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Ah, Rudy van Gelder! And Art Blakey/Jazz Showcase 1977 (April 27, 2011)

Music Ramble: Rudy van Gelder! And Art Blakey/Jazz Showcase 1977

Subject: Ah, Rudy van Gelder! And Art Blakey/Jazz Showcase 1977

Date: April 27, 2011

> “Rudolph van Gelder was the mastering engineer...”

Seeing Rudy van Gelder come up in classical discussions (and as "Rudolph") always catches my attention -- RvG's biggest claim to fame (he's still working, too) by far is his recording work for the jazz label Blue Note, especially during its "classic" era from the early '50s through the late '60s, for which he has quite a sizable cult. In fact, the Blue Note label has a series of reissues mastered by RvG and marketed as such.

On a related note, my first "real" live jazz I heard on my own (so not counting Mom taking young-drummer-me to hear Buddy Rich's band at Mr. Kelly's when I was 14) was a group that benefited from RvG-engineered recordings for Blue Note: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, at the Jazz Showcase here in Chicago (when it was beneath the Happy Medium on Rush), the summer of 1977 after high school graduation. My friend Marvin seemed to know Wayne (Showcase boss Joe Segal's son) which is how us under-age kids got in, AND were the only ones allowed to stay in our seats and not pay again when the house was cleared between sets because the line was so big outside.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a broadcast (by NPR) of one of Blakey’s Jazz Showcase sets from that week, recorded off the air back then in excellent stereo by a guy who obviously had good reel-to-reel equipment, uploaded (bit torrent) in lossless flac. Don't know if the broadcasted set was one I heard, but I went to two of those nights and stayed for both sets each time; Blakey was doing the usual 5-night stand; so there's a 40% chance. Either way, I was pretty amazed to find this recording, and it's a relatively sparsely-documented edition of Blakey's Messengers (they recorded for Roulette at the time): On June 25, 1977, they were Blakey (drums), David Schnitter (tenor sax), Valery Ponomarev (trumpet), Albert Dailey (piano), Bobby Watson (alto sax), and Dennis Irwin (bass). They performed Autumn in New York, Jodi, Hawkman, 'Round Midnight, Gypsy Folk Tales, Moanin', and Blues March.

Between sets, I bought my first Blakey LP from the man himself as he staffed the “Records for Sale” table: Backgammon.

Sorry for the non-classical tangent.


PS: The broadcast is easy to find by searching the ‘net for ‘Blakey Messengers Chicago 1977,’ if you want to download it.

[Originally posted, in slightly different form, to the SymphonyShare Yahoo Group.]

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