When The Dark Lord Calls

  • When The Dark Lord Calls
    POSTED May 25 2015
     

    Bruce Lundvall passed away.

    One of the greatest and nicest of record company people Bruce was a musician’s executive across a career that spanned Sony and Elektra, but ended where he most wanted to be – Blue Note Records.

    Bruce (with Michael Cuscuna) reinvigorated the greatest of jazz labels by making it a label of choice for new artists, as well as home to a great reissue catalogue. He stuck with the program and along the way nurtured talent that crossed over (Dianne Reeves, Rachelle Ferrell) and talent that didn’t quite (Bobby Watson, Michel Petrucciani, Cassandra Wilson, Greg Osby) but that was important. He had a commercial ear, and never stopped thinking that jazz could be important music, but sell too.

    Bruce was a gentleman first and foremost – and a very funny one. In his office he kept a statue of his hero W.C Fields and like Fields he was never short of a story or one liner. He was also a storybook of jazz tales – having worked with all the greatest of them all.

    A favourite concerned a meeting he was having with legendary tenor player Stan Getz who was bringing in one of his later hits, The Peacocks.

    Stan was not an easy guy, and was a legend in his own right. So Bruce was embarrassed when his secretary (as they were then – Bruce would never have typed a message himself) interrupted. But things improved when she said “I have Miles Davis on the phone”. Even Getz was interested.

    Now Miles was in his mid 70s Dark Lord phase and always spoke with a deep raspy voice full of expletives (We’ve included the pic above for full effect)

    “Lundvall” he said, “I got my new album here to play you. Want to hear it? I’ll play it”.

    Bruce was, of course, bursting but Getz was there. But Getz was too, so they agreed and Miles played the album down the phone to them both, with it coming through the speaker. It was – like Miles’ best 70s work – long, intense and dark. Not easy music.

    “So what did you think?” the Dark Lord rasped.

    Bruce, ever the enthusiast, replied at once “Miles, you’ve done it again, you are a genius”.

    “Bruce, you muthafucka, that was my last record. The one you just put out” came the reply and down went the phone.

    “I didn’t hear from that son of a bitch for 6 months” Bruce told us, as we sat listening, students at the oracle. “He just had a dark crazy sense of humour, and he thought that was really funny”. “At least Getz still signed, but he added money to the deal for that!”.

    Bruce Lundvall. Great Man. Good Luck.

    Wherever he is music will be playing and laughter flowing and Dexter Gordon will be close by.

     

    -TH

     

    146901
Submitted by Site Factory admin on Mon, 25/05/2015 - 05:18
 

Bruce Lundvall passed away.

One of the greatest and nicest of record company people Bruce was a musician’s executive across a career that spanned Sony and Elektra, but ended where he most wanted to be – Blue Note Records.

Bruce (with Michael Cuscuna) reinvigorated the greatest of jazz labels by making it a label of choice for new artists, as well as home to a great reissue catalogue. He stuck with the program and along the way nurtured talent that crossed over (Dianne Reeves, Rachelle Ferrell) and talent that didn’t quite (Bobby Watson, Michel Petrucciani, Cassandra Wilson, Greg Osby) but that was important. He had a commercial ear, and never stopped thinking that jazz could be important music, but sell too.

Bruce was a gentleman first and foremost – and a very funny one. In his office he kept a statue of his hero W.C Fields and like Fields he was never short of a story or one liner. He was also a storybook of jazz tales – having worked with all the greatest of them all.

A favourite concerned a meeting he was having with legendary tenor player Stan Getz who was bringing in one of his later hits, The Peacocks.

Stan was not an easy guy, and was a legend in his own right. So Bruce was embarrassed when his secretary (as they were then – Bruce would never have typed a message himself) interrupted. But things improved when she said “I have Miles Davis on the phone”. Even Getz was interested.

Now Miles was in his mid 70s Dark Lord phase and always spoke with a deep raspy voice full of expletives (We’ve included the pic above for full effect)

“Lundvall” he said, “I got my new album here to play you. Want to hear it? I’ll play it”.

Bruce was, of course, bursting but Getz was there. But Getz was too, so they agreed and Miles played the album down the phone to them both, with it coming through the speaker. It was – like Miles’ best 70s work – long, intense and dark. Not easy music.

“So what did you think?” the Dark Lord rasped.

Bruce, ever the enthusiast, replied at once “Miles, you’ve done it again, you are a genius”.

“Bruce, you muthafucka, that was my last record. The one you just put out” came the reply and down went the phone.

“I didn’t hear from that son of a bitch for 6 months” Bruce told us, as we sat listening, students at the oracle. “He just had a dark crazy sense of humour, and he thought that was really funny”. “At least Getz still signed, but he added money to the deal for that!”.

Bruce Lundvall. Great Man. Good Luck.

Wherever he is music will be playing and laughter flowing and Dexter Gordon will be close by.

 

-TH

 

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