By Betty Yu


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area music industry veteran with a critical role at Monday night’s Grammy Awards has won a Grammy herself.

Sound engineer Leslie Ann Jones, who has worked with top-name artists from Bonnie Raitt to Herbie Hancock, will be supervising the house mix at the Grammys.

She won the award Best Engineered Classical Album for Ask Your Mama, the poetry of Langston Hughes set to music from different artists, including the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

Another Bay Area man, Keith O. Johnson, had been nominated in the same category, along with his son, Sean Royce Martin.

The award was among those given out before the Grammy Awards broadcast.

As a child, Jones was surrounded by music: her father was bandleader Spike Jones, her mother was singer Helen Grayco. “We were exposed to all kinds of different music when I was growing up,” said Jones.

In 1978, Jones landed a gig at The Automatt, a top recording studio in San Francisco – a woman working in a field long dominated by men.

“I’d be sitting at the console and someone would come in  and say ‘Where’s the engineer?’ and I would say, ‘I … I am the engineer.’ And they would just sort of look at me, and it took a half hour of getting a good drum sound for them to finally realize that everything was OK and it was fine.’”

Today, Jones is the director of music recording and scoring at Skywalker Sound in Marin County. From recording a classical pianist – to a punk rock orchestra, she oversees it all.

Jones’ Grammy Award is her fourth and may be her sweetest. “This one in particular will be special,” she said before the award was given. “I don’t often get to be involved in a project from the very beginning of a project and see it through its growth.”

Jones said she does not like to think about the paths she’s blazed for other women in her industry, saying she just wants to leave one that’s easier for girls to follow.

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