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R.I.P. Rudy Van Gelder - 1924-2016


B3Nut

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Got word that Rudy Van Gelder has passed at 91. To call him a giant would be an understatement. Few engineers in this history of jazz had the impact he had...he left an immense legacy and his inspiration will continue to live on.

 

Rest well Rudy, and thank you for all the great, great music.

 

T

---

Todd A. Phipps

"...no, I'm not a Hammondoholic...I can stop anytime..."

http://www.facebook.com/b3nut ** http://www.blueolives.com

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Wow. I was surprised he was still around when all those reissues came out, but there he was.

 

Thanks for everything, RVG.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Oh god not another one.

 

Too close to Bobby Hutcherson, who obviously recorded several early albums at Rudy's.

 

So many things come to mind about the sound he got. The room, the way he got the drums to echo throughout that room, the Hammond sound, the piano sound he got and the way he got it all on a minimal amount of tracks.

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Too close to Bobby Hutcherson, who obviously recorded several early albums at Rudy's.

 

It is. Very sad. :(

 

And we'll never know how he got the piano to sound the way it did on all those older Blue Note, Impulse & Prestige records.

 

Bud Powell, Herbie, McCoy, Sonny Clark, Horace Silver, Monk, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton, Bobby Timmons, Kenny Drew, Duke Jordan, early Chick, Wynton Kelly, etc etc. The history of modern Jazz right there.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/arts/music/rudy-van-gelder-audio-engineer-who-helped-define-sound-of-jazz-on-record-dies-at-91.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

 

Some of my RVG favorites:

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRgKMiKO04Y&list=PL8eK2Ek-HETlWwTPFBDNa_zeqVOJyNDhP&index=2

 

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNp3180qqAc

 

Actually a new find for me:

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Qdnu9GThw

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBwuwZh6G6g

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]

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It is. Very sad. :(

It is indeed. But he left one hell of an enduring legacy.

 

And we'll never know how he got the piano to sound the way it did on all those older Blue Note, Impulse & Prestige records.

Just ask Theo, he'll know. :)

 

 

 

 

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RVG was closed-lip about his recording techniques.

Jazz Wax's Marc Myers before he met with RVG.

 

Jazz Wax: "I spoke to Creed Taylor. The famed producer who recorded his Impulse, Verve, A&M and CTI recordings at Rudy's studio had some sage advice: "Dont wear wet shoes into the studio, and dont ask questions about his recording techniques."

 

http://www.jazzwax.com/2012/02/interview-rudy-van-gelder-part-3.html

JazzWax: I was warned not to ask you to explain why your recordings sound so much better than many other albums.

Rudy Van Gelder: Good [laughs].

 

While most studios were using RCA and Western Electric microphones. He differed.

RVG: "I used Neumann condenser microphones before anyone else did." [in 1949]

 

How he may have gotten the "piano sound".

JW: How you've placed the mikes matters. Ive been told that you once wrapped a mike in foam and stuck it into the piano's tone hole to get the right sound.

RVG: All I'll say about that is, nothing is simple and everything is complex.

 

He ain't telling!

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Very sad news with the passing of Mr. Van Gelder. The sound of those classic Blue Note, Prestige, Impulse albums will forever for me be the sound of Jazz. I watched a great documentary a few years ago about his life and the studio. I was born in New Jersey and my dad lived for years just outside of Englewood where Rudy had his studio. Some day I hope to at least go and see it from the outside.

 

R.I.P Rudy and thanks.

Nord Stage 3 Compact, Korg Kronos 61, Casio PX-5S, Yamaha DXR 10 (2)), Neo Vent, Yamaha MG82cx mixer and too many stands to name.
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He has taught his techniques to exactly one person, his assistant Maureen Sickler. And I'd hazard she ain't spillin' any beans, either. ;-)

 

More to the point, it really wouldn't be too applicable outside his room that much anyway. Every room is different, you have to know what sound does in your room, how your microphones behave, how sound propagates from each instrument, and have your ears tuned in to all of that. It boils down to using your ears...Rudy's ears were the true magic.

 

TP

---

Todd A. Phipps

"...no, I'm not a Hammondoholic...I can stop anytime..."

http://www.facebook.com/b3nut ** http://www.blueolives.com

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In the late 80s I began studying audio engineering and was doing well. I was also a jazz tenor saxophonist, so I was very familiar with Rudy Van Gelder's work. So I called him. He was very nice, patient and helpful, offering some great advice and his take on the industry, especially related to jazz. It's been a long time since I've worked as an audio engineer, but that conversation stuck with me.
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I have at least one high definition digital album taken with quality equipment from van Gelder recordings, and am glad someone like him did that accurate work and showed the love for Jazz music he did.

 

About the type of recording, track processing and mix logic: I don't think it was easy either and all trivial suggestions around are super simple to my understanding while on op of that: part of the recording and processing work might have been done according to the specifications of the top artists themselves. I think maybe he also felt he couldn't speak freely.

 

T.V.

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RVG was closed-lip about his recording techniques.

Jazz Wax's Marc Myers before he met with RVG.

 

Jazz Wax: "I spoke to Creed Taylor. The famed producer who recorded his Impulse, Verve, A&M and CTI recordings at Rudy's studio had some sage advice: "Dont wear wet shoes into the studio, and dont ask questions about his recording techniques."

 

http://www.jazzwax.com/2012/02/interview-rudy-van-gelder-part-3.html

JazzWax: I was warned not to ask you to explain why your recordings sound so much better than many other albums.

Rudy Van Gelder: Good [laughs].

 

While most studios were using RCA and Western Electric microphones. He differed.

RVG: "I used Neumann condenser microphones before anyone else did." [in 1949]

 

How he may have gotten the "piano sound".

JW: How you've placed the mikes matters. Ive been told that you once wrapped a mike in foam and stuck it into the piano's tone hole to get the right sound.

RVG: All I'll say about that is, nothing is simple and everything is complex.

 

He ain't telling!

I read this whole five-part interview last night. It was outstanding and very interesting. He didn't give away any secrets, but what he did share was really interesting about how his two studios came about as well as how he was at the forefront of recording technology.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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