Home Music Al Schmidt, Maestro of Recorded Sound, is Dead at 91

Al Schmidt, Maestro of Recorded Sound, is Dead at 91


Al Smit, who as a boy Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters recorded music in his uncle’s studio, and who became a Grammy Award-winning engineer for a long roster of artists including Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ray. Charles and Diana kraal, Died Monday at her home in Bell Canyon, California. He was 91 years old.

His death was confirmed by his wife Lisa Shamit.

For more than 60 years, Mr. Schmidt made a song great for his engineering and collaborating with dozens of musicians and singers. He was noted for his ability to make subtle but significant changes during a recording session.

Mr. Schmidt’s gentle, informed guidance was an essential, essential element from the back of the recording console in 15 of Ms. Schult’s studio albums.

“This is how he heard things,” she said by phone. “Sometimes he would adjust the mic a bit or put his hand on my shoulder and say, ‘It’s OK.’ I don’t know if he was accommodating Mike or me. “

Recording at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, he said, “Al will say, ‘Why don’t we bring Frank Travel Mal?” And you will do the best work in your life. “

Mr. Schmidt, whose engineering credits also included Sinatra’s popular “duet” album in the 1990s, Win 20 gramsMost for one engineer, and two Latin Grammys. He also won the Trustees Award for lifetime achievement from the Recording Academy in 2006.

In 2005, Mr. Shamit’s contribution to Ray Charles’ own duet album, “Genius loves company” Brought him five grams. (He shared the four-year record for the album of the year, the best pop singing album and the best engineered album – with others; one – for the best surround-sound album – he won on his own.)

As an occasional producer, his credits include Sam Kook, Eddie Fisher, Al Jararu, Jackson Browne and most notably Jefferson Airplane Albums. In his autobiography, “Al Schmidt on the Record: The Magic Behind the Music” (2018), he described the jovial atmosphere during the recording of the airplane album “After Bathing in Baxter” In 1967.

“They would come to the studio on a motorcycle,” he wrote, “and they were getting higher all the time. They had a nitrous oxide tank installed in the studio, they used to rotate joints all night, and there was a lot of celery. . “Despite those hurdles,” After Bath in Baxter “was well received, and Mr. Schmidt went on to produce the group’s next three albums.

A bad atmosphere existed in 2015, when Mr. Schmidt introduced “Shadows in the Night,” the lyrics associated with Mr. Dylan’s Frank Sinatra. Between sessions for more than three weeks, he heard about Mr. Dylan’s younger player singing Sinatra’s songs he was about to record.

Mr. Schmidt recalled that they were not trying to do each song “in the same way” that Sinatra did “but to get an idea of ​​the interpretation” He told Sound on Sound In the magazine 2015. “We’ll talk about it for a few hours about how we’re going to sing.”

He said he was initially unsure whether Mr. Dylan, who produced the album under the name Jack Frost, could sing Sinatra standards, but was thrilled by the speakers from the start.

“If there was something wrong, it didn’t matter because his soul was there and he opened the song and laid barefoot,” she told “Sound on Sound”. “He also wanted people to experience exactly what was recorded, so there was no studio magic or fixing or turning things or moving things around.”

Albert Harry Schmidt was born on April 17, 1930 in Brooklyn. His father, also named Albert, built PT Boats at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and later worked for a printing company and a record processing plant. His mother, Abigail (Clarke) Schmidt, was a housewife.

At his uncle Harry Smith’s recording studio in Manhattan, Al discovers his future.

“I loved my mother and father, but life with Uncle Harry was glamorous,” Mr. Shamit wrote in his autobiography. (His uncle changed his surname from Schmidt.)

At first his father took him to the studio over the weekend. But by the age of 8, Al was taking the metro on his own. He made the revelation by listening to Crosby, asked by Orton Wells if he believed in the Martians (soon in “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast of Wales’ nation-riots) and by his uncle and his close bars. Is being taken for Friend Les Paul.

His uncle hired Al to work – set up chairs for a big band, cleaning the cable. And Al learned about the musicians’ proper location in the one-microphone studio there.

After Mr. Schmidt was discharged from the Navy in 1950, his uncle helped him get a job as a trainee engineer at Apex Studios in Manhattan. He had been working there for three months, yet was not sure of his abilities, when he lived alone in the studio on Saturday. With Mr. Ellington’s father, Duke, he was stopped when members of Mercer Ellington’s big band arrived.

Fearing the conclusion of the session, he obtained a notebook with a picture of how to set up the seating and how to install the microphone. He apologized to Duke Ellington.

“I’m sorry, this is a big mistake,” he said while telling her. “I am not qualified to do so.”

“Okay,” Ellington said, “Don’t worry, son. The setup looks fine and the musicians are out.”

For more than three hours, Mr. Schmidt said, he successfully recorded four songs.

Mr. Schmidt worked at other studios in Manhattan, where Elvis Presley recorded “Jailhouse Rock” before moving west to join radio recorders in Los Angeles in 1958 and Mr. Schmidt in 1961, both iconic albums Was the engineer of “Ray Charles”. Breakfast in the soundtrack to Betty Carter “and Henry Mancini’s” Tiffany.

Mr. Schmidt was nominated for a Grammy for “Breakfast at Tiffany”, but did not win. The following year she came to work on Manini’s score for her first Grammy film, “Hatari”. (He was also nominated for that year “Chipmunk Songbook,” By Alvin and the Chipmunks.)

After five years at Radio Recorders, Mr. Shmit was hired by RCA Studios, where he moved into production. He left RCA after three years to become an independent engineer and producer.

Those years were his busiest as an engineer. In 2018, during an interview “Place of Pensado,” An online series about audio engineering, he recalled a two-day period.

“From 9 to 12 I did Ike and Tina and Ikettes; We’ll take a break, and from 2 to 5 i’ll Gogi Grant, A singer with a big band, and that night I was performing Henry Mancini with a big orchestra. The next day, Bobby Naked, a country record, and then a polka record.

“I hatred Polka music, “he said,” but what I would focus on was getting the best Accordian sound that nobody ever heard. “

Mr. Schmidt continued to work until recently, making the voices of artists well-versed in the digital age. His most recent Grammy, in 2014, was for Mr. McCartney’s DVD “Live Kisses.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Schmidt is survived by his daughter Karen Schmidt; His sons, Al Jr., Christopher, Stephen and Nick; Eight grandchildren; Five great-grandchildren; His sister, Doris Metz; And his brothers, Russell and Richie. Their last three marriages ended in divorce.

In 2015, Mr. Schmidt received A star on the hollywood walk of fame.

Speaking at the unveiling of that star, the record producer Was don Said that Steve miller Recently gave him many new songs.

“I listened for a minute and I said, ‘Did Al Shamit record this?” “Mr. Said. He said,” I was very upset and said, “How did you know? I said, ‘because your vocals were better than before, I never heard them before.’ ‘

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