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So What’s Challenging About an Avant-Garde Jazz Trombonist?

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Some people say that jazz is an acquired taste. If so, an avant-garde jazz trombonist — which is what Roswell Rudd is — is an advanced acquired taste. In that context, the two videos here (The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” above and “Going Sane” below) are accessible. “Dry Bones,” performed with Sonic Youth, is a bit higher on the need-to-acquire scale. (A very different version of which was used in Dennis Potters’ “Singing Detective”). Actually, the Rudd/Sonic Youth version is growing on me. Suffice it to say that it isn’t hummable.

There was a 78th birthday concert featuring Rudd last week in New York City. This is from a 2007 profile in The New York Times:

Mr. Rudd was a central figure in the avant-garde jazz scene of the 1960s and 70s. After a long career slump, he has re-emerged in recent years with a series of critically acclaimed collaborations with musicians from around the world. The driving forces behind his comeback, he says, have been his partner, Verna Gillis, an ethnomusicologist and music manager, and the creative energy he gets from their Kerhonkson home and the 21 acres of forest that surround it. (Continue Reading…)

Ulster Magazine profiled Rudd, who is more than a trombonist:

To supplement his income as a jazz musician, Rudd was a research associate for folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. “I did field recordings,” he explains. “Once I started working for Alan Lomax I was analyzing music from all over the world,” says Rudd, an ethnomusicologist in his own right. “Previously it had been limited to classical European music.” (Continue Reading…)

This is the second trombonist featured at TDMB. The other — the one with the better nickname (actually, I don’t think Rudd has a nickname) is Trombone Shorty.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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