Interview: Rudy Van Gelder (Part 1) - JazzWax

« Interview: Benny Golson | Main | Interview: Rudy Van Gelder (Part 2) »

February 13, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Marty Sheller

My one experience with Rudy was when I conducted several sessions at his studio in 1969 for a George Benson album on CTI Records that I arranged entitled "Tell It Like It Is."

The sound Rudy got was clear, bright and warm (as usual) and even though he's a stern looking man, he was smiling and seemed very pleased with what he was hearing. He paid me a nice complement, saying that my charts "mixed themselves."

One of the songs, Eumir Deodato's lovely "Jackie All," was arranged for 3 soprano flutes,1 alto flute and rhythm. Bobby Porcelli was one of the flute players (the others were Joe Farrell, Jerry Dodgion and Jerome Richardson) and Bobby made the fatal mistake of moving his mike down a taste. Rudy burst into the recording room (with his white gloves on), stood over Bobby and shouted "Don't touch my microphone!  Do I pick up your flute?"  For a few seconds you could have heard a pin drop. Then Rudy made the adjustment on Bobby's mike, went back steamin' into the control booth and recorded a take. When we came into the control room to listen to it, Rudy was smiling again and commented that it was beautiful. I think the groove and nice notes cooled him out.


Congratulations on the interviews with Don Sebesky, Creed Taylor and now Rudy Van Gelder. Do you know that guitarist Don Felder from the Eagles talks about Rudy Van Gelder in his autobiography, "Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles"?
Here is what he says about his first recording with the band Flow:

« When it finally came time for flow to go into the recording studio and cut its first album, we were all pretty scared. Creed Taylor used a studio over in Englewood cliffs, New Jersey. The room we used was round and was supposed to have a natural ambiance it was owned and run by Rudy Van Gelder, a german optometrist by trade, who’d become a recording engineer with impeccable credentials. He ‘d worked with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and was said to be responsible for the Blue Note Sound. He had top-notch Neumann microphones and state-of-the-art eight-track recording equipment with mixing consoles and equalizers. He sat in his recording booth manning the controls like some mad scientist. He literally wore white gloves to make his very antiseptic, high-fidelity recordings ...


I was hoping your interview with Rudy Van Gelder would start today, thanks.


Is there a printable version of this article?


Anita  Riska

My husband heard about Rudy van Gelder and his famous Studio in Englewood Cliffs l o n g time ago in 60-ties. We lived in Czechoslovakia and my husband was a semi-professional Bass player. That time he hadn't any idea where is Englewood Cliffs….only he knew the NAME "R.V.G". (Now we are living near Englewood Cliffs for 2 years).
The Interview with Rudy Van Gelder and the special JazzWax published with the help of Don and Maureen Sickler in Feb. 12-th was very meaningful and enlightening for us,too.


Van Gelder is American, not German, and the name is Dutch, not German.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
Marc Myers2 2021 (c)by Alyse Myers

Contact me


Click the covers to order...

Subscribe Free

Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Search JazzWax

  • JazzWax

JazzWax Interviewed

JazzWax Interviews

Audio Note

  • Audio clips that appear below JazzWax posts support editorial content that links readers directly to Amazon and other third-party music retailers.

Marc Myers on Video

JATP Programs