Appointment reflects diversification of storied jazz label

Marking Blue Note Records’ continuing evolution as a pop label, super-producer Don Was has been named chief creative officer at the EMI imprint.

Was will sign and develop creative talent for Blue Note, working closely with Capitol & Virgin Labels Group prexy Dan McCarroll and Blue Note & Manhattan prexy Ian Ralfini, who jointly announced the appointment Tuesday.

Born Don Fagenson in Detroit, Was rose to prominence as a producer in the late ’80s, helming Bonnie Raitt’s multiple Grammy winner “Nick of Time” (1989).

He has served as the Rolling Stones’ producer since “Voodoo Lounge” (1994), and directed studio projects by Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, the Highwaymen, Ziggy Marley, Paul Westerberg, Kris Kristofferson and Lucinda Williams.

He received a Grammy as producer of the year in 1995.

A gifted bassist, he co-founded the group Was (Not Was) with musician-journalist David Weiss (aka David Was) in 1979. The act has toured and recorded sporadically into the new millennium.

Was said in a statement, “We dedicate ourselves to furthering Blue Note’s artistic tradition of unbridled creativity, talent, intelligence and Groove!”

A premier jazz label since its founding in 1939, Blue Note has deeply diversified into the pop realm in the past decade; company’s flagship artist is multi-platinum, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones. Label’s current roster includes actor-vocalist Jeff Bridges, Amos Lee and Priscilla Ahn.

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