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Red Distribution Signs Agreement With Savoy Label Group

NEW YORK, N.Y. - MARCH 29, 2002 - Red Distribution, the largest and most successful distribution company in the music industry, announces the signing of an exclusive distribution deal with the Savoy Label Group.

The Savoy Label Group, formed by Japan's oldest record label - Nippon Columbia - revives the Savoy Jazz banner and becomes a jazz and classical U.S. stronghold for the Japanese label. The Savoy Jazz classic imprint features some of the most important jazz recordings of all time, including all of Charlie Parker's early and most impressive work, along with seminal recordings from Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Lester Young, Erroll Garner and George Shearing. R&B and blues recordings by Big Maybelle, Little Jimmy Scott, John Lee Hooker, The Ravens and many others are also on Savoy Jazz.

Denon Classics boasts a catalog of over 300 state of the art digital productions from the world's leading artists (Denon invented digital PCM recording and created the first commercial digital releases). Savoy Jazz is home to early be-bop recordings from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Lester Young and Charlie Parker.

An entirely new management team has been put in place at Nippon Columbia, with Strauss Zelnick named CEO, Worldwide and Jack Matsumura (former President of BMG, Arista and Funhouse Records, Japan) named President, Nippon Columbia. Chosen to head the Savoy Label Group are former Windham Hill Group head Steve Vining as president, and industry veteran Steve Backer as VP of A& R. Backer will oversee the revitalization of the Savoy and Denon catalogues, which have been dormant for the past two years. Vining will also be signing new acts and acquiring new labels in a range of genres, including jazz, classical, new age, blues and world music. Expect new artist signing announcements in the near future.

"We're thrilled to be joining RED, as I believe Ken and his team represent the ideal distribution hybrid - strong systems and infrastructure and an experienced, committed team in a music driven, 'indie' culture," commented Steve Vining. "For us, it's the perfect combination."

"Their commitment to quality and their marketing expertise were the two things that immediately attracted RED to Savoy Jazz," comments RED's President, Ken Antonelli. "Steve Vining and his team are sure to be an important force in the new paradigm of the independent world, and will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to RED's growth not only in this musical area, but in RED's overall growth as a company. We are very fortunate to have a label of this caliber come to RED."

The initial plan for the Savoy Label Group will be the launch of a new 'timeless' mid-priced series, beginning May 7th, that features compilations of the most historic performances from the catalog in all new 20-bit digital transfers. The first releases feature Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Erroll Garner, Jimmy Scott and Cannonball Adderley. Cover art features new illustrations from noted artist Miguel Reyes and will be available as fine art posters for retail displays and for consumers purchase.

The next phase of the Savoy Jazz plan begins May 21st, with new releases including a best of set of Charlie Parker's live recordings on Savoy Jazz, a 3-CD set of Dizzy Gillespie's recordings from1945-1951 with a 40-page book and a 2-CD set of Red Norvo's early work with Charles Mingus and Tal Farlow.

Over 60 new releases are scheduled over the next 12 months.

2002 marks the 60th anniversary of Savoy Jazz' first recordings. The ear-long celebration will focus on releases from key artists in deluxe packages, all with the "60 Years of Savoy Jazz" imprint. A specially priced 2-CD set will be released in September charting the history of the label.

In conjunction, sister company Denon Hardware (makers of premiere high end digital audio equipment) will bundle a Savoy Jazz / Denon Classics Sampler with each CD and DVD player sold in the U.S. beginning in September. Also in September, Savoy Jazz / Denon Classics will enter the world of high definition audio with first releases in the DVD-A and SACD formats. These releases will feature historic and new recordings created specifically for these exciting new formats.

Stay tuned for more info on Savoy Label Group.

CONTACT: Jody L. Miller
JLM PR, Inc.
(212) 431-5227
jody@jlmpr.com