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Rudy Van Gelder


Rudy Van Gelder started recording artists such as Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley in the early 50s, in the comfort of his parent’s living room. It wasn't until 1959 that he opened his studio in Englewood Cliffs and along with Alfred Lion, changed the way Jazz was being recorded. In his six-decade career, it is estimated that he has recorded, mixed, and mastered over 2000 albums not only for Blue Note but Verve Records, Impulse!, CTI, and many others.

Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion and Van Gelder first met when musician Gil Melle introduced them in 1953. Lion was impressed with the sonic clarity of Van Gelder's recordings, and he made sure that Van Gelder recorded most Blue Note sessions from 1953 to 1967. The signature “Blue Note Sound” is really a culmination of Lion's devotion to hard bop jazz, Van Gelder's meticulous pursuit of accurately capturing that improvisatory music, and the remarkable playing of the musicians on those early sessions at the Hackensack home studio. In his later career, Van Gelder operated from his state-of-the-art digital facility in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., where he worked with re-issue producer Michael Cuscuna on the RVG Series.


Article: Album Review

Dorothy Ashby: With Strings Attached, 1957-1965

Read "With Strings Attached, 1957-1965" reviewed by John Chacona

Imagine if Sidney Bechet, Charlie Christian and Jimmy Smith were barely remembered and recordings of their music were long unavailable and known only on the geekiest corners of Discogs. That is essentially the status of harpist Dorothy Ashby. Like the three figures cited above, Ashby essentially created a language for her chosen instrument, the harp, where ...


Article: Play This!

The Van Gelder Sound: A Legacy of Jazz Recordings

Read "The Van Gelder Sound: A Legacy of Jazz Recordings" reviewed by Brian Eaton

Rudy Van Gelder (a.k.a. RVG) was one of the most influential recording engineers in jazz. Largely self-taught, he was a true industry pioneer as one of the first well-known examples of an engineer operating a home recording studio and even constructing his own custom-built audio mixer in the early years. As an innovator and perfectionist, he ...


Article: Album Review

Mike LeDonne: The Heavy Hitters

Read "The Heavy Hitters" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Homing in on the electric, ancestral vibe of Rudy Van Gelder's house of musical myth and magic in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, the Heavy Hitters, spearheaded by journeyman pianist Mike LeDonne and well-traveled saxophonist, Eric Alexander, approach this eponymous debut with a ballsy, brassy, big sounding blueprint which carries through the entire recording. In ...


Article: Album Review

Miles Davis Quintet: 2nd Session 1956 Revisited

Read "2nd Session 1956 Revisited" reviewed by Chris May

Rough round the edges some of the performances might be, but that is part of their real-time, first-take charm. The twelve tracks collected on 2nd Session 1956 Revisited are, nonetheless, arguably the most perfect Miles Davis ever recorded. Over the years they have been issued and reissued, anthologised and repackaged, almost as often as Louis Armstrong's ...


Article: Interview

Ricky Ford: From Across the Sea

Read "Ricky Ford: From Across the Sea" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Ricky Ford is a badass tenor saxophonist. Many will recall his fierce and strong playing on his Muse releases in the '80s. Others may be aware that he was a stalwart member of big bands like the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the leadership of Mercer Ellington and with Charles Mingus and later the Mingus Dynasty band. ...

Article: Album Review

Tony Williams: Life Time & Spring Revisited

Read "Life Time & Spring Revisited" reviewed by Maurizio Comandini

Tony Williams è uno dei più importanti batteristi della storia. Non solo del jazz, ma della musica in generale. Solitamente questa considerazione, ampiamente condivisa, fa riferimento alla sua lunga esperienza come batterista dei quintetti di Miles Davis della seconda metà degli anni sessanta ed eventualmente al suo ruolo di leader del gruppo Tony Williams Lifetime nato ...


Article: Album Review

Anthony Williams: Life Time & Spring Revisited

Read "Life Time & Spring Revisited" reviewed by Chris May

Drummer Tony Williams' first two albums as leader, recorded for Blue Note in 1964 and 1965--Life Time when he was only eighteen years old, Spring when he was nineteen--still sound delightfully fresh all these years after their original release. At the time he made them, Williams was a rising star with Miles Davis' second and third ...


Article: Album Review

Michael Weiss: Persistence

Read "Persistence" reviewed by Edward Blanco

An in-demand veteran of the vibrant New York jazz scene since the '80s, pianist Michael Weiss presents the warm and engaging Persistence, his fifth as a leader and first on the Cellar Live label, as well as being his first since the critically acclaimed Soul Journey, (Sintra Records, 2003). The long time span between recordings, despite ...


Article: Profile

How Moonchild Put The Jazz Into Soul

Read "How Moonchild Put The Jazz Into Soul" reviewed by Peter Jones

Last summer, an online-only big band called The Sages of Future Soul recorded their arrangement of Moonchild's “The List," featuring reeds wunderkind Alexa Tarantino. What strikes you on listening to the Sages' version is not so much that it has transcended its origins, but that the original tune has such inbuilt jazz sensibility. Moonchild's Andris Mattson ...


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