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Jerry Wexler: Producer with a Fan's Passion

Sam Sutherland, High Fidelity, August 1978

ON A BLEAK, sunless afternoon, Jerry Wexler sits comfortably in the shadows of a recording studio control room, listening to the playback of a vocal take. As the tape stops, he leans over and speaks softly into the talk-back mike that links him to the singer. Although he has just two hours left in which to complete two more songs, he discusses the performance at hand in a calm, reassuring tone. He questions the pitch of one line, approves the feel but not the scansion of another, and asks for suggestions for revising the phrasing of a third. Long before his criticism can hint at impatience, he lightens the mood with an affectionate, appropriately musical joke. This triggers delighted giggles from the singer, though the reference to late '40s R&B vocalist Al Hibbler baffles the two young engineers seated beside him at the recording console.

Total word count of piece: 2417


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