“One of America’s most prolific and successful pop and rock producers” – All Music


Music has always loomed large in the life of Don Was. Born in Detroit in 1952, he has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a musician, record producer, music director, film composer, documentary filmmaker and radio host. Since 2011, he has also served as President of America’s venerated jazz label, Blue Note Records.

For his work as a record producer, he has won six Grammy Awards – including Album of the Year in 1989 for Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time and Producer of the Year in 1994. Records that Don has produced have sold close to 100 million albums for a wide array of artists like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, John Mayer, Ringo Starr, Wayne Shorter, The B-52s, and Charles Lloyd. 

As a film composer, he won the 1994 British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best Original Score in recognition of his work on the film Backbeat. He won the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on the CBS special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America. In 2018 Don was invited to join Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir to form the Wolf Brothers. They continue to consistently tour the US. 

Don Was’ latest group, The Pan-Detroit Ensemble, is a band made up of stellar jazz musicians from his hometown. The band includes long-time collaborators like Dave McMurray on sax and Eminem’s Oscar-winning collaborator, keyboardist Luis Resto. Additional musicians include trombonist Vincent Chandler, trumpeter John Douglas, drummer Jeff Canaday, percussionist Mahindi, guitarist Wayne Gerard and vocalist Steffanie Christi’ann. 

“When the opportunity came to put together a new band, the message was clear to me: go back to Detroit where I came from, be who I am, play like who I am, and team up with some like-minded individuals”, says Was.

Recommended for Fans of Marcus Miller, Terence Blanchard, Kamasi Washington and Christian McBride.


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