Nesuhi had perhaps the most well-traveled ears in the music business.
The son of a Turkish diplomat, Nesuhi left his native country at an early age and began, as he put it, “moving around the world” to wherever his father’s assignments took him: Switzerland, Paris, London, and eventually to Washington, D.C., where the elder Ertegun served as Turkey’s ambassador to the United States.
Everywhere he went, Nesuhi found the music. In England, he discovered the big bands who broadcast over the BBC; in France, he became an admirer of Django Reinhardt; Stephane Grappelli, Coleman Hawkins, and Benny Carter in America; finally, he familiarized himself with modern jazz. All the while, he built an impressive record collection that included the works of jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller.