Don Schlitten was involved in countless sessions as a producer, particularly with his main love, straight-ahead bop-oriented jazz. He co-founded the Signal label with Jules Colomby and Harold Goldberg in 1955, recording Duke Jordan, Gigi Gryce, Red Rodney, and others. The label only lasted a couple years before being sold to Savoy. Schlitten worked as a producer on a freelance basis until the early '70s, when he joined Joe Fields in founding Cobblestone, a subsidiary of Buddah. Among Schlitten's major projects were a couple of Sonny Stitt's finest sessions (Tune Up and Constellation) and six records cut at the 1972 Newport in New York Jazz Festival. Later in 1972, Schlitten joined Fields at Muse and the two of them formed Onyx in 1973. A few years later, the partners ended their collaborations; Fields ended up with Muse, and Schlitten founded the Xanadu label. During the next decade, Don Schlitten produced over 200 releases for Xanadu, including then-current bop dates for the likes of Barry Harris, Al Cohn, Charles McPherson, and others, plus historical reissues of bop sessions (mostly small-label dates from the mid- to late '40s). Schlitten was not only the label head and producer, but wrote many of the liner notes. His labor of love largely became inactive in the late '80s with the rise of the CD, although some Xanadu dates have since been leased to European labels.
Share this page