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Nesuhi Ertegun

A Turkish record producer and executive of Atlantic Records and WEA International.

Nesuhi and his family, including younger brother Ahmet, moved to Washington, D.C. in 1935 with their father Münir Ertegün, who was appointed the Turkish Ambassador to the United States in that year.

From an early age, Nesuhi’s primary musical interest was jazz.

He had attended concerts in Europe before his family moved to the USA. While living at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., he promoted jazz concerts during 1941-44.

After purchasing Jazz Man Records, he issued traditional jazz recordings on Jazz Man until 1952.

At Jazz Man, Nesuhi produced classic Kid Ory revival recordings in 1944 and 1945 plus other recordings by Pete Daily and Turk Murphy. For details on this seminal period in Ertegun's career, see Cary Ginell's "Hot Jazz for Sale: Hollywood's Jazz Man Record Shop."

Although his main interest was initially New Orleans jazz, which he also wrote about while serving as the editor of Record Changer magazine, Ertegun was open to more modern styles.

In 1955, he was preparing to work for Imperial Records to develop their jazz record line and develop a catalog of LPs. However, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler persuaded him instead to join their company, Atlantic Records, where he was made a partner.

He became vice-president in charge of the jazz and LP department at Atlantic, building up the label’s extensive catalog of jazz LPs.

As a producer at Atlantic he worked with John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, the Modern Jazz Quartet and many others.

In 1971, Nesuhi founded WEA International, now Warner Music International.

He remained head of the Warner Records International Division until he retired in 1987.

He died on July 15, 1989, at the age of 71, due to complications following cancer surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

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