Monte Kay

TV Producer

1924 – 1988


Who was Monte Kay?

Monte Kay, September 18, 1924 – May 25, 1988 was a prominent figure of the New York jazz scene in the late 1940s and 1950s, producing - often in association with the disc jockey Symphony Sid - several young musicians and acting as musical director of several night clubs. According to some accounts, during those years he would sometimes introduce himself as a fair-skinned Afro-American. As the artistic director of the Royal Roost he succeeded in persuading the owner, Ralph Watkins, to hire Miles Davis' nonet - sometimes called the "Tuba Band" - with which Davis was pursuing a project that later was to be called Birth of the Cool, and which started the cool jazz movement. Kay befriended Davis and, during his later marriage to singer/actress Diahann Carroll, was for a time Miles' neighbor.

In 1949 he founded the jazz club Birdland. During the 1950s, Kay produced several musicians, including Herbie Mann, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins and the Modern Jazz Quartet. In the same period he married Singer/actress Diahann Carroll. Their daughter, Suzanne Kay Bamford, is a journalist and television author.

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Sep 18, 1924
New York City
Also known as
  • Fremont Monte Kaplan
  • United States of America
May 25, 1988
Los Angeles

on July 23, 2013


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"Monte Kay." STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 2 Oct. 2022. <>.

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