Dedicated jazz fans are no doubt aware of the names of the music’s finest producers, but they’re probably far less knowledgeable as to what jazz recording production actually entails. A new book by author and academic Michael Jarrett, Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums From Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall (The University of North Carolina Press), attempts to address that question through a vast, chronologically arranged collection of interviews. The answer, as explained by studio icons like George Avakian, Creed Taylor, Teo Macero, Bob Thiele and Bill Laswell, among others, is that a producer does everything. Throughout the course of a single LP, he or she can act as a financier, arranger, psychologist, surrogate spouse or sibling, yes-man, rehearsal musician or, most likely, some combination of all of the above. To illustrate this point, and for the sake of continuity, we’ve excerpted a few of the interviews with producer John Snyder, the force behind A&M’s Horizon imprint and his own Artists House label.
RED CLAY (1970, CTI)