The latest release of trombonist Paul Rutherford's GHEIM includes two '83 sessions. The first part is the original two-part live recording of GHEIM at the Bracknell Jazz Festival on July 2, 1983; the latter half features three studio recordings from December of the same year. In both cases, Paul Rutherford employs the excellent and witty skills of bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Nigel Morris (perhaps best known for his work with the fusion group Isotope).
The 34-minute "GHEIM 1" is a sprawling, energetic piece of free jazz with bassist Rogers in particular impressing our ears with his frenetic details on both rhythm and melody. It would surprise many that the assertive young man heard on these recordings was making some of his earliest music. "GHEIM 2" is a more ambitious piece, with a modest beginning soon evolving into a churning, volatile mix that eventually soothes itself into a chilled, straight-ahead-like groove. How these players get from point to the next is a rather stunning development. It is a seamless, on-the-run, shift from one theme to another, a fascinating example of the best in free jazz.
The three studio pieces have more of an outline than the live takes of "GHEIM." With order and direction better defining their roles, these three pieces, "BRANDAK," "CRONTAK," and "PRINDALF," still enjoy the dynamic rhythm work of Rogers and Morris. The bassist continues his feverish pace and stunning accuracy, while Morris' light touch is equally busy, though more hushed. It seems that atop these rich rhythmic textures, Rutherford has it easy. In reality, though, his warm delivery on the trombone is a marvel of simplicity and an ingenious element that greatly adds to the acceptance of this otherwise vigorous mix of sounds. Put together, the live and recorded sessions make GHEIM a tremendous and valuable jazz album.
While Rutherford and Rogers remain active in the world of jazz (both releasing several albums since this '83 date), drummer Nigel Morris' output looks to be spotty and varied between the realms of fusion and other non-jazz genres. From the magic presented here, it seems a shame that we don't know more about him.
Personnel: Paul Rutherford: trombone, euphonium; Paul Rogers: bass; Nigel Morris: drums.