412

Paul Rutherford: Tetralogy (1978-82)

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Rutherford: Tetralogy (1978-82) As Joni Mitchell wrote, you don't what you've got till it's gone. So it has proved with legendary trombonist and euphonium player Paul Rutherford. A massive void has been left since his sudden death in August 2007. Sad to think we'll never see his walrus moustache and distinctive red braces again, listen to his ever-sensible views on the state of the world or hear him live as he conjures an affecting solo performance from thin air. That is why this double CD, containing four previously unissued sessions, is such a pleasure: a solo set including electronics and quartet date, both from 1981 and recorded in concert in London; a 1978 solo set recorded in concert in Pisa, and a 1982 trio studio date from London. Together they give a good impression of Rutherford's talents and the breadth of his musical vision. In a 2006 AAJ interview, Rutherford said: "Martin Davidson [of Emanem] is responsible for bringing out whole loads of stuff that's never been released before. Martin's an absolute diamond in the music—he's great, he's fantastic."

The opening solo set with electronics makes a fascinating period piece. By today's standards, the electronic tones sound primitive but have a naive charm—on a par with basic sine wave generators or the dreaded Stylophone. They can be something of a distraction, and are not missed when they are absent. In 1981, however, improvising with any electronics was bold, innovative stuff and here it brings out Rutherford's best—playing rich and complex enough to outweigh any misgivings as he occasionally complements his trombone and euphonium with vocal sounds and tambourine in a warm, free-flowing set.

From the same month, an all-brass quartet adds a second trombone plus tuba and French horn. Opening with solo trombone, there is soon a wealth of detail as all four instruments contribute to a soundscape in which it becomes impossible to tell who's who as the instruments overlap and move around. It is not all full-on stuff, though; there are occasional duets from every possible pairing, as well as solo passages from each artist, with Rutherford's rich fruity sound particularly dominant.

After the Pisa solo set—this time without electronics, and mellower than the London one but equally rewarding —is a trio with bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Nigel Morris. With bass and drums, Rutherford reveals another side of his playing, producing rapidly articulated passages that contrast totally with the more leisurely pace of his solo playing, where he seems to savor and sustain every possible note. Partly the change of pace is necessitated by Rogers and Morris's playing, who drive things along with gusto, Rogers' playing a particular wonder to hear. So, four complementary and contrasting aspects of Rutherford that add much to his existing discography whilst also providing an excellent starting point.

The release is all the more poignant by its inclusion of vintage photographs of Rutherford—at a festival in 2004 wearing those red braces; in 1986; and only just recognizable as a 15-year-old schoolboy in 1955. Listening to this moving music, it is like he is still with us. One of 2009's very best.


Track Listing: Elesol A; Elesol B; Elesol C; Braqua 1A; Braqua 1B; Braqua 2; The Great Learning 1A; The Great Learning 1B; The Great Learning 2; One First 1; One First 2; One First 3.

Personnel: Paul Rutherford: trombone, euphonium, electronics (1-3), voice (1-3, 7-9), tambourine (1-3); George Lewis: trombone (4-6); Martin Mayes: French horn (4-6); Melvyn Poore: tuba (4-6); Paul Rogers: double-bass (10-12); Nigel Morris: drum set (10-12).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Emanem | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Etchings in Amber" CD/LP/Track Review Etchings in Amber
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "Spark" CD/LP/Track Review Spark
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!" CD/LP/Track Review Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Transatlantic Conversations: 11 Piece Band Live" CD/LP/Track Review Transatlantic Conversations: 11 Piece Band Live
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!