Columbia Records Overview
Abridged from Wiki:
“ In 1954 Columbia USA introduced its new, modernist-style “Walking Eye” logo, which purports to depict a stylus (the legs) on a record (the eye); however, the “eye” also subtly refers to CBS’s main business in television, and that division’s iconic Eye logo.
In 1956, Columbia signed Miles Davis to the label and in 1958, Davis’s sextet released Milestones, an influential alum which explored the techniques of modal jazz. In 1959, Davis’s sextet released Kind of Blue,which appears as number 12 in Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”.
In 1961, CBS ended its arrangement with Philips Records and formed its own international organization, CBS Records, in 1962, which released Columbia recordings outside the USA and Canada on the CBS label (until 1964 marketed by Philips in Britain) The recordings could not be released under the “Columbia Records” name because EMI operated a separate record label by that name outside North America.”
Columbia sold many millions of records by artists like Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle, and Barbara Streisand, and jazz was a tiny part of their portfolio. Out of around a thousand jazz records in my collection there are less than twenty on Columbia, and those consist almost entirely of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk. Thanks for that at least.
Columbia 30th St. Studios – “The Church”
One of the secrets to the recording quality of Columbia records is the unique studio Columbia created in 1949, in an abandoned Armenian Greek Orthodox church at 207 East 30th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan.
It was here Columbia studio engineer Fred Plaut recorded Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus Ah Um, and many other classics of the Columbia label in the Fifties and early Sixties including West Side Story and Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 revisited.
It has been said the 30th Street Studio provided a distinctive ambiance, a kaleidoscope of sublime sonic qualities unparalleled among recording studios, even van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs has difficulty in matching. It is, I think, the key to understanding why Stereo editions on the Six Eye label have the tangible spaciousness of soundstage not found in other stereo recording of the time, a natural reverb presence, The Church recreated in your listening room. And could be someone “up there” likes modern jazz.
or jump to: Columbia Labels US