Phil Ramone: As Remembered By Family and Friends

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM

As Remembered By Family and Friends


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photo of Steve Genewick

Steve Genewick

Steve Genewick
I met Phil Ramone in 1994 when I was a young, asst engineer at Capitol Studios. On that day I became a fan of Phil the person, as well as the famous producer. In the years since, I had the honor of working with Phil on a number of great projects, and one of the things that always struck me, was his genuine love of “the studio hang”. No matter who you were, from the lowly runner, to the most famous artist on the planet, you were welcome to “hang” with Phil. To listen to the stories. To ask the questions, and always get an answer (and often times it took a while to get around to the answer). In a world where time is precious and sometimes very expensive, Phil always took the time to make everyone feel welcome, and part of the team.

photo of Chuck Ainlay

Chuck Ainlay

Chuck Ainlay
I remember being keenly aware of Phil Ramone, the legend when I first worked with him. He was co-producing with Tony Brown and I was engineering. I was scared s---less. Nothing I did sounded good to me but he sat down at the console, made a few balance changes, spoke with that delicious tone and from then on we began our friendship.

Forming the MPGA with Ed Cherney and then the METAlliance offered opportunities to get to know Phil. I will remain awe struck of The Man, a unique combination of musician, music producer, engineer and innovator.

photo of Bob Ludwig

Bob Ludwig

Bob Ludwig
"I was assisting Phil on a Count Basie big-band record he engineered. Back then, with limited input microphone channels, Phil used to record the 4 trumpets sitting in a circle around a single U-47 set to omni so they would self-balance the section. The producer loved it, raving that Phil used the best eq on trumpets of any engineer he had ever worked with. I asked Phil what he actually used, he said, "nothing". All flat!"

"From the day I met Phil to the day I last spoke to him I always loved the sound of his voice. Phil could talk to me about anything and I would just love hearing him speak. I've been playing podcasts of interviews with him lately just to hear his voice again."

photo of Leslie Ann Jones

Leslie Ann Jones

Leslie Ann Jones
My first recollection of Phil Ramone was working with him on Gloria Estefan's Christmas release in 1993. I was still working at Capitol at the time and an assistant on the project. I already had the good fortune of working with Phil's CBS contemporaries, Fred Catero and Roy Halee, but this after all WAS Phil Ramone. And it was my first experience of Phil's never ending quest to finding the newest technology to try, leading us all kicking and screaming as we learned together. This particular session included EDnet (still an emerging technology) between Capitol and Miami where Eric Shilling was standing by, and also the new Yamaha Digital console. The thing I remember most vividly about Phil (when I wasn't spinning plates trying to learn all the new technology), was how he was never "Phil Ramone". He was always so unassuming...just a great producer interacting with the artist and staff.

But unique to my relationship with Phil, was our Recording Academy service together. I served as Vice Chair when Phil was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1997. Actually I think Phil thought then he could just be "Phil Ramone", not having to do much other than chair the Board meetings. But in truth Phil took that job as seriously as he did making records. In addition to his busy studio schedule he travelled to many chapters talking to members, and he also served during some challenging times for the Academy. It was not a walk in the park. But thank goodness The Recording Academy had Phil at that time. His even temperament, a skill honed from working with great artists as an engineer and a producer, served him and us well. He served from 1997-1999, and later when I was elected Chair of the Board in 1999 he continued to serve as Chair Emeritus and his counsel to me was personally invaluable. I cherish my memories of Phil and the time we spent together. I will miss him more than I can say.

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