Tape Op Magazine recently added their extensive 2004 interview with Rudy Van Gelder to their web archives. I highly recommend this interview for recording enthusiasts. Mr. Van Gelder was the man who recorded so many of the greatest jazz records of all time, including John Coltrane and his classic quartet recordings for Impulse Records.
Introduction to the Tape Op Interview:
Rudy Van Gelder’s legend looms large, yet he has avoided most interviews throughout his 50-plus years in the recording biz. He has never discussed his techniques, and even in the following interview he didn’t divulge details. Van Gelder is best known for the LPs he recorded in the ’50s and ’60s for the Blue Note and Prestige jazz labels. In his youth he built a recording studio in his parent’s house where he recorded Miles Davis and many others. Having outgrown the first home studio, he built his own recording studio/complex/home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, which remains. The scope of Van Gelder’s work is unknown, but it’s a foundation for the maps, legends and history of the music of John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. Van Gelder’s work is both intimate and mind blowing, and he might be the greatest recording engineer in jazz history.
Musicians, whether they are recording or just playing music, need to understand the importance of “room treatment” and how it plays a key role in the sound you hear. I have had mixed results trying to explain this concept to others. In my own case, I noticed the difference immediately after I hung my first homemade absorber over my listening position at Tangled Wire Studios. Since then I have added several absorbers and bass traps to my recording space. I can say with confidence, I have a decent sounding room.
I recently cam across an excellent and short video that explains how sound travels within a room. (Hat tip to the Tape Op Blog) The explanation is concise and the terminology used is simple enough for non-scientific minds like mine.
Tape Op Magazinehas been around since 1996. Each bi-monthly issue is packed with a wealth of information for the recording musician – Everything from interviews with producers and engineers, to reviews of the latest gear and recording technology. I love reading about the famous and not so famous people who worked behind-the-scenes to create some of iconic recordings that helped influence my musical tastes. Besides hearing about these people, you also get to read about some of the famous recording studios where the magic was created. In addition, you will find many valuable recording tips to help you in your own musical pursuits. Tape Op Magazine is one of the few magazines I read from cover to cover. If you are a recording musician, this is a must have resource.
Did I mention that mail subscriptions of the print edition are free? That’s right. For people who live in the United States and the United Kingdom, magazine subscriptions are free.
Click on this link and get started with your subscription. You won’t be sorry.