The GRP Story
"it was just the beginning of a whole development of seeing a production working together."
-- Larry Rosen
Early on, Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen discovered that producing was not merely a matter of just overseeing the making of an album.
For one thing, as producers for Earl Klugh, they had to first decide what instrument he would play. He was adept at both electric and acoustic guitar, but was uniquely, one of the few musicians using the latter instrument in the heavier, funky style he became known for. After a few experiments, they decided to go acoustic with electric guitar as backing. At that time, it was a revelation, with the instrument so difficult to project. Of course, records like Earl Klugh's “Finger Paintings,” "Ballads" and "Living Inside Your Love" became classics. Larry Rosen points out, “it was a certain interesting way to use his guitar and I think it was the beginning of a sound that we started creating. It's known as the Grusin/Rosen or the GRP type sound.
Based on this success, the pair went on to produce albums for violinist Noel Pointer, whom Larry Rosen had known earlier in New York. Using a funky rhythm section to back him, they found they had another hit on their hands with “Phantasia.” Larry Rosen remembers “ We both felt very comfortable working together and we also felt we could create a whole style here.” They followed up that one for Noel Pointer album with “Hold On.”
Grusin Rosen Productions also did an LP for CTI with Patti Austin called “Havana Candy.” Dave Grusin particularly enjoyed that one for the great fun it involved, quipping, “It was hilarious. The amount of studio time spend in laughing, we could probably have saved a third of the budget, if it had been somebody without her sense of humor.”
They worked with other musicians as well. Lee Ritenour's “Captain Fingers” was produced for Elektra, as well as the album “Love Light” with Yutaka.
Flutist Dave Valentin was the next artist they would work with (and incidentally the one who would be part of the scene from Grusin Rosen Productions through Arista-GRP and GRP Records to n2k, even being penciled in with Polydor). He was a friend of Noel Pointer's, and further led the producers to another of their artists, Angela Bofill. (Her album, “Angie” was actually a GRP first, being catalogue number 5000.)
“At that point we got called from other record companies because a lot of people started to hear these records that we were making,” Larry Rosen continues. One of these was Polydor, who proposed a three-record, three-artist deal.
The first one would be Dave Grusin cutting an album of his own, the classic “One of a Kind.” (A Dave Valentin record was to be the second.) But shortly after the album was released in 1977, a meeting took place which was to cause a major change of direction for the fledgling production company.
Go to: Forming a Partnership with Arista