Was sad to learn that visionary music producer Hal Willner passed today from COVID-19. Willner had worked in television for Saturday Night Live and Night Music. He also worked on soundtracks to Robert Altman films Kansas City and Short Cuts, staged live events for Edgar Allan Poe, Doc Pomus, Neil Young, Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs and many other luminaries from the world of music, arts and letters. In jazz circles, he’s best known for various Tribute recordings including his first from 1981 based on the work of Italian composer Nina Rota from films of Frederico Fellini with everyone from Wynton and Branford Marsalis to Steve Lacy and Deborah Harry. Here is Carla Bley’s arrangement of the music from 8 1/2.
from Amarcord Nino Rota (1981)
He also recorded a double-record set of Monk compositions That’s The Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk (1984) in this case the title track with five French horns including Sharon Freeman, Willie Ruff (solo), Vincent Chancey, Bill Warnick and Gregory Williams.
A series of meditations on the music of Charles Mingus (1992)
Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films (1988) Los Lobos “I Wanna Be Like You.”
September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill (1995) What Keeps Mankind Alive?- Tom Waits
Whoops I’m An Indian 1998 Do You Hear Me? (No Pie)(with Jack Webb)
From Night Music Who By Fire – Leonard Cohen with Sonny Rollins (1990)