Who is your favorite music producer?

Jazz virtuoso Lionel Loueke joins us to reflect on who we would put at the helm while making the album of our lives. Plus, musical obsessions!

Q: If you could make an album with any producer, living or dead, who would it be?

Lionel Loueke — Guest Selector

Photo by Elan Mehler

A: Quincy Jones. He has done so much. He’s someone I would love to work with just to have a different experience. I love his work but the main one for me is that of Michael Jackson Polar. I know him personally: I went to Morocco with him when he presented the Global Gumbo All Stars, and I also worked with him in the studio when I played with Herbie Hancock on his new project. Quincy wasn’t producing, Terrace Martin was the producer, but it was so good to be in the studio with all these great musicians.

Photo by Sam Santos

What I really like about Quincy is the way it detects talent. Producing is one thing, but he finds the right musicians who have something unique or different to say. I mean, Ray Charles… he produced so many greats in all genres.

Lionel Loueke’s current obsession:

Right now my obsession is all about the battery. I feel like I’m coming off as a frustrated drummer, because I play a lot of drumming on the guitar and I started out as a drummer, so that’s always been part of what I do. I’m not looking to be a drummer, I just feel really connected to any percussion instrument, and I feel the drums will help me take my musical multitasking even further.

I think it was Miles Davis who said that every musician should try playing the drums. And I really believe in it because with the drums you have four parts of your body to synchronize: the legs, the arms, the feet, the hands. When it comes to thinking rhythmically, drumming is something every musician should try.

I just talked to my friend, drummer Ferenc Nemeth, who’s been playing in my band for 20 years, about buying a drum set because I don’t have one. Right now I got chopsticks and I’m banging on everything [laughing].

Matt Dunn — Reader of the Month

A: I would probably choose Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois specifically because of their work on The unforgettable fire album with U2. Although I’m mainly into punk/garage rock, I’ve always been blown away by early U2 records and their approach to songwriting. I would do anything to write my own versions of “Bad” or “A Sort of Homecoming” with their guidance and production.

U̲2 – The Unforgettable Fire CD2 Deluxe (Complete Album)

Matt Dunn’s Current Obsession:

Bad religion. Although I’ve been a lifelong punk fan, I’ve always been more into English and East Coast bands. I recently tried to expand my world to include these SoCal punk bands and can’t find anyone better than them. “Streets of America”, “American Jesus” and “We’re Only Gonna Die” are on repeat.

Ted Drozdowski — Managing Editor

A: It’s a draw between T Bone Burnett and Daniel Lanois.

I love the sound of the T Bone basses perfected with his The real fake identity and Alison Krauss/Robert Plant’s Raising sand. But I’m crazy about how Lanois brings the ambient playbook to roots music, churning out great albums for Dylan, Emmylou Harris, the Nevilles, and more.

Ted Drozdowski’s current obsession:

I am working on a feature film incorporating songs, storytelling, psychedelic lighting, original artwork and aerial dance. How could I not be obsessed with it?

Nick Millevoi — Associate Editor

A: The Flaming Lips and Dave Fridmann. I can’t begin to predict how my music and their vision would really come together, and that’s what I love about working with these guys. Each Lips album and side project is completely immersive and multi-dimensional. It would be a dream to tap into all of their technicolor vibes and see how they would handle sounds, arrangements and writing first hand.

Flaming Lips – See the Leaves

Nick Millevoi’s current obsession:

Drum machines from the 80s. I have an obsession: I recently bought an Alesis HR-16 and the sounds are so disgusting…and so 80s! – but it opened up a potential wormhole.

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