the direction of 90th Floor Records was beyond the scope and arena
of The 90th Floor nightclub in Dallas, the focus returned to the club
after the release of the first Dick and Kiz Harp album. The young
company had begun to set up distributors in major cities in the U.S.
Face with the same insecurity and challenges of a small label, they
were fortunate to have very conscientious and legitimate distributors
in such cities as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The young label
gathered momentum with the first Dick and Kiz album “Dick and
Kiz Harp at the 90th Floor” produced and in distribution, as
well as the North Texas State album produced and just beginning distribution,
and other projects in process… when the unimaginable happened.
At the age of 29, Kiz Harp had a cerebral hemorrhage and was dead
without warning, literally overnight. The rather close-knit world
of unique jazz venues and other in the know, both locally and nationally
were shocked. In addition, aside from the normal trials and tribulations
of a small business, the tragedy and obvious repercussions of same,
Viet Nam was beginning to be an issue. Collier gained two partners
and lost Thompson but the efforts of recording, marketing, promoting
and selling 90th Floor Records was primarily his responsibility. At
the ripe “draft” age of 23, Collier was going to go to
war… like it or not.
Until the inevitable plans and directions were altered for Sound
Lab Ltd., and 90th Floor Records, work continues in an accelerated
pace. There was enough material “in the can” for a second,
quasi-tribute Dick and Kiz album. Although the master sessions had
been completed for two additional north Texas jazz group albums, everything
was put on hold as a final tribute album to the Harps went into product.
“Again! Dick and Kiz Harp at the 90th Floor” was release.
Both albums were more in demand; both became a necessity for the collector.
And Collier went to war.
From the vortex of events and activity, mid 1959 through late 1961,
much was done and initiated for a special jazz record label. Had several
events been altered, perhaps the unique venue would have been commonplace
to the collector and several of many in a large special catalog reflecting
one of a kind jazz talent. From 1963 to 1989, the label was essentially
dormant, having been sold and then discarded by a local Dallas retailer.
In 1989, research by Collier, followed by the appropriate paperwork,
brought the 90th Floor Records full circle. As in the past history
of those involved, other commitments have stymied the “rebirth:
of 90th Floor. And yet, that niche directive which formulated what
90th Floor Records was to be and became, has plans to continue in
a new century. After a dormancy of some forty years, the 90th Floor
Records label might well be known today as “the Phoenix”…
In the next several month things are in the works. The release of
both Dick and Kiz Harp albums and even some material recorded back
then and never before heard is slated for CD production early next
year. In addition, other projects are in the planning stage including
a compilation of the “in the can” material never completed.
More in line with today’s artists, some new albums are to be
produced, the initial one featuring a trio of exceptional jazz performers
and introducing jazz pianist Brian Piper.
This activity means several opportunities are about to reawaken along
with the unique 90th Floor venue… more to follow.
^ t o p