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Ornette, John Snyder & the Meaning of Production

An excerpt from Michael Jarrett’s "Pressed for All Time"

Ornette Coleman
James "Blood" Ulmer at the Detroit Jazz Festival, September 2015

Dedicated jazz fans are no doubt aware of the names of the music’s finest producers, but they’re probably far less knowledgeable as to what jazz recording production actually entails. A new book by author and academic Michael Jarrett, Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums From Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall (The University of North Carolina Press), attempts to address that question through a vast, chronologically arranged collection of interviews. The answer, as explained by studio icons like George Avakian, Creed Taylor, Teo Macero, Bob Thiele and Bill Laswell, among others, is that a producer does everything. Throughout the course of a single LP, he or she can act as a financier, arranger, psychologist, surrogate spouse or sibling, yes-man, rehearsal musician or, most likely, some combination of all of the above. To illustrate this point, and for the sake of continuity, we’ve excerpted a few of the interviews with producer John Snyder, the force behind A&M’s Horizon imprint and his own Artists House label.

(1970, CTI)

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