Rudy Van Gelder is, quite simply, the greatest recording engineer in jazz history. He was responsible for just about every session on the Blue Note label from 1953 to 1967 (among thousands of others), encompassing some of jazz's most groundbreaking and enduring classics. The signature of a Van Gelder recording lies in the rich, natural tone of each instrument and the clearly defined separation between them, ensuring that every sonic detail is audible. What's more, Van Gelder had an uncanny knack for capturing sonic textures that supported whatever mood the musicians and producers were aiming at. Exactly how he did all that is a mystery. Van Gelder, a modest and unassuming man in many ways, was fiercely protective of his techniques, from the placement of microphones and musicians in the room to the type of mic itself. Whatever the source of his alchemy, Van Gelder was responsible for preserving some of America's greatest music in the most sympathetic settings possible.