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Riverside Records, was a United States record label specializing in jazz. Founded by Bill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews in 1953 in New York City, the label was to be a major presence in the jazz record industry for a decade.[1]

The label's name was derived from the Manhattan telephone exchange of The Record Changer, a magazine owned by Grauer and edited by Keepnews.

Initially the company was dedicated to reissuing early jazz material licensed from the Chicago-based Paramount Records label and Gennett Records. Reissued artists included Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver Ma Rainey and James P. Johnson, but the label began issuing its own contemporary jazz recordings in April 1954, starting with pianist Randy Weston. In 1955 the Prestige Records contract of Thelonious Monk was bought out for $108.24, and Monk was signed by Riverside, where he remained for the next five years. In the next few years, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Johnny Griffin and Wes Montgomery made substantial contributions to Riverside's catalog, establishing it as a major jazz label. Almost all their new jazz recordings were produced by Keepnews, who served as creative head of the label (and several subsidiaries, most notably Jazzland Records), with Grauer directing the company's sales and business operations. Grauer died, following a sudden heart attack, in December 1963, and the company went bankrupt not long after. By that time, its catalogue had become impressive, in terms of both artists and performances, but it remained inactive until late 1972, when virtually all its masters were acquired by Fantasy Records. The vast bulk of this material was subsequently reissued on CD as part of the new owners' "Original Jazz Classics" series and remains available today from current Riverside catalogue owner Concord Records.


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