George Avakian


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Birth Date
Deceased Date
Job Title
Record Producer

George Avakian produced so many pop and jazz recordings over his 50 plus year career with several labels it might be easier to list the recordings he did not take part in. Before entering World War II George had already produced his first recording, as well as writing about the music that he loved so dearly--jazz. While in college he became friends with the great Louis Armstrong, whom George would work with in the 1950s on such products as an album dedicated to the music of W. C. Handy. George played a very important role in reissuing recordings that otherwise may have been lost. He worked hard to bring traditional jazz recordings to newer audiences such as his work with Sidney Bachet in the later part of the great clarinetist’s life. As head of record company’s popular music departments, he produced everything from the Everly Brothers to comic Bob Newhart. George was also one of the founders of the Grammy Awards as well as a strong supporter of jazz education.  He passed away in the Fall of 2017 at the age of 98.