ALTSHULER--Robert. With great sadness we mourn the passing of Robert (Bob) Altshuler. Adored husband of Barbara; beloved father of Michael and Jonathan; cherished grandfather of Brian, Andrew, Anni and Alice; and admired father-in-law of Amelia and Carol, Bob died on September 17th at his home in Southbury, CT. Bob was a man of boundless passion-for his work, family, friends, and music. A legendary collector and dealer in rare recordings of American jazz and blues, he parlayed his love of music into an exhilarating career in the record industry. Born April 17th, 1923 in Patterson, NJ to parents Samuel and Helen, he grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts. His calling was established early. At age 16, carrying a handful of records bought with lunch money, Bob convinced a local radio station to allow him (and his twin brother, Bill) to host a jazz record program called "Le Jazz Hot". This early experience culminated in the acquisition/donation of one of the largest private collections of recorded jazz and blues from the 78 rpm and LP eras to the Library of Congress. And it led to a heady 37 years in the music business. Starting in the mid-50s, working for small record labels like Prestige, Riverside and Atlantic, Bob was eventually plucked from the world of independent record companies by CBS Records. Beginning as Director of Publicity in 1965, and then ultimately as Senior Corporate Vice-President, Bob worked closely with every major artist (pop, rock, jazz and classical) on both the Columbia and Epic labels. A natural raconteur on the subject of jazz, Bob made a seamless transition to retirement in 1991 as both music consultant and lecturer. His tales of the musicians he had known and the music he loved were imbued with a profound appreciation for the ability to improvise-for spontaneous "stories told in sound." To those who knew him, the music of Bob's life was itself a wondrous story, a sound we still hear and will always celebrate.
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Published by New York Times on Sep. 19, 2007.