Roswell Rudd & Duck Baker Great American Music

Repertoire of this unique duo ranges from the civil
war song, "All's Quiet on the Potomac" to the gospel
classic "Abide with Me", the spiritual, "Angels
Watching Over Me", and an updated version of
"Mississippi Blues", the only piece recorded by Delta
blues legend Willie Brown. Early jazz pieces include
the seldom-performed Jelly Roll Morton masterpiece,
"Sidewalk Blues", and the trad-Dixie chestnut "Ole
Miss". The pair also perform swing-mainstream
standards like "Idaho", "With a Song in my Heart" and
even "Melancholy Baby". Monk is represented by "Light
Blue" and Nichols by "Lady Sings the Blues", "The
Happenings", and "The Third World". Since both are
highly regard composers, Rudd and Baker also perform
originals, like the former's "Ode to a Green Frisbee".

Rudd’s recent releases include Rudd’s MALIcool, recorded in Bamako with Malian musicians, his reuniting with the New York Art Quartet (DIW), Steve Lacy (MONK'S DREAM,Verve), Archie Shepp (LIVE IN NEW YORK, Verne) and his acclaimed solo album BROAD STROKES (Knit Media). The Charlie Kohlhase Quintet with Roswell Rudd playing The Music of Roswell Rudd (Nada) was voted one of the ten best of 2001 by the Boston Globe.

Duck Baker is one of the most highly regarded
fingerstyle guitarists of his generation. He is unique
among jazz guitarists in that his repertoire spans the
entire history of the music from ragtime through swing
to modern masters like Thelonious Monk and Herbie
Nichols to free improvisation. Baker’s devotion to
American music also encompasses more traditional forms
like blues, gospel, and Appalachian music and its
Scots-Irish ancestry. This catholicism has been
likened to Europeans who perform the classical
repertoire from renaissance through to modern music.

Baker’s solo recordings since 1980 have for the most
part focused on his own compositions, which reflect
the influence of the great jazz pianist/composers like
Monk, Nichols, Randy Weston, etc. His
most ambitious record, Spinning Song, which is
devoted to the music of Herbie Nichols,
helped establish Baker as an important
voice in the world of fingerstyle jazz guitar. Various
critics named Spinning Song among the best jazz
records of 1997 in Cadence and Coda magazines.
Acoustic Guitar magazine dubbed it “one of the best
guitar records ever recorded - by anybody.”

Trombonist Roswell Rudd became familiar with the
work of guitarist Duck Baker when the latter was
working on "Spinning Song". Like virtually everyone
who has delved into the music of Herbie Nichols, Baker
sought advice and help from Rudd, who has been the
great pianist-composer's most tireless champion over
the years. Roswell's assistance led to a
friendship and ultimately to the suggestion of
combining for a unique duo - trombone and fingerstyle
guitar. Between them, Rudd and Baker have professional
experience with almost every kind of American music,
so it seemed logical to bring as much of this
experience to bear in the duo as they could. Not only
do they perform the compositions of Herbie Nichols and
Thelonious Monk, they reach back to the trad jazz
repertoire and salute early greats like Jelly Roll
Morton. They have drawn on Baker's experience in blues
and gospel music as well as Rudd's celebrated work as
one the greats of the free jazz era.

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