Producer and record label impresario Orrin Keepnews dies

Orrin Keepnews

Orrin Keepnews, jazz producer, writer and founder of Riverside, Milestone and Landmark Records has died aged 91.

Orrin Keepnews, jazz producer, writer and record label impresario, has died in California aged 91, a day shy of his 92nd birthday. 

In 1953 Keepnews co-founded Riverside Records in New York City. Initially it was to re-issue old material but soon built a contemporary roster of now legendary jazz artists including Charlie Byrd, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Wes Montgomery and Cannonball Adderley. As producer made some of jazz music’s most revered recordings including Thelonius Monk’s ‘Brilliant Corners’ and ‘Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane.’

In 1966 he started Milestone label which issued classic recordings from names including McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson and Sonny Rollins followed by a directorship of jazz at West Coast label Fantasy which acquired the catalogs of both Riverside and Milestone. In 1985 he founded Landmark Records which re-issued many great records as well as releasing a sizeable body of work from vibes player Bobby Hutcherson, Donald Byrd and pianist Mulgrew miller.

Keepnews won four Grammys for his production and writing.

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