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Al Schmitt on the Record


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Sir Paul McCartney Acknowledgments Chapter One. But I'm Not Qualified, Mr. Ellington! Chapter Two. The Beginning: Early Days, New York, New York Chapter Three. Learning from the Greats Chapter Four. The West Coast Calls: Los Angeles in the Sixties and Seventies Chapter Five. Like Riding a Bike Chapter Six. Mixing: Philosophically and Pragmatically Chapter Seven. Practicalities: A Day in the Life Chapter Eight. Artists, Friends, and Mentors: What I've Learned Chapter Nine. Life's Been Good to Me So Far: Life Lessons and the Secrets to My Success Chapter Ten. Some Closing Thoughts Appendix A. Working with Al Appendix B. Recording Session Layout Diagrams Appendix C. Selected Discography: The Essentials

About the Author

AL SCHMITT (Los Angeles) Still in very high demand, Al Schmitt has worked with the best and the brightest in the recording industry, including Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Usher and Dr. Dre, to name a few. He has recorded and mixed over 150 gold and platinum records and has gone on to receive 20+ Grammys and 2 Latin Grammys for engineering albums by such artists as Steely Dan, Toto, Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Luis Miguel, Ray Charles, Chick Corea, DeeDee Bridgewater and Paul McCartney. Included on his long list of awards and recognitions, Schmitt was inducted into to the TEC Awards Hall of Fame in 1997 and he was awarded the NARAS Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. In 2015, Al received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Capitol Records building- the first engineer to be so honoured! MAUREEN DRONEY (Los Angeles) The Recording Academy's Managing Director/Producers and Engineers Wing, Maureen Droney, is a former recording engineer for artists including George Benson, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock, John Hiatt, and Carlos Santana. Prior to joining The Recording Academy, Droney oversaw the House of Blues Studios in Los Angeles and Memphis, and East Iris Studios in Nashville. She is the former Los Angeles Editor of Mix magazine, author of the textbook, MixMasters: Platinum Engineers Share Their Secrets for Success, and co-author of The Pensado Papers, about the rise of the audio industry web phenomenon, Pensado's Place,


Even before I first worked with Al in the early 1970s, he was a recording studio legend. Al mixed my 1973 album The Way We Were and a duet I did with Frank Sinatra in 1993. He was at the control boards again in 2009 on an album I recorded with Diana Krall. He's always a consummate professional who cares deeply about his craft. In addition to that, he's a fellow Brooklynite, so we speak the same language! Al deserves the many accolades he's received over the years from his fellow music industry colleagues." -- Barbara Streisand
Al knows how to record and leave the mojo in. He made so much of the music we know and love possible; when you're stumped, you can always ask yourself, `What would Al Schmitt do?' For a while, people used to say that Elvis sold the most records. Then it was the Eagles, Michael Jackson, and U2. But nope; the truth is, Al Schmitt has sold more records than anybody! -- Joe Walsh
Al's definitely the best engineer who has ever worked with me. It's a shame it took me so long to get with him. He knows how to get the authentic traditional sounds-the sounds that made us all fall in love with records. -- Bob Dylan
Al is the master. I love it when he gets pissed off. He is Great." -- Neil Young
I've been fortunate in my career to have worked with some great people, and I would have to say the list would be topped by Al Schmitt. Al came into Jefferson Airplane world with experience and creds that would boggle most minds. That he was somehow able to exercise his creative expertise with this bunch of musical anarchists is a testimonial to both his art and his patience. . . . I will always be proud to have worked with him! -- Jorma Kaukonnen, guitar player, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna
In 1967, Al Schmitt was asked to produce Jefferson Airplane's third studio album, After Bathing at Baxter's, for RCA. This was really wonderful news to all in the band, as we had heard that Al had such a great musical ear, and would, as we soon found out, be our ally in all things musical that we were reaching for. Our experiences in the studio so far had been somewhat difficult. We were trying out new sounds and vocal combinations, distortion, feedback, and some just plain wacky stuff. After getting much more control of our studio situation from a new contract with RCA, Al was right there with us as we experimented in the studio. . . . I shall always treasure the many, often late-night sessions with Al, and consider myself so fortunate to have had the great honor of working together. -- Jack Cassidy, bass player, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna
My career at Capitol Studios has been intertwined with Al's workmanship for twenty-seven years now. . . . I first experienced the awe resulting from his work during Natalie Cole's Unforgettable sessions; I heard him create an emotional masterpiece for Natalie, her family, and all present. We at Capitol are so blessed to be his home base. -- Paula Salvatore, Vice President/Studios, Capitol Studios

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