- Rated: Unrated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: August 13, 2004
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: Palm Pictures / UMVD
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Behind the Scenes: "Making of" Studio Shoot
- Alternate Scenes:
- Extended Interviews
- Deleted Scenes
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Premiere - 07/01/2004
"[A] compelling portrait of a man who lived to capture lightning in a bottle..."
New York Times - 08/13/2004
"The man who emerges is a likable, unpretentious musical enthusiast and roll-up-your-sleeves problem-solver who apparently led a charmed life."
Los Angeles Times - 08/13/2004
"If you care about the popular music of the last 50 years, this is a documentary you'll want to see."
Uncut - 01/01/2005
"[A] rare and inspiring tribute to one of rock history's unsung heroes."
In the annals of pop music, there's probably no one other than legendary impresario John Hammond whose ubiquitousness compares with that of engineer/producer Tom Dowd. From the 1950s on, Dowd was both a tireless technological innovator and a uniquely musical engineer and producer. A key figure at the Atlantic and Stax labels, among others, Dowd was intimately involved with the recording of the giants of jazz (Dizzy Gillespie, Ornette Coleman), soul (Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin), and rock (Cream, Allman Brothers, Derek & the Dominos). TOM DOWD & THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC is a lively profile of this artistic and technical mastermind, punctuated by gripping performance footage of the countless top-shelf artists on Dowd's resume, as well as interviews with some of those musicians, and with the charming, effervescent Dowd himself.
Besides being a skilled musician (at one point we see him playing some impressive jazz piano), Dowd was uniquely qualified for his work on the technical side, with his background as an army engineer. Not only did Dowd oversee the making of groundbreaking albums like Derek & the Dominos' LAYLA and Otis Redding's OTIS BLUE, he helped design and test the atomic bomb in the infamous Manhattan Project. Clearly this is a man with a story to tell, and this film tells it in a visually and contextually arresting format, focusing on Dowd's long list of achievements as well as his natural gift for communication and camaraderie.
- Theatrical Release: August 13, 2004 (NY)