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 – Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Donald Byrd, Oliver Nelson, Max Roach, Bud Powell, Coleman Hawkins – just simply every amazing jazz musician of the time. His treasured, guarded and masterful techniques perfectly captured and help define the sound of modern jazz recordings and the genre itself.
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.
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. He also raised eyebrows and gained wide-spread attention, shocking the jazz world with his own innovative crew that featured cello and flute. The heralded “Chamber Jazz” sound was featured in the acclaimed films, The Sweet Smell of Success and Jazz on A Summer Day. Proving a keen ear for talent, his bands throughout the years became the launching pad for eventual legends in their own right such as Jim Hall, Eric Dolphy, Charles Lloyd, Ron Carter, Gabor Szabo and a host of other stars helping to carve out new musical lanes and pushing the jazz envelope all the way up to his passing in 2013 at the age of 92. I SPY SOUL is pleased to take a look back at legend, Chico Hamiltion on SIMPLY JAZZ
bc Photo: Todd Boebel
For more information on Chico Hamilton click here