The catalogue of the Savoy jazz label, which contains thousands of classic performances, many by Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, J. J. Johnson and Miles Davis, has been sold by New York-based S. J. Records to Nippon Columbia of Japan. The recently completed sale marks the first time a U.S. strictly jazz label has been acquired by a Japanese firm.
"It all happened very quickly, within a month," said Barney Fields, a spokesman for Muse Records, of which S. J. Records was a subsidiary. "All the acetate (discs, onto which pre-1950 Savoy jazz sessions were directly recorded) and tapes are in their possession. They could start to issue stuff right away."
Nippon Columbia, which owns the Denon jazz and classical line that is distributed in the United States by Polygram Records, plans to wait at least six to eight months before making any releases, said Jennifer Phelps, national jazz promotion director for Denon.
"It will be a while, because whatever is going to be released needs to be cleaned up," Phelps said, referring to the removal of surface noises from the original master material. No titles have as yet been selected for the initial releases, she added.