(“The jazz one”)
Jazz music was close to Gordy’s heart; he had run a failed jazz record store in the mid-1950s prior to founding Motown, and the studio band that became the Funk Brothers contained a number of experienced jazz musicians corraled by Gordy. The Workshop Jazz label was intended to release jazz sides with a pop/soul bent, material which didn’t “fit” on the other Motown labels’ rosters but which was still more accessible than the material being released on pure straight jazz labels. The imprint would also serve as a kind of release valve for Motown’s studio musicians to flex their muscles and let off steam by releasing jazz albums under their own names, something which would be impossible elsewhere in the Motown stable.
To this end, A&R director Mickey Stevenson – then one of Motown’s top writers and producers – was tabbed to run the new division, and a few singles were released or pressed up as promos between May 1962 and February 1963 (six in all, with a seventh being canned). None made any kind of impact, jazz not being especially well suited to the short duration of an early-Sixties 45 rpm 7″ single, and the label stuck solely to albums from then on, releasing a number of LPs before closing its doors in 1964.
All of the singles ever released by Workshop Jazz Records have now been covered on Motown Junkies. Click a title from the list below to find out more about each one.
WORKSHOP JAZZ RECORDS: COMPLETE SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY
- HANK & CAROL DIAMOND: Exodus / I Remember You (Workshop Jazz 2001, May 1962)
- EARL WASHINGTON ALL STARS: Opus No. 3 / March Lightly (Workshop Jazz 2002, May 1962)
- PAULA GREER: I Want To Talk About You / So In Love (Workshop Jazz 2003, unreleased)
- DAVE HAMILTON: Late Freight / Mellow In Coli (Workshop Jazz 2004, February 1963)
- JOHNNY GRIFFITH TRIO: I’mi See You Later / I Did (Workshop Jazz 2005, February 1963)
- GEORGE BOHANON QUARTET: Bobbie / El Rig (Workshop Jazz 2006, February 1963)
- PAULA GREER: I Did / Falling In Love With Love (Workshop Jazz 2007, February 1963)
(Click a song title to read a full review of that side. NB: The coloured numbers after each title indicate the highly subjective mark out of ten I gave that song on the day I happened to write about it. They weren’t intended to be taken too seriously.)