Responding to the Rifftides review of the Cannonball Adderley CD in the current batch of Doug’s Picks, its producer writes:
A somewhat important point needs to be made about the current ownership of a significant, if relatively small, segment of the records produced by Orrin Keepnews. I’m in a pretty good position to know about his work, since that’s who I am. From 1953 to until the end of ’63, Bill Grauer and I were Riverside Records. I produced records; Grauer handled business matters. Then he died, following a heart attack. After having helped in the rise of such artists as Monk, Adderley, Montgomery, Bill Evans, Milt Jackson, Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Kelly and a few dozen others, Riverside (and assorted subsidiaries, mostly Jazzland) disappeared beneath the waves of a substantial bankruptcy.
A few years later, I started again, as Milestone Records, developed with considerable assistance from pianist-and-sometime-producer Dick Katz. From 1972 until 1980, Milestone and Riverside and I were all part of Fantasy, where I worked with such remarkable artists as Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Bobby Timmons, et al. Having departed from Fantasy in 1980, Ieaving past labels behind, I eventually could point with pride to Landmark Records, which included Bobby Hutcherson, Mulgrew Miller, the Kronos Quartet, Wesla Whitfield. Somewhat confusingly, Landmark was only distributed, not owned, by Fantasy; therefore, it passed through other hands and — unlike just about everything else that once was mine, did not eventually end up owned by the Concord Group.
Currently, much of my energy is being devoted to a project under the auspices of Concord. Known as the “Keepnews Collection,” it involves remastering, additional performances, and thoroughly expanded annotation of some of the original productions described above. Of course you understand all this, but I much appreciate your lending me some space in which to attempt to explain these creative but confusing matters to your jazz-loving audience.