I have been playing the trombone for sixty years and this is the only CD I have ever done focusing on brass and trombones in particular. Trombone � literally old European for big or long trumpet. Indeed, the conventional trombone if unfolded straight out is 14 feet of brass tubing. There are still quite a few remnants of this ancient instrument in existence such as the didjeridoo of the Australian aborigines, the long horns in the Tibetan Buddhist temples, the royal trumpet choirs, the vaccines of the Caribbean, the alima horn of the Pygmies, alp horns etc. The sound of trombones, a group of trombones, this mid-range vocal sound, has been speaking to human beings across the planet for thousands of years with one main purpose�to evoke the spirit voices. At an early time in the western Christian church they had trombones backing up the vocal choirs. Then when music started moving out of the church and expanded into the secular arena during the Renaissance, that was the beginning of instrumental virtuosity . Bartolomeo Tromboncino, a trombonist and musical luminary of the early 1500�s, composed in a popular style, and was published by Ottaviano dei Petrucci of Venice in 1498 wo was the first music publisher. He published Tromboncino�s �frottolas�, a popular poetic form, a love song of the time. When I was about 11 years old and living in Clinton, NY I heard my first professional jazz band at Hamilton College. My father was a coach there and he took me to the concert.� Max Kaminsky, trumpet; Tony Parenti, clarinet; Miff Mole, trombone; James P Johnson, piano; Pops Foster, bass; and Danny Alvin on drums. They performed on the basketball court at the college and they absolutely rocked the joint � people were stomping, cheering and I was transported to another world. It was just about this time I had started playing mellophone in the middle school band and this led to playing to jazz records while my father was drumming along. Then we moved to Lakeville, Ct and my first gig was at the Lakeville Methodist Church where my grandmother, Caroline Bauman, was Junior Choir Director and she encouraged me to arrange hymns and get a small contingent of school friends together to play them. Salsbury, CT � we played for all the American holidays such as July 4th, Veterans Day, Memorial Day , rehearsed every week and there was a lot of free embellishment and improvisation in this multi-generational band. So I was first taken down to NYC by friends from the Hotchkiss school and we went to jazz clubs like Eddie Condon�s and Birdland and Jazz at the Philharmonic and got to hear Billie Holiday, Lester Young, and Louis Armstrong and many other jazz icons of the day I went to Yale (1954-1960) and at Yale I was playing with a band called Eli�s Chosen Six, a Dixieland and swing band and this helped pay for my education . I got around NYC more and was able to hear innovators such as Cecil Taylor , Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and I eventually hooked up with Steve Lacy and Archie Shepp. I was drawn to the sound of the trombone by the trombone sections in the big bands of the 1930�s and 1940�s such as Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Count Basie and Stan Kenton, the talking trombone of �Tricky Sam� Nanton and other players in the Duke Ellington Orchestra who specialized in the plunger-inflected approach; and of course Jack Teagarden and his big vocal style; Bill Harris �his thrust and his shout and his �big note� quality - these were voices that spoke to me along with the �cartoon� voices of Spike Jones� parodies. Although I started out on the mellophone which I love to hear as a choir, I opted for the trombone because it was a part of popular music at the time and my heart was in jazz music and with the jazz improviser. My good friend Arnaud Robert was the first to tell me about the Gangbe Brass Band of Benin and gave me their CD. It was life changing. We contacted them and in 2002 on one of their USA tours they drove straight from Detroit to upstate NY to spend two days with us, (Verna Gillis and myself) at our home jamming. It was thrilling for all of us and we wanted to find a way to continue. In 2005 on a travel grant from Meet the Composer I was able to spend time with Gangbe in Cotonou, the capitol of Benin and this time we worked on compositions of mine which helped me get a better understanding of each musical personality. We didn�t actually get to record together until 2007 in Vodelee on the French border with Belgium which is their home base when they are touring in Europe. Roswell Rudd, Kerhonkson, NY
Will be released on Sunnyside Records, April 7, 2009

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