Bob Weinstock

Last updated
Bob Weinstock
Born(1928-10-02)October 2, 1928
DiedJanuary 14, 2006(2006-01-14) (aged 77)
OccupationRecord producer
Spouse(s)Joan Weinstock
Children3
Musical career
Genres
Years active1949–1972
Labels Prestige Records

Bob Weinstock (October 2, 1928 January 14, 2006) was an American record producer best known for his label Prestige Records, established in 1949, which was responsible for many significant jazz recordings during his more than two decades operating the firm.

Contents

Early life

Born to a Jewish family, [1] [2] Weinstock's interest in music began at the age of eight when bought "armfuls of records" by jazz artists at nine cents each, opening up "a new world of music" for him. [3] As a teenager growing up in Manhattan, on the Upper West Side, Weinstock started a business selling jazz records through advertisements in the pages of Record Changer magazine from his family's apartment, with the support of his father and uncle. He couldn't play or read music, but he had an ear that enabled him to pick up the nuances of jazz. He later rented some space in the Jazz Record Center on 47th Street. [4] [2] Bebop drummer Kenny Clarke was among those who visited his store, promising that when Weinstock opened a record label "he would get all the jazz greats to record" for him, and introducing him to artists including Thelonious Monk. [3]

Prestige Records

In January 1949 Weinstock created a label called New Jazz, with its first release a recording by the Lennie Tristano quintet. Later that year he formed Prestige Records, with its logo representing the surfeit of saxophonists he had been recording and releasing. With assistance from his father, and much traveling across the United States by bus, Weinstock was able to promote his company and gain air play and sales for jukeboxes for his releases from artists including Stan Getz, Annie Ross, and Sonny Stitt. One of his early and much-needed financial successes was a release of "Moody's Mood for Love" recorded by King Pleasure, which became a nationwide hit in 1954. [4] In 1953 Charlie Parker recorded for Prestige using the alias "Charlie Chan" to skirt contractual issues. [3]

Weinstock was known for having artists record with almost no rehearsal time, recording large quantities of music from the jazz groups in New York City for Prestige and later its Bluesville, Moodsville, Par, Swingville and Tru-Sound imprints. [4] He would have musicians record on one take, insisting that the additional takes were less spontaneous and that recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder did not need extra takes to adjust balance, and would reuse tapes if he thought that another take was needed. This left very few alternative versions of Prestige recordings. [5] John Lewis and his Modern Jazz Quartet were one of the few able to overcome Weinstock's no-rehearsal practice, for the 1955 release of Concorde and for the 1956 album Django . [4] Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane recorded the album Tenor Madness in 1956, with a saxophone duet that marked the only known recording of the two artists together. [3]

Columbia Records had signed a recording deal with Miles Davis in 1955, but Davis still owed Prestige Records four albums in addition to Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet , recorded in November 1955 after Davis had already started recording for Columbia. Weinstock had the Miles Davis Quintet record without retakes for two full days at Van Gelder's original recording studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, one in May and one in October 1956, building up a mass of material that was ultimately used to create four separate albums titled Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet , Relaxin' with The Miles Davis Quintet , Workin' with The Miles Davis Quintet and Steamin' with The Miles Davis Quintet . These were released over several years, and all achieved critical success. [4] In his autobiography, Davis described the "great music we made at both those sessions" and said that he was "real proud of it", but that he was glad to have fulfilled his obligations to Prestige and was "ready to move on". [6]

Within a few years of the label's establishment, Weinstock hired A&R scouts to bring in and develop talent, and had started the transition to soul jazz with artists such as Charles Earland, Richard "Groove" Holmes and Willis Jackson. [4] Over the years, Weinstock oversaw releases from such artists as Gene Ammons, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Red Garland, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and Annie Ross. [4] With as many as 75 recording sessions a year in the 1950s, Prestige released more than 1,000 recordings during Weinstock's 23 years of ownership. [3]

In the mid-1960s, Weinstock relocated Prestige's head office to Bergenfield, New Jersey, just a few miles from his home in Tenafly, New Jersey. He would often prefer to have meetings in his home, feeling that he had more privacy there than at the office. [7]

Sale to Fantasy

In 1972, Weinstock sold Prestige to Fantasy Records and relocated to Florida. [4] He became a stock and commodities investor, and made a brief comeback to the music industry with a record label he formed in the 1990s. [3]

Death

A resident of Deerfield Beach, Florida, Weinstock died at age 77 in a hospice in Boca Raton on January 14, 2006, due to complications of diabetes. He was survived by his three sons, James Weinstock, Bruce Weinstock, and Philip Weinstock, [4] and his ex-wife of 37 years, Joan Weinstock of Sunrise, Florida. [8]

Related Research Articles

Sonny Stitt Musical artist

Edward Hammond Boatner Jr., known professionally as Sonny Stitt, was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom. Known for his warm tone, he was one of the best-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording more than 100 albums. He was nicknamed the "Lone Wolf" by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern because of his relentless touring and devotion to jazz yet rarely worked with the same musicians for long. Stitt was sometimes viewed as a Charlie Parker mimic, especially earlier in his career, but gradually came to develop his own sound and style, particularly when performing on tenor saxophone.

Rudy Van Gelder Musical artist

Rudolph Van Gelder was an American recording engineer who specialized in jazz. Over more than half a century, he recorded several thousand sessions, with musicians including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and Grant Green. He worked with many different record companies, and recorded almost every session on Blue Note Records from 1953 to 1967.

Prestige Records

Prestige Records is a jazz record company and label founded in 1949 by Bob Weinstock in New York City which issued recording in the mainstream, bop, and cool jazz idioms. The company recorded hundreds of albums by many of the leading jazz musicians of the day, sometimes issuing them on subsidiary labels. In 1971, the company was sold to Fantasy, which was later absorbed by Concord.

<i>Round About Midnight</i> 1957 studio album by Miles Davis

'Round About Midnight is an album by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis that was originally released by Columbia Records in March 1957. It was Davis' first album with Columbia.

<i>Cookin with the Miles Davis Quintet</i> 1957 studio album by Miles Davis

Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet is an album recorded in 1956 by the Miles Davis Quintet in Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, and released in July 1957. As the musicians had to pay for the studio time, their recordings are practically live. Two sessions 11 May 1956 and 26 October in the same year resulted in four albums—this one, Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet and Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet.

<i>Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet</i> 1956 studio album by Miles Davis

Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet is an album by jazz musician Miles Davis released in April 1956 on Prestige Records, catalogue 7014. It is the debut record by the Miles Davis Quintet, and generally known by the original title Miles as indicated on the cover.

<i>Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants</i> 1959 compilation album by Miles Davis

Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants is an album by Miles Davis, released on Prestige Records in 1959. Most of the material comes from a session on December 24, 1954, featuring Thelonious Monk and Milt Jackson, and had been previously released in the discontinued ten inch LP format. "Swing Spring" was originally released on the 10"LP Miles Davis All Stars, Volume 1, and "Bemsha Swing" and "The Man I Love" had been previously released on Volume 2. "'Round Midnight" is newly released, and comes from the same sessions by Davis's new quintet in 1956 which resulted in Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet and three other albums to fulfill Davis's contract with Prestige.

<i>Quintet/Sextet</i> 1956 studio album by Miles Davis and Milt Jackson

Miles Davis and Milt Jackson Quintet/Sextet, also known as Quintet/Sextet is a studio album by Miles Davis and Milt Jackson released by Prestige Records in August 1956. It was recorded on August 5, 1955. Credited to "Miles Davis and Milt Jackson", this was an "all-star" session, and did not feature any of the members of Davis's working group of the time. Jackie McLean only plays on his own compositions.

<i>Soul Station</i> 1960 studio album by Hank Mobley

Soul Station is an album by jazz saxophonist Hank Mobley that was released in 1960 by Blue Note Records. It is considered by many critics to be his finest album.

John Coltrane discography

This article presents the discography of the American jazz saxophonist and bandleader John Coltrane (1926–1967).

<i>Coltrane</i> (1957 album) 1957 studio album by John Coltrane

Coltrane is an album by jazz musician John Coltrane, released in 1957 on Prestige Records, catalogue 7105. The recordings took place at the studio of Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, New Jersey, and document Coltrane's first session as a leader. It has been reissued at times under the title of The First Trane!.

<i>Tenor Madness</i> 1956 studio album by Sonny Rollins

Tenor Madness is an album by jazz musician Sonny Rollins released in October 1956 by Prestige Records. It is most notable for its title track, the only known recording featuring both Rollins and John Coltrane.

Miles Davis Quintet Jazz band led by Miles Davis

The Miles Davis Quintet was an American jazz band from 1955 to early 1969 led by Miles Davis. The quintet underwent frequent personnel changes toward its metamorphosis into a different ensemble in 1969. Most references pertain to two distinct and relatively stable bands: the First Great Quintet from 1955 to 1959; and the Second Great Quintet from late 1964 to early 1969, Davis being the only constant throughout.

Esmond Edwards was an American photographer, record producer, and recording engineer. He worked for the jazz label Prestige Records during the 1950s and early 1960s. He was originally hired by founder Bob Weinstock as a photographer for the record label. He was a trail-blazing African-American, as very few recording industry executives were from minorities. He took over the supervision of recording sessions as the Prestige label's success grew.

<i>Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet</i> 1956 compilation album by Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet is a 1956 compilation album by jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins, featuring his earliest recordings for the Prestige label under his leadership, including four tracks performed by Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet, eight tracks where Kenny Drew and Art Blakey replace Lewis, Jackson, and Clarke, and one track with Miles Davis on piano.

<i>The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions</i> 2006 box set by Miles Davis

The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions is a four compact disc box set of recordings by the Miles Davis Quintet released in 2006 by the Concord Music Group. It collates on three discs the entire set of recordings that made up the Prestige Records albums released from 1956 through 1961 — Miles, Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin'. The track "'Round Midnight" was released on the album Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants. The fourth disc contains live material from a television broadcast and in jazz club settings. It peaked at #15 on the Billboard jazz album chart, and was reissued on December 2, 2016, in a smaller compact disc brick packaging.

<i>The Ray Draper Quintet featuring John Coltrane</i> 1958 studio album by Ray Draper

The Ray Draper Quintet featuring John Coltrane is the second album by tuba player Ray Draper recorded in 1957 and released on the New Jazz label.

The following is the discography of American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk (1917–1982).

<i>The New Sounds</i> 1951 studio album by Miles Davis

The New Sounds is the debut solo studio album by Miles Davis, released in late 1951 as a 10-inch LP. It is his first album as leader and his first album for Prestige Records. Davis contributed three tracks to the various artists LP Modern Jazz Trumpets and performed as a sideman for Lee Konitz's on The New Sounds.

<i>Chronicle: The Complete Prestige Recordings 1951–1956</i> 1988 box set by Miles Davis

Chronicle: The Complete Prestige Recordings 1951–1956 is a box set of 8 CDs with compiled recordings of the American jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis, made in sessions between 1951 and 1956 for Prestige Records. It was issued in 1988. The box set contains a 64-page illustrated booklet that includes rare photographs, full discographical details, and an analysis of each session by Dan Morgenstern, Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. It is a re-release of the 12 vinyl discs records on 8 CDs in 1980.

References

  1. Cherry, Robert; Griffith, Jennifer (Summer 2014). "Down to Business: Herman Lubinsky and the Postwar Music Industry". Journal of Jazz Studies. p. 2. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  2. 1 2 Richards, Allan (August 27, 1995). "Back on Track". South Florida Sun-Sentinel . I was a young white Jewish guy being welcomed like a brother into a world of black musicians.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Schudel, Matt. "Bob Weinstock; Jazz Record Producer", The Washington Post , January 18, 2006. Accessed July 31, 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Ratliff, Ben. "Bob Weinstock, 77, Founder of the Jazz Label Prestige", The New York Times , January 16, 2006. Accessed July 31, 2009.
  5. Porter, Lewis. "John Coltrane", p. 101. University of Michigan Press, 1999. ISBN   0-472-08643-X. Accessed July 31, 2009.
  6. Davis, Miles; and Troupe, Quincy. "Miles, the Autobiography", p. 205. Simon & Schuster, 1990. ISBN   0-671-72582-3. Accessed July 31, 2009.
  7. Fields, Joe. "Ozzie Cadena: (9/26/1924 – 4/9/2008)" Archived 2012-02-29 at the Wayback Machine , JazzTimes , March 2009. Accessed July 31, 2009.
  8. "Bob Weinstock, 77; Produced Landmark 1950s Jazz Albums". Los Angeles Times . January 20, 2006.