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Label Exec And Producer Tommy LiPuma Passes

NEW YORK, (CelebrityAccess) — Grammy award-winning record producer and music business executive Tommy LiPuma died Monday evening in New York City after a brief illness.

According to the Verve Label Group, LiPuma's death was confirmed by his wife, Gill LiPuma. A cause of death was not disclosed. He was 80 at the time of his passing.

Over the course of LiPuma's career, his production work included more than 75 million albums sold (with 35 of these certified gold or platinum), 33 Grammy nominations and five Grammy wins. George Benson, Natalie Cole, Miles Davis, Diana Krall, Sir Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand are but a few of the artists whom he produced during his career.

In addition to his record production work, LiPuma 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 2004, he was Chairman of Verve Music, and Chairman Emeritus from '04 through '11.

Within a year, LiPuma moved to Los Angeles to be a radio promoter for Liberty Records, before transitioning to the publishing end of the business and embarking on his production career with early recordings for Jackie DeShannon, Randy Newman, and The O'Jays (the latter yielding the Top 40 R&B hit, "Lipstick Traces").

His later tenures working at A&M, Blue Thumb (which he co-founded with partner Bob Krasnow), Horizon, Warner Bros. and, eventually, GRP/Verve Records found him producing successful albums for artists including George Benson (Breezin'), Natalie Cole, Miles Davis, Dr. John, Al Jarreau, Queen Latifah, David Sanborn, the Sandpipers ("Guantanamera") and Barbra Streisand.

LiPuma is perhaps most notable for his long and successful collaboration with Diane Krall, which resulted in 11 albums, sales topping 15 million and multiple Grammy nods.

LiPuma was also a patron of the arts, with a passion for 20th Century American Modernism. His collection includes important works by such artists as Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and Alfred Maurer.

LiPuma is survived by his wife Gill, daughters Jen Monti and Danielle Wiener, and grandchildren Matty, Julia, Chloe, and Ava.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in his name to the Tommy LiPuma Endowment Fund at Cuyahoga Community College or to City Meals on Wheels.

Plans for a public memorial service will be announced shortly, Verve Records said. – Staff Writers