“To me, the artist is the person who should be in the foreground,” Mr. Ostin stated in 1994.
Still, the business acknowledged the importance of his work. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Recording Academy honored him with a President’s Merit Award in 2014 and a Trustees Award in 2017.
He was born Morris Meyer Ostrofsky on March 27, 1927, in Brooklyn to immigrant mother and father who had come to the United States from Russia in the course of the Communist revolution of 1917. When he was 13, he moved together with his mother and father and his brother, Gerald, to Los Angeles, the place the household ran a produce market.
He was a music fan from an early age, however his introduction to the music enterprise got here by happenstance. Living subsequent to his household was the brother of Norman Granz, who owned the jazz label Clef Records and promoted live shows within the Nineteen Forties and ’50s. During his school years at the University of California, Los Angeles, the place he majored in economics, Mr. Ostin wound up serving to Mr. Granz by promoting packages for his live shows. He married Evelyn Bardavid in 1948.
Earning a bachelor’s diploma with honors, Mr. Ostin enrolled in U.C.L.A.’s regulation college however dropped out in 1954 to help his spouse and their younger son. A job alternative additionally took place by Mr. Granz, who employed him to be the controller for Clef at a time when the label’s roster included such essential jazz artists as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker.
Clef ultimately modified its identify to Verve; about the identical time, Mr. Ostin modified his identify as nicely.
Toward the tip of the Nineteen Fifties, Frank Sinatra tried to purchase the label, impressed by its artist-friendly method. But he misplaced out to MGM Records, a disappointment that led him to type his personal firm, Reprise, in 1960. He named Mr. Ostin government vice chairman, with the mission to mannequin the brand new firm on Verve.