Teo Macero was born on this day in 1925. A jazz saxophonist and composer in his own right, Macero is best known for producing two of the most famous—and best-selling—jazz albums of all time: Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, both released in 1959.
It’s Macero’s work on Davis’s late 60s–early 70s albums, though, that reveals his genius as an artist. Armed with a razor blade and tape, he’d isolate, splice, and sequence melodic phrases and snippets of improvisation—sometimes working with little more than a chord or two introduced right there in the studio. (Listen to Davis’s “Honky Tonk” from the 1974 album Get Up With It to get a sense of the layering involved.)
Macero died in 2008. His influence on jazz is impossible to overstate.