Multiple reports have stated that Larry Sherman, founder of early Chicago House Music record label Trax Records, has passed away.
Marshall Jefferson stated in an instagram post that Sherman died of heart failure.
A later account by Trax Records and Rachael Cain stated that Sherman died “on his holiday Passover” and is survived by a daughter and widow.
Larry Sherman founded Trax with 1984 and the label was one of two key imprints (the other being DJ International) pushing the Chicago House sound on a massive level. In its first 5 years Trax Records released a timeless number of classic records from Chicago House Music’s first wave of artists.
Trax was hugely important, and no one could write the story of House Music without it playing a major role.
Yet as much as Trax was acclaimed for their catalog and A&R work, the Trax legacy was complicated on the “wild ride” of Chicago House Music’s early years. Listeners and today’s collectors often complain about poor pressings with “pops” and imperfections, reputedly from the use of cheap or recycled vinyl. In addition, many of 5 Mag’s early profiles of some of Chicago House Music’s legends outlined the feeling by the then-young, often black artists of exploitation. Jamie Principle told 5 Mag in 2011 that he never had a contract of any kind with Trax, while DJ Pierre of Phuture, whose Acid Tracks was released on Trax, claimed he never received any royalties at all from the label for what became one of the best-selling tracks of all time.
In the label’s later years, Sherman, Trax and Rachael Cain were involved in a complicated deal with the Toronto-based company Casablanca, which Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said lead to the label “losing control” of this same catalog for a time. Eventually the situation was cleared and the label was revived by Cain in 2006.
All of our best to Sherman’s family and friends. Details on services – complicated as they are during the coronavirus pandemic – are pending.
Photo via Marshall Jefferson on Instagram.