Tom Dowd & the Language of Music


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Mark Moormann, Juan Carlos Lopez, Scott Gordon, Mark Hunt, James Kirk, Wendy Williams, Lawrence Saichek, Patrick Longman, Tino Wohlwend, Larry Yelen, Kati Meister


If you picked some of the all-time great albums in American rock, soul, and jazz, chances are on name might 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 remember in part through the intimate interviews with such icon fiends as Ray Charles, Eric Claptop, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aretha Franklin, and the Allman Brothers. Unfortunately, John Coltrane, Otis Redding, and Thelonious Monk were no longer available.

Using rhythms of the songs he mixed, along with a tapestry of history footage, performances, and Dowd's own humble narrative, Miami filmmaker Mark Moorman 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 (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.