Tommy LiPuma

Contact: Darrell Gilmour
T: 604.630.3199
E: gilmour@mfmgt.com

www.vervemusicgroup.com/tommylipuma

 

Tommy LiPuma

Timeline and Discography

LIBERTY/IMPERIAL (1961-1965)

A&M (1965-1969)

BLUE THUMB (1969-1974)

WARNER BROS. (1974-1978)

A&M / HORIZON (1978-1979)

WARNER BROS. (1979-1990)

ELEKTRA (1990-1995)

GRP/VERVE (1994-2011)


LIBERTY/IMPERIAL

1965     Comin’ Through, The O’Jays

 

A&M

1966     Guantanamera, The Sandpipers

1966     More I See You/Call Me, Chris Montez

1966     Time After Time, Chris Montez

1967     Misty Roses, The Sandpipers

1967     Claudine, Claudine Longet

1967     Look of Love, Claudine Longet

1968     Softly, The Sandpipers           

1968     Colours, Claudine Longet

1968     Love Is Blue, Claudine Longet

1968     Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends, Roger Nichols

1969     Rock Salt and Nails, Steve Young

1968     Randy Newman, Randy Newman (Warner Bros.)

 

BLUE THUMB

1970      A Bad Donato, João Donato

1970     Alone Together, Dave Mason

1970     High Contrast, Gabor Szabo

1970     Magical Connection, Gabor Szabo

1971     Where’s the Money?, Dan Hicks

1972     Darkness Darkness, Phil Upchurch

1972     Mark-Almond II, Mark-Almond Band

1972     Striking It Rich, Dan Hicks

1972     Headkeeper, Dave Mason

1973     America Wake Up, Paul Humphrey

1973     Last Train to Hicksville, Dan Hicks

1973     Lovin’ Feeling, Phil Upchurch

1973     What a Place to Land, Southwind

1973     National Lampoon Lemmings, National Lampoon

1974     Italian Graffiti, Nick DeCaro

1974     The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand (Columbia)

WARNER BROS.

1975     We Be Sailin’, B.W. Stevenson

1976     Art of Tea, Michael Franks

1976     Breezin’, George Benson

1976     Glow, Al Jarreau

1976     Stuff, Stuff

1976     Urubu, Antonio Carlos Jobim

1977     In Flight, George Benson

1977     Look to the Rainbow, Al Jarreau

1977     Sleeping Gypsy, Michael Franks

1977     Weekend in L.A., George Benson

1977     You Must Believe in Spring, Bill Evans

1977     Amoroso, Joao Gilberto

1977     Gate of Dreams, Claus Ogerman

1978     Burchfield Nines, Michael Franks

1978     It Happened One Bite, Dan Hicks

1978     Love Island, Deodato

 

A&M/HORIZON

1978     Jungle Fever, Neil Larsen

1978     City Lights, Dr. John

1978     Yellow Magic Orchestra, Yellow Magic Orchestra

1979     High Gear, Neil Larsen

1979     Light the Light, Seawind

1979     Tango Palace, Dr. John

 

WARNER BROS.

1979     Livin’ Inside Your Love, George Benson

1980     One Bad Habit, Michael Franks

1980     Red Cab to Manhattan, Stephen Bishop

1980     Terra Brasilis, Antonio Carlos Jobim

1981     Secret Combination, Randy Crawford

1981     Yellowjackets, Yellowjackets

1982     Cityscape, Michael Brecker

1982     Full Moon, Full Moon

1982     Windsong, Randy Crawford

1983     Mirage a Trois, Yellowjackets

1983     Nightline, Randy Crawford

1983     Two Eyes, Brenda Russell

1984     Once in a Lifetime, Michael Ruff

1985     Samurai Samba, Yellowjackets

1985     Take No Prisoners, Peabo Bryson

1985    Gettin’ Away with Murder, Patti Austin

1986     Double Vision, Bob James & David Sanborn

1986     Tutu, Miles Davis

1986     While the City Sleeps, George Benson

1987     Collaboration, Earl Klugh

1987     Get Close to My Love, Jennifer Holliday

1987     Love Songs, Randy Crawford

1987     Music from Siesta, Marcus Miller

1987     Love, Aztec Camera

1988     Land of Dreams, Randy Newman

1988     Nothing But the Truth, Rubén Blades (Elektra)

1989     Amandla, Miles Davis

1989     Spellbound, Joe Sample

1989     Tenderly, George Benson

1989     In a Sentimental Mood, Dr. John

1990      Ashes to Ashes, Joe Sample

1990     Blue Pacific, Michael Franks

1990     Language of Life, Everything But the Girl

1990     Marksman, Mark Whitfield

 

ELEKTRA

1991     Affinity, Thrashing Doves

1991     Unforgettable…With Love, Natalie Cole

1992     All the Way, Little Jimmy Scott (Sire)

1992     Glengarry Glen Ross, Original Soundtrack

1993     Here It Is, Jevetta Steele (Sony)

1993     Invitation, Joe Sample

1993     Take a Look, Natalie Cole

1994     Hearsay, David Sanborn

1994     Rhythm of Love, Anita Baker

1994     Holly & Ivy, Natalie Cole

1995     Pearls, David Sanborn

 

GRP/VERVE

1995     Afterglow, Dr. John

1995     Only Trust Your Heart, Diana Krall

1996     All for You, Diana Krall

1996     Hard Bop Grandpop, Horace Silver

1996     Panamonk, Danilo Pérez

1996     That’s Right, George Benson

1996     Two for the Road, Dave Grusin

1997     Love Scenes, Diana Krall

1997     Prescription for the Blues, Horace Silver

1997     Salinas, Luis Salinas

1997     Nouveau Swing, Donald Harrison

1997      What the World Needs Now, McCoy Tyner

1998     When I Look in Your Eyes, Diana Krall

1998     Pure Imagination, Eric Reed

1998     Central Avenue, Danilo Pérez

1998     Standing Together, George Benson

1998     Sweet Georgia Peach, Russell Malone

1999     Why Should I Care, Diana Krall

1999     Jazz Has a Sense of Humor, Horace Silver

2000     Here’s To You Charlie Brown!, David Benoit

2000     Look Who’s Here, Russell Malone

2000     Motherland, Danilo Pérez

2001     You’re My Thrill, Shirley Horn

2001     Cruisin’, Marc Antoine

2001     Love Songs, Natalie Cole

2001     Heartstrings, Russell Malone

2001     Look of Love, Diana Krall

2002     A Song for You, Kenny Rankin

2002     Ask a Woman Who Knows, Natalie Cole

2002     Live in Paris, Diana Krall

2003     Salt, Lizz Wright

2004     Tri-C Jazz Festival 2004, Various Artists

2004     Girl in the Other Room, Diana Krall

2004      Accentuate the Positive, Al Jarreau

2005     It’s Time, Michael Bublé (Warner Music)

2005     Christmas Songs, Diana Krall

2006     Feeling Good, Joe Sample/Randy Crawford (PRA)

2006     From This Moment On, Diana Krall

2006     Before Me, Gladys Knight

2007     Trav’lin’ Light, Queen Latifah

2008     Across the Crystal Sea, Danilo Pérez

2008     No Regrets, Joe Sample/Randy Crawford (PRA)

2009     Quiet Nights, Diana Krall

 

VARIOUS

2009     American Classic, Willie Nelson (Blue Note)

2009     Love Is the Answer, Barbra Streisand (Columbia)

2012     Kisses on the Bottom, Paul McCartney (Concord)

2013    Life Journey, Leon Russell (TBR Fall 13)

 

Tommy LiPuma Bio

Tommy LiPuma is a record producer, talent scout, and record company executive. A trained musician and saxophonist born and raised in Cleveland, LiPuma started in record promotion and quickly rose to become a celebrated producer  and  music industry leader. He has served in significant positions at almost every major record company—from being the first staff producer at A&M Records, and co-founder of Blue Thumb Records, in the 1960s; to head of Jazz and Progressive Music at Warner Bros. through the ‘80s; to Senior Vice-President of A&R at Elektra, and President of GRP and Impulse, in the ‘90s. From ’98 to 2005, he was Chairman of Verve Music, and Chairman Emeritus from ’05 through ’11.

To date, LiPuma’s productions have amounted to more than 75 million discs sold, with 35 albums certified gold or platinum, 33 Grammy nominations, and 4 Grammy wins. Diana Krall, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, George Benson, and Sir Paul McCartney are but a few of the artists whom he’s produced.

LiPuma is a member of a vanishing breed: the record producer as adept in the studio as he is in the office.  His specialty is artist-and-repertoire— or “A & R”: matching the right artist with the right song, and intuiting the right stylistic approach for any project.  His musical vision is varied, freely incorporating elements of jazz, R&B, soul, rock,  and other styles into his productions.

LiPuma’s talent as a producer rests on the valuable and exceedingly rare ability to draw the best performances from a wide range of musicians and situations, and then preserve those magical moments to share with the world. One engineer who has witnessed LiPuma in action describes his in-studio method as that of a “Non-Producer”:

This is a guy with total confidence in himself, his artist and the team he has put together. He has a plan, but allows the musicians room to create. If he feels they are moving into an unproductive area or that they may not understand what he wants from them, he does not try to tell them what to do. Instead he explains his perspective so that the musicians understand him and then sits back. It is almost as if he turns on a colored light that allows the musicians to suddenly see things differently and be inspired. Tommy LiPuma is a genius at this.

In his unique, “non-production” manner, LiPuma has created a musical legacy that sounds as fresh, and remains as up-to-date and significant as the day when it was first recorded.

He was born Thomas LiPuma in 1936 and grew up in Cleveland, first exposed to the popular music stars of the day: Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, the Andrews Sisters. While still a child, an extended bone infection caused him to find solace with a bedside radio; he discovered rhythm-and-blues and jazz stars of the day—Ruth Brown, Big Maybelle, Charles Brown, and Nat Cole became early heroes—and he was soon taking music lessons on tenor saxophone. By his teenage years, LiPuma was playing in small jam sessions and with local big bands, and catching every major musical act that came through town.

Cleveland was a hopping, urban center in the 1950s, with a rich, multi-ethnic music scene flowing with local talent that also drew national headliners. It was known as a “breakout city”—a proving ground where countrywide music hits first caught fire. Cleveland was also home to a number of influential radio deejays who were crossing racial and social boundaries with the jazz and R&B music they played: Bill Randall and Phil McLean on WERE, and the legendary Alan Freed on WJW. Freed’s program was sponsored by Leo Mintz, who ran the Record Rendezvous, the music store that served as the nexus of Cleveland’s musical community—and provided a source of education for the young LiPuma.

“Leo Mintz – whom I ended up becoming friendly with – had guys behind the counter who had some sort of radar, they knew when a record freak stepped into the store. They were able to figure out exactly what you should be hearing. Next thing I know I’d walk out of there with $10-20 more worth of records than I had planned on buying. I’ll never forget, the first record I ever got was at the age of 8 and was called “I Miss You So’ by the Cats and the Fiddle, a well-known group in the ‘40s. I heard it in the car with my future brother-in-law – I freaked out. The sound was so great, straight out of the Mills Brother bag only more soulful. We were just a few blocks down from the ‘Vous (which was what Alan Freed called it) – he got out, went and bought it for me! Between Cleveland’s local radio stations and the Record Rendezvous that was my real training.”

Through the ‘50s, LiPuma played gigs while attending barber school. Despite his passion for music, his destiny seemed one following his father’s livelihood: cutting hair. In 1956, he rented space in a downtown office building and set up a barbershop, directly across the street from a popular radio station. A number of deejays became customers and brought in promotion men and records distributors as new clients .In 1958, offered a chance to tour with a band, he leased his shop and toured for a year. Disgruntled by the experience and realizing that he was not to be a new saxophone sensation, LiPuma returned to Cleveland and a barber’s chair. One day later, he quit cutting hair for good.

Less than a week later, fate came knocking as one of his old customers became manager of a record distributorship and asked him if he wanted an entry level position  packing records in the back room with the chance to advance. To his father’s disappointment, LiPuma was soon at M.S. Distributors for $50 a week. Four months later, he had worked his way from the back room to the front, taking on a job as local promotion representative.

LIBERTY/IMPERIAL (1961-1965)

Within a year, LiPuma  caught the attention of Liberty Records  in Los Angeles, that was rapidly expanding. They offered him a chance to serve as a local promotion man in L.A. He met a number of industry veterans who helped show him the ropes of the business, including Bobby Dale, radio deejay on KFWB, whom LiPuma credits for helping him overcome a puritanical attitude about jazz, and opening his ears to popular music of the day, and the power of songs in general.

“I had been into pop music of the forties and early fifities, but as a musician I soon got introduced to Charlie parker and Miles Davis, and became a bebop nut, a member of the jazz police—whom I now hate. I also liked big bands. I laughed when I heard the beginnings of rock n’ roll. Bobby had my attention because I respected his taste so much, and he helped me realize what a poet Chuck Berry was. Being a musician I was always more drawn to the melody than the lyric. Bobby taught me how important the lyric was to a song; it could reach into your soul as deep as a good melody. I suddenly took on a completely different view of music.”

In ’62, Liberty moved LiPuma to New York City, and then a year later, when Liberty acquired Imperial Records and its valuable catalog of songs, he returned to L.A. to work the publishing end of the business. He began to produce demo-sessions for such young songwriters as Jackie DeShannon, Randy Newman,  and P.J. Proby. He got to know sessionmen like Leon Russell and A&R men like Al Schmitt, who later became LiPuma’s first-choice recording engineer. In late ’64, LiPuma produced his first recording date for release—with fellow Clevelanders The O’Jays —yielding the Top 40 R&B hit, “Lipstick Traces”.

A&M (1965-1969)

LiPuma’s knack at establishing lasting relationships served him well. In 1965, two friends—Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss—hired him to be the first on-staff producer for their fast-growing A&M label. Over the next four years, he produced the Top Forty hits “Guantanamera” for the Sandpipers and “The More I See You”for Chris Montez; and gold albums for French chanteuse Claudine Longet (Claudine and The Look Of Love). He helped establish songwriter Roger Nichols,who along with Paul Williams wrote the Carpenters hit “We’ve Only Just Begun” and recorded country singer/songwriter Steve Young’s  debut album Rock, Salt and Nails which had a song Steve wrote called “Seven Bridges Road”, which later the Eagles covered.

By late 1969, LiPuma was ready to break out on his own; with Bob Krasnow, he formed Blue Thumb Records.

“At that time I had fallen in love with the Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan of course. I was in love with that moment – I had gone to the Monterey Pop Festival – 25 feet away from Jimi Hendrix when he burned his guitar! My feeling was that as great as Herb and Jerry were to me, I was being pigeonholed as a producer of a certain style of music. The inspiration to start Blue Thumb with Bob most definitely came out of the times—being in the midst of that incredible cultural explosion. I went straight from producing pop sides on Claudine and the Sandpipers, to working with Dave Mason from Traffic on his debut solo album”Alone Together”

BLUE THUMB (1969-1974)

From the close of the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, L.A. was ablaze with fresh talent. At Blue Thumb, LiPuma and Krasnow assembled an eclectic roster of musical talent that reflected the anything-goes excitement of the time. With signing power, LiPuma worked with Krasnow to bring in and produce a dizzying spectrum of styles and sounds: British rock songwriter Dave Mason; jazz guitarists Gabor Szabo and Phil Upchurch; Brazilian pianist Joao Donato; South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela; the Jazz Crusaders; jazz fusioneers Mark-Almond; keyboardist/songwriter Ben Sidran; R&B harmony group The Pointer Sisters; arranger Nick DeCaro; comedy troupe National Lampoon; and the psychedelic barroom-swing of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks.

In 1974, LiPuma took on a production assignment for Columbia Records (as Blue Thumb’s co-owner, he could freelance at will), working with Barbra Streisand to create an album featuring the theme song to the movie The Way We Were. The combined success of the film and the album proved a huge boost for LiPuma, raising his profile. The same year, Krasnow and LiPuma sold Blue Thumb to ABC Records.

WARNER BROS. (1974-1978)

In late ‘74, LiPuma accepted an offer to join Warner Bros. as an A&R staff producer.

“I joined my friend Lenny Waronker at Warner Bros., whom I knew from Liberty. The first thing I did when I walked in the door was B.W. Stevenson – and then had a talk with Lenny, ‘I’m at this crossroads—I really have to think about what I do, and what do I do the best?’ At the time, I was a big fan of Creed Taylor’s records, and how he brought pop songs into the jazz arena – with Wes Montgomery, Stanley Turrentine. He was able to join the styles together, and I was drawn to that idea. Though Lenny was a little concerned wether Warners wanted to be in that business, he didn’t stand in my way. Then the first thing that came by my desk was Michael Franks! I put Michael together with the Crusaders, and The Art of Tea was a big success.

LiPuma’s next success was the career breakthrough that revealed his ability to recognize the seed of a pop triumph in an off-chance musical encounter.

Back in ’72, LiPuma was driving past the Keystone Korner, San Francisco’s premier jazz club of the day, and saw George Benson was appearing. Being a big fan of his work,  he stopped in, and heard the jazz guitarist playing. It was the first time though that he heard him sing. Three years later, Krasnow—who had joined LiPuma at Warner Bros.—alerted him to the fact that Benson was contractually available. LiPuma jumped at the chance to produce Benson and in the ensuing sessions, urged him to record a vocal track, something he had only done twice before. LiPuma also brought in “Breezin’”, a tune he had produced for Gabor Szabo for Blue Thumb, and mid-session, decided to call on the talents of good friend and arranger Claus Ogerman, then living in Germany.

The result was Breezin’, an unparalleled multi-platinum smash (especially for an album that was primarily jazz) that ruled the airwaves the year of America’s bicentennial. In an unprecedented feat, the album attained the #1 positions on the Pop, R&B and Jazz charts, simultaneously. Breezin’ also yielded two major singles—a Top 10 hit with the title track (an ultra-rare occurrence for an instrumental by the late ‘70s), and the vocal number “This Masquerade”, which earned LiPuma the first of his Grammy awards.

“It was really my first gigantic record. It was a great chance to exercise all the elements of being an A&R man: choosing the tunes, the sidemen, the studio. It was so fulfilling—it took me three days to come down from the high of being chosen Record of the Year! And it wasn’t just one album; it was a huge run: from Breezin’, to In Flight, to Weekend in L.A. It changed everything in my life.”

More solid sellers ensued from Benson and Franks, as well as albums by vocalist Al Jarreau and  jazz keyboardists Eumir Deodato and the great Jazz pianist Bill Evans; Brazilian samba legends Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto;

HORIZON (1978-1979)

For a number of months at the close of 1978 into ‘79, LiPuma returned to A&M to head their newly formed Horizon imprint, working with a wide range of artists that included R&B vocalist Brenda Russell, Japanese pop ensemble Yellow Magic Orchestra, jazz fusion group Seawind, and New Orleans blues, boogie and rock pianist Dr. John.

WARNER BROS. (1979-1990)

LiPuma was drawn back to Warner Bros. with a new deal and a new title: Vice President, Jazz and Progressive Music. From the late 1970s into the ‘80s, running Warner Jazz, LiPuma produced recordings by singers Randy Crawford and Brenda Russell; jazz-pop group the Yellowjackets; R&B vocalists Peabo Bryson and Patti Austin.

A number of LiPuma’s Warner Bros. productions stand out as both popular successes and being of historic importance. In 1982, LiPuma brought together Ogerman with Michael Brecker; Cityscape stands as the influential saxophonist’s first recording as featured artist. Three years later, he paired keyboardist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn; Double Vision—with a guest turn by Jarreau— was a double platinum album, and remains one of the most satisfying recordings by either (and the only meeting of both up until that time). In ’86, on an intuitive whim, LiPuma joined Miles Davis—who had just signed to Warner Bros. after 30 years with Columbia Records, and young bassist/producer Marcus Miller to co-produce the abum Tutu, the forward-looking album that recharged the legendary trumpeter’s career.

LiPuma’s last years at Warner Bros. found him in the studio again, producing memorable albums with guitarist Earl Klugh and George Benson called “Collaboration”,  British pop artist Roddy Frame’s Aztec Camera, and Everything But The Girl. One of the final projects was Dr. John’s first standards collection, In A Sentimental Mood, the opening track of which (“Makin’ Whoopee”, a duet with Rickie Lee Jones) notched a Grammy.

ELEKTRA (1990-1995)

In 1990, LiPuma left Warner Bros. to become Senior Vice-President at Elektra, where former partner and friend Bob Krasnow was at the helm. Within a year he started working with singer Natalie Cole on a tribute to her famous father.

“Leaving Warners was a big move. I had been there 17 years, but it helped that I rejoined my old buddy from Blue Thumb days, Bob Krasnow. We had really great musical communication—you could almost call it karma. Only a few months after joining Elektra, he called me and said that he had heard that Natalie Cole was available to be signed, what did I think? Turns out I had just seen her singing ‘Pink Cadillac’ on MTV; she sounded great! So I said yes, immediately. At our first meeting, Bob and I suggested doing a tribute album to her father. Natalie had wanted to do this idea for sometime, but Capital records, her former label didn’t want her to. But she thought we should wait and make it the second album. I remember telling her that great ideas can be like a virus, once it’s in the air, anyone can catch that idea. She thought about it for a while, and wisely changed her mind.”

At the time, the popular R&B singer would close her concerts singing along to a recording of one of Nat Cole’s best-known singles from 1951. LiPuma and Cole, executive producers on the mammoth, 23-track project that also benefited from the involvement of producers David Foster and Andre Fischer, decided to close the album the same way. Through the magic of digital technology, “Unforgettable” became a duet between daughter and dad, and the track proved irresistibly popular. The single was a runaway hit, the album Unforgettable…with Love was eventually certified 9 times platinum, and the project garnered three Grammy Awards—earning LiPuma his second of three.

LiPuma’s track record at Elektra continued. Subsequent Natalie Cole recordings—Take A Look, Holly and Ivy—were bestsellers. In ’92, with the well-crafted and critically lauded standards album All The Way (produced for the Sire label), he revived the career of Little Jimmy Scott, a barely remembered but great singer of the Fifties, who hailed from Cleveland. The same year, he was asked to produced the music for the David Mamet film Glen Garry Glenross, he secured the services of film composer James Newton Howard, arranger/saxophonist Benny Golson, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist/vocalist Shirley Horn, harmony group Take 6, David Sanborn, Dr. John and Al Jarreau. It turned out to be a number 1 Jazz album. In ’94, LiPuma produced Anita Baker’s Rhythm of Love; a few months later, he ended his association with Elektra.

GRP/VERVE (1994-2011)

In ’94, Universal Music offered LiPuma the chance to become president of the GRP label, which had been one of the first companies to dedicate their catalog to the compact disc format. The opportunity was tempting. and it afforded him the chance to reactivate the long-dormant Blue Thumb imprint which Universal now owned. “When I came to GRP in the mid-’90s, my plans were simple. I wanted to consolidate the roster, reinstate Blue Thumb as an active label, and re-establish Impulse as a force to be reckoned with—as it was when Impulse, Prestige, and Blue Note led the market in the ’60s.”

In the years that followed, LiPuma built GRP, producing albums by old friends (Dr. John, George Benson), GRP veterans (Dave Grusin, David Benoit), modern jazz stalwarts (Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner) and a host of young players who were expanding into new musical territory: pianists Danilo Perez and Eric Reed; and saxophonist Donald Harrison. In addition he signed a number of projects that caught the acid-jazz, return-to-the-dance-floor vibe of the day, including Nuyorican Soul and Groove Collective. In 1999, after Universal’s acquisition of Polygram resulted in the merger of the GRP and Verve labels, LiPuma was named chairman of the Verve Music Group.

If one artist’s career serves as a perfect example of LiPuma’s experience and skill at A&R, it would be Diana Krall. Starting with Only Trust Your Heart in ’95, and her second album, All For You, a tribute to Nat Cole, though it wasn’t until Love Scenes with the breakout song “Peel Me a Grape” (which broke the ice with a larger audience), that Krall began to hone her musical personality. In ‘99, LiPuma recruited Johnny Mandel to create charts for Krall’s next album; When I Look In Your Eyes which was a breakout success with 2 million copies sold, and was nominated for Album of the Year (the first time in 25 years that happened at the Grammys with a jazz title) and won two awards for Best Jazz Vocal and Best Engineered Album. In 2001, The Look of Love debuted in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Albums chart, and eventually sold over 4 million copies globally. 2002’s Live in Paris became another international hit, and netted LiPuma his third Grammy.

“From the first time I heard Diana in 1994, I knew she was great and had the potential to become the star that she is today. We’ve made 12 albums together, which have sold a cumulative of 18 million records,  and you can hear the confidence she’s gained. She keeps challenging herself with each new project, and always comes out on top. I’m proud of having been part of that, and also to call her one of my dearest friends. She refers to my wife Gill and I as her New York parents.”

LiPuma’s successes at Verve continued through the 2000s, with releases focusing on both vocal and instrumental jazz, including albums by singers Shirley Horn and Lizz Wright, and guitarist Russell Malone. In 2004, after more than forty years in the business, LiPuma took on the position of Chairman Emeritus at Verve, and became more selective of the projects he chose to produce, which included reconnecting with Joe Sample, Natalie Cole and Al Jarreau, as well as recording standards albums for Kenny Rankin, Gladys Knight, and Queen Latifah.

During LiPuma’s tenure at Verve, a number of outside labels were seeking his studio expertise, and with Universal’s permission, he began to freelance again. In ’05, he produced a few tracks for Michael Buble’s breakthrough album It’s Time for Warner Music; in ’09, it was Willie Nelson’s American Classic for Blue Note. That same year, with Krall co-producing, LiPuma reunited with Barbra Streisand and made Love Is The Answer for Columbia.

In 2011, LiPuma retired his Emeritus title and for the first time in over four decades, found himself self-employed full-time. Almost immediately, Paul McCartney asked him to produce his next album; just this year, the ex-Beatle’s first-ever standards album, Kisses On The Bottom, was a critical success for Concord, garnering a Grammy Award for Best Pop Standard Album (Vocal). He also produced an album with his old friend Leon Russell called “Life Journey, which has an expected release in the fall of 2013. Today, LiPuma remains one of the music industry’s most in-demand producers, and is currently considering or actively producing a number of  projects.

Outside of music, LiPuma’s passion is 20th Century American Modernism. Works from his collection, which features pieces from such artists as Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Arthur Dove, and Alfred Maurer, have been displayed at numerous museums and galleries, including the Whitney Museum of Art, NY, the Cleveland Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Georgia O’Keefe Museum (Santa Fe, NM); The Demuth Museum (Lancaster, PA); Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, MA); and Berry Hill, Hollis Taggert, and Salander-O’Reilly galleries (New York City).

Though LiPuma has not called Cleveland home since departing in 1961, the city that provided him his start has never been far. He has remained a supporter of the city’s annual jazz festival—the Tri-C JazzFest—contributing funds and music, and teaching master classes at the university for which it is named: Cuyahoga Community College. In recognition of LiPuma’s largesse and accomplishments, on March 22, 2012, the college named their new arts studies center the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts.

“To say that this is an honor, would be putting it mildly. Especially when I realize how significant this once busy street was in my years growing up here in Cleveland. I may be biased, but I have seen other programs and facilities around the world, in cities like Los Angeles, London, New York City. The creative arts program at Tri-C, and the Center for Creative Arts itself, are exactly the model that any leading institution in any of those cities would be proud to have; it’s at a world-class level. The future of music, and the future of the music business starts in programs like these.”

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