By Elliott Simon
It is difficult to define the Jazzheads philosophy in categorical terms. What stands out from its diverse catalogue of Latin, world, vocal, free and new age jazz is the world-class 'chops' found on each session. A pianist and composer, Randy Klein began the label in 1991 with his own Jazzheads—a presentation of original vocal compositions in the context of a piano/sax quartet. In addition, two instrumental cuts featured touching duets between Klein and bassist Harvie S. They were expanded upon and the resultant Love Notes from the Bass (1995), an emotionally powerful yet delicate engagement of two instrumental voices, became the label's second offering.
Since these beginnings and with over 45 releases to date, Jazzheads has provided a forum for both cutting-edge projects from established artists and defining debuts from new musicians. All who are affiliated with the label benefit from Klein's wide-ranging musical background, years of experience and personal attention to each release. As he relates, “I like being around these musicians. I am a musician and so I demand the same things of myself as all these players do and I try to keep that level right up there.” Musical and sonic excellence is very apparent across the Jazzheads catalogue, but as a whole what makes it stand out among small independent labels is its ability to maintain these qualities across seemingly unrelated genres. Klein points to his varied musical roots as partly responsible for this: “I come from such an eclectic background. ...I live in a lot of different worlds but...it is all music...that is maybe why the records that I choose are all over the place.”
Published February 16, 2008