WP/STEREO – 1891 / 21904 – Aura Records
An article from the April 14, 1962 edition of Billboard Music Week under the headline “World Pacific Celebrates 10th Year” noted that Bock launched his label a decade earlier “…with a total investment of $350 and ‘a burning desire to record Gerry Mulligan.'” The article went on to report that in 1961 the company’s retail gross was $750,000 and it expected to pass $1 million in 1962. By then Bock’s recordings were being distributed in Europe by Philips, in England and Australia by EMI and in the Far East by Cosdel. He sold Pacific Jazz to Liberty Records around 1965, within a year of when Liberty also bought Blue Note Records from Alfred Lion. Bock stayed on to run the label and also produced The Three Sounds Live at the Lighthouse and other West Coast recordings for Blue Note. Major Pacific Jazz artists during this period included Clare Fisher, Joe Pass, Les McCann, the Jazz Crusaders, Richard Groove Holmes, Gerald Wilson and Curtis Amy, proponents of a style of West Coast jazz that had gotten progressively funkier over time. Bock retired from Liberty around 1970 when his employment contract resulting from the purchase of his company ended. The last company he owned was Aura Productions which made recordings and films including a documentary on India. At the time of his death in 1988 at age 61, Bock was working on projects for Fantasy Records.
In the late 1960s United Artists, whose parent company was TransAmerica, bought Liberty Records and all its subsidiary labels which at that time were Imperial, Aladdin, Blue Note and Pacific Jazz. By the mid-1970s, TransAmerica decided to get out of show business and divested itself of the entertainment properties in its portfolio. The various record companies were sold to Artie Mogul and Jerry Rubinstein in a management buyout financed by EMI. When Mogul and Rubinstein defaulted on their notes, EMI took over their record company operation in 1979, creating a division they named EMI America and kept separate from Capitol Records. In 1984, EMI asked Bruce Lundvall to form Manhattan Records, a pop label based in New York, and reactivate Blue Note, which had been dormant since 1981.
United Artists launched a Pacific Jazz reissue series in 1979 that was part of a larger roll out of Blue Note Records. The next addition to this blog will feature details from that promotion including a detailed listing of the Blue Note reissues with a few Pacific Jazz artists included. The promotional package sent to distributors included a large poster touting the Pacific Jazz anthologies covering releases from the 1950s in two volumes and the 1960s in two volumes, plus a copy of an LP sampler with selections from the four volumes.
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