Rudd/Saft/Dunn/Pandi: Strength & Power

Veteran jazz trombonist leads incendiary progressive jazz experiment.

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Spiritual jazz is a major element at the roots of prog.

Trombonist Roswell Rudd is a shining example of a veteran avant-jazz musician bringing his experiences (including playing with giants like Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp and Steve Lacy, and key-free jazz recordings like 1964’s The New York Art Quartet) to different genres, his ongoing musical quest seeing him play with traditional musicians in Mali or like-minded younger musicians. Now 80, Rudd joined keyboardist Jamie Saft (John Zorn, Slobber Pup), bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Balazs Pandi (drums) at Saft’s home studio near Woodstock, New York where, propelled by telepathy and respect, the improvising foursome conjured a similar primal ambience to landmark early 60s jazz recordings. Rudd frequently astonishes, whether keening on a ballad (Luminescent) or blowing out on The Bedroom, while the spacy title track sees the band recalling original prog godfather Sun Ra’s Arkestra. While the rhythm section is a fluid revelation, Saft provides the colour, sometimes plucking inside his piano in this stellar example of the kind of spontaneous combustion which shaped today’s music.