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Al Schmitt is a recording engineer and record producer.
Schmitt grew up in New York City. After serving in the U.S. Navy he began working at Apex Recording Studios at the age of 19. In the late 1950s Schmitt moved to Los Angeles and became a staff engineer at Radio Recorders on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. In the early 1960s he moved to RCA in Hollywood as a staff engineer. While at RCA he engineered albums for Henry Mancini, Cal Tjader, Al Hirt, Rosemary Clooney, Liverpool Five, The Astronauts, Sam Cooke ("Bring It on Home to Me," "Cupid," "Another Saturday Night") in 1961. He also did a lot of motion-picture scoring work for Alex North and Elmer Bernstein.
From the mid-60s to present
In 1966 Schmitt left RCA and became an independent producer. He produced albums for Jefferson Airplane, Eddie Fisher, Glenn Yarborough, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. In the mid 70's he began spending more time engineering again, recording and mixing artists from Willy DeVille to Dr. John.
Other career highlights include engineering both Frank Sinatra Duets albums, Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company and some of Diana Krall's albums. Much of his work in the last few years has been with producer Tommy LiPuma.
During his career Al has recorded and mixed more than 150 gold and platinum albums and was inducted into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame in 1997, and received the Grammy Trustees Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. As a member of The Recording Academy's Los Angeles Chapter, Al served several terms on The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. He has won a total of 19 Grammy Awards, more than any other engineer or mixer. In addition he was awarded two Latin Grammy Awards in 2000 including Album of the Year. In 2005 he won five Grammys for his work on Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company including Album of the Year, setting the record most Grammys won by an engineer or mixer in one night. He was also the first person to win both the Grammy and Latin Grammy for Album of the Year.
The Schmitt-engineered song "Moon River" and its associated album won two Grammy awards in 1961 as well as an Academy Award for Best Song with its appearance in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Schmitt won his first Grammy in 1963 specifically for engineering the Hatari! soundtrack by Henry Mancini.
List of Grammy Awards received by Al Schmitt
|1962||Best Engineering Contribution – Other Than Novelty And Other Than Classical||Hatari|
|1976||Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical||Breezin'||George Benson|
|1977||Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical||Aja||Steely Dan|
|1978||Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical||"FM (No Static at All)"||Steely Dan|
|1982||Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical||Toto IV||Toto|
|1991||Best Engineered Album – Non-Classical||Unforgettable… with Love||Natalie Cole|
|1996||Best Engineered Album – Non-Classical||Q's Jook Joint||Quincy Jones|
|1999||Best Engineered Album – Non-Classical||When I Look in Your Eyes||Diana Krall|
|2000||Album of the Year||Amarte Es Un Placer||Luis Miguel|
|Pop Album||Amarte Es Un Placer||Luis Miguel|
|2001||Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical||The Look of Love||Diana Krall|
|2002||Best Jazz Vocal Album||Live in Paris||Diana Krall|
|2004||Best Surround Sound Album||Genius Loves Company||Ray Charles|
|Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical||Genius Loves Company||Ray Charles|
|Best Pop Vocal Album||Genius Loves Company||Ray Charles|
|Album of the Year||Genius Loves Company||Ray Charles|
|Record of the Year||"Here We Go Again"||Norah Jones & Ray Charles|
|2006||Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group||The Ultimate Adventure||Chick Corea|
|2008||Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album||Still Unforgettable||Natalie Cole|
|2010||Best Jazz Vocal Album||Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater||Dee Dee Bridgewater|
|2012||Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album||Kisses on the Bottom||Paul McCartney|