Grammy-Winning Jazz Producer Tommy LiPuma Dies at 80

By MIKE CIDONI LENNOX, AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tommy LiPuma, a jazz and pop producer who won Grammys for collaborations with Natalie Cole and George Benson, has died. He was 80.

LiPuma died Monday in New York after a brief illness, according to the Decca/Verve Label Group, where he had served as chairman.

In a career spanning six decades, LiPuma’s productions won five Grammys and were nominated for 28 more, and saw sales of 75 million.

His collaborating partners also included Paul McCartney, and singer-keyboardist Diana Krall.

Krall told The Associated Press that just a few weeks ago, she and LiPuma had put the finishing touches on her newest album, “Turn Up the Quiet,” which she called “a record of jazz and American popular song.”

“He understood the importance and challenges of where one could be as an artist,” Krall said in a phone interview as she flipped through old photos of herself and LiPuma. “He had tremendous respect for (who I was) as a 28-year-old, starting right out — to the 52-year-old woman I am right now.”

Krall added that LiPuma took her to artistic heights “I never dreamed.”

The two won a Grammy for Krall’s 2002 album “Live in Paris.”

He also won Grammys for Benson’s 1976 single “This Masquerade,” Cole’s 1991 album “Unforgettable… With Love” and McCartney’s 2012 concert DVD “Live Kisses.”

His last album with Krall will be released May 5.

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