Roswell Rudd-Trombone
Badma Khanda-singer
Battuvshin Baldantseren- limbe (flute), khalkh (horse head bass), throat singer
Javkhlan Erdenebal- morin khur (horse head fiddle)
Urantugs Jamiyan- yatag (zither)
Kermen Kalyaeva-dulcimer

Eternal freshness of these beautiful. open pentatonic melodies, both from the traditional Mongolian repertoire as well as new compositions by Roswell Rudd , provide an unique acoustical flavor - very accessible, very old, very modern. The Mongolian instruments and the trombone create a sound that is the ideal acoustic realization of these Central Asian colors.

They will remind the listener of American folk music and aspects of the blues.


Their first CD, "BLUE MONGOL," has been released on Sunnyside.

Oct 11, 2005

Review by Thom Jurek

Wow! Simply put, this recording is almost indescribable. Master trombonist Roswell Rudd teams with a Mongolian ensemble that renamed itself for this outing, and over two recording sessions has come up with 13 completely unique and utterly original tunes that come from either traditional sources or were written by Rudd. The Mongolian Buryat Band is comprised of a throat singer, a vocalist, and four instrumentalists who play everything from horse-head basses and fiddles to lute, dulcimer, and limbe (a flute). Rudd plays his trombone as well as mellophone and even does some scat singing. The traditional songs, such as "Behind the Mountains" and "Bridle Ringing," are beautiful, full of rich tonal sonorities and gorgeous melodies. But the most astonishing elements are Rudd's own compositions for this group, perhaps the most moving of which is "Gathering Light," where his trombone is a background tonal drone and Badma Khanda sings wordlessly as the flute and the dulcimer float around her elegantly. When Rudd takes his solo, the blues come winding their way in courtesy of New Orleans. Another fine moment (of many here) is Oumou Sangare's ethereal "Djoloren." Khanda sings solo for nearly a minute and half before dropping out as the band begins to enter. First the bass and dulcimer slip in, then the fiddle winds in, then Rudd comes in, hovering about, playing a subtle and simple folk melody that is repetitive and hypnotic. Finally, Khanda returns to sing with the entire band, and the effect is breathtaking. "Four Mountains" begins as a duet between Battuvshin Baldantseren, who does throat singing, and Rudd, creating overtones of extremely high and low pitches — the instruments, voice, and trombone share a low note called a "fundamental" bass note and have similar starting points on the bass scale. They then perform almost in counterpoint before the mellophone engages the trombone and the throat singing reenters to finish. Rudd improvises jazz before moving back to tonal exchanges, and it's sonically out of this world. There's even straight-up countrified blues on "Buryat Boogie," where fiddle, dulcimer, vocals (which display Rudd to be a fine blues and scat singer), and trombone dig deep into old-time American roots territory for a real cultural exchange. There isn't another recording like this on the planet; it's stunning.



Blue Mongol
Roswell Rudd/Mongolian Buryat Band
(Sunnyside) by Elliot Simon

Blue Mongol acquaints trombonist Roswell Rudd’s unmatched tonal mastery and the musical tradition of Mongolia with each other, the result is the most culturally respectful, spiritually uplifting and musically interesting release of the year. While the Mongolian Buryat Band’s combined instrumental performances on bamboo flute, horse head bass and fiddle, dulcimer, lute and zither are comparable to the classically trained chamber ensemble, Battuvishin Baldantseren’s throat singing and Badma Khanda’s beautifully expressive vocals defy comparison.

Although the band has aptly dubbed the music “trombolian”, BLUE MONGOL consists primarily of traditional Mongolian pieces and music that Rudd composed specifically for this project and is essentially a forum for the Buryat Band and Rudd to meet, explore each other, strut chops and in the process create new music that builds on the strength and uniqueness of the participants. Beginning with an unworldly demonstration of deep throat singing and ending with Rudd’s own instrumental growl, “Camel” changes from a gorgeously soulful beast courtesy of Mitry Ayurov’s elegant fiddle to an exciting gallop as Rudd punctuates the full band’s jam with his own trombonal blasts. Rudd’s “Gathering Light” is a wonderful blend of Eastern melody and bluesy jazz tellingly portrayed by Baldantseren’s flute, Rudd’s horn and Khanda’s voice as she easily navigates both worlds. The swinging “Buryat Boogie” has all parties doing just that and includes some hot Rudd vocal scat. Khanda is a powerfully passionate vocalist who matches Rudd’s potent horn on “Behind the Mountains”, the quickly moving “Bridle Ringing”, the solo vocal/t-bone trade off of “Ulirenge” and the free formish wailing title cut. “Four Mountains” pairs Rudd with Baldantseren’s throat singing, one on one, with incredible sonic results and “American Round” has flute and trombone interpreting “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer” and “Amazing Grace” against an Eastern musical backdrop. The world would be a better place if more people listened and took heed from the cultural lessons inherent in the delight that is BLUE MONGOL.


All About Jazz-New York November 2004

From Roswell Rudd and the Mongolian Buryat Band's concert appearance at the Rubin Museum in New York City on October 15th, 2004:

The newly opened Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea on the West Side is the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of the Himalayas as well as bordering areas such as Mongolia. In a very special and memorable event, it hosted veteran jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd in a most-astonishing pairing with the traditional Buryat Mongolian group known as the Mongolian Buryat Band (Oct. 15th). Labeled as “Throat Singing and All That Jazz!”, the follow-up to Rudd's highly successful previous collaboration which was with Malian musicians from Africa entitled Mali-Cool , curator and Director of Programming - Tim McHenry - affectionately introduced the music premiere as "Mongol-cool" in perhaps a suggestion for the title to be used for their unique musical experiment that is slated for official release in Spring 2005.

The Mongolian Buryat Band - led by the sweet and energetic, melodic folk singing of Badma-Khanda - are instrumentally comprised of Battuvshin Baldantseren on a bamboo cross/transverse flute known as the limbe, and traditional horse-head bass - a two-string instrument obviously related to what we know as the upright acoustic bass. In addition, he is a master of the quite literal jaw-dropping native Mongolian throat-singing technique (recently popularized by the Tuvan group Huun-Huur-Tu), at-times playing flute and singing simultaneously utilizing circular breathing inherent to both styles. Dmitry Ayurov played the quintessential Mongolian horse-head fiddle instrument known as the moriin khur, a traditional percussion two-string violin which resembled the sound of a cello rather than its smaller family member (though at times it must be said that the violin styling of Leroy Jenkins and his protege Billy Bang were summoned on more than one occasion). And the “rhythm section”, announced Rudd in half-jest, was comprised of a zither instrument known as the yatag performed by Valentina Namdykova, and hammered dulcimer (a traditional percussion violin called ioichin) played by Kermen Kalyaeva who also occasionally doubled on a traditional Himalayan guitaron-like instrument.

The beautiful wooden acoustic space graced not a single microphone or wire in an all-naturally amplified setting, as the Mongolian Buryat Band performed an emotional opening set exploiting the acoustics. Highlighted by the circular breathing solo flute of Baldantseren - who astonished the packed house demonstrating his supernatural range and technique - along with harp- and koto-like zither, it was like an Alice Coltrane spiritual and musical sabbatical to Tuva of the aural senses. This only partially prepared the crowd for what the second set would bring, namely Roswell Rudd and the unprecedented, unparalleled, and most unique musical and cultural collaboration possibly in the history of “jazz” and certainly a notable one in music history as well. To fully bring that point home at the outset, Rudd even opened on the less boisterous French horn, an instrument I was aware of him playing but, of the countless times I've seen him, have never had the pleasure of hearing live. He would hold onto each note then crescendo them off similar to that of trumpeters Lester Bowie and Don Cherry.

The second tune, the appropriately titled “Horse no.2” (the Mongolian culture holds the horse - amongst nature and other animals such as the cow - in such high esteem as being so central to their way of life, that music so effectively reflects the sounds and spirit of the animal) featured Rudd on trombone ala plunger as the two musical worlds continued to successfully collide and fuse into a Mongolian hoedown of sorts, melding so naturally and - surprisingly - without noticeable compromise.

“Blue Mongol” featured a de-plungered Rudd on trombone (and vocals). “Everybody gets the blues,” prefaced Rudd, revealing that the music form, or at least feel of the blues, is as universal as anything else. The dulcimer and zither were, in conjunction with one another, piano-like in their bluesy runs and interplay. And though it is obvious that Rudd is the official spokesperson and even leader of this magnificent entourage - being the most outspoken musically with his brass against the subtler string instruments - he consciously understated his delivery remaining part of the group mix without allowing his brassiness to interfere with the group concept as a whole. The American traditional „Swing Low Sweet Chariot‰ came off as if it had Mongolian brethren or at least a similar variation amongst the Buryat. The high and low-pitched overtones of the throat singer complemented Rudd, while the ioichin complemented and intertwined with zither, exchanging echoes back and forth especially towards the end with one picking up where the other left off, trading like two saxophonists exchanging musical fours.

The true aural and visual spectacle came when Rudd and Baldantseren took center stage to perform an unaccompanied duo improv that in moments ventured in and out of the blues. Both utilized overtones and a magnificent chemistry into a dream-like sequence of exchanges, combined harmonies, and multi-phonics. “It's a dream, a beautiful dream,” Rudd exclaimed of this particular throat-singing/trombone collaboration. Baldantseren even utilized a jaw mouth-harp while throat-singing over the rubber-band sound effect, as audience members' jaws noticeably dropped even closer to the ground in continuing astonishment at what was being witnessed.

The traditional vocals of Badma-Khanda were featured at length, as she closed the final set to an immediate standing ovation leading to an encore that topped the night off as an official success, each audience member leaving stunned. The overall shared expression of each facial expression was that of re-encouragement, of having experienced something for the very first time which no one - including myself - could even relate to anything previously encountered, a rarity to be sure in this day and age of regurgitation in almost every aspect of our day to day lives. This was a gift of a night that featured original music in the guise of a fusion never previously imagined and against all odds with differences of musical scales, rhythms, and traditions. Rudd and the Mongolian Buryat Band have pioneered an altogether new form of music without label, genre, or category.

NOVEMBER 8, 2006

Roswell Rudd and Badma Khanda’s Mongolian Buryat Band

To these Western ears, throat singing has always ranked somewhere near the didgeridoo as a musical phenom that offers more curiosity than aesthetic pleasure--and "Tuvan" novelty covers like Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" haven't helped. Yet while Roswell Rudd and Mongolian singer Badma Khanda's Buryat Band may open their Blue Mongol album with what sounds like a Tuvan throat impersonation of an engine revving up, the rest of this cross-cultural collaboration is anything but a meeting of lowest common denominators. Masterful trombonist Rudd, whose more than 40-year career includes extensive work with Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp, imbues the band's "art folk" and "Buryat boogies" with an improvisatory spirit that's as adventurous as it is mellifluous. Part of UCSC's Arts & Lectures series. Rio Theatre; $14-$40; 8pm. (Bill Forman)

NOVEMBER 10, 2006

American avant-garde jazz meets Mongolian throat-singing in dazzling collaboration.

{ SUNDAY 8 p.m. The Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $28 general; $24 subscriber discount and students and seniors with ID; $14 UCSC students with ID; $40 Gold Circle seating. Details: 459-2159 or}


There wasn’t a thunder clap, or a bulletin on CNN. But one day, about five years ago, in the living room of Roswell Rudd’s upstate New York home, a new kind of music was born.

Rudd is a soon-to-be 71-yearold jazz musician who is considered one of the greatest trombone players in avant-garde jazz circles. Plus, he’s an ethnomusicologist who for 30 years worked shoulder to shoulder with the immortal Alan Lomax. So, he’s not a guy given to crowing about musical innovations lightly.

“When you look at the history of music,” Rudd said in a recent phone interview, “you realize that the whole thing is built on collaboration and fusion.”

The collaboration to which he refers involves him and Battuvshin Baldantseren, a singer and multi-instrumentalist from the Russian republic of Buryatia.

Rudd had heard some field recordings of traditional Mongolian folk music and the bizarre practice of throat-singing. But when he heard that Baldantseren and his throat-singing teacher were visiting nearby, he invited them over to the house.

“They started singing and when I realized what they were doing, I just jumped in with my trombone and we explored some things for several hours. It was thrilling to me.”

The result of that seminal moment is “Blue Mongol,” a new recording by Rudd and the Mongolian Buryat Band featuring Baldantseren and female lead vocalist Badma Kahnda. The ensemble plays live at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz on Sunday as part of the Arts & Lectures series at UC Santa Cruz.

Those who doubt the uniqueness of what Rudd and his Mongolian collaborators have done need only listen to “Blue Mongol,” a collection of serene, even mesmerizing songs rooted in Mongolian folk music, two of which are original compositions by Rudd himself.

Carried on the sweetly meandering lines of the limbe (the Mongolian wood flute) and the arresting, otherworldly quality of Khanda’s singing, “Blue Mongol” is unique in that it brings together two eerily similar instruments: Rudd’s expressive trombone and the bone-deep, resonant, what the- heck-is-that? sound of Tuvan throat-singing.

“I think the point that everybody understands and maybe it needs to be reinforced is that playing the trombone is really like singing,” said Rudd, who was a leading figure in the free-jazz movement of the 1960s.

“I sing through the horn while I’m playing, which is the kind of approach that the Tuvans are doing. It’s different enough, so that something unique is being created. It’s similar enough that there’s a very familiar and universal connection.”

Sure enough, in tracks such as “Djoloren,” Rudd transforms the trombone into an instrument of amazing subtlety and expressiveness, in short, a voice.

In another remarkable duet called “Four Mountains,” Rudd plays bass to the unique high buzz that comes from “splitting” the notes, a plaintive trombone lines against the dazzling backdrop of Baldantseren’s bone-rattling throat singing, which moves from ominous skill that still stuns Western ears.

Elsewhere, the album dips into more Western forms of blues and boogie and even puts a Mongolian spin on “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

The members of the Buryat Band were not familiar with Rudd’s work before meeting him. Still, they’re conservatory trained musician, steeped in the Russian tradition, but with a strong leaning toward the folk music of Central Asia, especially Mongolia.

Though Rudd could claim some familiarity with the distinctive music of Mongolia, “I had never been in the same room with it, so to speak.”

Soon, Rudd will be in the same nation as well. In the spring of 2007, he will visit the Buryat Band’s homeland for the first time and play this new East-West form for Mongolian audiences.

“There’s a level there that just is so exciting to keep exploring,” he said. “As the world gets smaller, the truth gets more and more apparent that we are all one.”

NOVEMBER 8, 2006

Critic Choice

ROSWELL RUDD & Badma Khanda - THE MONGOLIAN BURYAT BAND On paper last year's Blue Mongol (Sunnyside) seems like an awful mismatch: jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd performs with the Mongolian Buryat Band, whose sound is similar to that of Tuvan groups like Huun-Huur-Tu. But if any jazz musician can adapt to such a radically nonjazz context, it's Rudd. A former assistant to Alan Lomax, a onetime ethnomusicology student at Yale, and a master of both Dixieland and free jazz, he's consistently open to new ideas: for 2003's Malicool he collaborated with Malian kora player Toumani Diabate, finding common ground between Mali's Mande grooves and his own blustery, metallic tone and astonishing improvisations. On Blue Mongol his blubbery, multiphonic trombone duels with Battuvshin Baldantseren's throat singing, creating wonderfully tangled, splinter-toned lines. But more impressive is Rudd's ability to find his way through traditional Mongolian melodies; though harmonically complex and hypnotic, they're more like country songs than anything else, beautifully played on instruments like the horse-head fiddle, zither, and limbe (flute). Rudd's originals sound of a piece with them." This is the project's Chicago debut. --> 7 and 9:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $15 in advance, $20 at the door. --Peter Margasak

NOVEMBER 1, 2006

Roswell Rudd By Greg Burk
Even Mongols Get the Blues

You see Roswell Rudd’s name on a project, you know it’s gonna be golden. From the ’60s on, he’s been one of the few trombonists who’ve hung authoritatively with the avant-jazz biggies: After youthful Dixieland adventures, there he was on Cecil Taylor’s New York City R&B, Albert Ayler’s New York Eye & Ear Control, Gil Evans’ Into the Hot, Archie Shepp’s Four for Trane, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra and Carla Bley’s Escalator Over the Hill, not to mention his own dates.

His glowing sound and the easy generosity of his solos are obvious draws, but the factors that’ve really kept Rudd in demand are his deep musicological knowledge and the way he blends. Toss him into an ensemble, and everything’s fuller, rootsier, more together. He’s worked that blending skill internationally in recent times, blowing sunny melodies over Malian strings in 2002 and locking tonalities with Mongolians last year. The latter’s what he’s up to here.

Culturati expecting a growl fest will get purrs instead from the the team-up’s simple melodiousness: The more guttural throat-singing side of steppes music rides horse-rump behind the keening traditional song of Badma Khanda and the floating flute and lutish pluck of multi-instrumentalist and throatsman Battuvshin Baldantseren.

The bill skews even wilder thanks to The Bad Plus, a crazed, hard-hitting Midwestern piano trio as likely to throw down a Black Sabbath gauntlet as a twisty original.

Kids will dig.

The Bad Plus and Roswell Rudd & Badma Khandra’s Mongolian Buryat Band play UCLA’s Royce Hall, Thurs., Nov. 9.

NOVEMBER 3, 2006

ROSWELL RUDD AND THE MONGOLIAN BURYAT BAND (Tomorrow) The irrepressible trombonist Roswell Rudd recently made a fascinating album, “Blue Mongol” (Sunnyside), which chronicled his collaboration with traditional Mongolian throat singers. He reprises that experiment here, with an ensemble that includes the vocalists Badma Khanda and Battuvshin Baldantseren. At 8:30 p.m., Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, (212) 247-7800,; $30 to $42.

OCTOBER 31, 2006

The trombonist Roswell Rudd started out playing Dixieland music and then established himself in the sixties as the leading practitioner of free jazz on his chosen instrument. Lately, he has been touring and recording with musicians from across the globe. He teamed up with the kora player Toumani Diabate and other traditional musicians from Mali for the 2003 album “MALIcool.” He followed that recording last year with the album “Blue Mongol,” featuring the Mongolian Buryat Band, a five-piece ensemble that includes a Tuvan throat singer and a player of the horse-head bass. They join him at Zankel Hall on Nov. 4 for an audacious night of fascinating music. (57th St. at Seventh Ave. For more information, call 212-545-7536.)

NOVEMBER 8, 2006
Top live show
Roswell Rudd & The Mongolian Buryat Band
HotHouse; Sun 5 (two sets)

Trombones ruled big-band jazz, where a chorus of tailgaters could drive an arrangement into fifth gear with wallop and sass. The brass became more problematic as the music shifted toward the reed-dominant avant-garde in the 1960s. But Roswell Rudd was key in developing a new language for the instrument, bringing its inherent lusty, blustery gusto to bear on the textural ambiguities and open settings of group improvisation.
A key player then (with everyone from Monk to Charlie Haden) and now (sharing stages with fellow old-timer Archie Shepp and like-minded trumpeter Dave Douglas), Rudd is not only a best-loved senior statesman, he’s still looking ahead. His global rambles led him to Mongolia, where he forged an alliance with vocal master Badma Khanda and her Mongolian Buryat Band. The two forms—American jazz and throat singing from the wild East—find common ground in the blues sonorities with which they both share strong affinities.
Drawing from traditional folk melodies as well as Rudd’s own songbook, the musicians jam on pieces such as “Buryat Boogie,” which makes the cultural fusion process obvious. But the ensemble also presents its work unfiltered, with its resonant, bullfrog voices accompanied by jaw harp, lute, dulcimer and fiddle. Throat singers—who might have played tuba or bass if they’d been around Kansas City before or during the swing era—have long enjoyed a vogue in jazz’s more experimental circles, but Rudd seems to enjoy the form’s potential for melodic fun—as much as for its sonic phenomena.—Steve Dollar

OCTOBER 31, 2006

Mongolia Meets New Orleans: Roswell Rudd & Mongolian Buryat Band: Integrating his blustery ’bone into the oft prayerful vocals of Badma Khanda and her folkie compatriots, the wry historian with the tailgating past seems like a polite visitor; see Blue Mongol for the big picture. The music is captivating. That flute-strings-brass-voice thingy is a textural head turner. (MACNIE)

NOVEMBER 13, 2006

Gutbucket throat singing — that's avant-garde

Trombonist Roswell Rudd joins with the Mongolian Buryat Band for some entertaining innovation.

By Don Heckman, Special to The Times

It was apparent from the title alone — "Roswell Rudd With the Mongolian Buryat Band" — that Thursday night's concert at UCLA's Royce Hall would be an unusual event. And the results were every bit as intriguing as anyone might have expected.

The visual aspect alone was impressive. There they were, spread across the broad Royce stage: trombonist Rudd, white-bearded, white-suited, equipped with a full array of mutes, and the exotic-looking Buryat Band, garbed in colorful traditional costumes — lead singer Badma Khanda, with Batuvshin Baltanseren on khalkh (bass) and limbe (flute); Javkhlan Erdenebal on morin khur (horse head fiddle); Sayana Tabkharova on kalmik (dulcimer); and Jamiyan Urantugs on yatag (zither).

The music was even more compelling. In the '60s, Rudd transformed the Dixieland of his Yale undergraduate years into a stunningly contemporary style, fully embracing the avant-garde aspects of the decade while remaining firmly in touch with jazz tradition.

His expansion into world music began a few years ago with the album "MALIcool," a musical partnership with the Malian kora player Toumani Diabate. But Rudd has formed an especially strong bond with the multiphonic throat singing and jaunty rhythms of Mongolian folk music. He came up with several sneakily fascinating ways to combine those elements with his own roots.

"American Round" somehow blended "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Amazing Grace" with the plangent textures of the Buryat ensemble. "Buryat Boogie" was a perky blues tune in which each player had a few improvisational opportunities, played over a chugging rhythm. "Honey on the Moon" showcased Rudd's lyrical sound in a lovely, atmospheric setting.

But the most mesmerizing number in the set — the appropriately titled "Whatever Happens" — featured Rudd's trombone playing, which moved freely from gutbucket, Kid Ory tailgate sounds to avant-garde bleeps and blats, juxtaposed against the astonishing, overtone-ranging throat singing of Baltanseren.

One couldn't have asked for a more appropriate climax to an expansion of jazz thinking as entertaining as it was innovative.

Those adjectives apply to the other act on the bill, the Bad Plus.

Devoting most of the set to quirkily titled originals ("Do Your Sums — Die Like a Dog — Play for Home"), pushing aside territorial boundaries often separating jazz, rock, pop and classical music, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King powerfully affirmed the iconoclastic new vision of piano trio style they are bringing to 21st century jazz.

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