Tommy LiPuma, who has been guiding GRP Recording Co. since the exit of its founders, has been upped to chairman of the venerable jazz label. In the wake of LiPuma’s ascension, former Private Music prexy/CEO Ron Goldstein has been named prexy of GRP.
Goldstein, who led Private for 11 years while carving a musical niche once derisively dubbed New Age but which since has evolved into adult contemporary, will work with LiPuma overseeing GRP’s day-to-day activities.
The pair, both widely known as top creative and artist-friendly execs, will also focus on long-term growth strategies for the New York-based label.
LiPuma, who assumed control of the label following the exit of Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen three years ago, took the helm at a time when the label had scattered its interests among several musical formats, often at the expense of its core jazz acts.
LiPuma has since regrouped the label, focusing it back to its roots, which has resulted in several success stories, including Diana Krall.
“GRP has made tremendous strides under Tommy’s leadership,” said Zach Horowitz, prexy of Universal Music Group. “GRP will now have two execs with impressive artistic sensibilities who are equally focused on developing talent.”
Under Goldstein, Private flourished into a highly competitive label despite its relatively small size, with such New Age genre stalwarts as Yanni and John Tesh, as well as offerings from A.J. Croce, Tangerine Dream, Etta James and Taj Mahal. Goldstein, who exited in 1997, also participated in BMG’s purchase in 1994 of the 50% it did not already own.
“I know Ron’s expertise in this genre of music,” said LiPuma, one of the industry’s top album producers. LiPuma has known Goldstein since the pair worked together at Warner Bros. when Goldstein ran the jazz outpost, and LiPuma worked the boards on many of the label’s big guns, such as George Benson, Al Jarreau and David Sanborn. “Ron shares my vision of creating a company that is an industry leader.”
Goldstein, whose resume also boasts a stint as prexy of Island Records, will assume his GRP post on July 1.