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George Avakian Dies at 98

Groundbreaking producer and manager worked with Miles, Armstrong, Ellington, Lloyd, Jarrett and others

George Avakian accepts his NEA Jazz Master award in New York in 2010; poet A. B. Spellman can be seen at back (photo by Alan Nahigian)
George Avakian accepts his NEA Jazz Master award in New York in 2010; poet A. B. Spellman can be seen at back (photo by Alan Nahigian)

George Avakian, a record producer, talent scout and manager whose professional influence in jazz affected the careers of a broad spectrum of musicians, from Louis Armstrong to Keith Jarrett, died at his Manhattan home on Nov. 22, as reported by the New York Times. He was 98.

Avakian’s influence on jazz was more than professional. He had a profound impact on what, and how, jazz audiences heard. He produced the first series of jazz reissues, thus helping to construct the canon; played a key role in establishing the 33 1/3-rpm “long playing” record as the industry standard; and helped make the “live album” an institution.

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