Rudy Van Gelder is one of the most recognized audio engineers to have ever lived. He has recorded hundreds of the most celebrated jazz albums the world has ever heard. His recordings are so characteristic, “the Van Gelder sound” has become a catchphrase known to jazz fans the world over. But under the umbrella of this moniker, Rudy Van Gelder’s recording technique, philosophy, and logistics went through numerous changes over his career. Perhaps the change that affected this sonic signature most was when he moved his studio from his parents’ living room in Hackensack, New Jersey to a custom-built, cathedral-like structure in nearby Englewood Cliffs. The following playlists should make clear the distinct sonic characteristics of each studio and the way each space left its mark on recordings:
- Hackensack Mono: This playlist embodies the immediate, up-front sound of Van Gelder’s Hackensack home studio. Additionally, since mono was the singular focus here, this playlist consists entirely of mono recordings and thus embodies Van Gelder’s legendary mono sound from start to finish.
- Englewood Cliffs: The stereo presentation of each recording here helps to emphasize the open, spacious sound of this studio.
Click the links below to listen to the playlists on Spotify, or shuffle through the playlists right here! Also, feel free to leave a comment below letting me know what songs or versions I missed!
Note: If you have the Spotify app installed on your computer, clicking any of the “play” icons below will launch the app.