Sunday, October 19, 2008

Living For The CTI

It was back in the mid-90's when I first started buying old CTI releases. They were abundant in the dollar bins of Phonoluxe and Great Escape and at the local Nashville thrift stores. They were not regarded highly by the jazz snobs I knew who felt that jazz had died the moment Miles Davis released Bitches Brew. They felt jazz had been corrupted by rock and roll and commercialism. But they held an allure for me and fellow Phonoluxe co-worker Chad for many reasons. Artists like Bob James, Grover Washington Jr., Patti Austin, and George Benson were the sound of radio jazz during the 70's so there was a nostalgic appeal. Then there was the fact that many of our most beloved rap records from the 80's had copiously sampled the CTI catalogue. Keep in mind this was before the internet had completely taken off so we had to rely on word of mouth to find out what records had the sweet samples that made the difference in an okay hip-hop record and a great one. Plus rap records from the 80's didn't have to list what they had sampled back then. So when we would crate dig the CTI releases were always high on our list and often we would hit paydirt with them. Another thing about the CTI releases was their cover art which seemed like a total break from the cover art of the jazz that came before. This can be attributed mostly to the incredible photographs of Pete Turner. I've sold most of the CTI albums I purchased from back then. They, along with lots of other records and compact discs, helped pay for a vacation to London and other bills over the years. But there's no shortage of CTI on the web. You can find CD reissues here. If you're not too concerned about the legality, there's also the blog The CTI Never Sleeps which is in the process of providing download links to the CTI and Kudu discography. So pay them a visit....for sampling purposes only.

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