Mary Ann Topper, manager to numerous notable jazz artists including Ray Brown, Diana Krall, Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, and Ron Carter, died on Nov. 14 in Hyndman, Pa., where she had been living for the last few years. She was 79. Topper had a long history as a starmaker and could rightfully claim credit for launching the careers of more than a dozen successful jazz artists.
Topper was born on June 17, 1940 in Cumberland, Pa., and she received her B.A. in music from Bucknell University in 1962. Most people didn’t know that she, like many music-industry professionals, was a musician as well, receiving her master of music degree in music literature and vocal performance from the University of Michigan. She worked as an educator—music professor at Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts in Chickasha and high-school music teacher in Boston—as well as a vocalist for about 15 years before crossing over to the business side of the music business.