In today's video segment for my new book Why Jazz Happened, I've posted two segments—LPs & Longer Solos and Hollywood & Hard Bop. [Cover photo by Herb Snitzer].
In these clips, I touch on the events that led to the longer solo on jazz records and the roles that West Coast jazz, R&B and BMI had in igniting hard bop on the East Coast—and the sudden rise of more original jazz compositions by recording artists.
As promised, here's more breaking news in Why Jazz Happened. After the 33 1/3-rpm LP was launched by Columbia in June 1948, jazz initially appeared on 10-inch discs. Not until 1955 did record companies start routinely releasing 12-inch jazz albums. Why?
Excerpted from pp. 88-90 of Why Jazz Happened:
"By the mid-1950s, the 10-inch jazz album began to be replaced by the 12-inch LP, largely because of cost-efficiencies, said former Columbia producer George Avakian. The 12-inch format for jazz had begun as a trial run at Columbia in 1950—with the release of Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert of 1938 on two LPs, material that had been languishing in storage. But the copyright royalty on standards was 2-cents per record, and when added to the expense of press runs at plants, a 12-inch jazz LP wasn't profitable.
'Then we figured out a way to hold down manufacturing costs at Columbia," Avakian said. 'Thanks to increased record sales and longer press runs, the label could more than afford the 2-cent copyright. In fact, we would have made a profit even it had been higher. The industry never knew about this because we never publicized it. We didn't want our competitors to know.'
"As a result, Columbia began to profitably produce 12-inch pop and jazz albums in 1955, and so did many smaller labels that used Columbia to fabricate their records. Jazz began to change in response."
A big JazzWax thanks to Fred Seibert, Mike Hamer and Zoë Barton.
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