Friday, 29 August 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

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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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