Tom Dowd & the Language of Music

Director: Mark Moormann

Institute History


If you picked some of the all-time great albums in American rock, soul, and jazz, chances are one name might be found on the back of almost every one: Tom Dowd…the best-kept secret behind five decades of brilliant music.

Serendipitous accident may best describe how this unsung hero/producer and recording pioneer stumbled into a control room. Thank God may best describe how the rest of the industry feels about it. From the perfection of live mixing to the introduction of eight-track recording, the mythology of exactly how much impact Dowd has had is still up for grabs. His diverse and genuine love of work is remembered in part through intimate interviews with such icon friends as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aretha Franklin, and the Allman Brothers Band. Unfortunately, John Coltrane, Otis Redding, and Thelonious Monk were no longer available.

Using rhythms of the songs he mixed, along with a tapestry of historical footage, performances, and Dowd's own humble narrative, Miami filmmaker Mark Moormann has created a homage that takes on an enduring and loving life of its own. It is hard not to mourn Dowd's recent passing, coming just months before this worthy celebration of a life spent in human philanthropy.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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