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Ozzie Cadena, Savoy Records Producer, Dead at 83

Ozzie Cadena, a producer of jazz and gospel for the Savoy, Blue Note and Prestige labels, died April 9 in Torrance, Calif. The cause was pneumonia. Cadena was 83.

He was born Oscar Cadena in Oklahoma City and moved to Newark, N.J. as a child. There he hosted a jazz radio show before going to work for Savoy in Newark, where he eventually became head of the label’s A&R department. During his career, beginning in the 1950s, he produced or otherwise worked with such major artists as Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Donald Byrd, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Cal Tjader, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Kenny Clarke, Jimmy Scott, Yusef Lateef, Esther Phillips, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Milt Jackson, as well as many top gospel artists, including Clara Ward and James Cleveland, and some blues and R&B artists, among them John Lee Hooker. At Prestige Records, Cadena specialized in producing organ jazz combos.

In addition to his production work, Cadena, after relocating to southern California in the 1970s, owned record stores and booked nightclubs.

Originally Published