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Don Was

Was was born in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Oak Park High School in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, then attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor but dropped out after the first year. A journeyman musician, he grew up listening to the Detroit blues sound and the jazz music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

Using the stage name "Don Was", he formed the group Was (Not Was) with school friend David Weiss (David Was). The group found commercial success in the 1980s—releasing four albums and logging several hit records. A jazz/R&B album of Hank Williams covers, "Forever's A Long, Long Time" was released in 1997, under the name Orquestra Was. In 2008, Was (Not Was) reunited for an acclaimed new album and tour.

Don Was has earned his recognition as a record producer and has recorded with an array of artists from The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Ziggy Marley, Bob Seger, Al Green, Lucinda Williams, Garth Brooks, Ringo Starr, Iggy Pop, Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson, Joe Cocker, Hootie and The Blowfish, Amos Lee and Willie Nelson to Elton John, Stevie Nicks, George Clinton, Randy Newman, The Black Crowes, Carly Simon, Travis Tritt, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, The Barenaked Ladies, Old Crow Medicine Show, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Richie Sambora, The Presidents of the United States of America, B.B. King, Paul Westerberg, Kurt Elling, Poison, Cheb Khaled, The B-52's, Zucchero, Todd Snider, Elizabeth Cook, Jill Sobule and Solomon Burke. He has received multiple Grammy Awards including Producer of the Year in 1995. He produced several albums for Bonnie Raitt including her Nick of Time album that won the 1990 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

He served as music director and/or consultant for several motion pictures such as Thelma and Louise, The Rainmaker, Hope Floats, Phenomenon, Tin Cup, Honeymoon in Vegas, 8 Seconds, Switch, The Freshman, Days of Thunder, Michael, Prêt-à-Porter, Boys on the Side, Toy Story and The Paper.

In 1995, Don Was earned a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year.[1] In 1997, he directed and produced a documentary, I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, about former-Beach Boy Brian Wilson. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and won the San Francisco Film Festival's Golden Gate Award. He also received the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best Original Score in recognition of his compositions for the film Backbeat.

Was, who is a fan of the Rolling Stones and saw them in concert when he was age 12 in 1964, produced their albums Voodoo Lounge, Stripped, Bridges to Babylon, Forty Licks, Live Licks and A Bigger Bang. He also worked on the Rolling Stones's reissues Exile on Main Street, released in May 2010 and "Some Girls" released in October 2011. Was scoured old master recordings of the albums for lost gems, remastering some songs while producing entirely new vocals and tracks on others.

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Radio & Podcasts

Don Was, divr, Roberto Gatto, Lucy Woodward, Peter Erskine & More

Read "Don Was, divr, Roberto Gatto, Lucy Woodward, Peter Erskine & More" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


The return of Don Was behind the bass, tributes to Tony Williams and Leonard Bernstein and much more in another energizing edition of Mondo Jazz.Happy listening!Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 The Jazz Defenders “Snakebite Playfight" Memory in Motion (Haggis) 0:16 Host talks 4:56 Lucy Woodward “Fray" Stories from the Dust (I Love Desi) 6:17 Host talks 11:16 Don Was and the Pan-Detroit Ensemble “Neighboorhoods" [Unreleased--Live at Rust Belt ...

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Album Review

Bob Weir: Ace - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2CD)

Read "Ace - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2CD)" reviewed by Doug Collette


Befitting its heady milestone date, the title of Bob Weir's initial solo album, Ace, carries multiple meanings. First of all, it was the Grateful Dead guitarist, vocalist & songwriter's nickname at the time of its gestation and completion (his bawdy persona as such mirrored in the ultra-suave pose on the inside photo as well as the risque cover art). More importantly, the album's name is also a reflection of the gambling lore so prevalent in songs of the ...

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Interview

Don Was: The Music Is Paramount

Read "Don Was: The Music Is Paramount" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


The president of the iconic Blue Note Records, the man who is stewarding the label as it marches into it's 75th anniversary year celebration, comes from the wrong side of the tracks, in a sense. He's not a gut in a suit. He came up through the trenches as a working musician. He liked jazz and played gigs in bunches during his years in his hometown of Detroit. But his adaptability to all kinds of music brought him to fame ...

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Opinion

Vinyl is Not Dead (Never Has Been)

Vinyl is Not Dead (Never Has Been)

Source: RJ on Jazz by R.J. DeLuke

Blue Note Records gives vinyl a boost, releasing several classic albums for the Turntable Despite the origin of the CD roughly three decades ago and the more recent digital revolution, the old fashioned “record album," spinning at a rate of 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, never went out off style. Some companies have produced them all along. Others have simply maintained and revered the vinyl of old. With the right equipment — high-end turntable and proper receiver an speakers — ...

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Recording

Mitch Ryder's Don Was-Produced Album 'The Promise' is His First in 30 Years

Mitch Ryder's Don Was-Produced Album 'The Promise' is His First in 30 Years

Source: conqueroo

Produced by fellow Detroit native Don Was, Ryder returns to his Motor City rock and soul roots. DETROIT, Mich.—Before Jack White, Ted Nugent, Bob Seger or Iggy Pop, Detroit's number one rock export was Mitch Ryder. Fronting the Detroit Wheels, Ryder spun out a string of rock 'n' soul hits—"Jenny Take a Ride," “Devil With a Blue Dress On / Good Golly Miss Molly" and “Sock It to Me, Baby"—in the mid-'60s that landed in the charts alongside the Beatles ...

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Interview

Kurt Elling Puts Jazz Spin on Classic Rock With Producer Don Was

Kurt Elling Puts Jazz Spin on Classic Rock With Producer Don Was

Source: All About Jazz @ Spinner

The first time we came across Kurt Elling was in June of 1997 during a guerilla campaign of gigs in the Northeast over a six-week stretch. It was towards the end of that run and the singer was walking with crutches after a hiking mishap. His iconoclast reputation as a divinity school dropout (one credit short of his Masters degree) only seemed to be heightened by the incongruent idea of a jazz singer performing in a dingy East Village rock ...

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Recording

Jill Sobule Turns to Fans to Finance New Don Was-Produced CD

Jill Sobule Turns to Fans to Finance New Don Was-Produced CD

Source: conqueroo

Goal is to raise $75K...Don Was is producer

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule has made six albums on a variety of labels -- including two that went bankrupt and two that had other problems. So, like many artists nowadays, she made a decision to go the indie route with her next album -- with a twist. She is turning to her fans to help her finance the making of the next record. Sobule's goal is to raise $75,000. ...

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