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Label Watch: Tone Center

Mike Varney of Tone Center Records

Jazz purists, begone. Smooth jazz operators, get outta town. Tone Center is not intended for your consumption. The central axiom here has to do with blowing, exerting chops in a manner unfit for the casual listener or those seeking acoustic sonorities. Apart from fusion reissues such as the recent series on Columbia/Legacy, fusion in the faster-louder mode has, in recent years, found itself in a subcultural corner in recent years. But, contrary to rumor and its virtual non-existence at radio, fusion is hardly dead.

It’s that demographic Tone Center founder Mike Varney is aiming to please, and encourage the growth of. He insists, “We’re willing to lean towards traditional jazz at times, but I figure with so many other people going in that direction, and with others trying to ply the smooth jazz trade, someone needs to carry the torch for the chops records. More is more, as far as I’m concerned.”

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