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There are stories we tell ourselves. There are stories we tell our friends. There are the stories we tell strangers. There are stories we never tell.
Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, is the Third Story. The intersection between the art and the craft, making a living and doing the living, the personal and the professional…The place where all of these meet is the Third Story.

The Third story features long-form interviews with creative people of all types, hosted by me, Leo Sidran. Their stories of discovery, loss, ambition, identity, improvisation, risk, and reward are deeply moving and compelling for all of us as we embark on our own creative journeys.

In addition to my passion for discovering and sharing the stories of others, I have built a career in New York as a musician and producer. Learn more at

Aug 11, 2016

Engineer and producer Al Schmitt is the embodiment of recorded music in America. He started out as a recording engineer in New York in the late 1940s and has consistently delivered some of the finest music since then. He worked with some of the greatest artists ever to record –Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley – and he’s still making relevant records. He’s won 23 Grammys - the first one in 1962 for a Henry Mancini album and the most recent in 2012 with Paul McCartney.

Here he covers his career in personal, professional and technical terms. From recording big band music and race records in the 1950s to the roll of digital recording in the 21st century, the impact of drugs on the music business, the importance of good personal relationships, and what it feels like to capture magic on tape.