Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Roswell Rudd - Blown Bone (Emanem, 2006)

Most of the music on this album saw the light of day as a Japan-only release in 1979, which is kind of surprising considering the heavy-duty crew on board. Besides trombonist and composer Rudd, the musicians include Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone, Enrico Rava on trumpet, Paul Motian on drums, Sheila Jordan on vocals on a couple of tracks and bluesman Louisiana Red on vocals and guitar on one. Rudd has played everything from traditional dixieland to way-out avant-garde, and the music here has a very wide range from gutbucket electric blues with Louisiana Red peeling off some nasty electric guitar and singing while the band riffs and honks behind him on Rudd's ode to New York City, "Cement Blues". Of Jordan's two vocal features, "You Blew It" is the most successful allowing her a chance to scat out the vocals in a sassy manner after the band takes an impressive and intense collective improvisation. The instrumental tracks are very nice, the lead-off track "It's Happening" and the concluding "Bethesda Fountain" are both over ten minutes in length and allow for plenty of solo space and room for collective interplay. The music is not necessarily free jazz per se, but open ended compositions allow for add-libbing by all concerned. It's a worthy record and good to see it get a little more attention.

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