R.I.P. David Axelrod

Composer, arranger, musician and producer David Axelrod died today at the age of 83. Axelrod’s influence began in the ’60’s when he worked in the A&R department for Capitol Records. He was a serious force behind the recordings of  R&B singer Lou Rawls and jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley while at Capitol. By the late ’60’s he started to release solo albums of music that combined rock, R&B, and jazz. As a solo artist, the experimental nature of his music kept his popularity on the fringes. Hip-hop discovered Axelrod and like so many older artists, gave him a second life. Fat Joe, Swizz Beatz, Pete Rock and Dr. Dre are some of the people to sample his work and pay homage to his inventiveness. Renewed interest in his music prompted a reissue of his Songs Of Innocence album in 2000. Axelrod was aware of hip-hop producers using his music and had warm relationships with many of them including DJ Shadow who worked with him in 1998 as a member of the trip- group Unkle. Red Bull Music Academy published a guide to Axelrod’s music that you can read here.