As CEO of Blue Heron Records, the newest jazz record label, I am supercharged with excitement and eagerly looking forward to sharing with you, through this website, the exciting elements of Mainstream and Latin jazz.
From the Desk of Michael Francis – My dream of recording a collection of authentic American jazz music, composed by great composers and performed by world-class jazz greats, first began to reveal itself in the 1980s when I owned Señor Blues, a jazz club I created in El Paso, Texas. In 2014, the dream is finally becoming a reality. I have come to a realization: I’ve been rehearsing to launch Blue Heron Records all my life.
For better and sometimes for worse, I have spent my richly blessed lifetime promoting our American art form, jazz, in various different ways. I am fortunate to have performed hundreds of professional piano and band gigs, many with musicians with a much higher level of accomplishment than mine.
I am a honored to have also produced performances by Count Basie, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Poncho Sanchez and Richie Cole, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd, Laurendo Almeida, Bud Shank, Pat Metheny, Spyra Gyra and countless other household names of jazz.
Over the past 50 years, I have sought out and personally spoken with legendary creators of the art form; jazz icons like Basie, Brubeck, Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Jay McShann, Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Eddie Palmieri and many others.
I have worked with America’s finest jazz vocalists and instrumentalists too numerous to mention. Along the way, I have enjoyed producing and teaching educational student jazz workshops and working with youth to spread the jazz message.
The aforementioned life experience and countless hours of constant listening to all styles of music have conditioned me to launch Blue Heron Records, this newest of jazz record labels. That’s enough about my background.
The first Blue Heron Records project is about the music, the great composers, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. The world-class musicians who perform it are tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, vibraphonist / drummer Chuck Redd, pianist Ehud Asherie and bassist / vocalist Nicki Parrott. It also features a guest appearance by Eddie Palmieri’s ace conguero “Little Johhny” Rivero on some Latin arrangements of standard tunes that will undoubtedly be loved in both the jazz and Latin markets.
Project two is a solo piano recording that will amaze jazz piano aficionados. It is Ehud Asherie performing Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s tunes from the 1921 Broadway musical Shuffle Along and adding his unique, virtuosic conceptions.
Be sure to stay tuned to future installments and discover what great music and learning about the art form are in store for you when you follow Blue Heron Records. We have great plans for creating a legacy of quality jazz. To do this, we ask you to support our efforts by purchasing the first two projects when they become available!
Until next time, keep swingin.’
Michael Francis, CEO
Blue Heron Records