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Verve Cuts Roster, Costs; Focuses on Crossover Hits

New Verve Music Group CEO Ron Goldstein has thrown in the towel-for traditional instrumental jazz, that is. He said the company plans to focus only on crossover acts like Diana Krall because, as he told Daily Variety, “The instrumental jazz business is pretty weak these days; sales on even some of the biggest records have dropped dramatically.”

Goldstein (pictured left) has decided to cut the roster of artists to between 30 and 35 (down 10 to 20 artists from two years ago) with Verve Music Group, which includes the Verve, GRP and Blue Thumb labels; Impulse! exists only as a brand for reissues from its classic catalog.

Verve chairman Tommy LiPuma will retain his title but he will concentrate more on producing and A&R. He will get to work with the company’s latest signing, Natalie Cole, for her new album, to be released later this year. Cole and LiPuma hope to repeat the success they had with her creepy duet of “Unforgettable” with her father, Nat “King” Cole.

Other crossover projects include trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s hip-hop CD, which will include appearances by singer D’Angelo and rapper Common, both of whom have worked with the brassman on their own albums.

Goldstein also said that Verve Music Group would continue to reissue its massive back catalog of classic jazz recordings. Whether any new classic jazz recordings will be forthcoming from the Verve Music Group’s crossover focus is still to be determined.

Originally Published