Jazz.com’s Andy Karp gets a rare interview with legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder.
Quote : "Hovan : How did the invention of stereo effect your approach to recording jazz ?
RVG : That was a problem for everyone and not just me. There was no artistic rush to get into stereo from the people I worked for. They had to get into because they had to get into it. As a matter of fact, for quite awhile Alfred (Lion) and others too had to be making… this is pretty important that you understand this. They had to make two products from the same session. They had to make a mono release in order to have anyone buy it and they had to make a stereo release to make that available to people who were buying stereo. And then of course when the stereo LP came in there was this question of compatibility. Who wants to buy two albums of the same music ? You had to make both available and that became very difficult so what happened was everything that was made in Hackensack was mono. Even towards the very end when we were recording two-track we weren’t listening in stereo. We were recording in two-track and we were listening in mono because there was only one speaker in Hackensack in the control room and only one speaker in the studio. So how could you listen in stereo when you only have one speaker ? And all the judgements, Alfred’s judgements, as to mix and balance, and mine too and the musicians too and how they sounded in relationship to each other, and all that during the creative part of those recordings was done in mono. It couldn’t be any other way. Towards the end we were running two-track sessions but no one had ever listened to them. So there was no particular attention or attempt at creating a stereo field at that time."