Last week, we lost famed music impresario, Hal Willner, likely to COVID-19. Willner was a beloved figure throughout the music community, and in the wake of his death, there have been many touching tributes and people have been resurfacing all sorts of obscure wonders that demonstrate Willner's tremendous range and his talent for putting together unique and inspiring productions.
Yesterday, American Songwriter posted this letter that Tom Waits wrote in tribute to Willner.
Hal. Dear Hal. Brother. Uncle. Father. Son. Husband. Godfather. Friend. Wise and reckless. Lamb and black sheep. Lover of the afflicted and the blessed. More than kin and more than kind, more than friend and more than fiendish in his daunting and devoted pursuit of the lost and the buried, long may his coattails run and long may we now ride, and those that follow us continue to ride upon them.
Hal was the wry and soulful and mysterious historical rememberer. He specialized in staging strange musical bedfellows like Betty Carter and the Replacements or The Residents backing up Conway Twitty. Oh, the wild seeds of Impresario Hal. He was drawn equally to the danger of a fiasco and the magical power of illumination that his legendary productions held.
Read the rest on American Songwriter.
A couple of videos from the documentary film, September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill. Hal Willner produced the soundtrack to the film.
Image: CC BY-SA 3.0