Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Chiaroscuro Records Changes Hands

Public radio station WVIA plans to expand label’s reach

Nat Adderley

New York’s Chiaroscuro Records, a longtime refuge for some of the most storied names in jazz, can now count itself under the governing auspices of WVIA Public Media, a PBS and NPR outlet based in Pittston, Pa. The label, founded by former CIA agent, educator and photographer Hank O’Neal in the late 1960s as a refuge for mainstream jazz artists struggling to maintain creative identity and financial freedom, boasted a Grammy-nominated turn from Earl Hines as its first imprint in 1971, and over the years has gone on to record and release albums from the diverse likes of Gary Burton, Bill Charlap, Nat Adderley and Jimmy Heath.

Following a sale and a period of inactivity in the 1980s, the label has been shepherded by O’Neal and Pennsylvania businessman/entrepreneur Andrew Sordoni since 1987, issuing more than 80 new releases, many with the innovative JazzSpeak feature, which places recorded thoughts and ruminations by the artists at the conclusion of each album. Recent releases have also featured extensive liner notes and photographs, in keeping with O’Neal’s original meticulous spirit.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published