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Rudy Van Gelder (1924 - )


Rudy Van Gelder (born November 2, 1924 in Jersey City, NJ, USA) is a recording engineer specialising in jazz.

One of the legendary backroom figures in Jazz, Rudy Van Gelder started out as a hobbyist recording friends in his parents living room in Hackensack, NJ, while working by day as optometrist. One of these friends, the Baritone Saxophonist Gil Melle introduced Van Gelder to the Record Producer of Blue Note Records, Alfred Lion in about 1952. It was to be the start of an illustrous career, and it is with the Blue Note label that Van Gelder is most associated in the minds of Jazz enthusiasts.

Within a few years Van Gelder was to be in demand by many of the independent labels based around New York. In addition to Blue Note, these included Prestige and Savoy.

In 1959 Van Gelder moved his operations to a purpose built studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ a few miles South-East of the original location. It was to be here that John Coltrane recorded his legendary A Love Supreme album in 1964. Other labels made use of the new facilities such as Verve, Impulse and later CTI.

Van Gelder's recordings are admired for the warmth and presence he brings to the end result. This view is not universal, however. Critics point out that his recorded piano sound can seem thin and recessed.

Today, Van Gelder continues to be active. In recent years he has been busy remastering the Blue Note recordings he made several decades ago, in the ongoing RVG series. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Van_Gelder [Feb 2005]

October 1953:

Blue Note had always been known for its superior sound and balance. In Rudy [Van Gelder], [Blue Note] found an intelligent, kindred soul from whom they could extract an ideal sound. Van Gelder engineered most of the major jazz recordings of the fifties and sixties for many labels.


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