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Recording Studios Are... Pointless / Essential !

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Recording Studios Are... Pointless / Essential !

Postby RichardT » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:56 pm

Jorge wrote:Our generations are spoiled. Take a look at Rudy Van Gelder's recording schedule from the 1950s to the 2000s.
For example 60 years ago, in August 1960 he recorded 16 albums on 6 different labels. These included albums by Larry Young, Duke Jordan, Art Taylor, Art Blakey and Jazz Messengers (2 albums), Jimmy Forest, Al Smith, Freddie Redd, Eric Dolphy (2 albums), Brownie McGee & Sonny Terry (3 albums), Oliver Nelson, Blind Gary Davis and John Wright. Of course August has 31 days (it did then too) so a bit longer than your average month. And that was just August. The first 4 days of September that year he recorded 2 albums and parts of 2 more albums including Jackie McLean, Tina Brooks, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin. He kept up that sort of pace for decades and produced some of the best jazz albums ever among the many hundreds of albums he recorded. Musicians back then showed up well rehearsed and often did one take per song for the whole album, a rarity today. An optometrist by training (with no music tech diploma!) he had to invent, design, build, maintain, troubleshoot and repair most of his recording equipment, edit his recordings bouncing to other recorders and with a razor blade and tape at times, and lots of other inconveniences. No clicking on effects, copy and paste, patching in the box, or any of the other tedious DAW tasks we have to slog through.

Sadly, Mr. Van Gelder passed away in 2016 at 91 years of age. His studio which he helped design, with legendary acoustics, is still there in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA. The studio is not as busy as back in the day but it is still active, run by his colleague Maureen Sickler, and just recorded Charles McPherson Jazz Dance Suites a few days ago.

Yes, in some ways we are spoiled. But looking at another way, we are also empowered. We can create things that a few years ago would have been impossible. We can do things cheaply and immediately. We can distribute our music to the world at the click of button. It's quite amazing.
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