Roswell Rudd: Trombone Tribe & The Light
The Second Approach
The peripatetic, both geographically and musically, trombonist Roswell Rudd ranges far and wide on these two albums: a trombone-dominated romp involving five bands from two continents and a collaboration with a Russian improvising trio at a Moscow club.
Trombone Tribe could well be called "The Joy of Trombone." Five tracks feature a sextet with Rudd, Steve Swell and Deborah Weisz (trombones), Bob Stewart (tuba), Henry Grimes (bass) and drummer Barry Altschul while another two have five trombones and Altschul. Rudd joins the New Orleans Mardi Gras-inspired Bonerama and the New York band Sex Mob on one track each and opening and closing the CD are tracks featuring Rudd with the Gangbe Brass Band of Benin (West Africa). Surprisingly, this is Rudd's first album featuring brass bands in his half-century career.
The five trombone band is hearty, rollicking fun on "Astroslyde," featuring stop-time passages inspired by European brass bands and lubricious solos from Josh Roseman, Wycliffe Gordon and Sam Burtis. A bass trombone vamp is answered by plunger-muted bones on "Hulla Gulla," Ray Anderson wah-wahing toward the stratosphere, then Rudd smearing and gargling his solo. Trombone Tribe offerings range from a bounce inspired by the Banda of Central Africa on the prancing "To the Day" to the avant-Dixie of "Slide and the Family Bone." Bonerama's four trombones and sousaphone plus Rudd kick up a Crescent City second-line beat with fast-traded solos from all on "Bone Again." Slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein's Sex Mob begins Herbie Nichols' "Twelve Bars" as a march morphing into neo-Dixieland before solos over a rumba rhythm. "A Place Above," Rudd's short five-part church service piece for the Gangbe Brass Band, ends it all with a vibe more celebratory than pious.
On The Light, Rudd joins a Russian improvising trio, unusual in that the third member (along with pianist Andrei Razin and acoustic bassist Igor Ivanushkin) is vocalist/percussionist Tatyana Komova, whose tools seem to be a combination of drums and found objects. Razin is an impressive pianist whose modernist and avant tendencies are tempered by an innate lyricism and strong classical (Russian) technique. That lyricism brings out some of Rudd's most melodic playing on slower, in-tempo tracks like Razin's "P.S." and Rudd's own "The Light Is With Me," the only track with sung (English) lyrics. Others feature Komova scatting, squawking or crooning wordlessly and, occasionally, emulating erotic cries and animal caterwauling. The conflation of avant, swing and bop works best on a version of Coltrane's "Mr. P.C.." And for sheer trombone mastery, witness Rudd's a capella rendition of "Lady Sings the Blues."
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Fan Fare; Elton Dean; Astro Slyde; Hulla Gulla; No End; Bone Again with Bonerama; To The Day; Sand In My Slide Shuffle; Slide And The Family Bone; Twelve Bars With Sexmob; A Place Above: Introduction into Skyward Theme, Instrumental Doxology, Vocal Doxology, Modal Improvisation and Fan Fare.
Personnel: Martial Ahouandjinou: trombone (1, 11-15); Magloire Ahouandjinou: trumpet (1, 11-15); James Vodounnon: tuba (1, 11-15); Lucien Gbaguidi: saxophone (1, 11-15); Benoit Avihoue: percussion (1, 11-15); Crespin Kpitiki: percussion (1, 11-15); Eric Yovogan: trumpet (1, 11-15); Roswell Rudd: trombone (2-10); Deborah Weisz: trombone (2, 5, 7-9) Steve Swell: trombone (2, 5, 7-9); Henry Grimes: bass and violin (2, 5, 7-9); Bob Stewart: tuba (2, 5, 7-9); Barry Altschul: drums (2-5, 7-9); Ray Anderson: trombone (3, 4); Eddie Bert: trombone (3, 4); Sam Burtis: trombone (3, 4); Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (3, 4); Josh Roseman: trombone (3, 4); Mark Mullins: trombone (6); Steve Souter: trombone (6); Craig Klein: trombone (6); Greg Hicks: trombone (6); Eric Bolivar (6): drums; Matt Perrine: sousaphone (6); Bert Cotton: electric guitar (6); Roswell Rudd: trombone; Steve Bernstein, slide trumpet (10); Doug Wieselman: clarinet (10); Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone (10); Marcus Rojas: tuba (10); Tony Scherr: bass (10); Kenny Wollesen: drums (10).
Tracks: Pipe It Up!; Mr. P.C.; The Light Is With Me; Lavina; Lady Sings the Blues; Jazz, Please!; P.S.
Personnel: Andrei Razin: piano; Igor Ivanushkin: bass; Tatyana Komova: vocals, percussion; Roswell Rudd: trombone.