The A&M CTi Records

Rudy

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I always wondered why they thought it was a good idea to make all the album covers in a similar design. Not that it probably hurt sales any (or helped) but it does kind of rob the albums of some of their individuality.
Sam Antupit created this white framing for the series to give the label an identity, and also to convey a sense of an art piece due to the "matted" Pete Turner photos. Take that away and the covers lose their impact. There are a few that don't work quite as well (like the two albums I posted above, where it's the photography effect that is awkward) and the Antupit frame goes away on an album like Quincy Jones' Walking In Space and Gula Matari, both of which featured closely-cropped head shots of Q.

I kind of miss this on the later CTi albums once Taylor left A&M--a few still present some kind of framing, but others seem to get a bit crowded. Like this one of Turner's famous "bubble" photo:

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I feel the frameless design works better for his photography when the photo is simpler (unlike above where there's "clutter" above the bubble):

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Deodato 2 returned the frame concept:

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Harry

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As I was examining what I had and didn't have of the A&M/CTi's, I checked a few of them out on YouTube. These two, Barbary and Tamiko Jones (Miss Jones?) didn't sound like anything I'd care for. The photos are strange, indeed.

I don't own too many of the CTi albums after he left A&M. Just a couple from Jackie & Roy (both with photos by Pete Turner) and the first Deodato album.

The very first place I ever encountered the name Creed Taylor was back in the late 50s. My dad used to film 16mm movies of my sisters and me plus neighborhood kids. These were silent films that told stories, written by Mom, with a soundtrack that was on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He'd sync up the projector and the tape recorder for playback and show these all the time when company demanded it. The soundtracks were narrations of the story by my father with a music score underneath provided by the likes of the Boston Pops Orchestra, Otto Cesana, Paul Weston, Jackie Gleason, and Lenny Hayton.

One particular film was a special effects bonanza about a haunted house wherein he used various filming tricks to accomplish the "hauntings". The soundtrack music he used was SHOCK by The Creed Taylor Orchestra. I, being fascinated with records, used to read the back of the jacket regarding the selections and found Creed Taylor's name all over it.

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I still have that record around here somewhere. It's probably not in the best of shape, though.
 

Rudy

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As I was examining what I had and didn't have of the A&M/CTi's, I checked a few of them out on YouTube. These two, Barbary and Tamiko Jones (Miss Jones?) didn't sound like anything I'd care for. The photos are strange, indeed.
The Richard Barbary I could get into as it's similar to other artists I have. It kind of reminds me of the Leon Bridges album from 2015 (which throws back to early 60s soul). Not too sure on Tamiko Jones though--not a fan of Motown and this comes close to it. Both are odd choices for what would end up being a jazz label.
 

Harry

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The Miss Butler...er, Jones something-or-other album showed up today. It's a sealed copy so it will be interesting to open a 53 year old album.

I also created this list:


This link would be good for the A&M Corner home page.
 

Michael Hagerty

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My first A&M/CTi album was ROAD SONG, in February of 1969. I was as attracted by the liner notes (once I opened it up) as I was the music. A few months later, an uncle died and I inherited his 8-track collection, which included A DAY IN THE LIFE. I was 13, and rock albums were competing for my allowance money, so I didn't go on a CTi buying binge. When WALKING IN SPACE came out later that year, I sensed that was something special and bought it.

I think the next CTi purchases were in early 1970, when I found ISRAEL, BETWIXT & BETWEEN, WHEN IT WAS DONE, COURAGE and TELL IT LIKE IT IS in a cutout bin at White Front (a discount department store) in Torrance, California for $1.99 each. That gave me a taste of other CTi artists beyond Wes and Quincy, and I went back in the catalog to buy SUMMERTIME and FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON. When BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER came out, I bought that, too.

Sam Antupit's design and Pete Turner's photography absolutely were a major influence. To this day, when I see a CTi cover, I have an urge to listen.
 

Harry

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Though the SHOCK MUSIC IN HI-FI was my first encounter with Creed Taylor's name, the CTi brand didn't enter my consciousness until the A&M FAMILY PORTRAIT album.
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Those logos and signatures were quite mysterious on this A&M album. But it still took me many years for me to actually obtain one of these albums. It wasn't until signing on to A&M Corner back in the late 90s that I decided to branch out and pick up one of these interesting-looking albums. I'd seen them in the innersleeves, but never gone beyond the tracks on this one sampler.

And, like Mike, but much later, it was Wes Montgomery that was my first purchase. And it was also A DAY IN THE LIFE. Here we are twenty some year later, and I'm still expanding that horizon.
 

Rudy

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My mother had the Paul Desmond A&Ms, so I grew up with those in the house. (We had a steakhouse near us that rotated a handful of those tracks into their background music tape--cool to hear.) Creed Taylor's name was all over the Verve records in the house so I was familiar with him there also. I think the first full albums I owned for myself were Paul Desmond's From The Hot Afternoon and Jobim's Wave. In the AM+ series. I think I may have bought that first AM+ sampler first, though, before buying the actual albums. I still wish I had bought the entire AM+ series.

I remember early in the Internet days before Discogs and eBay (and probably even before GEMM), it took me forever to find We and the Sea. Turns out the only copy I found after months of searching was one of those crappy A&M reels. Nowadays I can find most anything, if I put my mind to it.

This one's a favorite CTi album, although I first got it as a CD that Columbia appropriated for their own label rather than leaving the CTi branding intact.

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Harry

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Yeah, in those early day of the Corner, I recall discussion turning to WE AND THE SEA and it was a tough find. Ebay was just getting started and I recall finding and buying the jukebox LP of WE AND THE SEA. Filled with pits, it was barely playable, but it's fun to look at.

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It wasn't until Japan issued the CD that I finally got the whole thing. I never earnestly sought out an original LP.
 

Bobberman

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My CTI adventure actually began with the non CTI Wes Montgomery Greatest Hits Lp and like Harry the Family Portrait Lp opened me up to more of the Early A&M/CTI artists Believe it or not the first CTI Lp Availible to Me was Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave ( original red photo) and I was Hooked same with The Montgomery Lps from there I began looking for as much A&M/CTI albums as possible sadly the store that carried the vintage Lps went out of business and all the stores in where I was living Were not carrying The AM + SERIES let alone special ordering them and they were readily available in bigger towns 30 to 90 miles away from me and most of the time I couldn't afford them yet eventually through CDs and downloads I was able to finally collect my favorites but oh my What could have been.
 

Rudy

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I got the LP of We and the Sea since it would be a few years before it was released on CD in Japan and then, finally, here on the Verve By Request series. Funny how it took a while to find it on a reel, but then I found Samba Blim quite shortly afterwards on LP. Almost fell into my lap when I saw it listed online wherever. (Probably, again, rec.music.marketplace on Usenet.)

That Verve By Request series was excellent back in the day--a lot of long-out-of-print titles made it into our hands.

I think I got some of the Wes albums on CD. Maybe one on vinyl, but I recall it may not have been a good copy of it.
 

Bobberman

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That Verve By Request series was excellent back in the day--a lot of long-out-of-print titles made it into our hands.
Totally agree not only did I get the titles I sought after in the vinyl days but that same series finally gave us the Long out of print Brasil 66 Albums that up to that time never saw the light on CD Except for Stillness which I had to spring for the Early Japanese CD version it was pricey but well worth it because it completed my Brasil 66 portion of my Sergio Mendes collection
 

Harry

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It's interesting when looking over the covers for these albums and seeing the Wes Montgomery titles in their early A&M CD releases.

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The extended white borders that were on the LPs are missing, as are the A&M and CTi logos. The pictures are enlarged to fill in the white space. I suppose this was a misguided attempt to try to make the CD artwork a little bigger, trying to "adapt" to the smaller size.

I've noticed that later issues have restored the covers more in line with the LP covers, for example:

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(And we know what they did to the WAVE cover!)
 

Michael Hagerty

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It's interesting when looking over the covers for these albums and seeing the Wes Montgomery titles in their early A&M CD releases.

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The extended white borders that were on the LPs are missing, as are the A&M and CTi logos. The pictures are enlarged to fill in the white space. I suppose this was a misguided attempt to try to make the CD artwork a little bigger, trying to "adapt" to the smaller size.

I've noticed that later issues have restored the covers more in line with the LP covers, for example:

I think in the 80s, the idea was to adhere more to the then-current idea that plastering large corporate logos on the front of an album was old-school and clutters the art. I do get that, but it overlooks the strong following A&M built. Until Jerry made the (entirely necessary) move to rock, there was a sense that if you liked the A&M albums you already owned, you'd probably enjoy this new one, too.

And, as more recent re-releases from pretty much all labels have proven, the nostalgia factor can't be ignored.
 

Rudy

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And, as more recent re-releases from pretty much all labels have proven, the nostalgia factor can't be ignored.
Even the reissue labels try to use the original label on the record, as well as on the packaging. A few don't do that (like Mobile Fidelity, although I'm not a big fan of the label anyways), but most of the rest do. I guess it's one case where the label trademark (in other words, using the label's trademarked name and logo) can be used on a product that is not theirs. Although since the products are licensed from these same labels, that might be a loophole they can use to display the label branding.

That is why the flood of half-legitimate releases from the EU often don't use the original record label, and change the cover art--that gets them out of a questionable legal area of abusing a trademark or making a copyright violation on the art used for the covers.
 

Rudy

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I could probably spend the entire winter exploring all of Creed Taylor's output. I don't know how many he produced at Verve, but seemingly most of the Verve albums I've owned or listen to have been produced by him. I've just spun Lalo Schifrin's New Fantasy which he produced.

I have Nat Adderley's You Baby arriving within a week, from the AM+ series, so we'll see how that one sounds. It was advertised as NM+, but I'm wary of buying anything these days if it isn't sealed. But I don't think it's a record that probably saw much time on a turntable, so it may be OK.

I do need to find my Paul Desmond From the Hot Afternoon though. It's bothering me that I can't find it, yet I hate having to rearrange half the basement to get at the rest of the rekkids.
 

Harry

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FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON was one of my earlier acquisitions. I think it came out on CD from Verve By Request around the same time as Sergio's LOOK AROUND and Jobim's TIDE.

I like Nat Adderley's YOU, BABY though it has an odd sound to his cornet - some kind of electric mute that gives it an other-wordly sound to my ears. But the record cleaned up OK for my needledrop.

Yesterday, another Adderley A&M CTi showed up from Mr. Postman, CALLING OUT LOUD (SP 3017). It was in really nice shape and didn't require much work to make a great needledrop. There were two tough things about it. First was the silver-foil cover. Those just do not scan or photograph well when in good shape, but this one, though still shiny, had a lot of ring wear and scuffs on the cover. The best I could do was find a white-background version on Discogs and use that for my CD artwork.

The sound of the album was pretty clean, but the starting track on Side One, "Biafra" begins with a quiet kick-drum and high-pitched maracas shake in a fast-four:

Thump, silence, shake, silence, thump, silence, shake, silence, - this repeats a total of eight times before Adderley's cornet comes in and can cover the vinyl noise floor.

The silence part was where the noise floor revealed itself. My first thought was to just leave it alone. I usually try to use the doctor's philosophy of "do no harm" to the audio I'm working on. But this needed some kind of fix. Next I thought of finding the cleanest of those measures and copy-pasting it for all eight bars, but the maracas-shake wasn't quite the same each time.

So I played with Audacity's "Noise Removal" tool. It samples a few seconds of just the noise in the pre-start grooves of the record, them I applied it to just these eight bars to remove the same noise floor. It worked pretty well. If anything was harmed, it was the maracas, but their high-pitched sound was already not-great in this vinyl pressing - a bit "spitty" sounding. So I didn't think the noise removal did much to their sound, and cleaned up the noise floor quite nicely.
 

Michael Hagerty

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FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON was one of my earlier acquisitions. I think it came out on CD from Verve By Request around the same time as Sergio's LOOK AROUND and Jobim's TIDE.

I like Nat Adderley's YOU, BABY though it has an odd sound to his cornet - some kind of electric mute that gives it an other-wordly sound to my ears. But the record cleaned up OK for my needledrop.

Yesterday, another Adderley A&M CTi showed up from Mr. Postman, CALLING OUT LOUD (SP 3017). It was in really nice shape and didn't require much work to make a great needledrop. There were two tough things about it. First was the silver-foil cover. Those just do not scan or photograph well when in good shape, but this one, though still shiny, had a lot of ring wear and scuffs on the cover. The best I could do was find a white-background version on Discogs and use that for my CD artwork.

The sound of the album was pretty clean, but the starting track on Side One, "Biafra" begins with a quiet kick-drum and high-pitched maracas shake in a fast-four:

Thump, silence, shake, silence, thump, silence, shake, silence, - this repeats a total of eight times before Adderley's cornet comes in and can cover the vinyl noise floor.

The silence part was where the noise floor revealed itself. My first thought was to just leave it alone. I usually try to use the doctor's philosophy of "do no harm" to the audio I'm working on. But this needed some kind of fix. Next I thought of finding the cleanest of those measures and copy-pasting it for all eight bars, but the maracas-shake wasn't quite the same each time.

So I played with Audacity's "Noise Removal" tool. It samples a few seconds of just the noise in the pre-start grooves of the record, them I applied it to just these eight bars to remove the same noise floor. It worked pretty well. If anything was harmed, it was the maracas, but their high-pitched sound was already not-great in this vinyl pressing - a bit "spitty" sounding. So I didn't think the noise removal did much to their sound, and cleaned up the noise floor quite nicely.

I use Audacity to clean up radio airchecks. Noise Removal is a helpful thing. The trick is to use the preview function and start at the lowest level of noise reduction, then work up.
 

Rudy

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I like Nat Adderley's YOU, BABY though it has an odd sound to his cornet - some kind of electric mute that gives it an other-wordly sound to my ears. But the record cleaned up OK for my needledrop.

I noticed that on the AM+ sampler--it's like he was playing the cornet into a practice mute (due to it being muffled), but yes, also seemed like it had some sort of electronic effect applied to it.

Selmer at some point in the late 60s or early 70s had an "electric" saxophone. I've heard those on one recording, Chico O'Farrill's LP Married Well on Verve. All it sounds like is a badly mic'ed saxophone. (Do you remember those little crystal microphones they used to include as freebies with small reel tape recorders? It sounds like one of those.) I can't find a sample of the tune "Reza" from that album to share.

This You, Baby is the AM+ version so unless a previous owner neglected it or played it on a trash record player, it should clean up nicely.

I'm slowly getting through the 30 or so albums and finding them as I go.

I won't attempt it with the Creed Taylor or the post-A&M CTi records since I'd be going into the hundreds of albums. 😁 At least the CTi label has had a lot of reissues over the years. But they were more appreciated by jazz listeners and probably sold in bigger numbers than something like the Artie Butler (did I get that right??) or Richard Barbary LPs.
 

Harry

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The only CTi's past A&M that I have are the Deodato, two Jackie & Roy albums, and the newest acquisition, STONE FLOWER.
 

Rudy

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I have to say that after listening to the Soul Flutes LP a second time now, well...very drowsy, and honestly, I barely hear any "soul" on this record. More like Muzak. Yet while looking at Discogs, there is a claim that the flautist may be either Herbie Mann or Hubert Laws...or both:

The identity of "The Fluteman" remains in question. While Herbie Mann has confirmed to researcher Dan Skea that he appears on this record, producer Creed Taylor has also informed this researcher that Hubert Laws is the mysterious flautist. Given the aural evidence, it is possible that both appear under this title.

Seeing that it gives no source, I don't really trust it as anything more than hearsay. Yet if you take into account the title Soul Flutes, then at least it would qualify. I don't know the styles of Hubert Laws or Herbie Mann enough to know which is which.

The title tune comes from the mid 60s animated Disney film "The Jungle Book." Kaa the Snake sings it towards the end of the film to lull Mowgli to sleep. "Trusssssst in meeeee....jussssst in meeeee."
 
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Michael Hagerty

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you take into account the title Soul Flutes, then at least it would qualify. I don't know the styles of Hubert Laws or Herbie Mann enough to know which is which.
It would definitely be Herbie Mann. Laws went on to record as a solo artist on the independent CTi and his "bag" (as we used to say back then) was jazz-flavored classical pieces.
 

Rudy

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Herbie Mann was with Atlantic, I think, around a similar time frame. I've heard other theories that he made the Soul Flutes record billed as The Fluteman to get around that limitation, and that does make sense. Yet, he already had one album out on A&M/CTi, so on the other hand that doesn't make sense.

Given there are apparently two different sources claiming that both Laws (as Creed Taylor apparently said in an interview) and Mann (per his own account) were on the record, we'll probably never know the real story here. Unless someone would interview or ask Laws if he did perform on it, provided he could remember. (These gigging musicians play literally hundreds or thousands of gigs and countless recordings--it's all a blur after a while.)
 

Harry

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My copy of SOUL FLUTES appears to be a later reissue on the silver/tan label. This is the Discogs picture.

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I like the track "Trust In Me", and also the "Bachianas Brasileiras #5". That piece tends to be operatic in its original form which is not me cuppa, but a nice vocalise version is done by Jackie & Roy on the TIME AND LOVE CTi album.
 
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