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Industry Veterans Join Nippon Columbia U.S. Operation–Steve Vining Named President Of Savoy Label Group–Steve Backer Named Vp Of Jazz A&R


Tokyo – Steve Vining has been named President of Savoy Label Group, Nippon Columbia’s U.S-based. jazz and classical division, it was announced today by Jack Matsumura, President and CEO, Nippon Columbia. His appointment is effective immediately and he will report directly to Matsumura. In this newly created position, Vining will be responsible for creating a new label division of Nippon Columbia’s U.S. arm, which includes the exploitation of Nippon Columbia’s legendary Savoy Jazz line. In addition, the new division will be responsible for the marketing of Denon’s Jazz and Classical recordings and the development of new artists.

In a related announcement, noted jazz A&R executive Steve Backer will be joining Vining as Vice President, Jazz A&R. Backer will oversee the revitalization of Savoy and Denon, which will include releases from the line in a range of new technologies and packages.

“Steve Vining is a highly respected industry veteran whose forward-thinking approach to developing and marketing artists and their music has earned him the reputation as an innovator,” said Jack Matsumura. “He is the ideal choice to lead our jazz and classical division outside of Japan.”

Strauss Zelnick, Chairman added, “I have known Steve for many years and know first hand the quality of his work and am confident that he will be a driving force in the success of the newly revitalized Nippon Columbia.”

“I am thrilled to be working with Nippon Columbia, which has a proud and prestigious history in the recorded music industry,” said Vining. “From my tenure at BMG, I know both Jack Matsumura and Strauss Zelnick to be highly seasoned executives and I look forward to working closely with them to significantly expand the Nippon Columbia business.”

Vining most recently served as the CEO of Silicon Valley based Euphonix Inc., the leading manufacturer of high resolution digital audio recording and mixing technology. While at Euphonix, Vining successfully orchestrated a partnership with Microsoft, launched the development of Euphonix AES31 multi track archive program and increased sales by over 30%.

Prior to joining Euphonix in the fall of 2000, Vining served as President of BMG Entertainment’s Windham Hill Group from 1996 - 2000. He successfully established the label as a leader in not only New Age but also prominent positions in the Adult Contemporary, World, Smooth Jazz and Urban Adult Contemporary categories resulting in 14 gold records and 4 Grammy Awards. Vining joined BMG Entertainment in 1991 where he rose to the position of Vice President/General Manager of RCA Victor/BMG

Classics U.S. As a producer/engineer, Vining has created Grammy nominated recordings for a diverse group of jazz and classical musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, London Symphony Orchestra, Cleo Laine and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Steve Backer is recognized by many as a pivotal figure in the jazz music industry. His distinguished career spans three decades holding top level A&R positions at many prominent music labels. During his career, Backer has achieved great success in signing and working with such renowned jazz artists as Gato Barbieri, The Brecker Brothers, Roy Hargrove, Anthony Braxton, Danilo Perez, Carmen McRae, Marcus Roberts, Dave Douglas, Steve Lacy and many others. He has successfully overseen the jazz dimensions of such labels as Arista, Impulse and RCA Records while playing a significant role in generating major label relationships for such companies as Savoy, GRP, Windham Hill and Private Music.

Most recently, Backer has run an independent A&R consulting firm and has been heavily involved in such successful archival packages as The Complete RCA Victor Recordings of Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Paul Desmond and others; The Complete Impulse Recordings of The John Coltrane Classic Quartet and The Complete Commodore Recordings of Billie Holiday. He has also been involved with Savoy before, once acquiring the great bebop catalog for Arista Records in the 70’s and most recently as an A&R Consultant helping to conceptualize new packages on Charlie Parker and others.

“Steve Backer is a first rate music executive who will be a tremendous addition to the Savoy Label Group,” said Vining. “Steve’s creativity, energy and knowledge of the jazz genre are unmatched and I am excited to be able to bring his passion for music to the Savoy and Denon lines.”

Vining added, Additionally, I’m heartened by the Grammy nomination of our extraordinary 8 cd set ‘Charlie Parker – The Complete Savoy and Dial Recordings’ in the Best Historical Package category as it represents the kind of work Steve Backer and I plan to expand upon at Savoy.”

“I look forward to working with Steve Vining, Jack Matsumura and Strauss Zelnick and contributing my expertise to the revitalization of Nippon Columbia,” said Backer.

Nippon Columbia

Nippon Columbia’s music and entertainment business, established in 1910, has over a 90 year history in the Japanese music entertainment industry, owning over 140,000 titles. Nippon Columbia brand is well known throughout the Japanese market, with a strong presence in the Enka market segment. Misora Hibari, a singer considered to be the Japanese national singer for the last 50 years recorded with Nippon Columbia throughout her career. As of March 31, 2001, Nippon Columbia’s music and entertainment business has revenues of approximately JPY 39 billion.