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Published: 2007/12/18

Joel Dorn April 7, 1942 – December 17, 2007

Joel Dorn passed away after a heart attack in New York City on Monday, December 17. The Grammy-award winning producer, disc jockey and writer was 65. Dorn spoke with for an extensive feature about his long and legendary career last year: Ive always been drawn to stuff thats left of center, explained Dorn. Ive been lucky enough that Ive been able to select to work with people who arent whats happening but are the thing that isnt whats happening that could happen.

After working as a disc jockey under the moniker The Masked Announcera name that he used throughout his career as a producer, as wellDorn achieved his dream of producing at Atlantic Records. From 1967-1974, he garnered two Grammy Awards for consecutive Record of the Years with Roberta Flack. He also worked with a legion of giantsillustrious names dropped include Cannonball Adderley, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Bette Midler, Leon Redbone and Joe Williams. Dorn produced the best of Dr. Johns live dates from the last twenty years for the recent Hyena Records releases All By Hisself and Right Place, Right Time. He also produced jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, including the 2006 vault release, Brotherman in the Fatherland.
Dorn was the voice of Sirius Satellite Radios Pure Jazz channel, produced music infomercials for Time/Warner and recently produced a five-CD box set for Rhino Handmade, Homage A Nesuhi a tribute to his mentor, Nesuhi Ertegun at Atlantic Records, during his reign as one of the music industrys leading producers.
When I walked in the door, said Dorn in the site feature about his early career, Hubert Laws was playing a version of Manha de Carnivale and I had never heard anyone play the flute like that in my life. I introduced myself, ultimately signed him, brought him to Atlantic, made his first album The Laws of Jazz and it sold pretty well. Back then if a jazz album sold between five and ten thousand copies, it was a big deal. Nesuhi gave me $1,500 to sign the artist, make the record, do the cover, give myself a $50 producer fee, and the record did well. It helped me a lot. Along with that Rufus Harley record and the years that I had spent watching Nesuhi do sessions with the MJQ, Betty Carter, Herbie Mann and Hank Crawford and all of these peopleso, that was my schooling.
Dorn leaves behind three sons, Michael Dorn, who operates his own furniture store in Philadelphia, David Dorn, Sr. Vice President New Media for Rhino Records, and Adam Dorn (aka Mocean Worker), a musician, and his wife Faye Rosen.

I can take a compliment as much as the next person but so much has to do with luck and the randomness of things, said Dorn. I once made a record with Dory Previn and she had a song called Children of Coincidence and the opening line was if I hadnt made a left turn, if you hadnt made a right and it talks about how much randomness plays a part in our livesso many other factors that come into play that sometimes if you allow yourself to be lucky, you do your great work. Sometimes youve just got to wander aimlessly but if you know how to wander aimlessly properly, stuff happens. 90% of what Ive done has to do with wandering aimlessly the right way. By Randy Ray

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