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Creed Taylor is best known for his CTI label of the 1970s, but he has been important in the jazz recording industry for quite some time. He played trumpet early on before becoming the head of A&R at Bethlehem Records in 1954. Taylor was at Bethlehem during its two most significant years, recording such artists as Chris Connor, Oscar Pettiford, Ruby Braff, Carmen McRae, Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann and the J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding Quintet. In 1956, Taylor switched to ABC-Paramount, and in 1960 founded its Impulse subsidiary. Although he signed John Coltrane for Impulse in 1960, Taylor soon left to accept a job with Verve. Among his successes as a producer during the next five years were with the Stan Getz bossanova records, sets by Jimmy Smith, and work with Wes Montgomery. At A&M from 1967-69, Taylor's productions were often quite commercial, with the frequent use of strings and pop tunes, including Wes Montgomery's final three albums and some early efforts by George Benson; it was as if Taylor was searching for the formula he was later to perfect. In 1970, he founded CTI (Creed Taylor Inc.), and for much of the decade, Taylor had great success in balancing the artistic with the commercial. Among the artists who recorded some of their finest work for Taylor during this period were Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, George Benson and Hubert Laws; the Kudu subsidiary had funkier but no less successful projects by Grover Washington Jr. and Hank Crawford among others. However, by the mid-'70s, the larger labels were starting to lure Taylor's artists away, and although he was able to record Chet Baker, Art Farmer and Yusef Lateef, financial problems eventually forced CTI to go bankrupt; it was then acquired by Columbia. It is unfortunate that Creed Taylor has been blamed for the late-'70s/early-'80s sellout efforts by Hubbard, Turrentine, Benson and Laws for other labels, which were quite inferior to their gems for CTI. After years off the scene, Taylor founded a new CTI in the 1990s, which has had releases by Larry Coryell, Jim Hall and Donald Harrison, among others, but has thus far failed to establish its own identity like its predecessor. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi