The major-label landscape hasn’t been hospitable to jazz in recent years, but there’s a bit of good news on the horizon: OKeh Records, the label that released historic early recordings by Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Duke Ellington, is being revived under the corporate umbrella of Sony Masterworks. The new OKeh roster will feature contemporary artists, including the guitarist Bill Frisell, the saxophonist David Sanborn and the pianist and keyboardist Bob James; its first release will be “A Different Time,” by the pianist John Medeski, on April 9.
Wulf Müller, who joined Sony Classical as a jazz consultant last fall, is overseeing the label revamp. Mr. Müller has nearly 30 years of experience in the music industry, many of them in the realm of A&R and marketing for PolyGram and Universal. At OKeh he’ll work with Chuck Mitchell, who was recently appointed senior vice president of Sony Masterworks (and comes with his own major-label jazz pedigree, having worked as an executive at Verve and eOne).