A native Clevelander who became one the world’s most renowned music producers has died.
Tommy LiPuma died yesterday in New York City at the age of 80. After leaving Cleveland in the early 1960s to work in the record industry, he was nominated for more than 30 Grammy Awards and won three.
"Breezin'" by George Benson is one of the hits LiPuma produced along with songs across the musical spectrum by Al Jarreau, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole and others.
Adam Leach is senior director of libraries and archives at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. He recalls a jazz recording LiPuma produced at Cuyahoga Community College during last year’s Tri-C Jazz Fest. Leach says it included a unique LiPuma attribute.
“He sat in the middle of the room with the musicians. He always wanted to be part of the band in a sense and hear it and feel it with the musicians who were recording with him. And I think that set him apart from a lot of the producers who sit behind the console in the control room.”
Tri-C’s Center for Creative Arts is named after LiPuma who donated $3 million to the facility.