The first time you look at the list of albums engineered and recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, the effect is almost overwhelming. It's preposterous that one person can have played a part in so many of the best records of all time, yet, here it is, a list so long and so stuffed full of iconic names that it's too much to take in all at once.
But that's Rudy Van Gelder, who started off his career in his parents house in Hackensack NY and who subsequently built his own studio just down the road. It's arguable that nobody was more central to the recorded sound of jazz yet he's famously taciturn about his methods, unreproducible.
One thing he did say was that he tried to capture the space around a performance, to give each recording its unique character. Maybe there was something in the air in his recording sessions, maybe it was just a perfect combination of the right people at the right time. Either way, here's our selection to honour what would have been Rudy's 96th birthday.