Interview SummaryBorn in 1922, Albam got his start in music playing the saxophone at age 14. Having graduated early from high school at the age of 16, he immediately took his passion for music out on the road. Immediately he began touring with jazz bands who played for artists like Mugsie Spanier and Dizzy Gillespie. After years of touring and being on the road, in 1951 Albam took time to take a break and focus on honing his skills as a composer. Being self taught proved a level of difficulty; as he was becoming very clear about what the requirements were for what he calls "studio guys" and touring musicians. As a composer, he broke into the field working with musicians in Webster Hall, Pythian Temple, Columbia Records and RCA Records.
Manny Albam talks about some of the recording studios he worked at during the 1950s, as well as other studios around New York City including Liederkranz Hall, Pythian Temple, and 30th Street Church. He tells a story about recording during a blizzard. Albam talks about how the advent of multi-track recording and rock & roll changed the recording process. He talks about how it made recording times shorter but post-mixing times longer. He talks about untrained musicians taking longer to record.
Albam talks about some of the studios he remembers, including Nola, A&R, and Clinton. He talks about several engineers he worked with throughout his career, including Rudy Van Gelder, Phil Ramone, Walter Sear, and Bob Fine, among others. Albam discusses his ideal environment for collaboration, as well as the importance of friendly dispositions and a willingness to engage. In this segment, he also discusses the type of collaboration and character that one has to have when making the best product. Along with environments conducive to collaboration, Albam reflects on his most grueling sessions and projects, including West Side Story, as well as his most rewarding ones.
Interview LC SubjectSound recording industry--History--20th century Sound engineers Stereophonics Sound engineering Sound--Recording and reproducing Sound--Recording and reproducing--Equipment and supplies Sound recording industry Sound recording industry--History Sound recording industry--United States--History--20th century Sound--Recording and reproducing--History
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Interview UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Albam, Manny Interview by Susan Schmidt Horning. 09 Feb. 1999. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Albam, M. (1999, February 09). Interview by S. S. Horning. Chasing Sound Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Albam, Manny, interview by Susan Schmidt Horning. February 09, 1999, Chasing Sound Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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