The most important sound engineer in jazz history has died, aged 91
If you’ve ever heard a jazz record, chances are you’ve heard the work of Rudy Van Gelder. But you wouldn’t have heard him playing the drums, the piano, the saxophone, or the trumpet (although he had lessons in his youth) – and you wouldn’t have heard him singing into the microphone. That’s because he was the microphone. In a manner of speaking. Born in New Jersey on 2 November 1924, Rudolph (Rudy) Van Gelder became the most prominent sound engineer in American jazz history. He recorded just about every major figure in the canon, including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Sonny Rollins.

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“Bobby Hutcherson, a vibraphonist whose improvising and composition helped to define modernity for jazz as a whole, has died. He had long struggled with emphysema. He was 75.”

More at NPR.

“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.” — John Coltrane

Recommended Records

  • A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965)
  • Blue Train (Blue Note, 1958)
  • Giant Steps (Atlantic, 1959)

Read More: John Coltrane: Becoming “a force for good” • A Love Supreme: 51st Anniversary • A Love Supreme: Rare Photographs of John Coltrane • Writing a Life of John Coltrane

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“Unit Structures is both as mathematically complex as its title suggests and as rich in colour and sound as the ensemble proposes, with the orchestrally varied sounds of the two bassists — Grimes a strong, elemental driving force, Silva tonally fugitive and mysterious — while Stevens and McIntyre add other hues and Lyons improvises with and against them.”

The Penguin Guide to Jazz

Listen to the complete album at Blue Note Records.