Trombolenium

COMPOSERS: Paul Rutherfor
LABELS: Emanem
ALBUM TITLE: Paul Rutherford
PERFORMER: Paul Rutherford (tb)
CATALOGUE NO: 4072

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Rutherford is the most disjunctive player there is. John Litweiler once called him ‘the very soul of unreason’. As an improviser, he is never once dependent on any kind of preordained motif, any sort of pattern-playing. Each line is different and separated from every other one: he never even builds a paragraph. It’s hard to say whether his instrument, the impossible trombone, is especially suited to this approach, but its inbuilt waywardness does suit his temperament.

The slide horn has often been used for clowning around, in every kind of jazz: in Rutherford’s world, that never happens. It’s not that he’s humourless: it’s just that you can’t extrapolate the usual musical emotions of happy or sad, angry or sombre, from such an unpredictable place as this. Trombolenium is a rare solo CD from this rarest of performers. Recorded on various occasions between 1986 and 1995, none of this music has been released before.

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Though the acoustics vary from very dry to spacious, all the music emerges with a buttonholing immediacy. Anyone who’s ever tried playing the trombone will recognise at once a remarkable master of his instrument; but the curious thing about Rutherford’s music is its universality. Nothing needs to be ‘learned’ to appreciate what he does, and to love it. Richard Cook