Producer Joel Dorn, 1942-2007

Dec 18, 2007 3:37 PM


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photo of Joel Dorn

Mix is saddened to report the passing of jazz/R&B producer Joel Dorn (pictured), who died on December 17 of a heart attack. Dorn’s numerous accomplishments as a producer—too many to list here—all stemmed from his great love of music, and a burning desire to share great recordings.

Dorn’s career spanned more than 35 years, beginning with work as a radio DJ and then as Nesuhi Ertegun’s assistant at Atlantic Records. While with Atlantic, Dorn produced seminal albums by Keith Jarrett and Gary Burton, Bette Midler and Roberta Flack. He won a Grammy for the Jarrett/Burton release, and consecutive Grammys in the category of Record of the Year for Flack’s singles “Killing Me Softly” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

After leaving Atlantic in the mid-’70s, Dorn went on to work with a tremendously diverse list of artists, including the Neville Brothers, Leon Redbone, Lou Rawls and Asleep at the Wheel. By the mid-’80s, Dorn had accumulated a lifetime’s worth of Gold and Platinum albums, and more Grammy Awards, including the Best County and Western Instrumental award for Asleep at the Wheel’s “One O’Clock Jump.”

In the CD era, Dorn devoted much of his time to reissue work, releasing on labels that he founded (Night, 32 Records, Label M, Hyena), as well as for GRP, Columbia and Rhino. His 13-CD production of Atlantic jazz recordings showcased the breadth of his talent and knowledge of the genre. He received a Grammy nomination for The Heavyweight Champion, a seven-disc collection of John Coltrane’s works.

Representatives of Dorn’s current venture, Hyena Records, report that at the time of his death, Dorn was completing a five-CD box set for Rhino Handmade entitled Homage A Nesuhi—a tribute to Nesuhi Ertegun and their years together at Atlantic. He was also the voice of Sirius Satellite Radio's Pure Jazz channel.

Hyena Records' Website is

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