A documentary about Tom Dowd, who was an innovative recording engineer and producer of noted albums with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and many others.
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If you picked some of the all-time great albums in American rock, soul, and jazz, chances are one name might be found on the back of almost every one: Tom Dowd--the secret behind five decades of brilliant music, an unsung hero, producer and recording pioneer. From the perfection of live mixing to the introduction of eight-track recording, the mythology of exactly how much impact Dowd has had is still up for grabs. His diverse and genuine love of work is remembered in part through intimate interviews with several musical icons and personal friends. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Tom Dowd's influence on American popular music can't be exaggerated. As the main recording engineer at Atlantic Records, he worked with a wide range of musicians in many different genres, including jazz, soul, rock, and blues. How much you enjoy this documentary may depend on how interested you are in the music of the late 20th century, though my disinterest in and dislike of the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Bands hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for the film. There's some great footage of Aretha Franklin in the studio and some stunning excerpts from the Stax/Volt European tour of 1967, plus enlightening interviews with Atlantic execs Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the film is the amount of time spent on Dowd's teenage years spent working on the Manhattan Project, but director Mark Moormann manages to make it an integral and important part of this tribute to a wonderful and talented human being.
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