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Inside the World of A&R: Lenny Waronker and Tommy LiPuma

Tommy LiPuma, a trained musician and saxophonist, began his career in record promotion and quickly rose to become a celebrated producer and music industry leader. He has served in significant positions at almost every major record company—from being the first staff producer at A&M Records, and co-founder of Blue Thumb Records to head of Jazz and Progressive Music at Warner Bros.  He served as Senior Vice-President of A&R at Elektra and President of GRP and Impulse, in the ‘90s. From ’98 to 2005, he was Chairman of Verve Music and Chairman Emeritus from ’05 through ’11. To date, LiPuma’s productions have amounted to more than 75 million discs sold, with 35 albums certified gold or platinum, 33 earning GRAMMY nominations, and 5 GRAMMY wins. Diana Krall, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, Michael Franks, Al Jarreau, Joao Gilberto, George Benson, and Sir Paul McCartney are but a few of the artists whom he's produced. LiPuma and fellow A&R legend, Lenny Waronker, first crossed paths after Waronker graduated from college and began working for Liberty Records where Lipuma was the local record promotion man. They then worked together at Metric Music, Liberty’s Publishing wing.  Following Metric, Waronker worked with Mo Ostin as a junior A&R rep for Reprise and for Warner Bros. Records.  In 1970 Ostin promoted Waronker to Head of A&R where he assembled his own staff, including Tommy LiPuma.  In 1982, Waronker became President of Warner Bros/Repise working with artists such as R.E.M., Prince, Eric Clapton, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Paul Simon and Neil Young. He then went on to co-chair Dreamworks Records with Ostin, where they signed artists like Rufus Wainwright, Nelly Furtado, Elliott Smith and the Eels.   Join us as we welcome Lenny Waronker and Tommy LiPuma to the Clive Davis Theater for a discussion about their A&R careers, moderated by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director, Bob Santelli.

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