Music Producer Don Was to Join Jazz Label

The Grammy-winning producer has been named Chief Creative Officer at EMI's Blue Note Records. The appointment caps off a busy year that included appearances on "American Idol" and the Elton John-Leon Russell album, "The Union."

Noted music producer Don Was has has been named Chief Creative Officer at Blue Note Records. The EMI-owned label was founded in 1939 and has released seminal jazz recordings by the likes of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Norah Jones, who won five Grammy Awards in 2003 for her debut album Come Away With Me.

“Don Was has been one of the most talented and in-demand producers for more than twenty years, and his involvement with Blue Note will ensure that we remain at the very top of our creative game. I can’t wait for him to get started and to bring his magic to the label," says Dan McCarroll.

Was is known for his avant-funk band Was Not Was, which he founded in 1979, and later work with Willie Nelson, Bob Seger and Bonnie Raitt, whose 1989 release Nick of Time, which he produced, won the Grammy for Album of the Year. Was is also a seasoned bass player, appearing on Elton John's and Leon Russell's The Union album. This year, he added American Idol in-house producer to his resume, and was paired in the recording studio with winner Scotty McCreery as well as finalists Lauren Alaina and Casey Abrams. The producer is currently in the studio with John Mayer, working on the singer-songwriter’s fifth studio album.

“It's a profound honor to be a part of this legendary company alongside such prodigious record men as Dan and Ian. We dedicate ourselves to furthering Blue Note's artistic tradition of unbridled creativity, talent, intelligence and GROOVE!" said Don Was.

Blue Note and sister label Manhattan Records are run by Ian Ralfini, who in 2010 took over as president from legendary record executive Bruce Lundvall, a 25-year-veteran of the company. Late in his life, Arif Mardin also served as an in-house maestro of sound at EMI, working with Jones, among others. "They want a producer on staff and that's what Don brings, as opposed to other A&R guys who just claim they're producers," says an insider. 

EMI is currently in the first round of bidding for a future sale of the company by Citigroup.