Marking a return of sorts to its roots, Atlantic Records has created a jazz department, appointing Michelle Taylor to head the new operation.

Taylor’s mandate, as senior director of the new division, will be to develop the label’s existing roster as well as break new artists.

She will be joined by Eulis Cathey, who has been tapped as national promotion director, in her efforts to establish a presence in a genre originally championed by Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun and his late brother Nesuhi.

Atlantic was once home to jazz notables John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman.

The label roster currently boasts Gerald Albright, Jean Luc Ponty and the Modern Jazz Quartet, among others.

Taylor joined Atlantic from RCA/Novus, where she was director of artist development of black music for the past year. Cathey is a former radio deejay who held promotion posts at Island and Virgin before opening his own jazz production firm, Equinox, which he will continue to run during his stint at Atlantic.

Both execs will be based in New York, reporting to Atlantic exec VP/general manager Val Azzoli.

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