Recording engineer Al Schmitt talks about Bob Dylan’s “Shadows In The Night” (video)

Al Schmitt

..People broke down crying, listening to the record [Shadow In The Night], It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard Dylan do.
~Al Schmitt (

Here is a great interview with recording engineer on Bob Dylan’s “Shadows In The Night” – Al Schmitt.

First some info on Al Schmitt from wikipedia:

Birth name Albert Schmitt
Born Brooklyn, New York
United States
Occupation(s) Recording engineer, record producer
Years active 1957–present
Labels Capitol Records
Associated acts
  • Sam Cooke
  • Frank Sinatra
  • George Benson
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Quincy Jones

Albert Harry “Al” Schmitt is an American recording engineer and record producer. He has won 21 Grammy Awards for his work with Henry Mancini, Steely Dan, George Benson, Toto, Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, and others.


  • During his career Al has recorded and mixed more than 150 gold and platinum albums
  • Inducted into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame in 1997
  • 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 adition) 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.
  • In June of 2014, Schmitt won the Pensado Giant Award, which was awarded at the Pensado Awards at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, CA, hosted by Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick.
  • In September of 2014, Schmitt received an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.

The video:

Some quotes from the interview:

He would listen to the songs over and over and get Sinatra’s intention on what he was doing with the song. Then he would only do two or three takes on each tune, but he would make it his own. It had nothing to do with Sinatra. He’d just learn what the song was about and whatever. It was an interesting way to work.

He came in to the room,” Al Schmitt remembers, “and he started looking around and talking. He liked the acoustics. He said, ‘Boy, this one sounds really nice. Where would I be singing?’ I said, ‘Right where you’re standing.’ So, that’s where the mic went, the vocal mic. And then it was his band. We had an acoustic guitar, an upright bass, light brushes on the drums, an electric guitar and a steel guitar. No headphones, everybody around him. When he couldn’t hear enough of the rhythm guitar, we just moved him closer. Everything was live. … There was no tuning, and there was no fixing. Everything was what it was. That’s part of the charm of the record.

He didn’t want to see mics,except the mic that he was singing on, so all the mics were quite a distance from people [in the band]. It was really… unique. I had to use every bit of my 60 years of experience to try to figure out how to do this, and how to do it the right way. The acoustic bass mic was maybe eight feet from the bass, down and out of the way so he couldn’t see it. He could look at the bass player but couldn’t see the mic.

[Bob Dylan told Al Schmitt] I’ve never heard my voice sound this good before.

If anyone have a link to a transcript of the full interview.. please drop me an email or comment on this post.

– Egil

One thought on “Recording engineer Al Schmitt talks about Bob Dylan’s “Shadows In The Night” (video)”

  1. It brought me to tears as soon as I heard it…the sweetness and honesty in his voice was overwhelming. 😀

Comments are closed.