"Music should always keep moving and always keep evolving."
-- Dave Grusin
Three important factors assured GRP Records of a successful start: the outstanding reputation established by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, a newsworthy status as CD forerunners and their cleverly assembled network of independent distributors. Besides the artistic triumphs, sales reached nearly $1 million in the very first year.
A search for new signings was an ever-present part of GRP. From the beginning, Larry Rosen recalls, we wanted to widen the spectrum of GRP Records. We didn't want it to be a jazz-fusion label only . We wanted to do more classic artists. Adding such huge names as Gerry Mulligan and Dizzy Gillespie bolstered their roster enormously. So be-bop also became a part of the new GRP sound.
Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin
Hard times in the record industry in the early 80s brought about belt-tightening, and inevitably that meant it was the jazz artists who were the first to be released from the major labels. This timing advantage was just another bit of providence for GRP, enabling them to sign top professionals who would otherwise have been financially out of their realm in addition to being unavailable.
They expanded in other ways too. An early example was taking a record Dutchman Chris Hinze had made with Special EFX and guitarist Kevin Eubanks, and distributing it in the United States through GRP. Larry Rosen says We mixed those records to the style that we wanted to and we mixed them to a digital format and changed around, edited and re-edited the music where we felt it could be tightened up and work better. These artists started to get a reputation in the United States. Both were eventually signed to GRP.
The addition of Lee Ritenour to the stable could almost have been considered a given, and his initial GRP release was the celebrated Harlequin, also being the first album he and Dave Grusin made as co-headliners. Other signings included Dave Valentin, Diane Schuur, Jay Hoggard, Billy Cobham, and Scott Jarrett.
From a standing start in 1982, Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen took GRP to a $10 million record company within three years. Once again, it was time to take their business onto a new level.
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