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Roswell Rudd and the Mongolian Buryat Band: Blue Mongol

Elliott Simon By

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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.

Visit Roswell Rudd on the web.


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

Personnel: Roswell Rudd: trombone, mellophone, and scat singing; Battuvshin Baldantseren: throat singing, limbe (flute), ikh khur (horse head bass), khomus (jaw's harp); Badma Khanda: vocals; Dmitry Kalyaeva: lochin (dulcimer), khalmyk dombra (lute); Valentina Namdykova: yatag (zither).

Title: Blue Mongol | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


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