Friday, September 25, 2015

TGIF: Gennett Records

Gennett Records was founded in Richmond, Indiana by the Starr Piano Company.  It released its first records in 1917.

Gennett set up recording studios in New York City and later in 1921, set up a second studio on the grounds of the piano factory in Richmond, Indiana.

Gennett is best remembered for the wealth of early jazz talent recorded on the label, including sessions by Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Joe "King" Oliver's band with the young Louis Armstrong and Lois Deppe's Serenaders with the young Earl Hines. 
The Gennett Company was severely hurt by the Great Depression in 1930.  It cut back on recording and production until it was completely stopped in 1934.

In 1935 the Starr Piano Company sold some Gennett Masters, and the Gennett trademark to Decca Records. For a time the Starr Piano Company was the principal manufacturer of Decca Records, much of the business ended after Decca purchased it own pressing plant in 1938.

Brunswick Records purchased the old Gennett pressing plant for Decca.  After Decca opened a new pressing plant in Illinois in 1956, the Gennett plant in Richmond, Indiana was sold to Mercury Records in 1958.

Mercury operated the historic plant until 1969 when it moved to a nearby modern facility.

The plant closed in 2009.