1945 . . . a record store on Rockaway Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Sellling hip jazz records that were available during World War II . . . Parker, Hawkins, Basie, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ellington, Rhinehart.
War ends, records EXPLODE. People sell them out of the trunks of cars, records are sold at the drugstore, dry cleaning shops, dime stores. Almost anywhere there were people.
Bob Shad began to record his favorite music himself. Jazz - BeBop - Ben Webster - Stan Getz - Paul Quinichette - Tab Smith - Don Byas - Charlie Ventura - Wardell Grey.
Soon he found out it was an uphill grade to support a family recording New York BeBop in 1946-1947.
Shad started SITTIN' IN WITH records in 1948. Making many trips south to record such seminal blues artists as Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and Ray Charles. Not to mention regional greats such as Peppermint Harris, Smokey Hogg, James Wayne and Champion Jack Dupree.
All in, SITTIN' IN WITH recorded 1500 sides of blues, folk and jazz.
Shad's early experience with a major record company found him working as head of artists and repertoire for National Records. Then, as an independent producer dealing with jazz, pop and R & B, Shad racks up an astonishing record of 43 singles on the charts. Tom Dowd, his engineer in those days, agreed with Shad's insistence on using more microphones than had been the custom.
During that almost decade-long affiliation, he played a major role in establishing Mercury as the number one record company in the popular field.
In 1956, he launced the EmArcy label on Mercury Records strictly for jazz product. This became the most creative and successful new jazz label of its day, with a long series of memorable and time-proof albums by Cannonball Adderley, Quincy Jones, Maynard Ferguson, Helen Merrill, Erroll Garner, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine and countless others.
During this time, foreseeing the importance of the imminent move from monaural to stereo recordings, Shad began making all his sessions in stereo. As a consequence, when the demand for stereo had become substantial, he had 200 albums stockpiled and ready for release.
By the end of the 1950s, Shad had become a major force a fast-growing jazz market. The time had come for Shad to step out on his own. He launched his own company, TIME RECORDS, in 1960, recording everything from big band stereo ventures by Billy May, Gordon Jenkins and others, to a variety of jazz, avant garde, classical, and international ethnic albums.
Shad started another new company, MAINSTREAM RECORDS, concentrating mainly on jazz. Again his uncanny foresight enabled him to include in this new catalogue many artists whose names would endure and grow in value over the years.
He recorded Harold Land, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Haynes, Shelly Mann, Carmen McRae, Morgana King, and Sarah Vaughan (whose superb album of Michel Legrand songs, with the composer himself conducting, was her first MAINSTREAM undertaking.)
Along with these jazz projects, Shad incorporated in the MAINSTREAM library an important series of works by early and definitive blues artists such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Arbee Stidham, Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry recorded on his SITTIN' IN WITH label between 1948-1952.
Although it is through his jazz achievements that Shad has become best known in the music world, his accomplishments as a talent scout and producer in pop, rock and classical music has further reinforced his reputation. He played a central role in the rise to fame of Janis Joplin, and at one time or another has recorded everyone from the Platters to Vic Damone, from John Cage to Pierre Boulez, and the Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent.
Bob Shad passed on at the early age of 65 in 1985. His daughter Tamara picked up the mantle and combined the companies of SITTIN' IN WITH, TIME and MAINSTREAM. The companies of SITTIN' IN WITH are now being run by Mia Apatow, granddaughter of Robert Shad, and daughter of Tamara.
This is the first time that the recordings and publishing rights controlled by the family have been offered to the Film, Television and Advertising communities.
IN MEMORY OF TAMARA SHAD