Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Steve Backer, Veteran Record Industry Executive, Dead at 76

Producer of new recordings and reissues, label head and more

Michael Brecker (l.) and Steve Backer
Steve Backer and James Moody
Carmen McRae with Steve Backer

Steve Backer, whose credit, in various capacities, graces hundreds of jazz albums, died April 10 in Englewood, N.J. The cause of death was pneumonia. Backer was 76.

During his four-plus decades as a music industry executive, Backer worked with such labels as ABC/Impulse (where he was national promotion director and then general manager), Arista, Windham Hill/Magenta, Savoy and RCA. He was involved with releases by a long list of artists including Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, the Brecker Brothers, Anthony Braxton, Roy Hargrove, Chet Baker, Gato Barbieri and Cecil Taylor, according to a statement by his writer David Sokol, who was collaborating with Backer on the record man’s memoirs. Other artists with whom Backer was involved included Keith Jarrett, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Pharoah Sanders.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published