Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Review: Phil Raimone's "Making Records: The Scenes Behind The Music" .

Phil Ramone
What do Sinatra, Streisand, Dylan, Pavarotti, McCartnery, Sting, Madonna, Joel, Simon, Minnelli, Estefan, Previn, Manilow, Mathis, Bennett, John, Bolton, Stewart, Charles, and Chicago all have in common besides their supper-stardom?  They have all asked Phil Ramone to work with them on either new CD's or live performances. Not a shabby list of clients, Phil!  Stay at it, I'm sure you can find success one day!

In 1993, when the first "Duets" CD was released by Sinatra, it quickly became my favorite CD.  I just loved the way Sinatra sounds singing his great songs with other great singers.  Then, when I found out that each singer was recorded separately and then combined into the final product, I was floored. Then "Duets II" came out in 1994 and it too became one of my favorite CD's. In 2001 Tony Bennett released; "Playin with My Friends" and again I added it to my all time favorite CD list. In 2005 Ray Charles released:"Genius & Friends and then in 2006, Tony Bennett released his "Duets" CD. All through this period, my focus was on the performer and the product, and I really never gave any thought to the producer of these records until one day for a reason I can't remember, I decided to check and see who the producers were.  It wasn't producers. It was one unbelievably talented producer, Phil Ramone.  So I went to the web to check out Phil Ramone, and I saw that he had published a book that was sort of his musical biography in 2007.

I would like to start the review of this book by saying that Phil's book should be absolutely required reading by any musical performer, any performer even thinking about cutting a CD, and anyone else who considers music more than a casual form of entertainment.  I believe most music lovers have interest in details about the records they love. I will let Phil's words tell the story and answer the questions most music lovers ask: "Who wrote the song, and why did the artist choose to perform it? Why was it done in a particular style? When, where and how was it recorded? What decisions went into building the mix? The answers to these questions are what I live for, and I'm grateful that people are fascinated by the magic behind what we as engineers and producers do." In "Making Records" you will get the answers to these questions and so much more.  Phil will bring you inside the recording studio and inside the mind and soul of many of the greatest singers of our time. "Great records aren't recorded. They're mixed." In chapter 16 or as Phil writes, Track 16, "It's All In The Mix" Phil takes us deep into the recording studio and describes in great detail how some great songs that we all know and love were born from start to finish.  If Phil was in a class room and just telling us about sound engineering theory this would be hard to get through but Phil is talking about the making of great recordings that we have experience. We get into the studio to find out how it started and then evolved into great unforgettable music.

In the beginning "Overture" Phil discusses the entire recording process that got Sinatra into the recording studio again and the exciting ups and downs he had to navigate in order to produce the first "Duets" CD.  For any Sinatra fan, this opening part of the book is worth more than the price of the book.
Phil Ramone was won 14 Grammy Awards and 4 Honors from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and continues to pursue new projects every year. He deserved every single award he has received. When it comes to sound engineering and production of outstanding musical performance, "He The Man".
If you want to get a copy of the book, the best place I found was on Amazon.

Music Man Awards This Book "4 Quarter Notes"

4 Quarter Notes=  Excellent, Must Read
3 Quarter Notes=  Good Book
2 Quarter Notes=  Somewhat Interesting
1 Quarter Notes=  Save Your Time and Money

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