Rudy Van Gelder, Definitive Jazz Recording Engineer, Has Died — Music : NPR

Written by on August 26, 2016

The man who captured hundreds of jazz’s greatest recordings — by Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock — died Thursday at his home studio. He was 91.

Mr. Van Gelder, as he took pains to explain to interviewers, was an engineer and not a producer. He was not in charge of the sessions he recorded; he did not hire the musicians or play any role in choosing the repertoire. But he had the final say in what the records sounded like, and he was, in the view of countless producers, musicians and listeners, better at that than anyone.

The many albums he engineered for Blue Note, Prestige, Impulse and other labels in the 1950s and ’60s included acknowledged classics like Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Davis’s “Walkin’,” Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” Sonny Rollins’s “Saxophone Colossus” and Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father.”

43_art In the 1970s he worked primarily for CTI Records, the most commercially successful jazz label of the period, where his discography included hit albums like Esther Phillips’s “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes” and Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic.”

“I think I’ve been associated with more records, technically, than anybody else in the history of the record business,” Mr. Van Gelder told The New York Times in 1988.

Mr. Van Gelder was married twice; both marriages ended with his wives’ deaths. He is survived by a brother, Leon.

via Rudy Van Gelder, Definitive Jazz Recording Engineer, Has Died — Music : NPR

(The New York Times, 2016)

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