At the Village Recording Studios, from left: The Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, Quincy Jones, Al Schmitt, and P&E Wing Senior Executive Director Maureen Droney.
Photo: WireImage.com/Mark Sullivan
To kick off Grammy Week, on February 6, 2013, the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing held "An Evening of Jazz" at the Village Recording Studios in West Los Angeles to honor the creative and engineering contributions of Grammy Award winners Quincy Jones and Al Schmitt. Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow bestowed the prestigious President's Merit Award on Jones and Schmitt. P&E Wing Senior Executive Director Maureen Droney and the Village CEO Jeff Greenberg served as the evening's emcees.
Presenters onstage included Portnow, producer and Recording Academy Chair Emeritus Jimmy Jam, along with producers/engineers Ed Cherney (a Grammy Award winner), Mike Clink and James McKinney.
Among the estimated 700 attendees were Grammy Award winners Patti Austin, Anita Baker, George Benson, Siedah Garrett, Shelby Lynne, Marcus Miller, Arturo Sandoval, and will.i.am, as well as Mindi Abair, bassist Nathan East, Grammy Award nominee Ledisi, Recording Academy Chair George J. Flanigen IV, members of the Producers & Engineers Wing, and other artists, producers, and music industry figures.
In his acceptance speech, Jones said, "You have blown me away tonight," and urged music professionals to travel and experience the world, and to incorporate those experiences into their work to make music a truly global art.
Portnow introduced Schmitt as someone "whose character is as stellar as his engineering, and that speaks to the longevity of his career. Giving back to our community is simply part of who Al is."
Schmitt recalled how producer/engineer and P&E Wing Steering Committee member Cherney asked him more than a decade ago to be the first to sign onto the nascent Music Producers Guild of America, the organization that eventually became the foundation of today's P&E Wing. "I was so honored that Ed would ask me to be the first," Schmitt said.
The event covered other aspects of the P&E Wing's mission, including advocacy for the proper crediting of recording professionals. Clink also pointed out the recent establishment of 'Quality Sound Matters,' a joint effort by the P&E Wing and the Consumer Electronics Association to promote appreciation among consumers for higher sonic quality. Clink also reminded the gathering of the other advocacy work that P&E Wing members have collaborated on, including appearances before sessions of Congress.
"The annual P&E Wing event continues to be the signature moment of the year for the professionals who set the stage for music artists," says Droney. "It's meant to honor the incredible work and talent of audio professionals and, with the launch of the new Quality Sound Matters initiative, to act as a guiding light for the direction of the quality of sound."
Premiere sponsors of the event included Astell & Kern, Avid, DTS, Harman Professional brands, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, Louisiana Entertainment Commission, Music Marketing, PMC Ltd., PreSonus, Shure Incorporated and Ultimate Ears by Logitech, with additional participation by a wide array of other leading audio brands.