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2.6 out of 5 stars19
2.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 August 2009
As with the rest of the world i am still in shock that Michael is no longer with us. no longer will we know about his creative process of him making the best music ever. So this was an opertunity to find out more. Sadly this book does not give that opertunity.
The first approx 60 pages are about the time Bruce spent with Michael in the studio, which is great, but the rest of the book (approx 200 pages) is about technical details and processes. Don't be fooled by the title, as a fan i was disapointed to find not even a third of the book is about Michael.
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on 17 August 2009
In the Studio with Michael Jackson
I am a huge michael jackson fan and i was expecting this book to have lots of stories on what michael was like in studio and what tracks didnt make his albums and have lots of pics of him recording...it dont!! Its more about bruce swedien selling this book using michael jackson name to shift a few copies. Its mostly about what equipment he used on michaels albums,its probably a good book for someone who loves the technical side to making music. If your a fan of michael jackson or a new fan go buy a book called Michael Jackson: The Visual Documentary [Illustrated] (Paperback)
by Adrian Grant,its has all you could want to know about michael jackson and was approved by the king of pop himself!
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on 28 January 2010
As a huge Michael Jackson fan, i was so excited to hear about Bruce Sweden's experiences with Michael while recording the classics "Off the Wall", "Thriller", "Bad", "Dangerous", "History" and "Invisible".

I wanted to learn how MJ was in the recording sessions, how they created these unique sounds, how they had to follow up to the greatest and biggest album of all time, how many songs they recorded, how they pick the final set lists, if there were any recorded songs that haven't seen the light of the day, how was to record "Scream" with Janet, "This time around" with Notorious Big, "black or white", Give in to me", "D.S" and "Privacy" with Slash, "Whatever happens" with Santana, "Jam" with Heavy D and more...

but instead i get what Bruce thinks about his equipment and his not-music experiences only. There is no detail there at all. The tracks are not under the microscope and there is no mention about the creative process.

Bruce is a great professional but i am sorry this book doesn't related to MJ's genius and creative thinking. I was very very disappointed because it had been written before MJ's death so it wasn't a cash effort. It has some interesting stuff like the reception of "History" album by the losers of Sony but these facts are merely 6 pages. Shame. Bruce write something that's is actually interesting and insightful.

The title by the way is misleading. In studio is only 60+ pages. 25+ pages are related to Bruce's work and the rest of the book is associated with technical details, intros about bruce and various other unrelated to MJ stuff.

2 minus out of 5

In the Studio with Michael Jackson
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on 6 September 2010
I bought this book when it was released in 2009. I was really looking forward to reading 'In The Studio With - Michael Jackson'. I always wanted to know what Michael's creative process was on the all songs he recorded with Bruce Swedien.

Unfortunately this book considering it a couple of hundred pages is only 20% (if that) about his recording with Michael or Michael's music. I give credit to Bruce for sharing his memories of Michael, and for his obvious admiration for Michael's music and vocal genius. Despite a few bits of exclusive information about Michael's recording technique etc, the book is maninly about the career and recording techniques of Bruce Swedien. Certain pages are taken up with text about a microphine to record a song etc, and with in depth analysis of the how that mircophone picks up sound etc.

This book isn't really for Michael Jackson fans, it's really a book for people who want to be sound engineers like Bruce Swedian. Because unless you understand the process of sound engineering, you will find this book extremely boring. If you just read the Michael Jackson bits, which are interest you will finish the book very, very quickly. The book also only a few photos of Michael, all very small black & white ones, and nothing exclusive, except maybe the front cover and a photo from 1982 of Michael, Bruce Swedien and Vincent Price (but this photo can be found on a number of MJ fan sites).
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on 8 August 2009
I purchased this in the hope that there would be some wonderful insights and anecdotes about Michael Jackson from the man who was behind the desk for most of his solo output. Unfortunately this book is more of a vanity project than anything else. I started to worry when I saw that it had about five introductions from other people in the music business buttering Bruce's ego.

There is very little in the way of interest here for the average Michael Jackson fan. I am a musician myself, so was quite interested in the chapters about the recording/mixing process. But really how many people are going to care whether ribbon microphones were used to record Michael's vocals? This book really is a missed opportunity. How great would it be to read first hand what it was like to hear Michael perform Billie Jean for the first time? How did Bruce feel when MJ decided to no longer use Quincy Jones as producer after the Bad album? What was it like working with both Michael and Janet on the song Scream? Unfortunately none of these questions get answered. I bought this book because it was called In The Studio With Michael Jackson, and as that takes up about a third of the book in which the author has nothing particularly interesting to say on the subject I am majorly disappointed. I don't care to hear what his wife, his best friend and his daughter think about Bruce Swedien the person- I want to know what it was like entering the studio with MJ and having the enormous task of having to record the follow-up to the biggest selling album of all time.

If you are a casual MJ fan and have even a passing interest in the recording process then you will find this book fairly interesting- at least in parts. If however you are looking for something deeper on the subject of MJ you will have to look elsewhere I'm afraid. The most interesting anecdote in the whole book was actually submitted by Bruce Swedien's wife on the less than ecstatic reception of MJ's HIStory album by the studio bigwigs. This story takes up half a page, and was more interesting and insightful than anything her husband could contribute over a whole book. Written before but published after MJ's death, I'm going to give Bruce Swedien the benefit of the doubt and suggest that maybe he was just scared of stepping on Jacko's toes, but I simply cannot recommend this lightweight book.
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on 1 September 2009
For a very long time I have been interested in the production of Michael Jackson's classic albums. I had hoped this book would provide great insight in to the technical and musical processes involved in their creation. On the author's promise of a 'no holds barred' look into his experience of recording MJ I pre-ordered 'In The Studio With Michael Jackson' and looked forward to its arrival. I notice that a couple of reviewers have said that this book looks in to the minutiae of the technical process but I would disagree. Certainly, the book does provide details of certain 'prized' microphones owned by the author and describes particular recording techniques but this reads like a glossary of recording terms and is not specific to the recording of Michael Jackson. The book is poorly structured and will fail to satisfy readers coming from every angle of interest. Whilst I understand that the book had been conceived and part written before Michael's untimely death, the cynic in me can't help thinking that the title may have been reconsidered following the sad event. This book misses the mark by a long shot. The author may have won many Grammy awards but I don't think a Pulitzer prize will be heading his way anytime soon.
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on 29 November 2009
As a massive, long-time fan of Michael Jackson, I have waited so long to read a book that focuses on what made him the greatest entertainer ever, his music. Months before Michael's heart-breaking death, I saw that Bruce Swedien was bringing out a book entitled "In the Studio with MJJ" & I don't think I've been as excited to read a book since Moonwalk was released. Aside from the un-paralleled Quincy Jones, I don't think I've associated any other single person closer to the production of ALL of Michael Jackson's greatest work than the guy who engineers & mixes for him, Bruce Swedien. Around 200 pages written by this studio-mastermind should have been the ultimate read for me but unfortunately it fails on so many levels.

Firstly, I can't believe Hal Leonard Publishing let this book go to print in the format in which it was released. I've read several other brilliant music books from Hal Leonard yet when they've dealt with a book featuring the biggest performer that ever lived, they let this come out. It's massively self-indulgent, awfully written, dreadfully laid-out, need I go on ? It pains me to say it as because of his hugely close involvement with MJJ for 25 years I am still in awe of Bruce but this book should have been so much more.

It's plain to see that within pages of this book, Swedien is no story-teller, and with this in mind he should have had someone sit down with him (and his wife) and just get him talking. Instead, you get tiny, clipped tales of his actual time with Michael but huge huge chunks of techno-drivel about microphones, mixing desks, etc and worse still, dozens of pages of tributes from close-friends (most of whom I have never heard of) saying what a top-bloke Bruce is. I would love to read about the more technical side of Michael Jackson's music but the detail that Swedien actually goes into is just way too heavy for all but 99% of even the most passionate music fan. It's so frustrating I'm actually wincing as I write this because Bruce Swedien is one guy who could tell so many lovely, accurate tales about the real Michael Jackson & after all, the book is called "In the Studio with MJJ". When he does recall something special, such as Fleetwood Mac passing by the recording of Thriller & everyone (inc two Beatles) throw an impromptu party or when MJJ comes out to greet a full orchestra to thank them for their beautiful work & they give him a rousing standing ovation, its heavenly. I'm just sure in 25 years Bruce must have had hundreds more stories to tell & I don't accept that it's a privacy issue as in fairness, the man is so complimentary of Michael it's truly heart-warming.

In summary, this book WAS due for release prior to Michael's passing so it's NOT a money-grabbing exercise, but the fact that Michael is now gone makes this missed opportunity all the more heartbreaking.
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on 21 September 2009
An interesting insight into how the tracks were made, very technical in parts, but then if you are a musician you would probably be more into that type of thing. What I enjoyed were the stories involving Michael Jackson, for example how Bruce would keep Michaels's foot tapping and finger clicking on the tracks and how someone so shy could be so sexual and extrovert on stage. Michael is shown to be a true professional, a considerate and thoughful human being with a good sense of humour, able to put people at ease who are nervous on meeting him using a food fight! No one seems to have a bad word to say about him.
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on 2 July 2011
Ill admit that this isn't quite what i hoped for,just like many other reviewers,but it is very good.
Yes there is a lot about the engineering of albums and tracks,and perhaps not enough MICHAEL JACKSON to please a lot of fans,but there is a lot a insight here and technical buffs will lap it up. There are some great stories about MICHAEL,but you do have to read a lot of technical talk too,and if you skip all that,granted,there isn't much left.
But all that said,people reading about this book before buying shouldn't really be too surprised by the main subject being about the making of MICHAEL's music rather than MICHAEL himself.
I know very little about the studio talk and complex engineering,and never cared much either,but still found this intersting. Yes,a little dull in places,like when it goes on about microphones used and all that,but come on,to be fair it does say IN THE STUDIO WITH,and there are plenty of books out there about MICHAEL's charcter. So all in all,i enjoyed it,it just isn't one i'm likely to read again any time soon.
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on 30 October 2010
I really enjoyed this book: as a Michael Jackson fan, I've had the opportunity to learn more about Michael's hard work to create the songs we loved and at the same time to discover that behind his art there was people like Bruce Swedien that helped him to develope his ideas.
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