Discogs
1975 And The Star’s Don’t Align
By 1975 most of the CTI ensemble that had been with the label since the initial 1971 All-Star performance where either for the first time, or again, stars in their own right, or moved on to other labels. As Chirumbolo had indicated in 1973, the artists were now focused more on doing their own thing. On the music scene, disco was the big thing and many of the CTI artists were in the studio.
As well as the two big All-Star performance that year, CTI would bookend the year by start out recording George Benson, In Concert – Carnigie Hall in New Your City on January 11th. According to Payne and DeSouteiroCTI DISCOGRAPHY: 1975-1976 (dougpayne.com) this was “secretly taped” As Stanley Turrentine opened for Benson, Turrentine was at the time under contract to Fantasy Records. The Benson tracks were subsequently overdubbed and re-edited by CTI, including work by Dave Matthews and be released in numerous formats, two of the tracks would appear on Benson’s 1978 CTI album release Space, which along with Pacific Fire, were put together from 1975 recordings to capitalize on his then superstardom. The ever present, Hubert Laws would perform on these tracks, sidemen included Steve Gadd, Ronnie Foster and Wayne Dockery.
On March 23rd, a version of Roland Hanna’s New York Jazz Quartet, with Ron Carter, Ben Riley and Frank Wess, recorded Live In Japan. produced by Ron Carter, it was as release later that year on the CTI Salvation label. The original vinyl album had four tracks. In 1988, Didier Deutsch would re-issue for CBS a five track CD, dropping Little Waltz, Introspection, and replacing them with Placitude, Surge, and Willow Weep For Me on a Live In Japan Volume One. I can find no record of the Volume Two CD which was obviously meant to include the original tracks removed from Volume One as well as other tracks. This is confirmed by Doug Payne.CTI DISCOGRAPHY: 1975-1976 (dougpayne.com) For completeness, Hanna, Carter and Riley stayed on in Japan, and on April 4th, recorded Live At P.S.C In Tokyo. This was only ever released in Japan, on Salvation.
Hubert Laws would record “The San Francisco Concert” live at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California on October 4th. While Bob James, Gary King and Harvey Mason would perform, even the string section, described by Allmusic’s Scott Yanow as “huge”,The San Francisco Concert – Hubert Laws | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic were not from the usual CTI strings performers, who were predominantly north east based.
Again, San Francisco Concert recording wasn’t released until 1977, and while the concert recording included eight tracks, with that year’s Law’s smash, Chicago Theme, the single record LP with gatefold sleeve contained only four tracks and was missing Chicago Theme. The 1987 CD re-issue included all eight trackshttps://www.discogs.com/Hubert-Laws-The-San-Francisco-Concert/release/6535353, and it was only while writing this, did I realize I did not have that re-issue, only a vinyl pressing, The streaming versions(amazon, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube) available in the USA also only feature the original four track album. If you are tempted to buy a CD version of the album, watch out especially if buying on amazon prime, it is the Wounded Bird release which contains only the four original tracks.Hubert Laws – The San Francisco Concert | Releases | Discogs
|1975||5/16||Ahmanson Theatre, Los AngelesRecord World May 10th, 1975, P4Billboard magazine, May 5th, 1975, P14Cash Box, May 10th, 1975 P16 themed as “CTI Spring Jazz”. Motown, who were by then distributing CTI records, put a big media and marketing blitz into the event, allegedly distributing 30,000 posters throughout LA with the “Today’s Best – Tomorrow’s Classics” tagline. The show was described as “a stone-gas” and a “dazzling show which totally captivated the sold-out Ahmanson audience.”Cash Box May 31st, 1975 P22|
Grover Washington Jr., Chet Baker, George Benson, Ron Carter, Hank Crawford, Joe Farrell, Bob James, Hubert Laws, Idris Muhammad, Johnny Hammond
|8/27||Schaefer Festival, Central Park, New York – The long running Schaefer music festival was almost axed in 1975 over protests to the damage to the south lawn, subject to a late reprieve by the Mayor. The CTI All Stars drew a capacity crowd of 8,000 on a Wednesday evening.New York Times, August 29th 1975|
Grover Washington Jr., George Benson, Hubert Laws, Joe Farrell, Hank Crawford, Idris Muhammad, Bob James, Ron Carter and Chet Baker
After the Schaefer Music Festival in August, CTI live moved back to the West Coast for full-on individual album promotion. Hubert Laws made his debut for the west coast leg of his national tour with an appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 21st. Laws was then featured with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dennis Decoteau, at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, Sat. , Oct. 4. Esther Phillips headlined at the Oakland Paramount on October 10, and then a three day appearance at Concerts-At-the-Grove from October 16th to the 19th. She then went on to San Deigo, for an appearance at the Back Door on October 20th. Bassist Ron Carter, was out promoting his upcoming “Anything Goes” album was at Concerts-by-the-Sea from October 3rd to the 5th, and then a 5-night residency from the 7th to the 12th at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner. Guitarist Gabor Szabo played the Great American Music Hall, September, 26-27th to promote his Bob James produced album, Macho on Salvation (distributed by Motown).Cash Box magazine September 27th, 1975
1976 Time To Breakup The Band
While the 1971 Summer Jazz tour announced the arrival of the CTI ALL-Stars, 1976 started by signaling the end. On January 16th, Washington and Benson had shared lead billing at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. In his review of the concert for the San Francisco Examiner, Jazz critic Phillip Elwood wrote “Benson and Washington have a number of things in common” and never mentioned Creed or CTI.The San Francisco Examiner,17 Jan 1976, Page 8 February 22nd saw Grover Washington Jr. at the Paramount Northwest as a leader, and for much of the year, Washington toured across the USA and continued to tour and be billed as “The Grover Washington Sextet”. By June, Washington had been joined by Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine, both who had already left CTI, at the Santa Cruz Circle Star TheatreSanta Cruz Sentinel Sun, June 13th, 1976. By the end of ’76 Benson had also left CTI and while Washington would stay on, it was an increasingly fraught business relationship.
The August concerts were effectively the last dance for the 70’s CTI, they were once again billed as CTI Summer Jazz. The final three CTI All-star concerts were something of a celebration, a more mixed up group but still great reviews.
|1976||1/16||Paramount Oakland, Oakland, California – Grover Washington Jr. Sextet, George Benson Quintet. Washington and band went on to play two nights 1/17-18 at the Ambassador Hotel Grove, on Wiltshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.|
|Circle Star Theatre, San Carlos/Santa Cruz, California – Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr. Mr. Sy, Classical String Ensemble|
|Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver, Colorado – Date TBC. Broadcast on 8/12/1976 on KADX Denver.|
|8/11||Opera House, Spokane, Washington – Billed as the Fourth Annual CTI Summer Jazz Spectacular – As reported The Spokesman-Review on July 11th, the CTI All Stars were supposed to tour “10 West coast cities, including for the first time, Spokane”. My assumption is that included many of the Washington/Benson dates.The Spokesman-Review July 11th, 1976 Page 53 Local radio station, KOFI, featured CTI recording tracks on their weekly jazz program Jazzscene, producer and host Mark Holston. |
Joe Farrell, Hubert Laws, Grover Washington Jr. Leonard (Doc) Gibbs, Harvey Mason, Johnny Hammond, Grant Green, Ron Carter, Bob James
|8/15||Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California|
Grover Washington Jr, Leonard (Doc) Gibbs, Joe Farrell, Harvey Mason, Johnny Hammond, Grant Green, Ron Carter, Bob James
|8/27||Schaefer Festival, Central Park, New York – CTI Summer Jazz|
Bob James, Hank Crawford, Joe Farrell, Grover Washington Jr., Grant Green, Idris Muhammad, Patti Austin.
|8/30||Schaefer Festival, Central Park, New York– CTI Summer Jazz|
Grover Washington Jr. Sextet,Hank Crawford/Esther Phillips with Peewee Ellis & Orchestra.
I do wonder what George Benson would make of New York Times reviewer Robert Palmer describing Grant Green as an adequate if not exceptional replacement for CTI’s recently departed star guitarist, George Benson”New York Times, August 29th, 1976
In December ’76, Record World ran an in depth article on CTI, in which, Peter Paul said “Plans are being made to take a CTI package to Germany for five dates: Vienna for one date; Zurich for one; London for one; and possibly dates in Holland and one of the Scandinavian countries -10 dates in all. It will take place in 1977, and will be titled “CTI Jazz Giants.”Record World – November 27th, 1976 Page 24 – As far as I can establish, those concerts never happened, other considerations swamped the company and it ground to a halt.
While the 1976 Schaefer jazz festival concerts would bring the original CTI All-Stars to an end, two more artist live albums would be released by CTI, along with another non-Taylor produced live album on the CTI Salvation label. In April 1977, Art Farmer was recorded live at the Yubin-Chokin Hall in Tokyo, primarily a King Records production, it was, as Doug Payne notes scheduled for US release but never issued.CTI DISCOGRAPHY: 1977-1883 (dougpayne.com) A CD version was released in Europe, Art Farmer / Jackie McLean Quintet – Complete Live In Tokyo with four additional tracks.Art Farmer / Jackie McLean Quintet – Complete Live In Tokyo 1977 (2011, CD) | Discogs
Grover Washington, Jr. Live At The Bijou, recorded in May 1977 at the Bijou Cafe in Philadelphia, PA. Unique in that as far as I am aware, it was the only album released on KUDU with a gatefold sleeve. The only other double album KUDU had released was of course Washington’s 1973 double album Soul Box, which was shipped, in a box.
On August 18th and 19th of 1978, Patti Austin would record Live At The Bottom Line in New York City. Produced by Creed Taylor, it featured none of the usual CTI first-call sidemen, but did include Michael Brecker and Pat Rebillot. The album was issued in 1979 by CTI in a gatefold sleeve. It was re-issued in 2010 with two additional tracks, and longer track edits. Again, if ordering the CD version, care needs to be taken if you want the 10-track, longer edits version, the Japanese version stays true to the original album. Payne notes that the release was subject to extensive overdubbing and editing.CTI DISCOGRAPHY: 1977-1883 (dougpayne.com)
My interest in the CTI All-Star live performances started when I was offered a CD recording of the Olympic Jazz concert. The seller wanted an over optimistic $50 plus postage. I declined. that started me wondering and searching for other unapproved or bootleg recordings. While I am now in possession of three different live concerts, listed above, apart from the initial offer, I’ve never seen any for sale, except if you try hard enough there is a at least one Japanese website that is selling a version of the Festival de Chateauvalion concertCTI All Stars Esther Phillips,Freddie Hubbard,Grover Washington Jr.,Stanley Turrentine,Bob James/France 1972 (monotone-extra.co.jp) and a seemingly 2x CD version CTI All Stars Freddie Hubbard,Grover Washington Jr.,Stanley Turrentine,Bob James,Jack DeJonette/France 1972 (monotone-extra.co.jp)
Otherwise, none have shown up in the last five years on ebay, discogs, musicstack, 45worlds etc. I suspect the reason for that is two fold. 1. the reduced cost of storage and the increased networking speeds have made it simpler to share these online for free. 2. Most of the CTI catalogue is now owned by Sony in one form or another, they likely have canned searches to scan to find unauthorized releases from official sales websites, who would be much more likely to adhere to a DMCA Take-down request. Discogs for example has long banned the sales of all digital music on the basis it cannot guarantee the files are originals.Sounds like a good reason to set up a trade in digital music as NFT’s. Originally sold as an NFT, can be resold as an authentic label, artist release. Of course, even NFT’s can be … Continue reading.An Introductory Guide to NFTs in the Music Industry | Consequence of Sound
Here are three covers of live, unauthorized performances. Of these, I’d really love to find a copy of the Schaefer concert in 1975.
1977 CBS “New” Merchandising Ploy
As if losing many of it’s All-Stars to CBS wasn’t bad enough, 1977 saw CBS launch a “concert package of its top jazz soloists which will play the Montreux Festival and the label’s upcoming London convention.” A live album was planned from these performances and the sales convention in Atlanta in January of 1977, where it had first aired it’s jazz bona fides. Staff producer Jay Chattaway explained that “CBS is side-stepping the usage of the term all-star in describing the players on the LP” and would “rather retain the identity of the individual players, we also don’t like to use the term all-star because it’s dated and is so small label sounding.”Billboard magazine June 18th, 1977 Page3, 90
CBS Artists now included Dexter Grodon, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Billy Cobham, Steve Kahn, John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola, Maynard Ferguson, Ralph McDonald, Stanley Clarke, Bobbi Humphrey, George Duke, Herbie Hancock and former CTI All-stars, Bob James, Hubert Laws, Freddie Hubbard, and Eric Gale.
Basically, CBS were copying the entire CTI All-Star play, just dropping the all-star nomenclature. In truth, this was more likely an artist demand, rather than a label strategy. With so many stars, so many ego’s, it’s hard to imagine they’d all agree to perform in the CBS All-stars band having just walked away from the CTI All-Stars. When the band showed up in London, CBS even planned Chirumbolo style smaller units with a finale that everyone plays in.
The album was planned based on the early year Atlanta conference performances, it was to be called “The Atlanta Concert”. The only live ensemble/various artist album I can find from CBS for 1977 is the Montreux Summit, Volume 1, and Montreux Summit – Volume 2, recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, July 24, 1977. The Executive Producer for these live albums? Bob James. If you play these now from a streaming service, the artist is listed as “CBS Jazz All-Stars”.Spotify artist profile In 1979, CBS took a large roster of it’s popular recording stars, including Stephen Stills, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge and Billy Joel as well as Weather Report and an ensemble jazz group to Havana, Cuba. The resulting live album, from the three-day music festival the Karl Marx Theater, from the 2nd–4th March, 1979, was called Havana Jam, the jazz tracks were all officially credited to the CBS Jazz All-Stars.https://www.discogs.com/Various-Havana-Jam/master/679296
1980’s and Fuse One
As Creed Taylor and a new management team restructured CTI from the embers of bankruptcy, they put together a new all-star band, Fuse One. The original band included Joe Farrell, Will Lee, Ronnie Foster, Jeremy Wall, John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke, Paulinho DaCosta, Suzanne Cianni and Ndugu. They recorded an album in April 1980, also simply Fuse One, and booked a 1981 tour of Japan.
|1981||July 2nd||Dates and locations unknown. In an article discussing international bands touring Japan, Fuse one is listed as a July 1981 tour.Billboard May 22nd, 1982 P65 – There are two YouTube videos with audio only from performances on this tour, Part-1(25:56) and Part-2(41:52).|
Leon Ndugu Chandler, Will Lee, Ronnie Foster, Jeremy Wall, Steve Khan, Joe Farrell.
|If you have any information or details about this show, or any other shows on this tour, any recordings, copies of tickets, programs etc. please CONTACT ME.|
The original Fuse One album was, as was often the way, panned by jazz critics, Frank Rutter, writing in the Vancouver Sun said “This is fusion in which the chords all the sound the same, the best is usually a monotous thump, the saxes whine and the synthesizers wail.”The Vancouver Sun, Canada – 26 Feb 1982, Page 85 The album though rose to #9 in the Billboard Jazz LP chart in October, right behind Lee Riteenour’s Rit at #8, an CTI alumnus, Grover Washington Jr.’s Winelight at #7, so as always, not everyone agreed with the critics.Billboard Oct 10, 1981
In September 1981, after returning from the Japanese tour, the line-up changed and recorded the more widely acclaimed Silk album. Members included George Benson, Eric Gale, Stanley Turrentine, Wynton Marsalis, Tom Browne, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Ronnie Foster, Sammy Figueroa, Dave Valentin, Ndugu. In the Billboard Magazine December 25th, 1982 annual “Talent in Action” special, Fuse One were the #21 Jazz album artists, ahead of Grover Washington Jr.’s produced Pieces of a Dream, Freddie Hubbard (yes that Freddy Hubbard, now with Elektra), Larry Carlton and Lena Horne who were #22-25.
Finally, in 1984, the third and last Fuse One project, Ice, was carried over from being a Creed Taylor/David Matthews project to the Japanese King Records imprint, Electric Bird and in the USA, GNP Crescendo. Fuse One now included John Tropea, Larry Coryell, Steve Gadd, Dave Matthews, George Young, Ronnie Cuber, Cliff Carter, Tom Browne, Jeremy Wall and Will Lee.
Also of note, beware of ordering CTI albums from this period onward, online without checking the track listings and artists. There are some twenty releases and compilations by Creative Technology Institute (CTI) including a CTI LIVE 1983. CTI is a British collective featuring Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and John Lacey, released on UK labels DoubleVision and their own Conspiracy International label, which also uses CTI as a catalog number.CTI | Discography | Discogs
1990 and Chroma
In 1990, partially as a result of a $3.3 million jury award to CTI from Warner Bros.CTI RECORDS: 1989 – NOW (dougpayne.com) Records after a long running civil suit over George Benson’s contract, Creed made a comeback with CTI. This time they planned a series of six laserdiscs. Their partner for the project was the Japanese Saison Group, through a Tokyo based subsidiary, CTI Wave.
It’s not clear why the band were not billed as the CTI All-stars, except none of the band were CTI All-stars, so there is that. Of the six laserdiscs Chroma’s Music On The Edge was the only actual concert. The first laserdisc released really could have been the CTI All-Stars, except it was called Rhythmstick. Since this was literally a studio album, it’s not considered here. The Charles Fambrough Blues at Bradley was a staged event with a small live audience. Live from Bahia was more of a music video than a concert. Chroma featured Randy Brecker, trumpet; Mark Ledford, trumpet, keyboards, percussion, vocal; Bob Berg, tenor sax, soprano sax; Jim Beard, piano, synthesizer, music director; Mike Stern, guitar; Jon Herington, guitar, vocal; Mark Egan, acoustic double bass; Dennis Chambers, drums; Mino Cinelu, percussion, vocal.
|1990||October 25th, 26th||Gotanda U-Port Kan-i Hoken Hall. Tokyo, Japan|
Professional Film/Sound. Released 1991 as Music On The Edge. Available via Laserdisc, available via YouTube; Sound available on CD.
To the best of my knowledge, this was the only time Chroma actually existed. I hope to be able to talk to Jim Beard soon and get more detail on Chroma.
Curiously, a non-Taylor produced “live” album, was recorded in 1996, Faith Howard And Visions – He’s Got Everything. It was live in the sense it was recorded with a live Gospel style choir in Chicago at the West Point Missionary, presumably without cuts, re-takes, and any form of overdubbing. The title track found it’s way onto a CTI Salvation label CD single that year. The album, produced by Dorothy Norwood and the ““The Queen of Gospel Music,” Albertina Walker, finally received a European CD release on CTI in 2004.
2000’s – The comeback kid rides a remaster back into town
By 2000, CD’s were established and appeared to be here to stay, and for a brief period, it looked like vinyl would disappear without a trace. Columbia, SONY, EPIC/Legacy picked up the pace with remaster, re-issue pace. Much of the impetus for this came from Didier C. Deutsch. Deutsch had been the CTI Director of Press and Advertising in the 1970’s, and during the late 90’s was Grammy-nominated for CD box set re-issues of Frank Sinatra work. He went on to work on the CTI back catalog, and produce a well received CD series of Braodway show/cast albums.Didier Deutsch | The Official Masterworks Broadway Site
To capitalize on the re-mastering and re-issuing much of the CTI back catalog, a European tour was put in place. Details for this section of the listing come from both Doug Payne and Arnaldo DeSuterio blog/web postings at the time, cross referenced with magazine articles.
“The CTI All-Stars 2009 is not a nostalgia/tribute-to-the-past band, but a new current CTI band that Creed Taylor is putting together to perform and record with, with music written specifically for this band,” says Nels Lan Doky.Jazz Station – Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s Blog (Jazz, Bossa & Beyond): Tonight Is The Night: CTI All Stars at Montreux! (jazzstation-oblogdearnaldodesouteiros.blogspot.com)
|2009||July 7th||Miles Davis Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland (double bill with Jamie Cullum)|
Professional Film/Sound, released by King Records on DVD/Blueray, CD, November 2010. Strangely, while you can find almost anything from that years Montreux Festival on YouTube, there is nothing from the CTI All-Stars performance.
Randy Brecker, trumpet; Hubert Laws, flute; Bill Evans, soprano sax, tenor sax; Niels Lan Doky, piano, keyboards; Russell Malone, electric guitar; Mark Egan, electric bass; Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums; Airto Moreira percussion; Flora Purim, vocal. Jamie Cullen, George Duke, and John McLaughlin made guest appearances. Jamir Cullen and the CTI All Stars band – Use Me (saved Youtube search)
|July 8th, 9th||Istanbul Jazz Center – Turkey|
Anders Bergcrantz replaced Randy Brecker, Bill W. Ketzer replaced Jeff Watts;
|July 10th||North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam|
Audience video[via Youtube]
|July 11th||Auditorio de Tenerife – Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain|
|July 12th||Auditorio Palacio de Congresos Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas, Canary Islands – Spain|
|July 14th||XII Festival Internacional de Jazz de San Javier, Parque Almansa, San Javier, Spain.|
Professional Film/Sound, broadcast by Spanish broadcaster TVE2, available via YouTube(1hr, 13-mins).
|July 15th||Paláu de la Música de Valencia, Valencia, Spain|
|2010||March 10th||Jazzwoche Burghausen, Germany|
Professional Film/Sound, available via YouTube (2hr, 7-mins). BR Alpha © Bayerischer Rundfunk 2010
BURGHAUSEN INTERNATIONALE JAZZWOCHE 2010 | Library of Congress (loc.gov)
Sophisticated Lady/Corcovado – YouTube(10:28)
Sugar feat. Bob Malach – YouTube(13:47)
CTI All Star Band, featuring Curtis Stigers:- Brian Lynch, trumpet, fluegel horn; Hubert Laws, flute; Bob Malach, tenor sax; Curtis Stigers, tenor sax, vocal; Niels Lan Doky, piano; Russell Malone, electric guitar; Mark Egan, electric bass; Jeff Tain Watts, drums; Airto Moreira, percussion.
What Did The Musicians Get Paid?
I’m fascinated with this aspect of the whole CTI live operation. Not least because of the changing times, but also because of the lawsuits that were filed at the end of the 1970’s CTI run.
What I do know is that CTI was paying union, promotion, and talent costs; they were also paying nightclub performance fees. Questions remain about pay for travel days, travel and accommodation costs and “residuals” based on live performances, especially in film/video media.
Taylor said of the 1972 tour “If we break even or lose money on this venture, we’ve gotten our artists out there in front of people who are really devoted fans of this music. These people don’t have a scholastic interest in the music; they really care about it’s entertainment value.”Billboard magazine April 27th, 1972 P20 The reference to “scholastic interest” was a veiled dig at jazz music critics who had started to complain about CTI productions.
That’s All Folks or is it?
Arnaldo Desouterious teases us with: “Yes, the tapes of that concert (as well as from all other CTI All-Stars concerts from the 70s) still exist and remain in the Sony archives. But an official release would be a miracle…”CTI Memorabilia: “CTI Summer Jazz 76“.
The CTI All-Stars curiously never made it to London and the UK. Given the huge popularity of the artists, I can only wonder why? If Peter Paul’s proposed 1977 tour had come to London, I’d have been in line for tickets along with thousands of others. I didn’t, perhaps that’s really why I’m so interested in finding a film/video recording of the 1970’s vintage CTI All-Stars. Maybe one day.
Why list the live performances all together?
I have already created a discogs list of formal live recordings, released by CTI/KUDU. It also includes releases of live albums by individual artists.CTI Artists Live and In Concert by 4MC There are some twenty three in total, but only two officially, commercially available by CTI All-Stars, only two of those on film, and both very hard to find. I would be great to watch some of the CTI All-Star concerts but they are simply not available, or are they?
To a degree, I started this as an aide-memoire. There may well be more recorded(film/video/audio) of performances we don’t know about. I need your help, what live performances were recorded, especially in non-English speaking countries live Japan. Do you have DVD/VHS etc., performances, does your national TV station(s) have anything in their archive? Do you have old cassette or VHS home recordings you’d like to be converted? Leave a comment below, or get in touch I’d be willing to setup a secured loan facility and convert them for you.
In this entry contains an index of dates, locations, and availability of recordings by the CTI All Stars. I won’t be including small groups, trio’s or individual performances, just the “all-star” ensemble appearances. It’s likely that I will later split this entry into multiple entries covering either performance tour years, or key changes.
In the last few years, I have been sent links to digital audio recordings of four CTI ALL Star sets. Some of these are of dubious quality, likely ripped from YouTube videos or similar, but a two I’ve received are very good quality. I started this post as a way to track and link to those that are publicly available, also to note if we know recordings were made. The following tables will change over time, rather than remain static. I’ll note the date of the latest update and then at some stage, create separate posts for those live performances worth discussing.
If we can discover, together, any important recordings, I’ll do my part by making them available. In the coming weeks I plan to make what I have available in a legal, copyright approved way. Subscribe to get updates via RSS or email using the links in the footer of any page on this website.
I’m also keen to include any other CTI All-Star memorabilia. If you have anything, I will update this post as appropriate and give credit, I’m interested in pictures of ticket stubs, programs and any other memorabilia from the live performances. I’ve written to Jazz and historic groups in Portland, Seattle, and New York asking for the same. When travel restrictions are lifted and reasonable, I also plan to visit a number of reference only collections, where I believe there may be films etc.
Mostly trawling through hundreds of online listings of newspaper and music magazines accessible through Denver Public library. Where possible, I cross referenced everything I could with David Meeker’s Jazz On Screen – Jazz and Blues Filmography, a copy of which can be accessed via the Library of Congress. I also use discogs for audio recordings.
Jazz on the screen a jazz and blues filmography [available as a pdf from the library of Congress]
Canned YouTube search for CTI Live [description only]
Canned ebay search for CTI All-Stars [ebay.com]
UPDATES: April 3rd, 8:30. Moved Deodato signing for MCA to correct year
April 4th 9:15 Fixed two sentences that were in complete.
May 2nd Correct Fourth Annual CTI Summer Jazz Spectacular date to 8/11/76
August 24th, 2021 10pm Added probably Denver Red Riocks date. tbc.
6 Replies to “The Story of the CTI All-Stars Live”
Turrentine and Hubbard appeared at the Schaefer Music Festival in 1976 (and Turrentine in ’75) but they did not play with the “All-Stars” in neither event?
Ben, I can’t find anything that says they did perform with the All Stars, given neither was signed to CTI at the time, it’s unlikely. I’m hoping to get a audio recording from the 1975 performance and will be able to tell by listening.
It’s not unheard of for the musicians to play on individual musicians concerts, for example both Turrentine and Hubbard played with Grover Washington as noted. These guys were friends and had worked together a lot.
Thanks for reading. I have much more to do on this, but time to change direction for a while, next up, Jimmy Smith touring and recording while with Creed Taylor!
Thanks for all the insight and history on Creed Taylor & CTI Records. I’ve been a big fan since the 1970s. I want to alert you to a couple of corrections on concerts you reference here. The 1973 CTI All Stars Seattle concert was broadcast on KLPU, not KBCS as indicated. I have this concert posted on FM Radio Archive: https://archive.org/details/cti-all-stars-seattle-1973-paramount-theater. The CTI All Stars 1974 Paramount Northwest concert was also in Seattle, I have this concert posted here: https://archive.org/details/cti-summer-jazz-1974-paramount-nw-seattle . I posted a concert poster for this show at that link that shows that date in Seattle. The CTI All Stars also played at Paramount Northwest in Portland in 1973, as you referenced. I know that researching details for these shows from nearly 50 years ago is difficult, keep up your great efforts. Thanks, Kim Paris – FM Radio Archive
Thanks Kim, I’m sure you are right, I spent a while digging around to add to to what I already had. I got totally confused at one point over the Portland Paramount and the Seattle Paramount, and likely mixed up the radio stations.
I have an original poster from the Portland concert, as well as a 1976 Grover Washington Jr, Ronnie Laws gig, they use the same Pete Turner picture as the CTI All-star concert.
I’ll have a look and listen and make the updates on Monday. Thanks again reading and commenting.
I was at the 1975 Central Park concert. I wrote a blog post about it here: https://thebluze.com/2013/01/08/was-jazz-dead-in-the-1970s/
Thanks, I’ve replied on your post. There is more to say and release but not yet. Where did you get the “Take Five” mp3?