Live at the Blackhawk???

OK. So this question actually started as part of the Rudy Van Gelder thread, but I'm curious to see if anyone knows anything about this.

I have a couple of recordings that were done c.1960 at the Blackhawk in San Francisco and they sound really great. Does anyone know if the club had its own recording system or did engineers bring in their own gear if they were going to record there?

The few recordings I have sound remarkably similar: close miked, full sounding, good bass and very smooth, so it would not be a surprise to learn that they were recorded on the same machines.

Anyone know anything about this?
I have no idea what kind of recording system they had. I have a great story about the Blackhawk however that I don't mind sharing. In the early 90's I lived on Golden Gate and Divisadero streets in San Francisco. It was NOT a good neighborhood, but was affordable for a poor college student. One day I walked into this old man's furniture store on Divisadero near Fell street. This was about 4 blocks from my apartment. The store was really dirty and dank. In the middle of the longest wall there was a riser which looked like it was an old stage. There was definitely some kind of strange energy in the place. I inquired to the old guy running the shop about that old stage. I asked him what he used it for? He sat down and said "you got few minutes"? I said sure. He said that old stage has always been in my way, but I can't rip it out. I asked why? He said it still had the footprints of Miles Davis, Coltrane, Shelly Manne, Bill Evans and every other major jazz artist of the 1960's. He went on tell me that his shop was the former Blackhawk and that I was looking at the old stage. Needless to say I was blown away. Speechless I was. I just walked over to it and ran my hands over it trying to imagine all the great jazz that was played on it. If only it could speak i was thinking. I stood on it and clapped my hands really loud. There was pretty bad slap echo coming from the far walls. However those walls were bare. I am sure the acoustics of the place were different in the 1960's with the bar and wall decorations which he said were on the far wall. Anyway....sorry I can't answer your original question, there are probably few people left who can.

Mark, I have an interesting follow-up to your story.

I moved to San Francisco almost two years ago, to a nice apartment building with a building manager. One day, I came home to find an LP I’d purchased off ebay for my wife (Dave Grisman’s Svingin’ with Svend). It came in typical cardboard shippers for LPs. My building manager ran into me at the same time and she asked if that was a vinyl record. I told her it was and that’s when she told me that her brothers were the guys that owned the Blackhawk and founded Fantasy Records (the Weiss brothers) before selling it to Saul Zaentz. Because she was their kid sister, she used to waitress on the weekends at the Blackhawk, where she met, and was on a first name basis with ALL the greats that passed through those fabled doors—Davis, Coltrane, Brubeck, you name it. As she recalls, her brothers discovered Brubeck in some dive bar in Oakland! I asked if she had any photos from those days, but alas, she said that it never occurred to her to take any—to her they were just the guys who played at her brothers’ club! I guess no one really knew what a golden age those years would turn out to be.

Unfortunately, this very nice lady with the very interesting family history has since left our building. However, she now manages another building in my neighborhood and if I run into her, I will certainly ask if she knows what kind of recording set-up they had at the Blackhawk. I doubt she would know or remember, but I’ll be sure to ask!
In that era it was likely an Ampex 350 or 351. An all tube machine that captured most of the great music of that time.

Tonight my music group was listening to a reissue of the Blue Note, "Cool Struttin" from 1958 ! We were all amazed at the sound quality from this album, especially the perfection in the way the horn section was done.

Of course the talent was beyond the pale, Sonny Clark, Jackie McLean on alto, and Art Farmer on trumpet. Bassist was Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, both from Miles Davis band.

Sometimes I think we are going backwards. It's just amazing how excellent this LP was, both musically and sonically.