ABC Jazz Home > Features > Worth a listen: 5 classic RVG Sessions

Worth a listen: 5 classic RVG Sessions

Rudy Van Gelder
Aug 26, 2016 Updated Sep 2, 2016

The legendary jazz engineer Rudy Van Gelder passed away in August 2016. We pay tribute with a selection of his work behind the console.

Rudy Van Gelder leaves behind a pretty amazing legacy. Just look at this Wikipedia list of sessions from both of his studios in Hackensack (which was actually his parents' house), and Englewood Cliffs - which is still in operation today.

Name a classic jazz album, and Van Gelder probably recorded it. He was the engineer of choice for Blue Note, Impulse!, Prestige, Verve and CTI Records - to name a few! His ears were behind many classic jazz albums - John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, Miles Davis' Relaxin', Steamin', Cookin' and Workin' sessions from 1956, Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil and Sonny Rollins' East Broadway Run Down. Van Gelder also oversaw the transfer of many of his sessions from analog to digital, remastering many tapes for Blue Note's RVG Series.

Speaking of his approach, Van Gelder notes, "I'm a recording engineer. I don't hire the musicians, nor do I come up with concepts for albums or how well musicians are playing. I'm there to capture the music at the time it's being created... I was driven to make the music sound closer to the way it sounded inside the studio. This was a constant struggle - to get electronics to accurately capture the human spirit." (JazzWax)

Here are 5 of our favourite Rudy Van Gelder sessions

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme

Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus

Shirley Scott: Shirley's Sounds

Wayne Shorter: Juju

Bob James: One

Feature Type
More about
tag Register to add tags

Artist Biography


Rudy Van Gelder (born November 2, 1924, Jersey City, New Jersey - August 25, 2016) was an American recording engineer who specializes in jazz. Regarded as the most important recording engineer of jazz by some observers, Van Gelder has recorded several thousand jazz sessions, including many widely recognized as classics, in a career spanning more than half a century. Van Gelder has recorded...

This entry is from Wikipedia external link, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under CC-BY-SA external link. Visit Rudy Van Gelder external link on Wikipedia to correct or update this entry. Any changes made to the Wikipedia article will not be immediately available here. The ABC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

bullet Alert Moderator

Discover more about Rudy Van Gelder on ABC Jazz


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
On Sep 1, 2016. 10:38am
Christopher Lynch said

Rudy Van Gelder was, like so many of the outstanding musicians he devotedly recorded, a true jazz colossus. His superlative endeavors will remain in our hearts - and ears! - for generations to come.
RVG's vision, dedication and support to jazz are lasting gifts to the art form, for which we must all be grateful. The informative cover notes accompanying those musically seductive BlueNote albums he produced, were for teens like me back in the sixties, a wonderful means of acquiring jazz knowledge, and will doubtless continue to be so for young enthusiasts in future.
May I be so bold as to declare that jazz wouldn't quite have evolved to the glorious extent it has today, without RVG's definitive recordings.
Furthermore, his work will endure as a source of encouragement to generations of recording engineers.
Thankyou Mr Van Gelder. You've been an inspiration to us all.
Christopher Lynch.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Comments from unregistered users are subject to ABC moderation and will not appear until they are approved - there will be a delay until they are published.
Create A Profile to add comments straight away.

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
seven times eight equals
Solve this math question and enter the solution with digits. E.g. for "two plus four = ?" enter "6".
Sign up to the weekly newsletter
Enter your email address
Other ABC music sites