The CTI Never Sleeps: A Classic Black Music Record Label

The Music Snobs presents… TMS Black Label – the first in an annual series on the classic Black music record labels of our time, starting with the legendary CTI Records. A label famous for a locked-in instrumental groove, cutting edge engineering, and a house full of superstars, The Music Snobs declare that the CTI never sleeps – but did it really? Was the label justifiably infamous for targeting a more radio-focused sound than Impulse or Blue Note, and did it inadvertently lead to the creation of the dreaded Smooth Jazz? And what is ‘Jazz’ anyway? In a sprawling conversation ranging from George Benson to Herbie Hancock, from Ron Carter to Grover Washington Jr., TMS drops a manifesto on race, taste, culture, the problem with genres, and the harmful divisions in Black American Music.

Next up, the crew brings back a ‘versus’ to debate ‘Nautilus’ vs. ‘Take Me To The Mardi Gras’ – two classic songs by CTI alum Bob James, asking: which of these often-sampled, classic CTI recordings can Hip-Hop not do without? Get ready for an episode with as many difficult questions as hilarious insights, with just the right sprinkling of snobbery.

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