Tony Hall: producer, manager and Jazzwise writer – 1 April 1928 – 26 June 2019

It is with huge sadness that we report the death of Tony Hall, one of the UK music scene’s greatest unsung heroes, and one of our longest standing and much-loved writers, who died peacefully in his sleep on 26 June 2019 aged 91.

From his earliest days as compere at the Feldman and Studio 51 jazz clubs in 1949, to host of the BBC Jazz Club on the Light Programme and working as NME’s jazz columnist, then joining Decca Records in 1954, where he relaunched the Tempo jazz label, producing 15 key UK jazz albums, and becoming the co-host of Jack Good’s Oh Boy pop TV show on ITV, Tony became a pioneer of black music in the UK. He was also the first Brit to produce an album for the iconic Blue Note label, Dizzy Reece’s Blues in Trinity (Hall is pictured above on these very sessions).

He became the go-to-guy in the early 1960s for jazz, soul and R&B, subsequently working on promotion for the Rolling Stones, Small Faces, Ike and Tina Turner, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix, as well as helping bring the Tamla Motown and Atlantic labels to the UK in the mid-1960s. Many other notable achievements followed, including the launch of respected record labels such as Deram and Fresh Air, Brampton Music publishing and managing and producing acclaimed bands such as Arrival, The Real Thing and Loose Ends, who all achieved major charts hits.

In 2002 he returned to his first love jazz and joined the team here at Jazzwise reviewing albums every month, where his keen enthusiasm and deep knowledge were widely respected on both sides of the Atlantic. We miss him madly.

Jon Newey

A full appreciation of the life and work of Tony Hall will follow shortly

 

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