In Memory of Michael Banton-Jones

MBJ LargeRenowned and much-loved  engineer Michael Banton-Jones passed on Jan. 15, 2014, peacefully at home after a long battle with cancer.

Michael began his career working at Decca Records in London, England, before moving to Canada in the 1970s. He was instrumental in establishing many of the leading recording studios in Toronto of the day, including Sounds Interchange, Metalworks, Eastern, and McClear Digital, where he recorded countless albums, film scores, and jingles.  During this time, he worked on 34 gold/platinum records, won the 1981 Juno for Recording Engineer of the Year, and the scores for three Gemini-winning pictures. A constant theme during his career was education, as he taught many great engineers, producers, and musicians about the ins and outs of working in the recording studio. At the time of his passing, he was VP of operations at Wanted Sound & Picture in Toronto, where he was still very active as an engineer and mixer.

Composer Jonathan Goldsmith recalls: “Michael Banton-Jones was an extraordinary man – it’s not too much too say that he significantly informed the musical heart of this city, when you think of all of the engineers, assistants, and musicians who came under his aegis and tutelage, all of those lucky creatures who learned from him not only the technics and expertise of their craft, but more importantly, how to listen.  Working with him was always a dream. He was so obviously a brilliant engineer, and I never ceased to marvel at his consistent stamina, equanimity, humour and sensitivity – he brought so much creativity, so much humanity to the table when we worked together. I owe him inestimably, and I’ll always miss him.”

To this, Karen Murphy, studio manager at Wanted Sound & Picture, adds: “Mike Jones was a total professional. He had a deep respect for the industry and fiercely loved what he did and he never let the artists and clients down. His mixes were always amazing and his technique was admired by many. He was a great believer in passing along these skills to the new aspiring engineers. I don’t know of any engineer that could teach and mentor as he did. He was tough, you had to prove yourself to him, but when you did your career was on the move. He was admired and feared by many, but sooner or later they realized he had their best interests at heart. I’m sure he is recording the angels now, and they are all anticipating hearing the mix. There will never be another Mr. Jones… Jonesy, you will be greatly missed.”

From all of us at PS, our deepest sympathies go out to all of Michael’s family, friends, colleagues, and students.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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