Tom Dowd was a record producer and engineer who worked with Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Cream, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Dowd pioneered multi-track recording and was part of the Manhattan Project, which built the atomic bomb during World War Two.
Mark Moormann’s documentary is an entertaining chronicle of Dowd’s career, starting with the jazz of Atlantic Records circa 1947. Moormann captures key interviews with Ray Charles, who reunites with Dowd in a touching scene, and Eric Clapton, who recalls Dowd setting up the fateful meeting with the late Duane Allman.
Dowd is a vibrant personality, noted for encouraging the best out of his musicians. The film’s highlight is the Layla sequence, where Dowd isolates the original tracks from this immortal album.
Though rich in detail, Moormann’s film has some holes, particularly in Dowd’s career post-1975. The film stands as a tribute to one of rock and soul’s unknown legends. (Language of Music Films)