Al Schmitt, Maestro of Recorded Sound, Is Dead at 91


    Al Schmitt, Maestro of Recorded Sound, Is Dead at 91

    While recording at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, she added, “Al would say, ‘Why don’t we bring out the Frank Sinatra stool?’ And you’d do the best take in your life.”

    Mr. Schmitt, whose engineering credits also included Sinatra’s popular “Duets” albums in the 1990s, won 20 Grammys, the most ever for an engineer, and two Latin Grammys. He also won a Trustees Award for lifetime achievement from the Recording Academy in 2006.

    In 2005, Mr. Schmitt’s contributions to Ray Charles’s own duets album, “Genius Loves Company,” brought him five Grammys. (He shared four with others, for album of the year, record of the year, best pop vocal album and best engineered album. One of the five, for best surround-sound album, he won on his own.)

    As an occasional producer, his credits include albums by Sam Cooke, Eddie Fisher, Al Jarreau, Jackson Browne and, most notably, Jefferson Airplane. In his autobiography, “Al Schmitt on the Record: The Magic Behind the Music” (2018), he described the zoolike atmosphere during the recording of the Airplane’s album “After Bathing at Baxter’s” in 1967.

    “They would come riding into the studio on motorcycles,” he wrote, “and they were getting high all the time. They had a nitrous oxide tank set up in the studio, they’d be rolling joints all night, and there was a lot of cocaine.” In spite of those obstacles, “After Bathing at Baxter’s” was well received, and Mr. Schmitt went on to produce the group’s next three albums.

    Published at Fri, 30 Apr 2021 21:12:16 +0000

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