Rudy Van Gelder (born 2 November 1924, Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American recording engineer specializing in jazz.
Frequently regarded as one of the most important recording engineers in music history, Van Gelder is one of the legendary behind-the-scenes figures in jazz, recording several hundred jazz sessions, including many widely recognized as classics. Bringing an unprecedented clarity to jazz recording, Van Gelder has recorded many of the great names in the genre, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Grant Green, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, and many others. He worked with many record companies, but he is most closely associated with Blue Note Records, now a division of EMI.
Van Gelder's recording techniques are often admired for the warmth and presence he brings to the end result. Some critics however have also expressed a distaste for the thin and recessed sound in the instruments, mainly the piano. Richard Cook for example noted that the manner in which Van Gelder recorded piano was often as distinctive as the pianists' playing. Blue Note president and producer Alfred Lion often noted that Rudy was sometimes a little heavy on the reverb and would jokingly note that on the tape box as a "Rudy special".
"Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art." - CHARLIE PARKER