It’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of beloved music man & longtime President of Blue Note Records, Bruce Lundvall. He was 79 years old. The cause was complications from a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease. Born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1935, Bruce was a lifelong jazz lover whose passion for the music was ignited by Clifford Brown, Charlie Parker & the other beboppers he heard as an underage teenager at clubs along West 52nd Street in New York City in the 1950s.
A self-described “failed saxophone player,” Bruce took an entry level marketing job at Columbia Records in 1960 and over the following two decades rose to lead the North American division of the label, signing artists including Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis & Willie Nelson. After launching the Elektra/Musician label in 1982, he received the offer of a lifetime in 1984 when EMI approached him about reviving Blue Note Records which had been dormant for several years. He jumped at the chance, partnering with producer Michael Cuscuna to bring back the label’s earlier stars like Jimmy Smith, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson & Jackie McLean, and signing new artists including Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Michel Petrucciani, John Scofield, Charlie Hunter and Medeski Martin & Wood.