Trombone for Lovers
An audaciously titled record (!), the band of avant garde trombonist Roswell Rudd, now 78, whose playing over the years has decorated such landmark recordings as Archie Shepp’s Mama Too Tight and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra sets up a ‘Comin’ Home Baby’-like groove on opener ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’. And uncannily on the very next track the co-writer of ‘Baby’, Bob Dorough, pops up, growlingly, as if by magic on Lennon and McCartney's ‘Here, There and Everywhere’. With songs drawn from Rudd’s recollections of childhood (“at this time in my life I worship at the altar of melody”, he wrote during the album’s Kickstarter campaign) when he would sing the songs in school or in church here seen as “standards in American song” Rudd is in a core quartet with John Medeski on B3, bassist Richard Hammond and drummer Aaron Comess, with lots of guests including Gary Lucas, Fay Victor, and Sexmob’s Steven Bernstein on a fun set of tunes. As you’d expect with Medeski on the organ it’s a highly infectious groove (carefully weighted on ‘Green Onions’) and while there is something of a raggedy jamming feel throughout, that doesn’t detract; in fact it's a bonus. The album is not without its great moments, Fay Victor capable of stopping the traffic dead in its tracks on ‘Trouble in Mind’ a performance that simply soars away; Rudd raw and emotional on ‘Unchained Melody’; and showing his soloing imagination on ‘The Relentless Walk’ section of ‘Joe Hill’ segueing into Reggie Bennett’s conscious rap.