Following a 15-year career that included gigs with such acclaimed jazz and blues artists as James Moody, Eddie Harris, Doc Cheatham, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Little Jimmy Scott, Gunther Schuller's Ellington Repertory Orchestra and others, drummer Michael Friedman hung up his sticks and launched Premonition Records in August of 1993. The label developed slowly. Its first four years produced four releases, mostly from artists who live and work out of Premonition's then base of operations, Chicago, Illinois. 1994's cafe blue, from vocalist/pianist Patricia Barber, gained the most notoriety and began an artist/label relationship that has developed along with the label. Ms. Barber's modern cool (1998) earned a 5-star review from DownBeat Magazine and put Premonition on the map.
In 1999, Premonition signed a "joint imprint" deal with Blue Note Records/EMI. This was the first such agreement in Blue Note history and created the joint imprint, Blue Note/Premonition. Blue Note/Premonition released all five of Premonition-produced Patricia Barber records. It also gave Premonition itself major label distribution through EMI. That deal ended in 2004. Between 2004 and 2012, Premonition was distributed by E One Entertainment. And currently Premonition is distributed by City Hall Records. It is also represented by a series of great independent distributors around the world (see below).
Premonition Records is known for dedication to its artists and to long term, multi album commitments. Besides Patricia Barber's five Premonition releases, the label has issued four Von Freeman records, three Terry Callier records and three Drew Gress records. The label's releases have been routinely well received by the music press and at radio around the world (see reviews section on each Artist's Bio page). With recording and production quality a priority, Premonition has also earned a reputation in the audiophile world for the sound quality of its releases. Three of Premonition's releases have been named Streophile Magazine's "Recording of the Month" and five have been a Stereophile "R2D4". Many of Premonition's releases have been re-released, in multiple formats, by prestigious audiophile labels such as Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.
In February of 2013, Michael Friedman won a Grammy® Award as "Surround Producer" for Premonition's re-release of Patricia Barber's modern cool on Blu-ray (Surround and 2 channel dual layer).
Premonition Records is now based in Los Angeles, CA.
Premonition is distributed by City Hall Records in the U.S.A. and Canada; Orkhestra Intermanational in France; Dee2 Records in Benelux; IRD and Soundandmusic in Italy; Hot Records/Didgiredoo in the U.K. and Australia; F Minor in the U.K.; Sieveking Sound in Germany and Austria: Shun Cheong Records in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Thailand; Naxos Records in Japan; and Analog Audio in Vietnam, among others.