Clive Davis and the Recording Academy will present the annual Pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday, Feb. 9, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., the evening before the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, the Academy announced this morning. As part of the evening’s, Epic Records chairman/CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid will receive the President’s Merit Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the music industry. Past recipients include Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Sir Richard Branson, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Doug Morris, and Mo Ostin.
The Academy also announced this morning that 27-time Grammy winning producer Quincy Jones and 18-time Grammy-winning producer/engineer Al Schmitt will be honored by the Recording Academy’s Producer & Engineers wing at the the Grammy week event “An Evening of Jazz.” The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles.
Before becoming an executive, Reid was a recording artist, drummer, songwriter, and producer. In 1989 he co-founded LaFace Records with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, in partnership with Clive Davis and Arista Records, and went on to release multi-platinum albums from Toni Braxton, OutKast, TLC, and Usher. In 2000 he was named president and CEO of Arista Records, became chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group in 2004, and last year rejoined Davis at Sony, taking the helm of the revived Epic Records; he recently stepped down from a two-season stint as a judge on “X Factor.” (Reid’s career is neatly summarized in this Billboard.biz article from Friday.)
Earlier this year, the annual pre-Grammy gala was darkened by the death of Whitney Houston that day. The evening became a tribute to her; Davis gave a touching speech in her honor at the event.
Over the course of his six-decade career, Quincy Jones has been a composer; film, record and TV producer; artist; arranger; conductor; record company executive; magazine founder; entrepreneur and more. Over the years he worked with artists such as Count Basie, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra and many others; scored 33 major motion pictures; and of course produced Michael Jackson’s legendary albums “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad,” which went on to sell more than 200 million copies worldwide. His 27 Grammy Awards, Recording Academy Trustees Award Grammy Legend Award are just a handful of the many accolades he has received.
Al Schmitt was introduced to the studio world at the age of 7 by his uncle, an engineer at Brunswick Records. At 19, he was employed at Apex Studios and mentored by legendary engineer Tom Dowd, who provided schooling that would serve Schmitt for more than four decades as an engineer and producer. Focusing primarily on orchestras and jazz early in his career, he earned his first Grammy in 1962 for Hatari! In 1966 he changed direction and became a producer, going on to work with such artists as Jefferson Airplane, Jackson Browne, Sam Cooke and Neil Young. He returned to engineering and over the past decades has worked on recordings by George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, Kurt Elling, Diana Krall, Shelby Lynne, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Toto, and many more. Schmitt has recorded more than 150 gold and platinum albums, has won 18 Grammy Awards-including 10 in the Best Engineered category-two Latin Grammys and, in 2006, received a Recording Academy Trustees Award.