06/18/14

Producer Alan Douglas Dies at 82

Best known for posthumous Hendrix releases, but also worked with Ellington, Blakey, etc.

Alan Douglas, a record producer best known for his sometimes controversial work with Jimi Hendrix’s unreleased recordings following the guitarist’s death, died June 7 at his home in Paris of complications from a fall. Douglas was 82.

Originally from Boston, Douglas, who was born July 20, 1931, met Hendrix in 1969 and began discussions with the rock great to pair him with Miles Davis and other jazz luminaries. Hendrix died the following year without those plans coming to fruition, and Douglas subsequently secured the rights to Hendrix’s unreleased and often unfinished recordings. On several releases, Douglas took the raw Hendrix guitar and vocal tracks and had studio musicians accompany them, a move that did not sit well with many Hendrix acolytes or with Hendrix’s survivors. When the rights to the Hendrix estate were turned over to the artist’s father in a 1995 court decision, Douglas’ involvement with the catalog ceased.

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Alan Douglas

By the time he had met Jimi Hendrix, Alan Douglas had already built a solid reputation as a producer of top jazz artists. As the head of United Artists Records’ jazz division beginning in 1962, he produced Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and others. He also recorded Kenny Dorham, Betty Carter, Herbie Mann, and Oliver Nelson, and was responsible for teaming Duke Ellington with Charles Mingus and Max Roach for the now-classic Money Jungle album, and for putting Jim Hall and Bill Evans together for their Undercurrents release.

Douglas also recorded guitarist John McLaughlin, the pre-rap group the Last Poets and firebrand comic Lenny Bruce. After leaving United Artists he launched his own label, Douglas Records.

Later in his life, Douglas released DVDs of live performances by B.B. King, Parliament-Funkadelic, Celia Cruz and others.

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