The well-traveled trombonist Roswell Rudd has played in almost every setting imaginable: from straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz, to Asian and Afro-Caribbean musical genres. That s why it s hard to believe that his latest Sunnyside recording, Trombone Tribe, is his first to focus on that instrument.
Not since J.J. Johnson s majestic Brass Orchestra recording of the mid-nineties have we heard such an astonishing assemblage of trombone royalty on record: Eddie Bert (Thelonious Monk); Wycliffe Gordon (Wynton Marsalis), Ray Anderson, Sam Burtis, Deborah Weisz, Steve Swell, and Josh Roseman; backed by a rhythm section consisting of drummer Barry Alstchul, bassist Henry Grimes, Bob Stewart on tuba, and the cutting-edge ensembles: Bonerama, the Gangbe Brass Band, and Sex Mob.
Sexmob is one of my favorite bands, [and the] the members of Bonerama are like their music down to earth, energetic, adventurous and they like pour on the fun k! Rudd writes in the CD liner notes. My good friend Arnaud Robert was the first to tell me about the Gangbe Brass Band of Benin and gave me their CD. It was life changing. We contacted them and in 2002 on one of their USA tours they drove straight from Detroit to upstate NY to spend two days with us.
The African influence of Gangbe Brass Band is heard on the opener Fanfare and A Place Above, a four-part work inspired by an African religious service that percolates with an almost Afro-Cuban beat born in the Motherland heat and blended with doxology: a hymn of praise derived from a belief in the mystery of light. Elton Dean is a midtempo number dedicated to the English composer, while Eastern Europe s troubadour trombone bands were the inspiration behind Astroslyde. Hull Gulla offers new dimensions in trombone plunger-ology, contrasted by the Mingus-motored No End and the funky Bone Again. To the Day and Sand in my Shuffle, bop with an Afropop beat, and Slide to the Family Bone a cute nod to Sly and the Family Stone, actually owes its heart to Dixieland. Twelve Bars with Sex Mob, is based on a composition by Herbie Nichols (the only non-Rudd track on the CD), and bounces on a Monkish gait sprinkled with some march and rumba tempos.
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