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Blue Mongol acquaints trombonist Roswell Rudd's unmatched tonal mastery with the musical traditions of Mongolia, resulting in the most culturally respectful, spiritually uplifting, and musically interesting release of the year. While the Mongolian Buryat Band's combined instrumental performances on bamboo flute, horse head bass and fiddle, dulcimer, lute, and zither are comparable to the best classically trained chamber ensemble, Battuvshin Baldantseren's throat singing and Badma Khanda's beautifully expressive vocals defy comparison.
Although the band has aptly dubbed the music "trombolian, Blue Mongol consists primarily of traditional Mongolian pieces and music that Rudd composed specifically for this project. Essentially it's a forum for the Buryat Band and Rudd to meet, explore each other, strut chops, and in the process create new music that builds on the strength and uniqueness of the participants.
Beginning with an unworldly demonstration of deep throat singing and ending with Rudd's own instrumental growl, "Camel changes from a gorgeously soulful beast, courtesy of Mitry Ayurov's elegant fiddle, to an exciting gallop as Rudd punctuates the full band's jam with his own trombonal blasts. Rudd's "Gathering Light is a wonderful blend of Eastern melody and bluesy jazz tellingly portrayed by Baldantseren's flute, Rudd's horn, and Khanda's voice as she easily navigates both worlds.
The swinging "Buryat Boogie has all parties doing just that and includes some hot Rudd vocal scat. Khanda is a powerfully passionate vocalist who matches Rudd's potent horn on "Behind the Mountains, the quick-moving "Bridle Ringing, the solo vocal/t-bone tradeoff of "Ulirenge, and the free-formish wailing title cut.
"Four Mountains pairs Rudd with Baldantseren's throat singing, one on one, with incredible sonic results; and "American Round has flute and trombone interpreting "Swing Low Sweet Chariot, "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer, and "Amazing Grace against an Eastern musical backdrop. The world would be a better place if more people listened and took heed from the cultural lessons inherent in the delight that is Blue Mongol.
Track Listing: The Camel; Gathering Light; Behind the Mountains; Steppes Song; Djoloren; Four
Mountains; Buryat Boogie; Blue Mongol; Bridle Ringing; Ulirenge; American Round; The
Leopard; Honey on the Moon
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.