Savoy Records

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USA Savoy disc of the 1940s

Savoy Records is a United States record label specializing in jazz, black gospel, soul, R&B, and blues music. Savoy played an important part in popularizing the jazz subgenre of bebop beginning in the mid-1940s.


Savoy was founded in 1942 by Herman Lubinsky. The Newark, New Jersey label issued many of the important early bebop albums. With the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, Lubinsky concentrated more on African-American gospel music, recording many groups of that decade and establishing Savoy's preeminence in the black gospel recording industry through its association with James Cleveland and his Gospel Music Workshop of America.

Savoy's artistic directors have included Buck Ram, Teddy Reig, Ralph Bass (1948‒52), Fred Mendelsohn (1953), and Ozzie Cadena (1954‒62, father of punk rock musician, Dez Cadena).

After Lubinsky's death in 1974, Clive Davis (then manager of Arista Records) acquired Savoy's catalog. As of 2012, the Savoy library is primarily controlled by Nippon Columbia, a Tokyo, Japan-based public company which purchased Savoy in 1991. Nippon Columbia's wholly owned subsidiary, Savoy Jazz, handles Savoy Records distribution in the United States. In 1986, Malaco Records acquired Savoy's black gospel titles and contracts.[1]

Many of the label's African-American artists begrudged the label's founder, Herman Lubinsky, feeling grossly underpaid for their work. Tiny Price, a journalist for the African-American newspaper The Newark Herald News, said of Savoy and Lubinsky:

There's no doubt everybody hated Herman Lubinsky. If he messed with you, you were messed. At the same time, some of those people—many of them Newark's top singers and musicians—would never have been exposed to records if he didn't do what he did. Except for Lubinsky, all the hot little numbers, like Buddy Johnson's "Cherry," would have been lost. The man may have been hated, but he saved a lot of our history—for us and for future generations.[2]

In the early 1960s, Savoy recorded a number of avant-garde jazz artists, giving them important early exposure. These included Paul Bley, Ed Curran, Bill Dixon, Marc Levin, Charles Moffett, Perry Robinson, Joseph Scianni, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Marzette Watts, and Valdo Williams.


The following are 12" LPs and have the prefix MG.


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  1. ^ Bowman, Rob (2004). "The Malaco Story". Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Kukla, Barbara J. (1991). Swing City: Newark Nightlife 1925–50. Temple University Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-87722-874-4. LCCN 91003176. 

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