Xanadu

Xanadu Records was founded by Don Schlitten, as a jazz music record label specializing in bebop throughout the 1970s and 1980s

Schlitten had a long career in jazz record publishing , having  founded the label Signal Records in 1955 included work with Duke Jordan, Gigi Gryce, and Red Rodney. Signal was sold to Savoy Records in the late 1950s, and after this Schlitten worked as a freelance producer through the 1960s, including at Prestige Records. He and Joe Fields co-founded Cobblestone Records in 1972 and also worked together at Muse Records and Onyx Records. They went their separate ways in the mid-1970s; Fields continued at Muse, and Schlitten founded Xanadu Records, releasing over 100 LPs between 1975 and 1986.

Audio verdict:

Xanadu Records are excellent quality recordings and pressings, amidst a sea of indifference and ignorance  rife in big corporations that dominated the music business of those decades. By then stereo had become the norm –  the staging is excellent, and the dynamic range  strong throughout the spectrum, with punchy tuneful bass through to the sibilance of symbols . Whilst I generally avoid 70’s and 80’s pressings, both Xanadu and Muse are a rare exception that is well worth exploration.

Xanadu Silver Series

Xanadu-label-1000

Xanadu-Silver-Series-label-1000-LJC-label

Gold Series

Xanadu Gold Series released around 40 title from archive material from the 1940s and 1950s, reissuing classic bebop works that included historic performances by Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers, Bud Powell, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines, Roy Eldridge, Jimmy Heath, Billie Holliday, Clifford Brown, Jack Teagarden, Art Tatum and many more.

Xanadu-209-Gold-Series-1000-LJC

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4 thoughts on “Xanadu

  1. In your write-up above about Xanadu, you refer to symbols sibulancing. Are these crash or ride symbols? Also on Cobblestone are “Newport in New York ’72,” volumes 1 and 2. In a check of Ebay, I would say certain Cobblestone LPs are still readily available, including the Sonny Stitt. Per Xanadu, I remember reading Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan” in college, and also the fabled cinematic estate “Xanadu” where Orson Welles as William Randolph Hearst lived. When I worked at the New York Daily Mirror, a Hearst paper, in the late’50s, early ’60s, a joke in the newsroom was that Aileen Mehle (a.k.a Suzy Knickerbocker) was found in a crate on the Hearst estate. Totally overdressed, she would sweep with great fanfare into the newsroom at night to deliver her gossip column.

    • “Sibilance” is I believe linguistic-speak for the sound of “s” and “sh”, which is about as close as the alphabet gets to the sound of a cymbal.

      Whether ride or crash, both can produce splash sibilance and shimmer, 4-6 kHz for upper sheen, “air” and high harmonics up to 20kHz (and beyond – controversy-alert!). Shhhhhhhhhhhhhzzzzzzzzz. The fullest dynamic range is what you want, and the cymbals is what got clipped when engineers tried to reduce tape hiss: a missing top end.

      I don’t know what frequency the ping arising from the bell of a ride is, but I guess edge of the ride serves up more or less the same. Perhaps any drummers out there can explain it better.Now you will be asking 18″, 20″ or 22″ cymbals?

      You have clearly been looking over my shoulder, a post on a Xanadu is coming up next!

      Thank you for your recollections. Interesting times, Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter at The Daily Planet, Metropolis

    • Sample of one – also Sonny Stitt “Constellation” – excellent. Another one being collected today, Cedar Walton/Hank Mobley Quintet “Breakthrough” of which I have high hopes. Somewhewre also is Grant Green “Iron City”

      Cobblestone are one of a number of vintage jazz labels which I think punch above their weight, in which company I would include Xanadu, Muse, Enja, Steeplechase, Artists House, Nessa and Joy.

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