Jazz impresario Creed Taylor was one of the last of a dying breed of ‘record men’

Armed with just a passion for jazz, Taylor became a producer and the owner of the world’s most successful jazz label, working with everyone from John Coltrane to Nina Simone

The “record men” were a fabled breed of almost entirely American males who, across the 20th century, became famous in their own rights due to their discovering, recording, promoting and sometimes fleecing of future legends. It’s a legacy that stretches from Ralph Peer (Mamie Smith, Jimmie Rodgers) to Suge Knight (Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre). They were made redundant by a corporatised music industry. Creed Taylor, one of the most decent of their kind, has died aged 93.

Despite working with everyone from John Coltrane and Ray Charles to Stan Getz and Astrud and João Gilberto, Taylor never achieved the kind of reverie – or infamy – achieved by Peer and Knight, nor Sam Phillips, Berry Gordy, Jerry Wexler, David Geffen or Clive Davis. Not that this mattered to him. Creed was a reticent figure who, unlike many of the aforementioned, never courted publicity. Instead, he set about ensuring that the jazz and R&B music that he had loved since childhood was recorded and promoted with great care.

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