Al Schmitt

Al Schmitt
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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Al Schmitt
Music: East side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Recording Engineer
Born Albert Harry Schmitt on April 17, 1930 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Known for the lush, pristine sound of his recordings, Al Schmitt is one of the music industry's most respected engineers and producers. He's a Grammy-winning fixture on the Los Angeles studio scene with credits that date back more than 50 years and span numerous genres, from pop to country to jazz.

Schmitt was born in Brooklyn, where he learned about recording from his uncle, who put him to work when Schmitt was just 7 years old, he told Billboard.

Later, he honed his craft at a series of studios in New York before moving to L.A. in the late 1950s. Here, he became the first engineer hired by RCA and worked on projects by Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles, Ike & Tina Turner and Henry Mancini, including Mancini's Oscar-winning theme for "Breakfast at Tiffany's." RCA soon promoted him to producer, in which role he oversaw sessions by Sam Cooke and Jefferson Airplane.

By the early '70s, though, Schmitt had begun to miss engineering, so he returned to his first love; close collaborations with acts as varied as Steely Dan and Frank Sinatra followed. In recent years, Schmitt, who has received more than 20 Grammy Awards and often can be found at Capitol Studios in the heart of Hollywood, has worked with Paul McCartney, Diana Krall and Natalie Cole.

— Mikael Wood for The Los Angeles Times

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