|Parent company||Universal Music Group|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
|Location||New York City|
The music label was started and founded by Oscar-Winning Composer and Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Musician Dave Grusin along with his best friend and former drummer turned Engineer and co-producer/label runner Larry Rosen. Grusin and Rosen were originally members of singer Andy Williams' band during the 1960s and after both left Williams, Grusin established both his career as jazz musician with his debut album "Subways Are for Sleeping" for Columbia Records and as an established film composer with scores for Divorce American Style (his first film score ever written and a job obtained from his work with prolific film and television producer Bud Yorkin), "The Graduate",The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (which is Grusin's favorite film score and would re-record the theme on many of his jazz albums in later years), Candy and Winning as well as working in television. Rosen would start his own commercial recording agency catering to record music for television commercials and other industry films, while personally learning the art of music engineering giving up playing professionally as a jazz drummer. He would build his own studio during this period of time that would be the first step of Grusin and Rosen's evolution of the eventual label in years to come.
With Grusin and Rosen flourishing in their respective careers as film composer, jazz musician, engineer and commercial music producer in which Rosen had won numerous CLIO awards for background in commercial music, a chance recording session for a commercial would set up what would become the seeds that would start to form their eventual partnership. Rosen had just recorded a musician named Jon Lucien in 1972 in which Lucien would sing and play for the engineer and fledging producer. Rosen was excited about the prospects of recording him and then contacted Grusin to do the musical arrangements for the potential album. The album "Rashida" for RCA Victor  released in 1973 was Grusin and Rosen's first producing job and they followed up their first collaboration with Lucien with "Song For My Lady" for Columbia Records in 1975. Grusin during this time would not only provide arrangements for the likes of Sergio Mendes and Peggy Lee, but would begin a very prolific composer and director partnership in Hollywood with the late director Sydney Pollack, that would benefit a benefit to both men as they would work together for more than three decades until Pollack's passing in the late 2000s. Their first film together The Yakuza for Warner Bros. would also feature one of Grusin's best friends and also a label mate in popular guitarist Lee Ritenour who was around 19 years old at the time and "Three Days of The Condor"  starring Oscar Winner Robert Redford, which is the most wildly popular score and film of their decades-long collaboration.
In 1975 when Rosen was visiting Los Angeles where Grusin was working at the time, he made a proposition to Grusin to form a company together since they had already been collaborating on several projects. Grusin agreed and as soon as that happened, Dr. George Butler, who was running Blue Note Records called them to produce an album for them for a young musician from Detroit that been playing with jazz and R&B star George Benson  with CTI Records named Earl Klugh. They both agreed and Klugh's self-titled album  released in 1976 would be the first official release under their newly formed production company, Grusin/Rosen Productions. They would produce two more Klugh albums for Blue Note, "Living Inside Your Love" and "Finger Paintings" respectively.
Also, during this period, the pair would also go on to produce another one of Rosen's recording musicians for his commercials in violinst Noel Pointer, who also made his debut for Blue Note with the album "Phantazia"  and his follow up album, "Hold On". The "Phantazia" album would feature the debut of flautist, Dave Valentin, who would be the "first official artist" signed to the soon to be born label in 1978.
They would also produce albums for other artists that include Patti Austin ("Havana Candy") for CTI Records, Lee Ritenour ("The Captain's Journey") for Elektra Records, Yutaka Yokokura ("Love Light") for Alfa Records Japan  which was a hit throughout the US despite the album not being released in the United States but only in Japan, where the album was considered a commercial failure and Grusin's ("One Of The Kind")  for Polydor Records.
Which would all be successfully produced albums especially during the latter half of the decade where disco had becoming a successful musical fad. They were also able to accomplish this with somewhat limited airplay before more radio stations that featured jazz solely would hit the airwaves which would eventually happen in later years throughout the US. Grusin and Rosen's albums were so well produced that radio stations did find a place for them and those would benefit them in the next couple of decades.
Grusin and Rosen's success as producers led to a meeting with Arista Records Chief Clive Davis, who's Novus Records jazz banner had produced solid albums that were not selling despite positive reviews. Davis offered Grusin and Rosen a deal that would make them producers for at least three jazz artists per year in which the pair was not interested in doing. Grusin and Rosen wanted a logo deal that would make them established and Davis would agree to it.
GRP/Arista Records was formed and the very first artist signed was flautist Dave Valentin  under their new deal, who had made his debut previous on his best friend, Noel Pointer's albums for Blue Note. Singer Angela Bofill, who was Valentin's girlfriend at the time was also signed to the label along with trumpet player Tom Browne, vibraphonist Jay Hoggard  and their youngest performer under their banner being high school piano prodigy, Bernard Wright, who was 16 years old when he recorded his debut album "Nard"  in 1980 amongst the other artist they signed and produced.
Valentin's debut album "Legends" would sell more than 70,000 albums, Bofill's debut album "Angie" would sell over 280,000 albums and Browne's debut album "Browne Sugar" would sell more than 700,000 albums, which surprised many and solidified Grusin and Rosen's reputation as producers.
Also during this period, Grusin recorded his first pure digital recording in the best selling album, "Mountain Dance", which was recorded live with no overdubbing and utilized some of best recording technology at the time including the digital Soundstream Editing System, which was from Salt Lake City, Utah. The album was recorded in five grueling days and was one of the first official digital recordings produced in 1978.
Grusin then took a group of artists for a tour in Japan documented by the album "Dave Grusin And The GRP All-Stars In Japan"  which featured many of the labels' artists that included Grusin and his brother, Don Grusin, Tom Browne, Dave Valentin, Bobby Broom, Marcus Miller, Buddy Williams, and featured guest Japanese saxophonist Sadao Watanabe which was recorded in Fall of 1980 and would be the first of many GRP concerts that they would hold over the years there.
Grusin and Rosen's time at Arista Records was coming to an end as Clive Davis and the label were seeing different visions for the success of the label. Davis wanted to concentrate on hit singles by the latest hot artists for extended airplay, while Grusin and Rosen were concentrated on great sound quality, performances and establishing a bigger audience for jazz at that point in time. Grusin and Rosen made an amendable parting with Arista and Davis in which they were able to acquire a few albums that they produced with included best sellers such as "Legends", "Browne Sugar", "The Hawk" (Dave Valentin's follow up album to Legends), "Without Rhyme Or Reason" by Scott Jarrett (brother of jazz pianist Keith Jarrett), "Days Like These" by Hoggard and Grusin's own albums in the history-making, "Mountain Dance", and "Out Of The Shadows". They were also able to acquire other albums they were involved with from other labels that include Grusin's "One Of A Kind" from Polydor Records and Lee Ritenour's "On The Line" and "Rio" from Elektra Records, which was recorded in 1978 as a hybrid pure digital and analog recording that was recorded both in the US and in Brazil. While the former, was also a pure digital recording with no overdubbing what so ever.
Other albums that they produced under their banner, would stay with Arista, which is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment. This would also be true of artists such as Tom Browne and Angela Bofill, who was coaxed into leaving GRP by Davis for a more lucrative deal with the label that resulted in watered down drum machine material much like Browne's in later years after her short-lived success under Grusin and Rosen's tutelage and would suffer some personal health-related setbacks in later years.
Soon, they would make a very important decision that would change the history of jazz since both Grusin and Rosen both strongly felt that all of the albums they had produced for most labels were getting the "back of the bus" treatment without proper advertising or promotion to get people to buy the albums they were producing. They were also disappointed that the albums they produced were not released or available at record stores on their release dates. Taking in all of these factors, Grusin and Rosen went forward and formed a record company because they wanted to be in control all of these factors despite many people telling them that it was a bad idea to start a label because of the post Disco crash of the early '80s which lead to many layoffs in the music industry along with label's terminating secretarial staff or not renewing contracts with jazz musicians, which surprisingly helped Grusin and Rosen at this time. This led to them signing established jazz stars such as Lee Ritenour, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan  to go along with Dave Valentin, who joined Grusin and Rosen after leaving Arista Records along with newbies, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, the group Special EFX and Diane Schuur, a blind singer-pianist from Seattle, who was discovered by the late saxophonist Stan Getz and invited to the White House in 1982 to perform with Getz for First Lady Nancy Reagan on a special that aired on PBS.
The Compact Disc Player and Compact Disc were introduced that year in Japan, in which Grusin and Rosen were intrigued by its sonic audiophile sound and would be something they felt would be vital to the growth of the company.
Now established as a record company, Grusin and Rosen were pushing forward and thinking of the future and how to make the label stand out with the then evolving technology of the times. Grusin and Rosen figured that the Compact Disc  with its optical and audiophile capabilities would be a very important part for what they were trying to do to make the label successful which had already started in the 1970s which was: to produce high-quality recordings with the best sound and production available to them which included recording venues, musicians and orchestras that would make the albums successful.
To envoke this, they decided on a specific album that not only would introduce the best of what they were producing, but also an album that catered to those people who could actually afford the first CD Players available for their homes which cost $1,000 dollars per unit at the time in 1983. After much research, the Glenn Miller Band was chosen to be the first album recorded for their company in January 1983. Members of the original band, as well as special guests like singer Mel Tormé, also participated in the ambitious project recorded in New York City. The album "In The Digital Mood" not only became a popular album after its' release selling more than 100,000 units, but also one of the labels' greatest selling albums to this day and was recognized as such in 1992 with a "Gold Edition".
They followed up this best selling album with Gerry Mulligan's "Little Big Horn" and Grusin's "NY/LA Dream Band", which was a live concert from 1982 that was recorded in Japan and seen throughout the country. The label during this period would be known mainly for its fusion work, but coincidently, two of the first three releases were straight-ahead jazz albums that were the Glenn Miller and Mulligan albums. Another vital addition was recording the great Dizzy Gillespie, which helped the label even more as Grusin and Rosen teamed him up with the best of the youngest jazz musicians performing at the time which included saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and pianist Kenny Kirkland for the album "New Faces". who would make his debut on the label in 1992 before his untimely passing years later in the late 1990s.
The Compact Disc was carried in limited supply in record stores but were available wherever the CD Player systems were sold at that time when they were first released. Knowing this, Grusin and Rosen produced CD Samplers (three in three different volumes from 1984-87)  that showcased the artists on the label, the sound quality and performances due to the lack of other record labels having joined the format at that time which lasted until 1987, when a lot of the record labels made the transition to the CD format. These CD's did help grain the label an audience with the audiophile people who first bought these machines and also, to expand the label in format. Their first batches of pressed discs from 1984 until 1987 came directly from Japan by the JVC Corporation, which are audiophile in quality and were quality produced recordings that truly displayed the dynamic range of the performances, unlike an LP or cassette.
In 1984, Grusin would release his second purely digitally recorded album and his first one for his label, "Night-Lines", which used even more contemporary digital equipment and instruments not unlike his 1978 effort for Arista Records, "Mountain Dance". So would artist Billy Cobham and his purely digital album, "Warning", who recorded this album during the year.
Grusin and Rosen were approached by the JVC Corporation late in 1984 to represent them because of their standards for the highest quality in recording and for their well-regarded albums for the latest in their audio technology. So for the first time under their own banner, the label conducted its first live tour around Europe and the US during the Summer of 1985. Eventually, the label decided to have a "live session" which was videotaped at the Record Plant Recording Studio in Los Angeles, California  as well featuring all of the members of that travelled that included Grusin, Ritenour, Valentin, Schuur and their GRP recording members.
Also in 1984 the film, "Falling In Love" starring Oscar Winners Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep would be released by Paramount Pictures. Grusin provided the original musical score for the film, but the film had been tracked by music from Grusin's breakthrough digital album, "Mountain Dance" which became the main theme for the film despite writing a purely jazz score in the same vein.
In 1985, the label released their first ever soundtrack to any motion picture for the drama, "American Flyers" starring Oscar Winner Kevin Costner, which was composed and performed by Lee Ritenour and Greg Matheson, who were with the label exclusively at the time. The album was never released on CD until Varèse Sarabande finally released it in 2016.
In 1986, Eddie Daniels  would make his Grammy nominated debut for the label with "Breakthrough", which was a fusion album of a different sort as Daniels' clarinet solos were mixed with a huge London Orchestra creating a very elaborate and popular album that melded both jazz and classical together. A year later, Daniels follow up album for the label "To Bird With Love", would be the very first "pure" jazz recording for the label dedicated to the late saxophonist Charlie Parker gaining positive reviews.
By 1987, the label was no longer independent as they signed a distribution deal with MCA Distributing one of the six largest distribution companies in the US at the time. The deal was significant at the time because it helped the label reach the top of the Billboard Magazine charts as the number one jazz label in the world starting in 1988, according to the Billboard polls, as more people would have access to their recordings unlike before.
They also produced and released a similar project to that of the Glenn Miller Band dedicated to one of jazz's greatest legends, Duke Ellington. The album "Digital Duke"  reassembled members of Duke Ellington's band under the direction of his son, Mercer in a digital recording setting with the latest technology. The album was produced in conjunction to the United States Postal Office's official .22 cent Stamp dedicated to Ellington a year earlier commemorating his 87th Birthday.
The label also signed vibraphonist Gary Burton  and saxophonist Tom Scott, who would make significant contributions to the label with well received albums of their own in "Reunion"  and "Born Again", which is Scott's first pure jazz recording for the label and the first in more than a decade at the time and "Them Changes", which was the music from the short-lived, "The Pat Sajak Show"  that ran on CBS from January 1989 to 1990, where Scott was the musical director on.
In 1988, marked a couple of firsts for the label. Flautist Dave Valentin recorded his first "Live" album for the label and that for any solo artist, "Dave Valentin Live At The Blue Note", which was a two night recording that took place on May 31 and June 1 of that year, which would mark the first of a series of "Live Albums" for the artists on the label which would follow in later years with Chick Corea ("Alive"), The Rippingtons ("Live In LA") and "Dave Grusin Presents GRP All-Star Big Band Live!!"  which was the follow-up album to the original GRP All-Star Big Band from the labels' 10th Anniversary.
The label also recorded the first of three Christmas albums featuring artists from the label entitled "A GRP Christmas Collection"  that included jazz interpretations of classic Christmas songs and some that are obscure arranged in diverse ways by the artist recording on it. The label would produce two more albums in 1991  and 1993, which was the final one under Grusin and Rosen's supervision before their departure from the label in 1994. The artists that participated in the album included the likes of Grusin, Lee Ritenour, David Benoit, Gary Burton, Tom Scott, Diane Schuur, Nelson Rangell, Arturo Sandoval, Chick Corea, Eddie Daniels, New York Voices, George Howard, Ramsey Lewis, B.B. King, Russ Freeman and The Yellowjackets among others.
Grusin would win his first Academy Award for Robert Redford's second film as a director, "The Milagro Beanfield War", which would be released a year later as part of his last album for the label of the decade, "Migration".
The label also signed popular harpist, Deborah Henson-Conant  to further diversify the label much like they had done in the late 1970s which got their label off and running. Signing her to a four-album deal  in which her fourth album for the label in 1993 called "Budapest", was abruptly cancelled and released by another label.
By the end of 1989, GRP is named the number one jazz label in the world by voters. Radio stations like New York's CD 101.9  on the East Coast and WNUNA 95.5 in California were up and running under the "smooth jazz" format where a lot of the label's stars began to shine and the label would create samplers on behalf of the record stations to promote the label and the artist. Giving them considerably strong airplay over the radio. The label would have a successful year with albums by David Benoit, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Diane Schuur and Nelson Rangell that would propel them into the 1990s on a high note.
Grusin would celebrate his 1988 Academy Award win with another nomination for his score and important participation for the comedy-drama, "The Fabulous Baker Boys", starring Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges, Academy Award Nominee Beau Bridges (Jeff's brother) and Academy Award Nominee Michelle Pfeiffer. The film would receive multiple nominations, including Best Picture and for Grusin's invaluable contribution for Best Original Score. The album would be a best seller for the label.
In early 1990, Grusin and Rosen decided to sell the label to the MCA Corporation for the sum of 40 million dollars in celebration of their 3-year deal with MCA Distributing. However, this was a differently structured deal in which the company would not be absorbed or merged with another within the family of labels under the MCA Records label. This particular deal was one in which the company expanded to something much bigger. GRP now had the sole exclusivity to produce and release new as well as old recordings by artists were currently on the MCA Records roster that included Larry Carlton, B.B. King, Sypro Gyra, The Yellowjackets, George Howard, Acoustic Alchemy, Michael Brecker, and The Crusaders amongst others.
In addition to that, GRP was also solely responsible for reissuing, remastering and releasing premiere titles from the Impulse!, Chess, Argo and Decca catalogs that featured a wealth of jazz recordings from popular jazz artists that include John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Ramsey Lewis, Keith Jarrett, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner and many, many more. Recordings that have taken at least three decades to release at the present time and continue to be reissued currently. One of their first reissues, "Billie Holiday: The Complete Decca Recordings" won Grammy Awards in 1991.
Also in 1990, Cuban trumpet player, Arturo Sandoval defected to the United States and the label immediately signed him and made his debut for the label in 1991 with the album "Flight To Freedom", his first five solo albums and several other appearances on the label with fellow recording artists such as Dave Valentin, Rene Toledo, Dave Grusin and a well received album dedicated to his best friend, the late Dizzy Gillespie "Dream Come True", which featured a collaboration with Oscar Winner Michel Legrand and albums such as "A GRP Christmas Collection", and the "GRP All-Star Big Band" to name a few until his final album, the critically acclaimed "Swingin"  for the label in 1996.
Grusin would also received a third consecutive Academy Award Nomination for the Robert Redford drama, "Havana" directed by his best friend, Sydney Pollack in which the label released the soundtrack for the film.
In 1992, the label celebrated its 10th Anniversary after being formed in 1982 in spectacular fashion as Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen assembled nearly every artist with the exception of singers Diane Schuur and Patti Austin to record the album "The GRP Big Band All-Stars"  which was recorded in January 1992 and featured artists such as Lee Ritenour, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Daniels, Tom Scott, Gary Burton, Dave Weckl, Nelson Rangell and more! The label not only released a CD with bonus tracks, but also they recorded the event which was available on both VHS and Laserdisc. The album and the band proved to be so popular that fans asked for more of the band and seeing them live in concert. They listened to the fans and did a follow-up album called "Dave Grusin Presents: The GRP All-Star Big Band Live!"  which was released in 1993 based on the tour of the band that featured most of the artist on the original recording in 1992 and some of band members who participated in that recording. They would do one final recording in 1994, "GRP All-Star Big Band: All Blues"  shortly before Grusin and Rosen would leave the label.
It was also fitting that the label would also pay homage to their very first release, "Glenn Miller Orchestra: In The Digital Mood" which started the label and album had become a Gold Record after selling more than a million copies since its release in 1983. The label produced an elaborate "Gold Edition" featuring a bonus track not on the original release and new special artwork to commemorate the event.
The Rippingtons would record their album "Live In LA" that would feature the popular jazz group in a live setting from their September 1992 concert which was also sold as a video cassette and laserdisc to coincide with the release of the CD in June 1993.
In 1993, the label released Dave Grusin's score to the Tom Cruise thriller "The Firm"  which was based on the John Grisham novel which was a blockbuster hit and the album was a best seller for the label. What made this particular soundtrack unique was that it was an all piano score by Grusin and much to everyone's surprise, received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score by the Academy Awards branch which added another accolade for the company. "The Cure" would be his final soundtrack released for the label which came out after his departure in 1995.
Also that year, Sergio Salvatore, a young pianist from New Jersey would make his debut on the label. What made this release unique was the fact that Salvatore was only 13 years old at the time the album was recorded and became the youngest artist ever signed to the label. Bernard Wright, who Grusin and Rosen produced in the early 1980s during their logo deal with Arista Records, was their youngest at 16 years-old until Salvatore was signed. Grusin and Rosen had seen the child prodigy on the Johnny Carson Show and were highly impressed by his maturity and performance. The label would produce and release his self-titled release "Sergio Salvatore" during 1993 and his well-received follow up, "Tune Up" in 1994, which featured many of GRP's artists including Chick Corea, Gary Burton and Russ Freeman until Salvatore left the label after Grusin and Rosen departed and recorded with both Concord Records in 1996  and N2K Encoded Music in 1997, where Grusin and Rosen were both involved with that label in some capacity.
In 1994, the label would release the soundtrack to the hit and critically acclaimed documentary film "Hoop Dreams", which was nominated for Academy Awards and had fallen into a lot controversy about how the film was handled by the Academy voters branch.
The label would also pay homage too a few jazz legends in albums recorded by both Dave Grusin and Arturo Sandoval. The albums "The Gershwin Connection", and "Homage To Duke"  by Grusin and "I Remember Clifford"  by Sandoval were purely jazz albums dedicated to George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Clifford Brown, where were best sellers for the label and featured elaborate artwork.
Also, by this time the label had produced several offshoots that included Stretch Records, Peak Records, and a partnership with MCA in which a few releases by artists such as Laima  and Patti Austin  were under the GRP/MCA partnership. This did not last long, however.
After founders Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen left the label in early in 1995, famed producer Tommy LiPuma was given the reigns of the label with a few of Grusin and Rosen's artists staying on board the label that included David Benoit, Arturo Sandoval (who would depart in 1997), Lee Ritenour (who would depart in 1996 and return in 2002), The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman (who would depart the label in 2000), Gary Burton (who would depart in 1996), Sypro Gyra (who would depart in the late 1990s), Diane Schuur (who would leave after 1997) Tom Scott (who would depart late in the 1990s), Nelson Rangell (who would depart in 1997), Joe Sample (who stay with the label until his passing), Larry Carlton (who would go onto record with his regular group, "Fourplay", and would sign with Warner Bros. Records. after 1996), and Ramsey Lewis (who would leave after 1997) were amongst the few that survived a massive turnover that saw many original or recently signed artist depart which included Dave Valentin (who had recorded fifteen albums for the label from the beginning till 1994), Chick Corea (who left for Concord Music during 1995 after his final release for GRP), Sergio Salvatore, The Yellowjackets, B.B. King, Michael Brecker (whose contract was transferred back to Impulse! Records where he had originally signed during the 1980s), Teodross Avery (who Grusin and Rosen signed in 1993 had his contract transferred to Impulse!), Eddie Daniels (had already left in 1994), Patti Austin, Urban Knights (who would leave for Narada Jazz after 1997) and John Pattiucci (who would leave for Concord Music in 1996) were amongst many of the artists that were not brought back and their contracts expire.
With this turnover, LiPuma brought in some familiar faces and new artists that he felt would keep Grusin and Rosen's vision of the label alive while integrating his own musical ideals. These artists included Grammy Award Winners George Benson, Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, Mindi Abair, Keiko Matsui, Marc Antoine, Rick Braun, Chris Botti, Rachel Z, Will Downing, and former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams, debut album as a professional jazz guitarist. This established group of popular jazz artists were the perfect compliments to those artists who survived the purge of the label.
However, the biggest coup for GRP was signing Grammy Award Winning pianist and singer, Diana Krall from Impulse! which gave the label class and stability over the next decade or so. Her popularity had kept the label afloat for a long time until she eventually signed with Verve in the mid 2000s. Along with saxophonist Mindi Abair, who made her debut in 2003 and was an instant hit with smooth jazz fans until leaving the label after 2005, where she has become a major star.
Founder Dave Grusin did record a tribute album in 1997 dedicated to the music of the legendary Henry Mancini entitled "Two For The Road" recorded in 1996 and released in 1997. This would be the second to last album for the label, with "Dave Grusin: Now Playing", a solo piano album dedicated to his music from the films' he had composed the music for recorded in 2003 and eventually released in 2004 being his last official release on the label.
The label would change its name and moniker to Great Records Period after 1995 under LiPuma's direction since Grusin and Rosen had sold the company in 1990.
In later years, the label would take a more commercial direction signing artists like Sarah McLachlan, Ledisi and others to the label which has gone away from its' jazz roots.