Friday, 29 August 2014

The Man Who Impacted The King of Pop (Part 4)

 Recording Engineer Extraordinaire over Four Decades



A career that has impacted Jazz, Pop,Blue, R&B and Soul to the Signature Sound of Michael Jackson.



Bruce has bridged the old and new generations of recording artists with wealth knowledge and experience from the 1950s into the 21st century and is also known as the godfather of recording industry, working with Nat King Cole during the late 1950s and early 1960s. By the following decade he was working with the legend’s daughter Natalie Cole on her gold and platinum recordings.”


Bruce Swedien and Quincy Jones in the recording studio.
He was involved in the recording and mixing of many of Quincy Jones’ multi-platinums and multi-grammy-award-winning projects, such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (1982), ”Bad” (1987) and ”Dangerous” (1991). He also engineered for Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, in particular on the album “Donna Summer”, featuring “Love in Control (Finger on the Trigger)” in 1982, and finally George Benson (“Give Me the Night” 1980). Quincy’s Qwest Records roster of artist included Patti Austin, whose album “Every Home Should Have One” featured the single “Baby, Come to Me”, USA number one on the Billboard Pop chart listings for two weeks, 19th February to 26th February 1983 with James Ingram on duet.

The album achieved gold certification from RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) on 1st March 1983. Bruce sound engineered two gold certified album projects for James Ingram entitled “It Your Right” (1984) and “The Power of Great Music”(2001). James also received a Grammy award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male at the 1984 – 24th Awards Annual Grammy ceremony for the song “One Hundred Ways” and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal with Michael McDonald at the 1984- 27th Awards Annual Grammy ceremony for the song “Yah Mo B There”. Both songs were engineered of couse by Swedien.

Since the turn of the new century he has worked on several multi-platinum recording projects, in particular Michael Jackson’s “Invincible” album in his capacity of sound engineer. This album has sold an estimated 8 million copies worldwide, having been originally released in October 2001 and achieving number one on both the UK and USA Pop album charts. As the century progresses, he continues to work with such diverse artist as pop diva Jennifer Lopez on two of her recent studio albums. The first, released in 2003, was “This Is Me….Then”, certified multi-platinum for 2 million copies sold in the USA and then “Rebirth”, released in 2005, which achieved platinum levels for 1.6 million copies sold in the USA according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Many of the artists that Bruce has worked with were not born when he started his career as a sound engineer during the early to mid 1950s.”


                                   Researched and compiled by               
                                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   
                                  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline2013-2014

The Man Who Impacted The King of Pop (Part 3)

Recording Engineer Extraordinaire over Four Decades



A career that has impacted Jazz, Pop,Blue, R&B and Soul to the Signature Sound of Michael Jackson.

 Bruce also collaborated with another person who gave creative support to Calvin in the early years. This was Al Smith, the leader of the house band at VeeJay from 1954 to 1959. Al was responsible for rehearsing and preparing VeeJay acts for recording sessions; on many occasions he held rehearsals at his home. Under the leadership of bassist Al Smith a powerful and dynamic studio band was established in 1954 which created many of the early hits, such as “At My Front Door” by The El Dorados, released in1955, which made it to R&B and Soul number 2 on the Billboard chart single listing. This single became the first entry into the national Pop charts for the label.

The rhythm section usually had a main core consisting of veteran Chicago musician Quinn B. Wilson (bass), William “Lefty”Bates (guitar), with Paul Gusman, Vernel Fournier, and Alrock “Al” Duncan sharing drum duties. The piano parts were mainly handled by Horace Palm and Norman Simmons, with James “Red” Hollway playing the tenor saxophone and McKinley “Mac” Easton on baritone saxophone. Al and his musicians participated on approximately one fifth of the recordings released by VeeJay from 1954 to 1959. The recordings were always conducted at the Universal Studios on Chicago North Side.

The studio band did between three and six sessions in a day. Al Smith and his band were so excellent that several other local labels hired them to improve the quality of their recordings, including labels such as Chance, Parrot and United/States. These are now-defunct labels that once operated in Chicago during the 1950s.

Carl Davis. The master mind behind Brunswick Records
great successes during the 1960s and 1970s
Bruce Swedien was the main recording engineer on most of the singles and albums released by Brunswick Records. With the talents of Bruce Swedien as engineer and Carl Davis as producer, with arrangers and producers Willie Henderson, Sonny Sanders and Tom Tom Washington, Brunswick Records sold millions of records between the late nineteen sixties and the early nineteen seventies. In the late ’60s, Swedien became a freelance recording engineer so that he could do more album projects and work on film soundtracks. It was in this way that he began working for producer Carl Davis, head of the Chicago branch of New York-based Brunswick Records. While there he engineered hits by The Lost Generation (“Sly, Slick & the Wicked,” a number 14 R&B hit in the summer of 1970 which features some startling pre-sampling effects),The Chi-Lites (“Have You Seen Her,” number one R&B and Soul  for two weeks, number three pop, late 1971; “Oh Girl,” number one R&Band Soul and also  two weeks, at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles Chart (Pop Singles Chart) , summer 1972; “A Letter to Myself,” number three R&B and Soul , early 1973; “Stoned out of Mind,” number two R&B and Soul  summer 1973), All the remaining hits were listed on Billboard Singles Chart listings. Swedien had great success while conducting sound engineer for Jackie Wilson,Barbara Acklin , and other Brunswick acts.



                                   Researched and compiled by               
                                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   
                                  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline2013-2014
                                  

The Man Who Impacted The King of Pop (Part2)

Recording Engineer Extraordinaire over Four Decades


A career that has impacted Jazz, Pop,Blue, R&B and Soul to the Signature Sound of Michael Jackson.

Curtis Mayfield produced "The Monkey Time" with 
Bruce Swedien as sound engineer on the classic hit recording.
Bruce was also involved in the recording process of many classic soul recordings that emerged from Chicago when that particular genre began to explode on the local and international stage. He had a keen understanding of how soul music should be expressed in terms of sound. One of his early recording sessions behind the board was with a young up-and-coming soul genius by the name of Curtis Mayfield, one of the key architects of the Chicago Soul Sound. At these sessions were key individuals such as the legendary arranger and producer Johnny Pate, who was responsible for the majority of Curtis Mayfield’s classic hit records over a fifteen year period and played a significant part in the success of Major Lance, whose second Okeh Records recording, “The Monkey Time”, sold over one million copies. It was written and produced by Mayfield and engineered by Swedien.

Four Seasons. The group first four million selling 
records were sound engineered by Bruce Swedien.
Swedien’s first major success was engineering Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ gold record “Big Girls Don’t Cry” on VeeJay Records, which stayed at number one on the Billboard R&B and  Soul Singles Chart and also  three weeks at  number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Pop Chart for five weeks in 1962.

When Bruce was sound engineering recording projects for VeeJay Records at Universal Recording Studios, Calvin Carter was the label’s A&R man and principal producer. Although Calvin was the main producer at the label, he conducted each recording session with a collective approach, involving arrangers, background singers and studio musicians, to obtain the best results. With the support of Bruce and fellow colleagues, Calvin developed a tremendous feeling for outstanding vocal harmonies and how to achieve the sounds he wanted. The band worked with him to get the best sound, with particular input from Lefty Bates on guitar and Red Holloway, as designated tenor saxophonist and joint arranger.



                                   Researched and compiled by               
                                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   
                                  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline2013-2014

The Man Who Impacted The King of Pop (Part1)

Recording Engineer Extraordinaire over Four Decades

A career that has impacted Jazz, Pop,Blue, R&B and Soul to the Signature Sound of Michael Jackson.




Bruce Swedien
Bruce was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1934 to Scandinavian parents. His mother was a member of the Minneapolis Symphony Women’s chorus, which had a strong influence on his choice of career in the music industry. His passion for music developed, as he listened to the powerful and soulful sounds coming out of a black church in the neighbourhood where he grew up. By the time he graduated from high school, Swedien had purchased a professional tape recorder and used the equipment during his spare time from the the University of Minnesota to record jazz groups, radio commercials and vocal groups such as choirs.

Quincy Jones
 He was mentored and trained by the father of modern recording Bill Putnam, the founder of the world famous Universal Recording Studios in Chicago where Bruce developed his engineering skills to great effect and made himself a key figure in the evolution of sound recording from mono to digital recordings. Putnam passed the baton during actual recording sessions with the great Stan Kenton. With his new-found success, Bruce’s client base increased to significant levels and included working with two jazz legends, the late Duke Ellington, on a couple of albums and Count Basie and his band, which featured Joe Williams, on “The Nighttime Is the Right Time”. During this period Bruce started a long-term creative relationship with Quincy Jones, beginning in the late 1950s when Quincy was vice-president at Mercury Records, the first black man to be a top executive for a major label.

As a result of his links with Quincy Jones, Bruce participated in engineering projects with jazz greats such as Sarah Vaughan and Oscar Peterson on the Mercury/Verve label based in Chicago. His first significant project with Quincy was Dinah Washington’s “What a Different a Day Makes”, using the latest technology available at the time. He also recorded standards with Nat Cole King and Patti Page, under the supervision of Putnam before he went solo as an engineer. Bruce became a key player in the development of the Blues sound which arrived in Chicago from the Mississippi Delta, brought by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed and others



                                   Researched and compiled by               
                                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   
                                  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline2013-2014

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Quinton Joseph (Part 6)



"The R&B and Soul Music Drummer with a Signature Touch"



 The Philadelphia Years:


This album was LaBelle's first Grammy 
Award winning project
In the following decade of the 1990s, Joseph stayed busy working on many projects with Gamble and Huff music organisation. His first major recording project was the late Phyllis Hyman album “Prime Of Life” which obtained near gold sales in North America , he also played on the track “When I Give My Love (This Time)” . 

The album was released in 1991. During that same year he played drums on the legendary Patti LaBelle's gold certified  album “Burin’ a Grammy Award winning project for LaBelle in 1992.                   .

 In 1993 he reunited with the late Teddy Pendergrass on his “A Little More Magic” album playing both as a percussionist  and drummer  on the  track “I’m Always Thinking Of You”, co-producer by Pendergrass and his long  time producer Leon Huff while he was signed at PIR (Philadelphia International Records).
Joseph last major contribution as a drummer was on The Five Blind Boys of Alabama album released in 2003 on Philadelphia International Records, with the title track co-produced by Gamble and Huff with drums played by Joseph. The album was a landmark recording using a more up to date Post-Philadelphia Soul signature sound with great results . 

The album featured many of the old Philadelphia Soul Sound musicians and composers such as Dexter Wansel, Jack Faith, Leon Huff and also sound engineer Mike Taria the son of Joe Taria the sound engineer during the gold era of “The Sound of Philadelphia” during the 1970s.
Quinton Joseph definitely will go down in music history as one of the most successful Soul and R&B drummer to emerge out the Chicago soul and R&B era. His credits listed over a five decades period with outstanding results from to the “Windy City” of Chicago all the way to the city of the Philadelphia also known as the city of “Brotherly Love”.



                                   Researched and compiled by               
                                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   
                                  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline2013-2014

                                     

About Me

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Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

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