Jim Tyler, Orchestrator Who Gave Shine to Sixpence and Concertina Touch to La Cage, Dead at 76

Obituaries   Jim Tyler, Orchestrator Who Gave Shine to Sixpence and Concertina Touch to La Cage, Dead at 76
James "Jim" W. Tyler, Jr., a Broadway orchestrator who created the brassy sound of La Cage aux Folles, and worked on many more musicals, died March 5 at Orange Regional Medical Center-Horton Campus in Middletown, NY.

Mr. Tyler, 76, was an 18-year resident of Middletown after a long career in New York City.

Mr. Tyler's 20-year-old orchestrations for La Cage are heard in the current Broadway revival of the Jerry Herman show, which has additional orchestrations by Larry Blank.

"Jim Tyler knew everything about the orchestration of popular music and especially Broadway shows," Blank told Playbill.com March 8. "He had 'ghosted' for many of the greats on many Broadway shows (without credit) — On the Twentieth Century, Fiddler on the Roof, Golden Boy, Barnum and many others. He finally got an opportunity to stand on his own with several shows, including La Cage aux Folles. He was very generous with his knowledge and friendship and will be sorely missed. I am proud to have known him."

Mr. Tyler was born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Lexington. He attended the University of Kentucky and the Cincinnati College of Music. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.

In 1954, Mr. Tyler married mezzo-soprano Eileen Slattery in Dayton, OH. They lived and worked in Manhattan for 34 years, when he was a self-employed music orchestrator and was "a proud member of Musicians Local 802 for more than 50 years," according to his published death notice in his hometown upstate newspaper. In 1987, he and his wife moved to Middletown. Mr. Tyler worked in television ("Bell Telephone Hour," "Kraft Music Hall," and shows starring Vic Damone and Tony Bennett), and recorded seven albums with his own orchestra. He was Grammy Award nominated for his work with Ettore Stratta and the London Symphony Orchestra.

His Broadway orchestration credits include Half a Sixpence, Over Here! and Home Again. According to his 1984 Who's Who bio in Playbill, Mr. Tyler considered Oh, Brother!, Gantry and Celebration his most musically satisfying work, "if not the most commercially profitable," of the 10 shows he orchestrated and three dozen he assisted on.

Among his film credits were "The Great Muppet Caper" and "Raggedy Ann and Andy."

According to Internet Broadway Database, his other official Broadway credits were Teddy & Alice, Honky Tonk Nights, Jerry's Girls, Grind, Bring Back Birdie ("music arranged by"), Rockabye Hamlet ("additional arrangements by"), the 1975 revue Rodgers & Hart ("additional orchestrations by") and Man on the Moon ("music arranged by").

According to an announcement in his local paper, he is survived by Eileen Slattery Tyler; one sister, Jessee Stokes Bailey and her husband, Jack E. Bailey; one uncle, Chester S. Logan of Cortland Manor, NY; three nieces Betty Sears, Susan Morris and Margaret Ayers, all of California; and one nephew, Jack Bailey Jr. of Wisconsin.

Services are private.

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