Remembering George Avakian
March 15, 1919 – November 22, 2017
“Jazz on a Summer’s Day”
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(For the record, the real producer of Jazz on a Summer’s Day was George Avakian.)
If producing this film was Avakians only contribution to jazz, it would have been a lot, but it barely scratches the surface.
Among other things, he took over Columbia’s floundering pop and international division and made it into a creative jazz powerhouse with artists like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and Dave Brubeck.
During that time, he also brought “old” music (Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington etc.) out of the vaults and made it available to contemporary listeners. He was the champion of the vinyl format we all know, the LP (aka “the 33”) and in 1948 oversaw the release of 100 recordings in the new format.
He was also the first to producer to devote significant energy to creating extensive liner notes.
In short, George Avakian INVENTED the modern jazz album.
Another example of George Avakian’s remarkable handiwork.
In 1956, he hired Leonard Bernstein to create this musical educational album “What Is Jazz?”