Paul Rutherford / Keith Tippett / Julie Tippetts

The First Full Turn

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Trombonist Paul Rutherford, pianist Keith Tippett, vocalist Julie Tippett, and bassist Paul Rogers had never played as a quartet before their April 30, 1998, concert in Le Mans, documented on The First Full Turn. But they all knew each other and had played with each other in different contexts. Rogers and Keith Tippett were part of Mujician; Rutherford and Rogers already had recorded a duo album together (Rogues, also on Emanem); Keith and Julie Tippett had been performing together since the early '70s. After a few concerts as a trio of Keith, Rutherford, and Rogers in 1996-1997 billed as Rotor, Julie was asked to fill in one night for the bassist and subsequently joined as a full member -- an extra T was then added to form RoTToR. This beautiful recording is made of one continuous 53-minute improvisation. It starts a little erratically as the musicians search for a way to lock together -- which happens after a few minutes when voice and trombone engage in a dialogue. Highlights are provided by the chemistry between the Tippetts: They suddenly land on a blues theme here, soar to frenetic improvising there. At 35 minutes into the piece, the pianist lands on a delicate nursery rhyme-like melody that everyone will enrich. A solo trombone improv recorded two months earlier has been added to round out the CD. That concert took place in a more reverberant hall, and the trombonist plays around with echoes of himself -- a worthy addition.

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