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Concord Picante Box Set: Still Spicy

Mongo Santamaria

Owning the first Ford dealership in the San Francisco suburb of Concord, Calif., set up Carl Jefferson pretty well. So he took his money and his vision to the city’s Pow Wow Festival and turned it into the Concord Jazz Festival in 1969. In 1973 an extraordinary live recording was made of guitarists Joe Pass and Herb Ellis at the festival, and that album, Jazz/Concord, launched the Concord record label.

As label boss, Jefferson became a record producer by default. He began to sign established artists, often because other labels had dropped them. Vibraphonist Cal Tjader was among them, and in 1980 it was Tjader’s La Onda Va Bien that launched Picante-and won the label its first Grammy.

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