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“While my heart will always be with Blue Note and jazz, we have proven that we can break artists in virtually every area of quality music and we will continue to do so with élan and total commitment.”
——Bruce Lundvall
EMI FORMS LABEL GROUP FOR GROWN-UPS
Lundvall Will Run the Show; Norah Jones Will Be the Queen Bee of the Roster
Showing they have other things on their minds besides the Warner Music Group and the European Commission, EMI bigwigs have announced the formation of the Blue Note Label Group, in essence a revamped version of EMI Jazz & Classics. Bruce Lundvall, who goes by the title President/CEO, will be in charge, of course. The highly regarded veteran will continue to report to EMI N.A. topper David Munns.

The move was made to maximize EMI’s clout in the ever-growing adult marketplace.

The British company has an abundance of adult-skewing acts, led by Norah Jones and also including Al Green, Raul Midon, Sarah Brightman, Amos Lee, Anita Baker, Raul Midon and Celtic Woman, along with such jazz mainstays as Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson. Also falling under the Blue Note umbrella will be the roster of Narada, paced by Lila Downs, Alejandro Escovedo, Bird York, Charlie Sexton, the Subdudes, Ramsey Lewis and Jeff Lorber.  Narada (which includes Back Porch, Higher Octave and Peter Gabriel’s Real World for the U.S.) will relocate from Milwaukee to New York and will be combined with the Manhattan label.

Labels in the new division will be organized into three distinct A&R and marketing streams, each to be overseen by a general manager, reporting to Lundvall. Manhattan SVP/GM Ian Ralfini will also become GM of Narada, while all classical crossover artists, including Brightman, will be moved into Ralfini’s sector. Tom Evered has been named GM for all classical releases on Angel and will take charge of the marketing of EMI and Virgin classical artists in the U.S. And Zach Hochkeppel, who had been VP of Marketing for EMI Jazz & Classics, has been promoted to GM of Blue Note, overseeing Blue Note, Metro Blue and Narada Jazz releases. 

But wait there’s more. Dave D'Urbano has been promoted to COO from CFO, Kevin Carroll becomes VP Promotion and VP Sales Saul Shapiro will supervise all sales and field marketing for the Blue Note Label Group.

Said Lundvall: "My vision is to create and sustain the leading position in the sophisticated 25-plus music market.  This move will streamline and organize our staffing to maximize our penetration of these key markets.  Moving the Narada Label Group to New York further enhances our ability to attract talent to these music genres and complete our involvement in all adult repertoire areas. While my heart will always be with Blue Note and jazz, we have proven that we can break artists in virtually every area of quality music and we will continue to do so with élan and total commitment.”

And really, what other music mogul would even think of using the word “élan” in a press release?  

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