Covering Expenses

A who, what, why, where, when—and how many—of the uncharted world of independent jazz labels

TUM [2003, Finland, 12]
An impressive start for a prospective ECM and Hat Hut competitor. So far the roster is, well, Finnish, but the music is inventive and varied, the packaging distinctive, the booklets informative.
Juhani Aaltonen, Mother Tongue (2002)


TZADIK [1995, US, 385]
John Zorn is as wrecklessly prodigious with his label as with his music. Zorn plays on or composed for 96 Tzadik albums, including some going back to 1973. Output splits into series reflecting such Zorn interests as Film Music, New Japan, and Lunatic Fringe, but most substantial is Radical Jewish Culture, which could be Pincus and the Pig or Yo! I Killed Your God, but is definitely not your bubbe's klezmer.
Roberto Rodriguez, El Danzon de Moises (2002)


WINTER & WINTER [1997, Germany, 150]
Musically, Stefan Winter's label carries on from the earlier JMT— common artists include Paul Motian and Uri Caine—but the booklike cardboard packaging, with its firm snap to hold the CD in place, feels like a luxurious indulgence. The new music cultivates new idiosyncrasies: jazzing up Mahler, reimagining cabaret, exploring Mexico, remaking Tin Pan Alley.
Uri Caine, Bedrock (2001)

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