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April 17, 1930 – April 26, 2021
His love and recordings will continue to live
Schmitt interview from Capitol
courtesy of Record
Production , Babblefish
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to Krall('05), it's Schmitty!
Al Schmitt is best known for the sonically exquisite recordings
of Natalie Cole and Diana Krall, artists who complete the circle
from the orchestral sessions of his youth in New York through to
the sessions in the West Coast with pop and jazz royalty to include:
Mancini, Chet Baker, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.
What can I tell you? My life is pretty good, says Al
Schmitt who received a Hollywood Star in 2015 (first ever for an
engineer/mixer). Als' Star is located in front of Capitol Records,
the studio that has become his second home.
With an unparalleled 24 (twenty-four) Grammy Awards for engineering,
and over 160 Gold and Platinum albums, Schmitt epitomizes great
recording through decades of technological change.
The legendary and world-renowned
recording engineer received a Grammy in 2002 for Diana krall's "Look
produced by the late and great (Al's dear friend), Tommy LiPuma.
"We recorded the vocals and rhythm section live at Avatar in
New York. Then we went to London and recorded the London Symphony
in The Beatles' old studio at Abbey Road, Studio Two. After that,
we came back to L.A. and did a couple of fixes in Capitol Studio
A, and then I mixed it at Capitol Studio C on a Neve, ” says Schmitt.
has remixed several of these albums in 5.1 for release on the Super
Audio CD format, such as Coles Unforgettable and Kralls
When I Look in Your Eyes and The Look of Love. You have so
much more space, Schmitt confides.
for the singular artistry he brings to his recordings, Schmitt captured
his first Grammy for Best Engineered recording in 1962 for Henry
Mancini's "Hatari". Nine subsequent Grammy's in the same
category stretched through the decades: 1976: George Benson's "Breezin'",
1977: Steely Dan's "Aja", 1978: Steely Dan's "FM
(No Static At All)", 1982: Toto's "Toto IV", 1991:
Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable," 1996: Quincy Jones' "Q's
Jook Joint," Diana
Krall's "When I Look In Your Eyes," and
two Latin Grammy Awards in 2000: Luis Miguel's “Amarte Es Un Placer.”
This year Al
was given a special merit or Trustees
at the 48th Annual GRAMMYs.
a child living in New York City, Schmitt would catch the subway
on weekends to spend the day at his uncle's recording studio, observing
different engineering techniques. At 19, Schmitt began working with
Tom Dowd at Apex Studios in New York City. He worked as an independant
engineer at Atlantic Records and Prestige Records, and after moving
to California, he started working at Radio Recorders. RCA Records
hired Schmitt as a staff producer for their label and a staff engineer
at their Hollywood studio. This let Schmitt develop his wide-ranging
engineering skills by working with the various pop, jazz, classical,
and country ...
L-R: Al Schmitt at the
ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP);
Al Schmitt's new book On The Record: The Magic
Behind the Music Foreword by Paul McCartney. Get it @ Amazon
albums and shows in a variety of musical genres with some of the
top singers and musicians in the industry, including Barbara Streisand,
Madonna, Steely Dan, Ray
Charles, Vanessa Williams, Frank Sinatra, George Benson and
Quincy Jones. Schmitt's
celebrated engineering and mixing skills are showcased on over 150
gold and platinum albums. In '97 Al became an inductee into the
TEC Awards Hall of Fame.
worked on a television special and DVD with Diana Krall and recording
sessions with Natalie Cole, Kenny Rankin, Tony Braxton and Dee Dee
Joni Mitchell's Songs of a Prairie Girl, engineered Trumpeter
Chris Botti, engineered and mixed Michael Bublé's debut and
Paul Anka's Rock Swings.
August 13, 2015 Schmitt became the first recording engineer to be
presented with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in front of
Capitol records. Producer Don Was, president of Blue Note Records,
introduced Schmitt. "And let there be no mistake about it,
it takes a beautiful cat to consistently make such beautiful records.
I can think of no other figure in the entire music business who
is as loved and respected as Al Schmitt," said Was who likened
Schmitt's career longevity, success and enduring vitality to that
of iconic Mick Jagger's.
Schmitt bio on the Verve Artist page here!
of a Trustee Award at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006
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