R.I.P. RUDY VAN GELDER (1924-2016)
August 25 2016
We're deeply saddened by the loss of another Blue Note legend, the great recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who has passed away at age 91. Read The New York Times obituary.
Rudy was as vital a part of the "Blue Note Sound" as the incredible musicians he recorded, and his importance to the legacy of jazz cannot be overstated. In addition to his work with other labels, most notably Impulse! for whom he recorded classics including John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, Rudy was the go-to recording engineer for Blue Note Records between 1953-1972, capturing in sterling sound the monuments of the Blue Note catalog.
Rudy first came to the attention of Blue Note founder Alfred Lion in 1952 when Rudy was still a practicing optometrist moonlighting as a recording engineer, and Alfred began using him regularly the next year. Rudy initially recorded sessions on evenings and weekends in his parent’s living room in Hackensack, New Jersey, giving each label a day of the week for their sessions. Later on, in 1959, he closed his optometry practice and built his own studio in Englewood Cliffs, a holy site of jazz music.
Blue Train, Song for My Father, The Sidewinder, Moanin’, Somethin’ Else, Back at the Chicken Shack, Midnight Blue, Speak No Evil, Maiden Voyage, he recorded them all and thousands more. Our Classic Hits playlist is a staggering collection of landmark recordings that Rudy allowed to shine bright. Our Classic Ballads playlist becomes an elegy in his honor.
Thank you Rudy, for all that you gave the world of music. Rest In Peace.