“One of my favorite musical moments on this album was when the Army Field Band arrived at Skywalker Sound for the first day of tracking. We went through the intricate immersive surround setup, started into the sound check, and all of us in the booth looked at each other with a sort of mutual understanding of, “wow, this is going to be something special”

Dan Merceruio, producer

The GRAMMY nominations this past week included a long awaited category announcement left out of last year’s 63rd Awards due to pandemic-related delays: Best Immersive Audio Album.

Why the wait? Albums recorded with immersive audio technologies Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X require specialized audio equipment for listening, and let audiences immerse themselves in sound. With immersive audio, a listener may even vary their listening experiences at will, down to choosing the hall’s sound they’d like to mimic in their living room. It is the one category that requires the physical presence of judges in a shared space.

In conversation with PARMA’s audio director Lucas Paquette, five time GRAMMY-winner Leslie Ann Jones compares immersive audio to traditional 5.1 surround sound:

“Immersive audio experience really makes you feel like you’re experiencing much more of what it’s like in a room with a performance listening with the sound all around you… the depth of immersive in Atmos in particular is quite good. And as an engineer, really, it allows me more space to be creative.”

Leslie Ann Jones, engineer

Conversations with Recording Engineer Leslie Ann Jones

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An unprecedented album from PARMA Recordings’ imprint Navona Records, which was custom-designed in house, was announced among the contenders for Best Immersive Audio Album. Engineered by Jones and produced by Latin GRAMMY-winner Dan Merceruio at Skywalker Sound in 2019, SOUNDTRACK OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER by Col. Jim R. Keene and the U.S. Army Field Band utilizes Dolby Atmos to achieve its immersive audio that listeners can hear on Apple Music and on the Blu-Ray audio version of the release.

“When the music starts everything else falls away… We’re living in a time where if we can have everything else fall away that’s a real gift for everyone involved. So to have that come from our military bands for me is extremely humbling and inspiring.”

Dan Merceruio, producer

Army Field Band

Conversations with Colonel Jim Keene and Producer Dan Merceruio

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The album, which presents soldiers’ stories through music created by legendary Hollywood composers like John Williams and Max Steiner, includes both traditional patriotic works and pieces torn straight from the big screen and silver screen. In showcasing these military stories, the band hopes to strengthen Americans’ connection to the Army through music in an age during which very few serve.

“I remember the moment on our first take of The Jedi Steps and Finale. We had been playing everything exceedingly well the previous four days, but when we reached the main “Star Wars” theme, I could feel “The Force.” While that sounds silly, I could actually feel the connection of perhaps the most iconic theme of our living generation in America- and it was emotional and fantastic all at the same time. Wow. I remember after the first take going back to the studio expecting the predictable criticisms and conversations about balance, mistakes, and all that stuff…and instead there was a larger crowd than usual in the studio and everyone was smiling, and nothing was said for a long time. Just a lot of knowing glances as we realized that there is nothing like hearing that music in that studio played like that.”

Col. Jim R. Keene, conductor

The Inside Story: Col. Jim Keene, Lt. Col. Domingos Robinson, Dan Merceruio and SOUNDTRACK OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER

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The nomination is the first for the United States Army Field Band, but is the 14th for Jones and the fifth for Merceruio, both of whom have been nominated for Immersive Audio. SOUNDTRACK OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER is nominated alongside four other albums. The winner will be announced at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on Monday, January 31, 2022.

SOUNDTRACK OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER - album cover

SOUNDTRACK OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER

SOUNDTRACK OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER is available now from Navona Records. Click here to visit the catalog page and explore this album.