Bill Traut, Chicago Record Man, Dies at 85

Producer, manager and label head worked with both jazz and rock

Bill Traut
Bill Traut

Bill Traut, a Chicago-based producer, manager and record label executive, died on June 5 at age 85 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The cause of death was not disclosed. Although best known as the chief of the rock label Dunwich, which released the Shadows of Knight’s hit cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” Traut also had extensive experience with jazz artists. As a manager, his company Open Door Management worked with such artists as Kurt Elling, Janis Siegel, Alan Pasqua, Alan Broadbent, Peter Erskine, Fred Hersch, Jon Hendricks, Oregon, Tony Williams and Shelly Berg. He also served as the CEO of the fusion label Headfirst. As a producer, Traut worked with Count Basie, Buddy Rich and others.

Jeff Tamarkin

Jeff Tamarkin on social media

Jeff Tamarkin is the former editor of Goldmine, CMJ, Relix, and Global Rhythm. As a writer he has contributed to the New York Daily News, JazzTimes, Boston Phoenix, Harp, Mojo, Newsday, Billboard, and many other publications. He is the author of the book Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane and has contributed to The Guinness Companion to Popular Music, All Music Guide, and several other encyclopedias. He has also served as a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, NARAS, National Geographic Online, and Music Club Records.