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Concord Records Celebrates 30 Years

Carl Jefferson
Glen Barros

Back in the 1960s, Carl Jefferson owned a thriving Lincoln Mercury car dealership in Concord, Calif.; the eighth largest in the country at the time. But in spite of his great success in business, there was still something missing. His lifelong passion for jazz was not being played out through the selling of cars. So in 1969, Jefferson organized the first Concord Jazz Festival in Northern California. While performing at one of the early festivals, guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass approached Jefferson about funding and producing a record. That initial outing, 1973’s Jazz/Concord, marked the birth of a label. One thousand albums and 13 Grammy Awards later, Concord is a world-class label that has shown remarkable growth and diversity in recent years. And while Jefferson is no longer here to celebrate Concord’s 30th anniversary (he died in 1995), the label is rolling out a six-CD retrospective spanning three decades that showcases its ongoing commitment to guitar, piano, vocal, big band and Latin jazz.

“I can tell you that [Concord producer] Nick Phillips had quite a job trying to boil 30 years down to six CDs,” says Glen Barros, the successor to Jefferson. “We omitted a few things only because they came on late or they really didn’t fit, but I think what Nick came up with really tells the Concord story.”

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