Studio icon Bruce Swedien has died at 86

The legendary audio engineer, Bruce Swedien, has died at the age of 86. He was a key Quincy Jones collaborator and recorded Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

In the studio, an engineer is only as good as their list of credits and the resumé of Bruce Swedien is unrivalled. The legendary audio engineer has died at the age of 86.

“My dad, Bruce Swedien, passed away peacefully last night, November 16th.” Said his daughter Roberta Swedien in a Facebook post. “He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage. We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone.”

Bruce Swedien

The Minneapolis-born Swedien was a recording prodigy. He was working professionally as a teenager and recorded the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by the time he was 21. He was mentored by Universal Audio’s Bill Putnam and eventually teamed up with Quincy Jones.

His credits read like a roll call of the American songbook, recording artists like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. Alongside Jones, he was an integral component in shaping the sound of Michael Jackson‘s hit albums. He tracked and mixed Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.

In his own tribute on Instagram, Quincy Jones wrote, “He was without question the absolute best engineer in the business.


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