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Bruce Lundvall (September 13, 1935 – May 19, 2015) was an American record company executive, best known for his period as the President and CEO of the Blue Note Label Group, reporting directly to Eric Nicoli, the Chief Executive Officer of EMI Group.


In a career spanning half a century, Bruce Lundvall signed a wide array of artists, including Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, James Taylor, Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Richard Marx, Natalie Cole, Cassandra Wilson, Anita Baker, and Norah Jones. He headed the following labels: Blue Note Records (jazz), Angel Records (classical), and Manhattan Records (adult pop).

Lundvall began his music career in marketing at Columbia Records where he remained for 21 years, becoming President of the domestic division of CBS Records in 1976. In the course of his tenure, he built Columbia's jazz roster into the largest of any major label.

In 1979, Bruce Lundvall organized and sponsored in Havana, Cuba, the Havana Jam festival that took place between 2–4 March, with Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Stephen Stills, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Billy Swan, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnigan, Weather Report, and Billy Joel, plus an array of Cuban artists such as Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Tata Güines, and Orquesta Aragón. Their performances are captured on Ernesto Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79, and on the two Columbia albums Havana Jam and Havana Jam II.

Lundvall moved to Elektra in 1982, where he became President of Elektra Records and the newly created Elektra/Musician Jazz label.

In 1984, he was approached with an offer to create Manhattan, a pop music label based on the East Coast, for EMI, as well as to revive the suspended Blue Note jazz label. Lundvall accepted the challenge and steered the label for a quarter of a century. He was responsible for signing an unknown Norah Jones. Jones's debut Come Away With Me, and her subsequent albums, have sold in their millions internationally. Lundvall stood down as President of Blue Note in 2010. In January 2012, Don Was became President of Blue Note, having been appointed CEO the previous year, with Lundvall becoming Chairman Emeritus.[1]

Lundvall served as chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Chairman of the Country Music Association (CMA) and Director of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). He received three Grammy nominations and a NARM presidential award.[2] He was a member of the Jazz Foundation of America Board of Directors Advisory Committee.[3]

Lundvall died a few days following complications from a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease on May 19, 2015, in New Jersey. He was survived by his wife, Kay Lundvall, three sons and two grand-daughters.[4]



  1. ^ Chinen, Nate (May 2, 2012). "Exuberance Is Just One of His Skills". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ EMI Press Release, Dec. 6, 2004
  3. ^ jazzfoundation.org. 2009-05-11. URL: http://www.jazzfoundation.org/Gala_Sponsorship_Packages.pdf. Accessed: 2009-05-11. (Archived by jazzfoundation.org at http://www.jazzfoundation.org/Gala_Sponsorship_Packages.pdf)
  4. ^ "Bruce Lundvall, Blue Note Records Veteran, Beloved Jazz Executive, Dead at 79". Billboard. 
  5. ^ Gershwin Awards, UCLA, 2012

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374 news items

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 11:07:30 -0800

The Jazz Connect Conference has announced the second recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award, created in 2014 in honor of the esteemed jazz record executive who was a champion and advocate for so many jazz artists over the last four decades.


Wed, 20 May 2015 13:21:21 -0700

Tuesday's concert began hours after the news of the death of Bruce Lundvall, 79, the longtime president of Blue Note Records, who signed Jones to his label, where she released debut album Come Away With Me in 2002. The following year, Jones won five ...


Thu, 21 May 2015 14:22:30 -0700

It's with a heavy heart that I write about the passing of our courageous friend and Blue Note Records chairman emeritus and longtime president, Bruce Lundvall. He was a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life human being whose joie de vivre was ...


Wed, 20 May 2015 06:07:30 -0700

Bruce Lundvall, a New Jersey man who revived Blue Note Records and became one of the most influential figures in contemporary jazz music, died Tuesday, after failing to regain consciousness from a recent surgery. Lundvall, who had been struggling with ...

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair
Tue, 10 Nov 2015 07:31:11 -0800

A generation ago, in contrast, emerging artists did everything they could to be noticed by producer Bruce Lundvall (who passed away in May) or manager Mary Ann Topper; between them they helped launch the careers of Norah Jones, Diana Krall, and many ...

New York Times

New York Times
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 14:35:14 -0800

And he was in New York to perform at a memorial for Bruce Lundvall, the record executive to whom, Mr. Valdés said, “I owe my career.” It was Mr. Lundvall who signed Irakere, Mr. Valdés's trailblazing band, to Columbia Records in the late 1970s. And it ...


Tue, 03 Nov 2015 12:15:00 -0800

In 1978 the producer Bruce Lundvall, then president of CBS, signed the band for the label. Irakere debuted, unannounced, as “surprise guests,” at Carnegie Hall as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Tickets for the concert are $18, $13 for senior ...

New York Times

New York Times
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:37:30 -0700

He was a regular sight in the jazz clubs of Manhattan. Tall gentleman in glasses. Pinstriped suit. Neatly trimmed white beard. Often seated with business associates, but quiet, eyes trained on the stage. This was Bruce Lundvall, president of Blue Note ...

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