(Est. 1953) Launched on a shoestring budget in 1953 by traditional jazz enthusiasts Bill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews in order to reissue classic jazz and blues recordings from the 1920s by King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and others, Riverside Records turned out to be one of the premier purveyors of modern jazz. With Keepnews producing the sessions (and writing the liner notes), Riverside soon brought such giants as Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, and Wes Montgomery to the forefront of American music. The New York-based company, which also recorded albums by Sonny Rollins, Abbey Lincoln, Art Blakey, Mongo Santamaria, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Heath, Johnny Griffin, Charlie Byrd, and the Staple Singers, among many others, folded in 1964, a year after Grauer's death. The Riverside catalog (including the Jazzland and Battle subsidiaries) was acquired by Fantasy, Inc. in 1972.
RIVERSIDE FEATURED ARTISTS
It appears that Thelonious Monk (1917-82) has only gained stature in the years since his death. Once considered too eccentric and complex to be appreciated by listeners and other musicians, Monk has become a standard of excellence for those who seek to extend the jazz tradition.MORE
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (1928-75) initially planned to pursue graduate studies in Manhattan; but after sitting in with Oscar Pettiford's band at the Cafe Bohemia, the alto saxophonist became an instant sensation, hailed by many as the musician most likely to assume the mantle of the late Charlie Parker.MORE
In the 1940s Art Blakey, together with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Christian, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis, pioneered the jazz form which came to be known as bebop (or, as jazz critic Leonard Feather calls it, “hard bop”). In any event, the form stuck and became the very essence of jazz.MORE