Al 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 1950's Schmitt moved to Los Angeles and became a staff engineer at Radio Recorders on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. In the early 1960's 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.
In 1966 Schmitt left RCA and became an independent music 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 and 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 18 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 most Grammys won by an engineer or mixer in one night. He is also the only person to win both the Grammy and Latin Grammy for Album of the Year.
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