Dittke To Continue BPR

Former concert pianist Ina Dittke will continue running BPR Productions following the death of business partner Brian Theobald.

As the jazz world continued to pay tribute to Theobald, 66, who died of cancer August 26, Dittke told Pollstar she has decided to run the agency alone, although she’ll still have the help of fellow BPR colleague Mick Eve.

Dittke and Theobald, who was an accomplished sax player and a former member of Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames, had been partners since the death of BPR director Ronnie Scott and the retirement of Peter King.

The company was originally called Ronnie Scott Directions (RSD) and was set up in the early ’70s to look after the world famous jazz club’s management and ancillary business interests.

Twenty years ago it morphed into BPR, named after Brian, Peter King and Ronnie Scott, and has continued under that name since.

Having worked with drummer Buddy Rich for more than a dozen years and such other jazz luminaries as Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Tito Puente, Oscar Peterson, Miriam Makeba, Freddie Hubbard and Celia Cruz, Theobald was one of the best-known agents on the genre’s live circuit. His passing has brought tributes from around the globe.

He was always keen to give support to newcomers and helped build up the “Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award” in the U.K. “He was a fine person, who always found a nice way to do business and a nice way to solve the problems,” said Jyrke Kangas, director of Finland’s Pori Jazz Festival. “We cooperated for almost a quarter-century and there are many fine memories. My colleagues and I will miss him.” Theo van den Hoek, who recently stepped down as director of Holland’s North Sea Jazz after nearly 30 years with the event, said, “I had some great times with him because he really enjoyed a laugh. He was very honest and also understood the importance of delivering the act. If one of his wanted to cancel, he’d do his utmost to persuade them the show should go ahead. I’ve lost a friend.” Theobald is survived by former wife Sheila and son Grant. After splitting with Sheila, he married Dittke, but they found being marriage partners and business partners was too much and decided to concentrate on business. At Tanglewood Jazz Festival near Boston, USA, September 2-3, two of his acts – The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band – dedicated their sets to him.