Reviews that mention Roswell Rudd

December 18, 2021

Albert Ayler

New York Eye and Ear Control Revisited
ezz-thetics 1118

By Ken Waxman

A movie soundtrack that’s as acclaimed as the film for which it was conceived, 1964’s New York Eye and Ear Control has maintained its reputation for both the distinctive quality of Toronto artist/pianist Michael Snow’s experimental film, and the unique ensemble which improvised its soundtrack. Following Snow’s instructions to create an improvised score, New York’s top free jazz players of the time – cornetist/trumpeter Don Cherry, trombonist Roswell Rudd, alto saxophonist John Tchicai, tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray – rose to the challenge. MORE

December 6, 2016

Roswell Rudd/Jamie Saft/Trevor Dunn/Balazs Pandi

Strength and Power
RareNoise Records RNR 059

Jamie Saft’s New Zion

Sunshine Seas

RareNoise Records RNR 065

Starlite Motel

Awosting Falls

Clean Feed CF 364 CD

By Ken Waxman

Jamie Saft has built up an impressive resumé as keyboardist, guitarist, composer, producer and engineer, who crosses musical boundaries with the surefootedness of a mountain goat with ADHD. One of these new CDs has him fitting a noise-rock garment over the free-music outfit worn by a jazz legend; a second joins reggae-accented improvisation to a Brazilian percussionist’s beat; the third brews a potion that adds equal parts metal and psychedelic rock to non-idiomatic improvisation. MORE

July 16, 2016

Roswell Rudd/Jamie Saft/Trevor Dunn/Balazs Pandi

Strength and Power
RareNoise Records RNR 059

So many platitudes about age and creativity have to be set aside when dealing with trombonist Roswell Rudd/Jamie that he’s practically a geriatric case study on his own. From the beginning of Jazz emphatic improvisers often managed to preserve their techniques and enthusiasm for many decades. Yet at 80, almost 60 years after he first recorded, it’s the brass man who roars out of the gate on this session and keeps his associates – pianist Jamie Saft, 44, bassist Trevor Dunn, 47 and drummer Balazs Pandi, 32 – scrambling to keep up with him. For Rudd alone, the disc is sensibly titled Strength and Power. MORE

March 17, 2016

Archie Shepp

Live at the Donaueschingen Music Festival
MPS EAN/UPC 4250644878640

While it may hardly sound credible in 2016, about 40 years ago it appeared as if Archie Shepp was going to enter the history books as the most accomplished tenor saxophonist following John Coltrane. In hindsight it’s became apparent that the aleatoric advances from Europeans like Evan Parker plus more direct Energy Music extenders like Charles Gayle or protean thinkers such as Roscoe Mitchell soon eclipsed Shepp. When he turned so-called traditional, even neo-mainstreamers like Joe Henderson’s playing revealed Shepp’s tonal inadequacies. Like an angry radical glorying in his establishment confrontations during the 1960s, Shepp has become a New Thing parody. Croaking the blues, recycling Swing ballads, struggling with intonation and raging vocally more than playing, the Shepp of four decades ago would have characterized today’s flashily dressed Shepp as one of those bourgeoisie entertainers he was struggling against. MORE

January 20, 2012

Rhapsody's 2011 Jazz Critics' Poll

Individual Ballot
From Ken Waxman

1) Your name and primary affiliation(s) (no more than two, please)

2) Ken Waxman

Jazz Word ( )

3) Your choices for 2011's ten best new releases (albums released between Thanksgiving 2010 and Thanksgiving 2011, give or take), listed in descending order one-through-ten.

1. World Saxophone Quartet Yes We Can Jazzwerkstatt JW 098

2. Gerald Cleaver Uncle June Be It As I See It Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT-375

3. Hubbub Whobub Matchless MRCD 80 MORE

December 10, 2011

Steve Lacy

School Days
Emanem 5016

By Ken Waxman

Nearly 50 years later it seems unbelievable, but this all-star quartet broke up after a couple of years of almost no work because few wanted to support a band that exclusively played what was then thought of as far-out music by pianist/composer Thelonious Monk. Yet, on the basis of the material recorded here in 1963, with Henry Grimes stentorian walking bass timbres and Dennis Charles’ free-flowing drum beats on side, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd were already so familiar with the Monk cannon that they were able to create their own swinging variations on such now-familiar Monk fare as Monk’s Dream and Brilliant Corners. MORE

December 19, 2010

New York Art Quartet

Old Stuff: October 1965
Cuneiform Records RUNE 300

Archie Shepp

The New York Contemporary Five

Delmark DE 409

Back in the turbulent days of the early 1960s when the New Thing was really new, North American gigs for the pioneers of Free Jazz were at the same premium that they are for advanced players today. That’s when the wholesale exodus to work in Europe for longer or shorter stays began. These prime slices of birthing Energy Music capture two acclaimed, ostensible New York bands, performing to wider acclaim in Copenhagen. MORE

July 13, 2010

Geordie McDonald

Time/After Time: A Jazz Suite
Sonavista Records NO #

Audaciously taking on nothing less than a history of our sad planet, from the big bang to its potential post-apocalypse, veteran local drummer Geordie McDonald has put together a multi-faceted two-CD set that melds futuristic, multi-ethnic and contemporary improvisations.

“Time/After Time” is an instrumental parable that begins with a brief electronically propelled explosion and ends with more than 12½ minutes of McDonald’s inventive polyrhythms on drums and ancillary percussion including a bell tree, claves, oversized cymbals, woodblocks and rain sheets. The suite encompasses the skills of 18 [!] of Toronto’s top improvisers plus New York-based trombonist Roswell Rudd, whose inventive brays and slurs perfectly fit the primitive-modern CD the drummer organized. MORE

July 2, 2008

Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd Quartet

Early and Late
Cuneiform Records Rune 250/251

Slightly deceptively titled this memorable two-CD set celebrates the four-decades-long collaboration between trombonist Roswell Rudd and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. The title is ambiguous because while four tracks are by the legendary 1962 Lacy-Rudd quartet, the remaining nine showcase the reconstituted partnership late (1999) and very late (2002) in its tenure – Lacy died in 2004.

Overall the quartet – featuring bassist Bob Cunningham and drummer Dennis Charles in 1962 and bassist Jean- Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch later on – performs the timeless repertoire that characterized Lacy-Rudd meetings in the intervening years: single lines by Cecil Taylor, Herbie Nichols and Rudd plus five originals by Lacy and a large helping of Thelonious Monk’s music, which the two championed years before its adoption by the repertory movement. MORE

March 6, 2006



A curiosity as much as, if not more than, a musical statement, trombonist Roswell Rudd’s collaboration with this Mongolian-Russian quintet proves once again the avuncular slide-master’s ability to making memorable music with anyone.

Considering over a 50-year history Rudd’s playing partners have ranged from Dixielanders, members of Catskills hotel bands, avant-garde saxophone avatars like Steve Lacy and Archie Shepp, Canadian saxophonist Glen Hall on a CD that took author William Burroughs’ work as its basis, and local griots in Mali, that’s saying a lot. But BLUE MONGOL doesn’t reach the elevated level of some of those other projects. MORE

September 29, 2003


Seize the time!
Splasc(h) CDH 841/842

During the years since its founding in December of 1980, the Milanese band Nexus has always stood at a little distance from many of the other Italian aggregations.

Although its leaders, saxophonist Daniele Cavallanti and percussionist Tiziano Tononi, were so a much part of the flowering of original local improv scene that both have been part of the Italian Instabile Orchestra from its beginnings, they never had the overriding commitment to Mediterranean folklore that galvanized many other musicians. At the same time they didn’t fit in with the old bebopers or Young Lions who took their cues from American jazz. MORE

April 7, 2003


Sunnyside Soundscape Series SSC 3008

Roswell Rudd has never been an easy musician to pin down.

The trombonist has played Dixieland with some of its originators; helped define the New Thing with saxophonist Archie Shepp; worked in a Catskills mountain show band; refined Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk material with saxophonist Steve Lacy; and sat in with rock bands. Now he’s made a CD trading licks with a septet of Malian musicians on their home turf.

Unsurprising the mixture of his rough, gruff trombone tones and the Africans’ massed airy, delicate strings goes down as easily as a frosty drink on a scorching hot day. Not only do the West Africans provide a unique setting for Rudd, but his powerful, modern gutbucket style also adds something unexpected to the local sounds. MORE

August 13, 2001


Live in New York
Emarcy 013 482-2

Time changes everything, or if not time, age. At least that's the conclusion you can make about the fervent reception former enfants terribles Archie Shepp and Roswell Rudd received when they reconvened a band they co-lead in the mid-1960s for a gig at a New York night club that lead to the recording of this accomplished CD.

In reality, the response shouldn't be much of a surprise. For between the updated tailgate forays trombonist Rudd introduced and the sophisticated piano and vocal (!) stylings of Shepp, this performance at the Jazz Standard -- and think of the implications of that name -- was probably the most accomplished mainstream show to hit Manhattan since the late Doc Cheatham's 1980s heyday. MORE

August 4, 2000


35th Reunion
DIW 936

Reunions can be a chancy proposition. Whether it’s the Modern Jazz Quartet getting together after 10 years or the Guess Who recombining after 20, nostalgic expectations can often exceed reality. This can be especially serious if, unlike some rock band “reunions” which occur regularly as soon as bank balances dip, combination, as on this CD, literally bring together players who often haven’t seen one another for many decades.

Sometimes the results are spectacular, oftentimes not so. And 35TH REUNION has examples of both.