As a producer he was responsible for many lauded albums by Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Gavin Friday, Bill Frisell and of course Marianne Faithfull and was pivotal in the career of Jeff Buckley.
Since 1985 he also produced and curated numerous tribute albums for Theolonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Nino Rota, Kurt Weill and Walt Disney's Film music with an illustrious cast of musicians from Rock, Pop, Jazz, Americana & Avantgarde background. According to Variety, which first reported news of Willner’s death, he was compiling a T. Rex tribute album at the time of his death. If you want to know more about the man behind all this projects read this extensive Interview with Hal from 2013 here.
- Elvis Costello pays Tribute to ‘Dear Friend’ and Producer Hal Willner: here
- Nick Cave: ‘A Combination of Genius, Wonder and Near-Chaos’
- Saturday Night Live Tribute: here
- Gavin Friday on Hal Willner: here
At the time of his death he was working on a tribute album to Marc Bolan. He can be seen in the background in the studio while recording "Cosmic Dancer" the contribution of Nick Cave:
Tribute Album Out in September, feat. U2 & Elton John, Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Joan Jett, Kesha & Many More and it has Sean & Julian Lennon on the same album (Albeit on different tracks)!
(Of course Produced and compiled by the late Hal Willner)