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    Interview: Albert Maysles (Part 1)

    JazzWax

    Forty years ago on December 5, Albert Maysles' Gimme Screen shot 2010-11-15 at 8.58.46 PM Shelter was released. The searing documentary about the last leg of the Rolling Stones 1969 tour culminated with the group's concert appearance at the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco. Today, in my Wall Street Journal article here, Albert, 83, talks with me about the film that accidentally captured the Love Generation's dark side, gave the Stones their bad-boy image and set new artistic standards for the rock-umentary. [Pictured from left: David and Albert Maysles in the 1970s]

    Helen Merrill: Dream of You

    JazzWax

    One of the finest jazz vocal albums of the 1950s is Helen Images Merrill's Dream of You. Recorded over the course of three days in July 1956 for EmArcy, the session paired Helen with arranger Gil Evans nearly a year before his first majestic session with trumpeter Miles Davis. Helen's Dream of You isn't a typical jazz-vocal recording of the period, where a singer belts out a set of American Songbook tunes backed by a bouncy band. Instead, what you have here is a true artistic duet—with Helen delivering deeply passionate readings of offbeat songs as Evans' jagged orchestrations lap at the lyrics and at times wash right over them.

    Interview: Phil Ramone (Part 4)

    JazzWax

    In 1967, Phil Ramone began engineering Ramone a string of Dionne Warwick's hits by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. If Bacharach and David were America's equivalent of Lennon and McCartney (perhaps even bigger by some accounts), then Phil was akin to George Martin. But unlike the Beatles, there was no overdubbing. Instead, everything was recorded at once, and Phil had to deal with immediacy and nuance. Bacharach's music was complex, requiring careful miking to capture not only the dramatic string and horn parts but also the powerful vocal and intimate rhythm section. [Illustration by Rob Kelly]

    Interview: Phil Ramone (Part 3)

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    JazzWax

    Recording engineer and producer Phil Ramone had three things going for him when he set up A&R Recording in 1959. First, he was a trained classical musician who could hear what most of his peers could not. Second, he was passionate about making records that sounded more vivid and dynamic than everything else on the market. And third, he was fortunate to have come in contact with the right people at just the right time—notably Atlantic's recording engineer Tom Dowd and producers Quincy Jones and Creed Taylor. [Photo by Dave Allocca]

    Interview: Phil Ramone (Part 2)

    JazzWax

    Smaller_Cropped_Phil_RamoneBack in the late 1950s, New York was peppered with recording  studios. Most were on the West Side of Manhattan, between 39th and 58th streets—within striking distance of the Brill Building on Broadway, the television networks on Sixth Ave. and record distributors on 8th and 9th avenues. When Phil Ramone began his career as a recording engineer, he learned the ropes at JAC Recording, which was in the heart of what was still the city's nightclub and entertainer-hangout district.

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