Rudy Van Gelder Talking Jazz
Recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder never gives interviews and agreed to talk with me only after I assured him that if he didn’t like the way it went, he could keep the tape. Perhaps because he’s spent his entire life on the other side of the microphone, he knows all too well the historical importance of pushing the record button. Rudy is a legend in the recording world, not only because of the thousands of classic jazz sessions he’s captured on tape, particularly the early Blue Note Records, but also because he’s a man who, many fans believe, helped invent the sound of contemporary jazz. His recordings from the early ‘50’s still sound modern today. Rudy is not unaware of his position in the jazz pantheon, and actively guards his “secrets”. He will not talk about the kinds of microphones he uses or where he places them, or anything even vaguely related to the technical process of recording music. For many of today’s young jazz musicians, walking into his studio is a bit like arriving at the inner chamber of the great pyramid (it’s where the mysteries of the past have unfolded); for many of today’s older musicians, it’s like coming home.