Journalist-biographer Tom Nolan met Karen and Richard Carpenter in 1974 when he wrote a cover story about them (“Up from Downey”) for Rolling Stone. He later interviewed them for A&M’s publication Compendium and did the liner notes for their 1977 LP Passage. Mr Nolan has written books about the novelist Ross Macdonald and the musician Artie Shaw.
Paul Grein is Awards Editor at Billboard. He has also written for such outlets as HitsDailyDouble.com, Yahoo.com, Billboard, the Los Angeles Times, Grammy.com, Musician, Goldmine, Tower Pulse, the Orange County Register and the Tolucan Times.
Grein interviewed the Carpenters twice in 1981 for features in Billboard and the Los Angeles Times. He wrote the liner notes for five Carpenters collections released between 1987 and 2000 - Classics Volume 2, Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, Christmas Collection, Yesterday Once More and Singles 1969-1981.
In non-Carpenters-related pursuits, Grein co-wrote an American Music Awards special for ABC-TV. He has written liner notes for more than 100 albums or box sets by such artists as Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, the 5th Dimension, the Mamas & the Papas, Petula Clark, Bobby Darin, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Olivia Newton-John. He wrote the notes for the Grammy-nominated box set Have A Nice Decade. He also wrote the notes for Have A Nice Day and Didn’t It Blow Your Mind, long-running series devoted to ‘70s pop and R&B. His work is also featured in box sets dedicated to Oscar-winning songs (The Envelope Please…Academy Award Winning Songs 1934-1993), Motown classics (Hitsville U.S.A.) and the songs of Burt Bacharach & Hal David (The Look Of Love).
Gayle began her musical studies at the age of three on the piano. At the age of eleven, she was introduced to the harp, and took to it instantly.
She is known as the harpist who can improvise after the main music has been recorded, and adds her own personal touch to every project. She has worked with Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, the Carpenters, Joni Mitchell, Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Barbra Streisand and many others.
Gayle has also worked extensively in the film and television industries and enjoyed 20 years playing for the Academy Awards.
Gayle is the first woman to serve as President of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC). This wonderful organization is celebrating its 80th year since its inception. This position keeps her incredibly busy in addition to her active recording schedule.
In addition to serving as principle oboe and English horn with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and principle oboe with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, Earle has recorded with Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Diana Krall, Burt Bacharach, the Carpenters and many others.
He has worked on nearly 1500 motion picture scores and numerous television shows.
RANDY L. SCHMIDT
Charles B. "Chuck" Findley is one of the most celebrated American recording session musicians. His technical abilities and versatility on trumpet are renowned. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Findley's first professional work was with the Jimmy Dorsey Big Band before joining the Buddy Rich Band on a world tour.
In 1989, he joined the Tonight Show Band led by Doc Severinsen. He was also a member of the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1994 to 2001.
A regular collaborator on recordings by artists such as B. B. King and Steely Dan, Chuck also played and/or recorded with Carpenters, Nancy Sinatra, Miles Davis, Stanley Turrentine, Toto, Pat Boone, Christopher Cross, Jaco Pastorius, James Last, Lee Ritenour, Jackson Browne, George Benson, George Harrison, Elton John, Carole King, Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, Dionne Warwick, Diane Schuur, Tom Waits, Randy Newman, Tina Turner, Al Jarreau, Sarah Vaughan, Narada, Michael Walden and many others.
He remains one of the most in demand recording session musicians today.
Chris May is a music director, arranger, radio host and long-time Carpenters historian and enthusiast, not to mention a moderator and contributor for the popular online Carpenters forum at 'A&M Corner.' Many of his radio/podcast interviews for 'The Download' featured guests including notables such as Richard Carpenter, John Bettis, Herb Alpert, Dionne Warwick, drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Joe Osborn (of Hollywood's famous 'Wrecking Crew'), Carpenters bandmate Bob Messenger, Tom Bähler, and Grammy-award winning engineer Al Schmitt.
Chris also recently completed an 8-year stint as music director for a mega church in the Palm Springs California area, and previously toured as the music director for the 'Carpenters Tribute Orchestra' throughout the 1990s with sell-out shows in Japan, followed by several years in the field of artist development and studio production.
Randy L. Schmidt has taught music in Texas public schools for 20 years. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter, a New York Times Editor's Choice and Wall Street Journal Best Seller, and editor of Yesterday Once More: The Carpenters Reader.
Randy has served as creative consultant for several television documentaries on the Carpenters, including the E! "True Hollywood Story," A&E's "Biography," and VH1's "Behind the Music." More recently, he contributed to "Karen Carpenter: Goodbye to Love" and "Autopsy: The Last Hours of Karen Carpenter", both produced for ITV in the UK and Reelz TV in the US.
Long ago, and, oh, so far away, Randy coordinated the Carpenters 30th Anniversary Celebration in Downey, CA.
Scanning Al Schmitt’s discography-which takes a long time, by the way-it’s tough to settle on a singular high point. That’s because Schmitt’s decades of award-winning work read like a trip through musical history. Up one aisle you’ll find Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Miles Davis; up another you’ll bump into Jefferson Airplane, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Steely Dan. Round a corner and you’ll encounter Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Madonna, and Quincy Jones mingling with Michael Jackson, Diana Krall, Celine Dion, Paul McCartney, and Michael Bublé.
The most startling aspect of this list is that it covers about 20 percent of the territory inside the room that is Al Schmitt’s body of work-literally too many important artists and groundbreaking albums to list without spanning 15 pages. The highlights represent a group of artists who, with Al Schmitt’s help, have shaped and defined the music of generations. There are few within the music industry who have overseen more culture-defining artistic moments than Al Schmitt. The winner of 20 Grammy awards, 2 Latin Grammys and a Trustees Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, Schmitt has helped artists garner an astounding 160 gold and platinum albums.
Schmitt’s recordings play today, not just in America but around the world. And chances are they will be playing for a long time still. It is truly difficult to imagine an America that does not bear the musical fingerprints of one of its most important and legendary engineering and producing talents. Recognizing that talent, Al Schmitt was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015. Fittingly, his star is right in front of the iconic Capitol Records building where so many of his great hits were recorded and where he continues to record today.
Carpenters’ fans know Al Schmitt’s work through his mixing of the 2004 multi-channel sound release of “The Singles 1969-1981”; and through his mixing of the most recent Carpenters album “Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra”.