Chicago’s Neuberger again leads Grammy Show audio; 14 local nominees compete

Chicago musicians will be represented at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards Feb. 11 with 14 nominations, and, for the 20th consecutive year, the show’s massive audio requirements will be supervised by Hank Neuberger.

The Awards will be handed out at the Staples Center and the three-hour show will be televised over CBS. Stephen Colbert of “The Daily Show” will host.

Neuberger, a NARAS advisory council member and former chairman of the national Grammy board and Chicago chapter president, supervises legendary record producer Phil Ramon, chairman of the Producers and Engineers Wing.

They will work with a small army of more than 50 audio specialists, including mixers, production audio mixers, audience and stage audio, to accommodate the performers’ needs and often quirky requests during the three hour show.

One of the multi-nominees is producer/composer/arranger Donald Lawrence, who was cited for Best Gospel Song, Best Gospel Performance and Best Traditional Gospel Album.

Jim Olen of The Rhythm Caf?, which represents Lawrence, confidently predicts “he should bring back at least one award,” and that would be for the nominated best gospel song, “Blessing of Abraham.”

“Donald is an unbelievable talent,” Olen said. “He is a producer, composer, arranger and vocalist. He swept the ?Stellar Awards’ for two years in a row. He produces several theatrical events and other artists, as well. We know he always hires the best people for the job.”

Lawrence has worked with Olen on past “Oprah” show assignments and they are presenting pitching a song for Oprah’s XM satellite radio network.

A Chicago music legend in his own right, for 25 years Neuberger as general manager of Chicago Recording Company was its face and heart, in charge of 12 music and production studios and 45 employees.

After leaving CRC in 2002, Neuberger and composer Terry Fryer formed Third Wave Productions, producing cutting-edge sound and music for an impressive array of the greatest artists in the business, and for new media technologies.

Last month Neuberger left Third Wave to pursue other interests.

This year’s Grammys show, said Neuberger, a former national Grammys board chairman, will be transmitted in both digital and surround-sound, “involving a lot of new technology,” noting that analog will become a memory when networks transmit all-digital in February, 2009.