The former United Artists Records executive had earned a reputation for mixing jazz works into popular culture and working with several of the genre's best, including Miles Davis and Horace Silver, The New York Times reported Sunday.
While with Columbia in 1980, Butler even convinced Davis to record his first album in five years. Butler was a key component in Columbia's signing of jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
He helped the growth of the Young Lions movement in the 1980s, which saw skilled young jazz musicians playing traditional or hard bop music.
In 2005 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and he was retired until his April 9 death from unspecified causes.
The Times said he is survived by his daughter Bethany and a sister.