Music Producers Biographical Introduction: Teo Essay

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[. . .] His work with the foremost pop music group of the 1960s, the Beatles, enabled Martin to fuse classical with pop elements. He composed the musical scores for several Beatles movies including Yellow Submarine. By this time, Martin had ceased working as the head of Parlophone.

In 1973, after the dissolution of the Beatles, Martin composed the musical score for the James Bond film Live and Let Die. Paul and Linda McCartney recorded the title track for the film. Therefore, after the Beatles broke up, Martin continued to work with the individual group members as producer and composer. The ultimate fusion of Martin's work as a classical composer, musical producer, and "fifth Beatle" was the 2006 remix of Beatles songs for Cirque du Soleil: the Love album.

Martin's musical talents were not limited to Beatlemania. His foray into jazz is most notable with his production of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's fusion music. Martin also produced seven of America's albums), two of Jeff Beck's, and those of Gary Brooker (of Procol Harum), Neil Sedaka, Jimmy Webb, UFO, Cheap Trick, Ultravox, and Kenny Rogers (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2010). Martin was knighted in 1996, making him a Sir.

Analysis

Teo Macero is best known for:

Dave Brubek Quartet's Time Out

The Graduate soundtrack (Simon and Garfunkel)

Miles Davis Bitches Brew and Some Kind of Blue

George Martin is best known for:

The bulk of The Beatles collection

James Bond title songs: "Live and Let Die" and "Goldfinger"

Elton John "A Candle in the Wind"

Genre

A quick glance at their portfolios reveals some of the core differences between Teo Macero and George Martin. If there can be one singular difference between the styles of George Martin and Teo Macero, it would come down to their preferred genres. Although both producers made enormously popular recordings, the type of music they produced enjoys different places in the global music repertoire. Martin's career has focused mainly on pop music. He produced the most famous pop band perhaps in history, and continued to work closely with popular artists as well as some more underground ones. Having produced songs like Elton John's "A Candle in the Wind," Sir George Martin has firmly entrenched himself in pop culture. This is not to diminish the contributions Martin made in music. On the contrary, Martin elevated pop music to a new level throughout his career. As one biographer points out, "When they started recording in 1962, records were still essentially snapshots of a live performance recreated in the studio. By 1970, they had turned recording into a high art form," ("Sir George Martin: Biography," n.d.).

Macero was also no stranger to popular music. When he worked with Simon and Garfunkel on The Graduate soundtrack, he was working with one of the most well-known and famous folk duets in the United States. It wasn't that Macero had anything against popular music or its culture; it was that Macero had grown up living and breathing jazz. Jazz was his life. He had never distanced himself from jazz, and remained foremost a jazz producer even when Macero was doing other things such as writing operas and ballets. As good a composer as Macero might have been, he will be more renowned for his abilities as a producer.

Therefore, both Teo Macero and George Martin became intimate with their chosen forms of music. Martin's first love was classical music. However, his working with EMI and the BBC brought him into contact with humor recordings and popular culture bands like the Beatles. Martin developed a unique style that fused his classical ears with his open-mindedness.

Macero and Martin were both highly eclectic, and neither was limited to their favorite genres. Both produced out of their comfort zones, stretching the boundaries of various genres. In fact, what makes both Macero and Martin great -- and a suitable comparison -- is that they transformed and transcended genre entirely. Neither can or should be pigeon-holed. Macero made traditional jazz artists like Charles Mingus and Miles Davis accessible to a general audience by infusing modern, electronic, and even psychedelic sounds into his studio. Likewise, Martin turned the accessible pop music of the loveable mod-era Beatles into something more sophisticated and palatable to an audiophile's ears. Both Macero and Martin achieved their production finesse by executing gifted approaches to sound production.

Technique

One does not need to be in the studio with them to understand that Macero and Martin have similar approaches to working, and similar visions for their end product. Their techniques differ on several counts, but they share much in common with one another. Their common elements are due in part to the evolution and advent of new technologies that could be applied in post-production. Moreover, the role of the producer was changing and becoming more collaborative in nature. Both Macero and Martin worked as equals with their musicians. Although Macero did not serve as an arranger to the extent that Martin did, both producers participated actively in the creative process. They were not just called up to press "record." They were active participants in the process of making the music. Martin has arrangement credits on several Beatles tracks; Macero's influence on jazz arrangements is similarly credited.

One of the main similarities between Martin's technique and that of Macero is the use of multi-track recording. Multi-track recording became almost the signature stamp of George Martin on Beatles productions. "In 1967, their creative aspirations caused them to quite independently 'invent' contemporary multi-track recording ("Sir George Martin: Biography," n.d.). The story went: they were "unable to otherwise create the complexities of the Sgt. Pepper album they envisaged" so "Sir George linked two 4-track tape recorders together to create the first 8-track recorder," ("Sir George Martin: Biography," n.d.). What multi-track recording did for the Beatles was to allow for a rich textured sonic tapestry.

Richness and texture were also a signature sound of Macero. He especially understood how to make jazz seem more three dimensional on a recording than it otherwise does. Jazz does not typically translate well to the recording because it loses so much of its rich, spontaneous feel. Yet Macero understood how to take advantage of studio tools to achieve sonic goals. "In those days I might have had six tracks or eight tracks. I can't remember whether this is… I don't think it was done with four tracks. It might have been done with eight tracks," ("Teo Macero on Creating 'Bitches Brew' With Miles Davis," n.d.). The texture on albums like Take Five and Bitches Brew is palpable, thanks to Macero. Macero and Martin both shared a similar talent and penchant for making music multidimensional.

To achieve their sonic goals, Macero and Martin both lovingly embraced electronics. They used reverb and other effects; liberally practicing looping and other techniques too. Editing was elevated to an art, something that enabled the producers to patch together disparate chunks of sound that would otherwise be discarded as outtakes. Macero and Martin both had heavy hands when it came to editing: something that might have been looked at with shock in the 1960s, but which has become standard operating procedures since then. What could have been their greatest weakness turned out to be their most significant source of strength: the ability to know what to cut and what to paste.

The studio became a musical instrument; a creative playground. As pioneers, Macero and Martin paved the way for other musical mavens to make their mark on history. Eno, Hancock, and other producers incorporated similar studio techniques to create the type of layered landscapes they envisioned. Macero and Martin as producers were both true artists whose backgrounds in composition made them uniquely suitable for their roles behind the scenes with musical luminaries like the Beatles and Miles Davis. Macero can no longer make music, but his legacy remains in the litany of recordings he helped create.

Although Martin's incessant remixing of the Beatles for the Love Cirque du Soleil production was not his most enthralling work, the producer continues to stun with his capacity for creativity. He is a more decorated and many times more famous producer than his American counterpart because his musical path led him through the competitive territory of pop music. Because of this, Martin enjoys Grammies and gold records to an extent that Macero does not have, including a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yet pop culture accolades are not necessarily barometers of success. Macero is on par with Martin for pure talent and quality of sound production. Both musicians understood that raw recordings rarely captivate audiences; they need to be imbued with post-productive life. Using cutting edge electronic tools, Macero allowed for a "new birth of cool" in jazz; and doing the same, Sir George Martin made the Fab Four more fabulous than before. Producers working on complex hip hop grooves and beats, modern classical, and electronica all owe tribute to two of the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Music Producers Biographical Introduction: Teo.  (2012, October 31).  Retrieved February 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/music-producers-biographical-introduction/1942447

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