About — Flying Dutchman Records (2024)

The Story Of A Historic Independent Record Company

About — Flying Dutchman Records (1)

The year is 1969….During a pivotal time in the cultural and social history of the United States, Flying Dutchman records is founded primarily to give voice to the revolutionary movement occurring not only in music, but across the entire social, economic, and political spectrum.

When Bob Thiele launched Flying Dutchman Records in 1969 he had just emerged from eight years as the head of Impulse. The former pop A&R man – who in the 50s had signed Buddy Holly and Jackie Wilson – had been responsible for the creation of some of the most important and challenging music of the decade, as well as a series of highly satisfying recordings by older giants of jazz. This reached unparalleled heights in his collaborations with John Coltrane which allowed the saxophonist to pursue his distinct and personal vision on such masterpieces as “A Love Supreme” and “Ascension”.

Flying Dutchman was Thiele’s personal statement. When he set up the label, 60s counterculture and black power were in full swing. If the 48 year-old Thiele seemed like an odd fit, his credibility as Coltrane’s producer allowed him entry into those worlds. He released masters by progressive jazz musicians such as Leon Thomas, Lonnie Liston Smith and Gato Barbieri, new recordings by Count Basie and Earl Hines, political speeches and audio journalism – and in Gil Scott-Heron he discovered one of America’s most original voices, recording his earliest and most important musical statements.

The releases on Flying Dutchman showed an attention to detail that belied its independent status and lack of funds. Glossy gatefold sleeves, exquisite photographs and the best studios were what Thiele’s productions had received at ABC, and this was what he felt they deserved at Flying Dutchman. It was always a struggle, but he went it alone for five years before the success of Gato Barbieri and Lonnie Liston Smith saw him hook up with RCA. By then the political spirit of the early years had faded but was kept alive in the cosmic jazz of Lonnie Liston Smith and his worldwide hit ‘Expansions’, the crowning glory of the label’s second chapter.

About — Flying Dutchman Records (3)

It’s 1969. I am 14 years old. An amazing time to be a young man coming of age. We’re growing out our hair, making bold fashion statements and pushing the spiritual boundaries with mind-expanding drugs. Tuning in, turning on and dropping out. The music of our fathers and mothers has nothing to say to us. We want CHANGE and we are finding much of our need to express ourselves in OUR music. Revolution is in the air…

My father started Flying Dutchman Records in 1969 because he felt a need to establish an independent record label that was in step with the times. My great fortune was and still is being his only son. And whether at concerts at the Fillmores East & West, recording sessions with Gil Scott Heron and Lonnie Liston Smith or dinners at the legendary JIM & ANDY’S on west 55th street, the home base of New York’s jazz elite, I had a front row seat as my dad’s erstwhile sidekick!

About — Flying Dutchman Records (4)

It’s 2020 and our times bear more than a passing similarity to my teenage years. And while I had all these incredible experiences with my father, it is only now, viewing our world through the lens of COVID, #BlackLivesMatter and systematic racism across the board, that I am able to fully grasp the obstacles that he faced. He was so cool, the envy of my friends, but none of us could see, let alone understand, just how heroic his pursuit was. His accomplishments were many, even historic, but they came at a cost to his personal and professional life. As a businessman, looking at the balance sheet, he was not a success. But following the courage of his convictions, crossing racial lines, risking financial bankruptcy more than once, my father never backed down. The wish I have to continue his legacy has only come upon me during these pandemic times. And because of that I feel compelled to bring Flying Dutchman back into the fray so it may once again be a part of the voice of this generation.

About — Flying Dutchman Records (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5926

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.