Eloquent, affable and a true gentleman. The significance of legendary drummer, composer, bandleader, Art Taylor’s influence and contribution to so so many amazing jazz gems and the sound of the scene itself during, in particular, the 1950’s and 60’s just can not be overstated. 

He masterfully kept the time for a who’s who of jazz icons and greats like Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Red Garland, Miles Davis, Gene Ammons, Kenny Dorham, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Gigi Gryce and the list really just goes, on and on and on. Even as a kid in Harlem in the area where this interview was recorded, an early band he was a part of consisted of Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham, and Jackie McLean. The mark he’d make on the music, needless to say, was inevitable. And with these artists he is on some of the most heralded recordings in the history of the music on storied labels, Bluenote, Prestige and more – Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Miles Davis’s Miles Ahead, The Amazing Bud Powell and Monk’s Town Hall Recordings to name a scant few. 

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If you’re a jazz fan to really any degree, from knowledgeable and ardent to casual or novice you know the work of legendary recording engineer, Rudy Van Gelder.  There really is no way you can’t.  Actually, if you’re an aficionado of the hip hop game, that also holds true. Considered by many to be the greatest engineer in the history of jazz, the list of recordings he helmed for legendary, trailblazing labels like Savoy, Bluenote, Riverside, Prestige, and Impulse from, in particular, the 50’s and 60’s is staggering and represent many of the most groundbreaking, influential gems, from music’s most iconic musicians and artists

In this rare, on air interview from a 1994 episode of SIMPLY JAZZ shot on location at this historic studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Van Gelder, who passed away in 2016,  shares some time and insights about his beginnings as an engineer and his love of doing it. bc 

For a list of the many recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder click here 

Photo. Francis Wolff

In 1993, SIMPLY JAZZ, a half-hour program created to present Jazz in a contemporary format unlike most programming presented up to that time, was born.  The acclaimed program, that ran for three years, was shot on location at acclaimed jazz clubs throughout NYC, and included produced segments as well as rare interviews with venerated figures and then burgeoning stars in the world of jazz.  Now through the retrospective SIMPLY JAZZ on I SPY SOUL, a look back is provided at some of these interviews.

Simply Jazz on I SPY SOUL: Drummer CHICO HAMILTON

Legendary jazz drummer, bandleader, and pioneer Chico Hamilton not only blazed trails on the jazz scene, but his music stretched beyond it into film, the worlds of rock, hip-hop, and the dance music scene with hits like, “Conquistadors” and “Strut” as well as  through samples and remixes. Over the course of his illustrious career,  the LA native and a bedrock of the West Coast jazz scene of the ’50’s and 60’s, laid down the pulse for jazz luminaries such as Lionel Hampton, Lester Young, Count Basie, Gerry Mulligan and Lena Horne to name a few.

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