Named and patterned after the famed New York City Latin Quarter nightclub that hosted legendary artists since 1942, Tokyo’s New Latin Quarter—Japan’s jewel of a nightclub built on the site of the suspiciously destroyed original Latin Quarter—set the standard for entertainment from the East.
From 1959-1989, the venue hosted a veritable who’s who of American and UK jazz and pop legends who worked wonders for East-West relations–Nat “King” Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pat Boone, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Connie Francis, Ray Charles, James Brown, B.B. King, Tom Jones, The Supremes and Chubby Checker, among many others.
Now, thanks to an exciting, “accidental” discovery of hundreds of hours of tapes from these live vintage performances, a hidden gem of music history has been uncovered, leading to the formation of a new worldwide company. The famed Tokyo nightclub organization has established record, documentary and publishing divisions to release these historic, never before heard archival live recordings of these superstar acts.
Jay Warner’s worldwide publishing organization National League Music is setting up global distribution for an incredible series of digitally remastered “Western Music Comes East” compilations and multi-media projects featuring these rare unearthed treasures. In the U.S., distribution will be handled by Omni/Select-O-Hits.
“Over 300 live recordings from artists who appeared at New Latin Quarter have been languishing for almost 50 years,” says Shintaro Yamamoto, Chairman of newly formed New Latin Quarter (NLQ) Entertainment. “The new alliance of NLQ Entertainment, Kosaido Akatsuki Corporation of Japan, Parteneri-Whitehouse Alliance Japan and worldwide publishing organization National League Music has changed all that.”
Warner, President and CEO of National League Music, will also be representing the combined companies’ book and documentary activities worldwide. Harvey White, Co-CEO, Parteneri-Whitehouse Alliance Japan, Inc., and Warner will be creating a historical documentary of The New Latin Quarter. White has produced more than 600 music videos including works by Mariah Carey, TLC, Mary J. Blige, and produced and directed numerous Film & TV projects. The multi-media project will also include the creation of a massive coffee table book with over 500 never before seen photos of major acts appearing at the historic club for holiday season 2010 with a companion CD.
There will be five CDs released in 2010, beginning with The Best of New Latin Quarter, Jazz & Blues, Volume 1 on June 1. This set features a rare glimpse of Chubby Checker in blues ballad mode, performing “Georgia On My Mind” and Nat “King” Cole gracing the Sinatra associated “The Way You Look Tonight.”
The set also includes performances by Nancy Wilson, Keely Smith, Louis Armstrong featuring Junnie Brown, Patti Page, Julie London, Europe’s Caterina Valente, Bobby Troop, Sammy Davis, Jr., the Harry James Orchestra and The Mills Brothers.
The Best of New Latin Quarter, Volume Two is set for release July 1, with Volume Three to follow August 3.
Colorful, detailed liner notes for each volume have been penned by Warner. For three decades, Jay Warner has been influential to the success of many singers, songwriters and musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, the late Rick James, Barry Manilow, The Rascals, Jimmy Webb, Gladys Knight and many more industry heavyweights. Warner is a six time Grammy winning music publisher, as well as an author and music historian with a distinguished record in pop, rock, country, R&B and soul music. A recipient of the Heroes and Legends Pioneer Award as well as various ASCAP awards, Warner is the only music publisher to be included in the distinguished Congressional Record and one of the only music publishers to write extensively about music history and the music business including his ground-breaking and first-of-its-kind book on intellectual property rights, “How To Have Your Hit Song Published.”
“These rare recordings are precious indicators of how things worked in the music scene at the time,” says Yamamoto. “The vibrant, youthful performances on the New Latin Quarter stage will act as poignant tokens for old schoolers who have shared the same time and space with the artists, and will most definitely surprise and stimulate the younger generation. And that’s what true entertainment is…immortal.”
“The most remarkable aspect of this incredible series of New Latin Quarter recordings,” says Warner, “is the fact that there was no grand plan over the years to release these historic gems, some of which are 50 years old. A few years ago, the former owner of the club was rummaging through a closet full of old tapes when he came upon these recordings. He gave them to his nephew, a Japanese American who realized the potential value of them and gave them to his lawyer, who in turn brought them to National League. Before last year, no one even knew these recordings existed, but the Japanese are very historically minded and we’re not surprised that they recorded all of these performances. They have digitally re-mastered the recordings so that the sound quality measures with today’s standards.
“As a music historian,” he adds, “I believe these recordings represent a significant piece of music history, a time when so many American artists were coming to Japan to perform, and they are excited to have the chance to share them with the public. As incredible as these recordings and artists are, the history of the club is also worth noting. It was an incredible time. The New Latin Quarter attracted everyone—KGB, MI6, CIA and members of the Japanese mafia on any given night, in addition to some of the most beautiful women in Japan. They’re very excited to present the music in the context of the history of this truly historic global venue.”