Mainstream Returns With 24 CDs


Clifford Brown to Janis Joplin, Sarah Vaughan to the Platters. Bob Shad worked with and/or produced them all.

Though he owned several small labels in the ‘40s and was head of artists and repertoire at Mercury and affiliated labels in the ‘50s, Shad, who died in 1985, would probably like to be remembered for his Mainstream line.

From 1965 to 1985, the independent company recorded some of the greats of jazz, blues and even rock, including Brown, Vaughan, John Lee Hooker and Joplin.

Now, with the release of 24 CDs, Tamara Shad--Shad’s daughter--and her business partner, Humphrey Walwyn, have revitalized the Mainstream label. The line became inactive after Shad’s death, except for the occasional reissue, such as Max Roach and Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” originally released on Mainstream but issued on Mobile Fidelity last year.

“I have been planning this for years, it’s not something that just happened,” Tamara Shad said. “I couldn’t do it myself, but when I met Humphrey, who was used to running a record company (Walwyn was head of BBC Records from 1968 to 1986), I decided to proceed.”


The initial release is sparked by some out-of-print classics, including “Sarah Vaughan: Live in Japan,” which the singer considered one of her best albums, and Blue Mitchell’s “Graffiti Blues,” which puts the late trumpeter in a propitiously funky setting.

Other releases spotlight saxophonist Harold Land, drummer Roy Haynes and saxophonist-composer Frank Foster, who leads the Count Basie Orchestra Wednesday at the Hollywood Bowl.

Shad plans to release newly recorded projects--the first batch is due in December--as well as continuing to mine her father’s catalogue. The next batch of reissues is due out in September and includes the Dizzy Gillespie-Dwight Mitchell Duo, Bud Powell’s “Ups and Downs” and “The Power of Positive Swinging” by the Clark Terry-Bobby Brookmeyer quintet. Trumpeter Terry is in town this week, working with Swiss saxophonist George Robert at Catalina Bar & Grill.

Rim Shots: Sandra Kimberling, president of the Music Center Operating Company, said she was “a little disappointed” at the turnout last Friday for the first program in the new “Jazz at the Music Center” series, but remains encouraged about the new presentations at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

“I am very proud of our first effort,” she said this week, but feels it is going to take time to “ease people into seeing jazz at the Music Center.” The turnout for the first show--featuring Gerald Wilson, Les McCann and James Newton--drew only about 1,500 people in the 3,215-capacity Pavilion. The second of three concerts in the series is scheduled tonight at 8 and will include Buddy Collette’s sextet, Jimmy and Jeannie Cheatham and the Woody Herman Orchestra directed by Frank Tiberi. Pianist Nat Pierce, who is guesting with the Herman band, delivers a free preconcert talk on the program at 7.