Tommy LiPuma is a record producer who represents something similar to what Quincy Jones,David Rubinson and Arif Mardin meant to me. That is if I saw their names on the production credits,there was the instant impression that funk,soul and/or jazziness would be deeply involved with said album. He was the first person to produce The O’Jays in the year 1965. This helped them get their first R&B Top 40 hit in “Lipstick Traces”. The Ohio native was was so diverse, he even produced a single for the late Ricardo Montalban called “La Campanilla” two years later. He would go on to found the Blue Thumb label in 1968.
Much as with Quincy Jones, LiPuma consistently championed the black American music spectrum in his production choices. An ill child who discovered R&B and jazz through long hours listening to the radio,LiPuma took up saxophone when he went to barber school intending to follow his father’s footsteps. With the music bug never leaving the man,he began moving up the musical ladder to become one of the most renowned jazz/soul/funk producers of the 60’s,70’s and 80’s. The best way I feel to pay tribute to him is create a list of my favorite album productions he did for you to check out. Let the exploring begin!
Michael Franks-The Art Of Tea/1975
Al Jarreau-Look To The Rainbow/1977
Michael Franks-Burchfield Nines/1978
George Benson-Livin’ Inside Your Love/1979
Randy Crawford-Secret Combination/1981
Patti Austin-Gettin’ Away With Murder/1985
Joe Sample-Ashes To Ashes/1990
George Benson-Standing Together/1998