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
Although he was well-known in the recording industry, Tom Dowd's obituary rated only 712 words in The New York Times, and not much more than that in Rolling Stone Magazine, although Rolling Stone published a picture with it.
Few people outside the recording industry know much about what is shown in this documentary. However, Dowd's impact on the industry affected millions of fans of Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, and Phil Ramone. All of those artists appear in this documentary.
Dowd also recorded a host of others. The discography on the documentary's website, www.thelanguageofmusic.com, is huge.
In February, 2002, Dowd received a Grammy for his services to the recording industry. Eric Clapton said Dowd had encouraged him to realize "what my skills were." This documentary is supposed to fix the problem of Dowd's relative obscurity. Everyone who worked on it had the best of intentions. Dowd's smiling face and buoyant disposition are amiably represented. But in the end, the documentary leaves out a lot of interesting stuff, in order to keep the audience from getting bored. Also, the rhythm is off. Time and place seem to shift out from under the viewer.
Don't get me wrong, this is a documentary well worth watching. The music is GREAT! Just be prepared, after it's over, to want more.
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