Savoy Records

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Savoy Records
Savoy disc of the 1940s
Savoy disc of the 1940s
Parent company Nippon Columbia
Founded 1942 (1942)
Founder Herman Lubinsky
Distributor(s) Warner Music Group
Genre Jazz, blues, gospel, soul, rhythm and blues
Country of origin U.S.

Savoy Records is an American record label specializing in jazz, blues, soul, black gospel, and rhythm and blues music. Savoy played an important part in popularizing the jazz subgenre of bebop beginning in the mid-1940s.


Savoy was founded in 1942 by Herman Lubinsky. The Newark, New Jersey label issued many of the important early bebop albums. With the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, Lubinsky concentrated more on African-American gospel music, recording many groups of that decade and establishing Savoy's preeminence in the African-American gospel recording industry through its association with James Cleveland and his Gospel Music Workshop of America.

In the early 1960s, Savoy recorded a number of avant-garde jazz artists, giving them important early exposure. These included Paul Bley, Ed Curran, Bill Dixon, Mark Levin, Charles Moffett, Perry Robinson, Joseph Scianni, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Marzette Watts, and Valdo Williams.

After Lubinsky's death in 1974, Clive Davis, then manager of Arista Records, acquired Savoy's catalog. In 1986 Malaco Records acquired Savoy's black gospel titles and contracts.[1] In 2003, Savoy Jazz acquired the rights to the Muse and Landmark catalogs from 32 Jazz.[2] As of 2012, the Savoy library is primarily controlled by Nippon Columbia, a Tokyo, Japan-based public company that purchased Savoy in 1991. Nippon Columbia's wholly owned subsidiary, Savoy Jazz, handled Savoy Records distribution in the United States until 2009, when it entered a distribution arrangement with Warner Music Group.[3]

Many of the label's African-American artists begrudged the label's founder, Herman Lubinsky, feeling underpaid for their work[citation needed]. Tiny Price, a journalist for the African-American newspaper The Newark Herald News, said of Savoy and Lubinsky:

There's no doubt everybody hated Herman Lubinsky. If he messed with you, you were messed. At the same time, some of those people, many of them Newark's top singers and musicians, would never have been exposed to records if he didn't do what he did. Except for Lubinsky, all the hot little numbers, like Buddy Johnson's "Cherry," would have been lost. The man may have been hated, but he saved a lot of our history for us and for future generations.[4]

Savoy's artistic directors have included Buck Ram, Teddy Reig, Ralph Bass (1948–52), Fred Mendelsohn (1953), and Ozzie Cadena (1954–62, father of punk rock musician Dez Cadena).


The following are 12" LPs and have the prefix MG.


  • Acorn Records (1949‒51)
  • Gospel Records (1958‒early 1970s)
  • Regent Records (1947‒64)
  • Sharp Records (1960‒64)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bowman, Rob (2004). "The Malaco Story". Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Porter, Christopher (16 January 2003). "Savoy Acquires Muse & Landmark Catalogs". JazzTimes. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "WEA Announces Exclusive Distribution Agreement With Legendary Savoy Label Group" (Press release). New York: Warner Music Group. 28 February 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Kukla, Barbara J. (1991). Swing City: Newark Nightlife 1925 50. Temple University Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-87722-874-4. LCCN 91003176. 

Further reading[edit]

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