Bob Thiele was a major voice in the music industry for nearly six decades. Something of a child prodigy, Thiele started hosting a jazz radio show when he was 14.
As a teenager, he learned clarinet and led a big band locally in the New York area. From 1939-1941, he was editor of Jazz Magazine, and at the age of 17 in 1939, he founded the Signature label. As the head of the label and its producer, Thiele recorded Art Hodes, Yank Lawson, Lester Young, Errol Garner, various Chicago jazz-style groups, and, most notably in 1943, a classic session by Coleman Hawkins. After Signature folded in 1948, Thiele freelanced and then joined Decca in 1952, where he produced sessions for their Coral and Brunswick labels.