Sony Classical is proud to announce the re-launch of the historic OKeh label. With the objective of documenting “Global Expressions in Jazz,” OKeh will focus on releasing jazz by new and established artists that have a wide range of global backgrounds. Initial releases during the first half of 2013 include projects by Bill Frisell, David Sanborn & Bob James, and John Medeski, as well as an additional five to seven projects slated for release later in the year.
In the United States, OKeh will be part of Sony Masterworks, Sony Classical’s U.S. branch.
“What I want to achieve with OKeh is to build a home for jazz and jazz related music of the highest quality, no matter what its origins are,” states Wulf Müller, the 29-year industry veteran who recently joined Sony Classical as an exclusive jazz A&R and Marketing consultant. Mr. Müller conceived the label’s re-launch. “‘Global Expressions in Jazz’ will mean improvised music from all over the world, being used as a global language to communicate between lovers of music. We hope to create a label that will define the present and future of the music we call Jazz.”
The announcement comes just months after the appointment of Chuck Mitchell as the Senior Vice President for Sony Masterworks. Mitchell previously served as Worldwide President of the legendary Verve label and more recently as a Vice President at eOne Music. “The re-activation of OKeh comes at a particularly auspicious moment in the international evolution of creative music,” says Mr. Mitchell. “Wulf’s knowledge of and commitment to jazz in all its facets and forms makes him the ideal individual to lead the next chapter in the development of this historically important imprint.”
“With Wulf Müller and Chuck Mitchell as the ideal partners, I’m thrilled that we are breathing new life into one of the coolest brands in recorded music history,” states Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical. “We feel there is currently an incredible wealth of exciting music out there that will find a new home and thrive on OKeh. And Sony Classical is the ideal platform for it – with specialized teams around the world whose attention and expertise will benefit all OKeh artists and their releases.”
Founded in 1918, OKeh initially became well known for recording artists in the classic jazz and blues traditions, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and Sidney Bechet.
Müller reflects, “OKeh’s tradition as a label for great improvised music of its time, its connection to some of the most influential artists in the genres of jazz and blues, made it the perfect label for us to use, as its history already stands for what we are aiming for: quality in all aspects of the recordings and giving todays artists a platform to express themselves, while at the same time opening doors to the future.”