The brother of Ahmet Ertegun, Nesuhi Ertegun's initial involvement with jazz was as a concert promoter in Washington, D.C. during the early '40s. After moving to the West Coast, Ertegun and his wife organized a band led by Kid Ory and also co-founded the Crescent record label in Hollywood to record it. The pair owned and operated the Jazzman label in the mid-'40s and early '50s, while Ertegun also was a writer for Clef and record editor of Record Changer. He was an instructor at UCLA in American music history during the early '50s and has been cited as giving the first lectures on jazz history for college credit anywhere in America. Ertegun was also working part-time for both Good Time Jazz and Contemporary. He moved to New York in 1955, became head of artists and repertory (A&R) for Atlantic, his brother's label, and started steering the label toward jazz.