Decemeber 18, 2007
Grammy-winning record producer Joel Dorn dies
Producer Joel Dorn, who worked with many noted R&B, jazz and pop artists during his 40-year career, died Monday. He was 65.
LOS ANGELES (AP) â€” Joel Dorn, the Grammy-winning record producer who worked with Roberta Flack, Bette Midler, The Neville Brothers, Herbie Mann and numerous other jazz, R&B and pop musicians in a career spanning 40 years, has died at age 65.
He died Monday in New York of a heart attack, said Kevin Calabro of Hyena Records, a small independent jazz label Dorn founded.
Dorn won back-to-back Grammys for record of the year in 1972 and 1973 for the Roberta Flack hits The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Killing Me Softly With His Song.
He also produced such acclaimed recordings as Midler’s The Divine Miss M, The Allman Brothers Idlewild South and the Nevilles’ Fiyo On The Bayou.
He was likely best known within the industry, however, as one of the in-house producers for Ahmet Ertegun’s Atlantic Records, where he worked with such jazz greats as Mann, Les McCann, Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Brown Jr. and others.
“Joel bridged the worlds of jazz and pop with enormous skill and grace, never compromising the integrity of his artists and their music,” said Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman of Warner Music Group, whose subsidiary, Rhino Records, has reissued much of Atlantic’s jazz catalog under Dorn’s direction.
Born in Philadelphia on April 7, 1942, Dorn was still in his teens when he went to work as a disc jockey for a local jazz station. The job led to a friendship with Ertegun’s older brother, Nesuhi, who hired him at Atlantic in 1967.
In addition to his work with Rhino, Dorn also released archival recordings for the labels 32 Records, Night and M. For 32 Records he produced the popular 1998 compilation Jazz For a Rainy Afternoon.
At the time of his death he was working on a compilation of the work he did with Nesuhi Ertegun (Mister D: If I’m not mistaken, Bette will have a track on this CD) called Hommage ‘A Nesuhi.
“Even to his last day he was passionate about the music and the projects he was working on,” Calabro said. “He was the real deal.”
Dorn is survived by sons David, Michael and Adam and his longtime companion, Faye Rosen.