Engineer Rudy Van Gelder dies aged 91

Regarded as the greatest jazz recording engineer of all time, his trademark Van Gelder sound embodies thousands of classic recordings.

Legendary jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder has died at 91. In his specially designed studios in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, he created his trademark ‘Van Gelder sound’ working with countless jazz greats including Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, and Horace Silver.

Rudy Van Gelder is held in the highest esteem and seen as one of the most important figures in recorded music. His warm and vivid sound can be heard on thousands of classic recordings for Blue Note Records, Prestige Records, CTI, and the Savoy and Verve labels. He was the engineer on John Coltrane’s revered 1965 recording ‘A Love Supreme.’

Initially an optometrist he soon realised his destiny was recording sound, first setting up his studio in his parents’ house in Hackensack. Meeting Alfred Lion, founder of Blue Note Records, he immediately struck a busy working relationship and soon moved to a bigger premsisis. The Englewood studios had high ceilings and acoustics about which he remained quite secretive but it resembled a chapel. He was in high demand and renowned for meticulous preparation, work rate and state of the art equipment but despite all the right gear he is regarded as a genius. The reputation of Blue Note records is totally built on the crystal clarity of the Van Gelder sound.

Rudy Van Gelder later worked on an extensive ‘RVG Edition’ series of re-issues of his Blue Note recordings, remastering for digital formats.

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