TCB Music - a new twist to the jazz-angle...!
TCB (Taking care of Business) essentially means two things: It describes on one hand the personal concept and taste in music projected by the company's head, and on the other hand means plain, simply and unavoidably stated: Business. To unite these undeniably controversial elements to one common denominator by a singular person implies a considerably strong effort - and this effort has brought success to the one who took the risk of running a record label. His name is Peter Schmidlin.
The city of Basel boosts a widely heralded tradition of drumming. It does therefore not come as a surprise, that Peter Schmidlin, born and raised in Basel, took up drumming at the age of 14. At first, he aimed at a professional career as a musician, found however better economic alternatives and stayed on as a semi-pro remaining one of the finest and sought-after drummers in Europe. Would this type of a musician ever think of a career as a music-producer? The answer is no, ask any drummer and he will tell you, that playing drums is the only constructive activity within the music-world ! No time for any sidekicks...except perhaps one...! However, Peter Schmidlin at one instance began seriously to contemplate the entering into the other side of the business, become a music-producer and be able to perhaps change some of the negative experiences he made along the way. Besides that, having been a full-time pro in his position as a drummer, he had absorbed a lot of the going-ons, from a musical point of view and from other perspectives, absorbing much of the mystery of music and ist surroundings.
This should serve as an explanation, why, in 1988, he decided to produce jazz besides playing it.
TCB was founded in 1988. The first productions were based upon a radio series that presented a house rhythm section including P.S. on drums and featured for each new performance another famous jazz musician, mostly of American origin. Stars like Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, Benny Bailey, Johnny Griffin, Slide Hampton, Art Farmer and a host of others had been featured along the way. These first TCB-items were offered in the form of compilations, a series of LPs that featured the best of these recordings. Soon thereafter, the world entered the CD-age and TCB had to follow up. Schmidlin produced a substantial amount of Cds which presented the best musicians Switzerland at that time had to offer - however, inspite of fine musical quality of many of those recordings, their overall level appeared to be not high enough to succesfully enter into the competition within the international record market.
Which culminated in the questions: Should the entire activities be deleted? Or should the producing of jazz records be considered as a hobby and done in one's spare time? Or should this operation continue on a completely professional bases, demanding all available time? Schmidlin decided for the latter and TCB Music was up for a fresh start midway through 1992. He assembled a couple of enthusiasts to come and assist him in getting things properly done. Office space was rented in Lausanne, the French part of Switzerland and by the 1st of January 1993, the company was up and running. The company gained further recognition and signed distribution contracts in all parts of Europe, South-Africa, Japan, US and Canada..
New ideas were initiated. Among them a great help to the potential consumer: The spine of a TCB-CD is marked with a specific colour, indicating the style and direction of ist musical content. Red depicts Bebop and beyond. Blue is dedicated to the legacy of Benny Goodman and other heroes of the swing-era. Green marks a series of previously unreleased recordings by Swiss Radio, featuring but the best jazz ever had to offer: Quincy Jones, the Cannonball Adderley Sextet, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Louis Hayes and Woody Shaw Quintet or Buck Clayton's All Stars and many more. A yellow spine indicates "contemporary jazz" with artists like trumpeter Jack Walrath, trombone wizard Ed Neumeister and German keyboard specialist Christoph Spendel. We finally find black spines that belong to productions of "World Jazz-Music" with musicians from Africa or Brazil.
The red series boosts today over 40 items with top artists like Phil Woods, Clarc Terry, Bill Goodwin, Kenny Werner, Toots Thielemans, Hans Kennel, Benny Bailey, George Gruntz, Richard Galliano, Cojazz, Buster Williams, Michael Philipp Mossman, Kenny Drew Jr, Ritchie Vitale, the N.Y. HardBop Quintet and vocalist Alice Day, famous saxophonist Jerome Richardson and the Swedish "Monday Night Big Band" from Malmö to name but a few..
It is not at all easy to remain successful in view of a seriously aggressive marketing behaviour by the major record companies of this world, they all have plenty of jazz to offer! But this situation does not prevent Peter Schmidlin from being his usual optimistic self as far as TCB's future and well-being is concern. The man knows from experience, that there is a large jazz-loving audience out there, be it the millions overseas or the somewhat smaller congregation of Europe, which has all the potential in the world to keep growing. All this speaks positively for the little Swiss label that intents to grow with the times by doing the right things. (Among them a definite move to new head-quarters in Montreux, the Swiss jazz capital). This did not go unnoticed by the many TCB-artists, who enjoy working for and with P.S., who knows very well what a jazz musician needs (and what not!). His prediction, that these times are good for jazz may well be correct, he has proved in the past to be a man with vision and the will to realize his ideas. The artists are game, the market is open and Peter Schmidlin and his team are obviously ready to go further to produce and promote that great, lively music called - JAZZ !!