HERMAN LUBINSKY

Born 30 August 1896, Bradford, Connecticut
Died 16 March 1974, Montclair, New Jersey

Herman Lubinsky formed Savoy Records in 1942 in Market Street, Newark, New Jersey, after running a record shop on the site for many years. He had previously been responsible for operating New Jersey's first radio station in 1924. Savoy scored a number 1 hit from its first recording session and, bolstered by this success, went on to build a peerless jazz, gospel and R&B roster in the late '40s with top-selling records by such artists as, on the jazz roster: Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Erroll Garner, J.J. Johnson, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Leo Parker, Eddie Lockjaw Davis; gospel: the Kings Of Harmony and the Deep Tones (on the King Solomon subsidiary); and R&B: Dusty Fletcher, Paul Williams, Wild Bill Moore, Hal Singer and Brownie McGhee. In 1948, Savoy opened a successful west coast office under Ralph Bass who continued in Savoy's excellent tradition of recording the finest R&B and bebop, having big hits with Johnny Otis/Little Esther Phillips and Big Jay McNeely. Bass would leave Savoy in 1951 for King Records. In the '50s, Savoy largely eschewed rock 'n' roll, concentrating on its jazz and ever-expanding gospel catalogue-the latter of which now included Clara Ward, the Drinkard Singers, the Davis Sisters, the Selah Jubilee Singers and, later, Alex Bradford and Jimmy Cleveland. This catalogue would prove to be the company's 'bread and butter' through the '60s and '70s. However, they continued to enjoy R&B success with Nappy Brown, Big Maybelle and Varetta Dillard, as well as making several brilliant terri- torial forays into the Atlanta and New Orleans musical communities and purchasing important smaller independents labels such as National. Lubinsky remained a strong character, fronting Savoy until just a few months before his death from cancer in March 1974. Savoy Records was purchased by Arista in 1975, and a large-scale reissue programme was commenced. The label was reactivated in 2002. See: http://www.zelnickmedia.com/news/news_046.html

(Adapted from All Music Guide.) Further reading: Michel Ruppli, assisted by Bob Porter, The Savoy Label : A Discography. Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 1980. 442 pages.

 
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