Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

175

Roswell Rudd: The Incredible Honk

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
There is a distinct sense of the celebration of his 75th year on this good earth as trombonist Roswell Rudd continues the journey through his singular musical universe on his superb The Incredible Honk. Criss-crossing the paths he took when he first reconnected with ethnomusicologist producer and soul mate Verna Gillis, Rudd undertakes a sonic sojourn from the heartland of America, through Cuba, Scotland, continental Europe, the Far East and West Africa, returning to his beloved Kerhonkson. His musical cohorts include: celebrated Cuban tres player David Oquendo, heard here on guitar and vocals; bluesy pianist Lafayette Harris, Jr.; celestial vocalist Sunny Kim; legendary bluegrass fiddler Michael Doucet; and mystical Chinese sheng player and vocalist Wu Tong. In a series of masterly collaborations, Rudd comes up with one of his finest performances since Keep Your Heart Right (Sunnyside, 2008).

Once again, Rudd pays tribute to the art of song in inimitable fashion. His grasp of melody is absolutely flawless and so utterly pure that he seems to almost exist in a parallel universe, where he can do no wrong. Rudd's musicality is so superior and his voicing and attack so perfect that he matches the seemingly limitless expanse that the human voice traverses at the hands of Kim and Tong. While this mammalian tonal palette has always been the hallmark of Rudd's playing—with down and dirty growls and smears, voiced with tremulous glissandi—here, Rudd has elevated his playing to a new level, uninhabited by any other trombonist playing today. His brawny attack and array of tonal colors is matched only by his elastic, brassy timbres. On "Blue Flower Blue," for instance, Rudd soars unfettered as Tong scats his way through the Chinese traditional song, and matches the traditional wooden harmonica-like sheng with spectacular gutbucket sounds. He matches the pristine vocals of Kim with a husky, controlled voicing of his own on "Alone On the Moon," and inhabits the same mystical space as Kim on the Korean traditional, "Arirang."

Rudd puts on a master display of trombone virtuosity as he descends to the depths of gutbucket glory on "BRO," the magisterial collision of American and West African blues. This spectacular musical journey continues through the brooding improvisations of "Ngoni Vortex" and "Airborne," and Rudd conjures memories of Don Cherry's great African adventures as well as Pharoah Sanders's meeting with Moroccan Gnawa master, Maleem Mahmoud Ghania, on Trance of the Seven Colors (Axiom, 1994). "Airborne" has some of the most magical melodic exchanges between ngoniba-master Bassekou Kouyate and Rudd, but it is the glassy brilliance of Wu Tong's voice and sheng and the almighty melodism of Rudd's trombone on "Danny Boy" that sets the album apart. So inventive is Rudd that he turns this elementally sad ballad into a triumphant song with his masterful voicing of the soul. Rudd takes little twists and turns in the melody, filling it with growling phrases as he brings this memorable album to a close.

Track Listing: Feeling Good; Dame La Mano; Berlin Alexanderplatz; C'etait Dans la Nuit; Arirang; Waltzin' With My Baby; Blue Flower Blue; Alone on the Moon; Kerhonkson: The Muse-ical; BRO; Ngoni Vortex; Airborne; Danny Boy.

Personnel: Roswell Rudd: trombone, coyotes and other sound effects (9); Aaron Comess: drums (1); Richard Hammond: bass (1); Arne Wendt: organ (1) Ivan-Rubenstein-Gillis: piano, percussion (1); David Oquendo: tres, vocal (2); Ken Filiano: acoustic bass (3, 5, 8, 9); Lafayette Harris: piano (3, 5, 6, 8, 9); Michael Doucet: fiddle, vocals with BeauSoleil (4); Jimmy Breaux: accordion (4); Billy Ware: percussion (4); Tommy Alesi: drums (4); Mitchell Reed: electric bass (4); David Doucet: acoustic guitar (4); Emily Haines: vocal (4); Sunny Kim: vocal (5, 8, 9); Wu Tong: sheng, vocal (7, 13); John Lindberg: acoustic bass (7, 13); Verna Gillis: Sprechstimme beginning and end (9); Bassekou: Kouyate: ngoniba (10-12); Henry Schroy: electric bass (10-12); Omar Barou Kouyate: medium ngoni (10-12); Fousseyni Kouyate: ngoniba (10-12); Moussa Bah: ngoni bass (10-12); Alou Coulibaly: calabash (10-12); Moussa Sissoko: yabara (rattle) (10-12).

Title: The Incredible Honk | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Live 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Live 1972
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Esse" CD/LP/Track Review Esse
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Duo (DCWM) 2013" CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Karyobin" CD/LP/Track Review Karyobin
by John Eyles
Published: November 7, 2017