Roswell Rudd's idea of a trombone army is not as pronounced as one might think when initially looking at the credits. It's not an offshoot of Slide Hampton's World of Trombones, but elaborates on the concept somewhat. Certainly Rudd's veteran status allows him to invite players of different generations who admire him, as Deborah Weisz, Sam Burtis, Josh Roseman, Eddie Bert, Ray Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, or Steve Swell all fit that bill. Rudd apportions different lineups to play music with far reaching implications, including that of ethnic and down home, creative improvised, European, and American jazz traditions. The music constantly evolves and shapes itself in chameleon proportions, ignoring nothing that Rudd has himself experienced in his lengthy and distinguished career as an original individualist. Five tracks feature the proper Trombone Tribe, with Weisz, Swell, Rudd, Bob Stewart on tuba, bassist Henry Grimes, and drummer Barry Altschul, a quite formidable ensemble. They include a tuneful and easy swinging tribute for the recently deceased British saxophonist "Elton Dean," the appropriately titled "No End" with the bass lead of Grimes firing up trombone solos with false starts and then steamrolling solos, the samba/Latinized, warm and soulful "To the Day" with bass filling the cracks of a New Orleans-cum-central African theme, the bluesy soul-jazz "Sand in My Slide Shuffle," and the conversational, Dxieland inspired, bawdy, free, low-down, and cleverly titled "Slide & the Family Bone." Two other cuts feature Rudd and the other five trombonists, a brass phalanx of epic proportions. They do the frantic, herky-jerky, Kurt Weill circus inspired "Astroslyde" paralleling bass note informed East European bands, while "Hulla Gulla" is a blues up and down motif derived from a bottom end vamp. Trumpeter Steven Bernstein and Sexmob goof up à la Thelonious Monk in New Orleans during "Twelve Bars," the famous Herbie Nichols march tune laced with the alto sax of Briggan Krauss, while Bonerama get their kicks on the funky strut "Bone Again," with Matt Perrine's sousaphone doing the dirty deed. The final five-piece suite and the introductory fanfare has Rudd working with Gangbe, the world music brass group from Benin, in short, thematic bursts based in joyous shouts, the religious Doxology precept, dance to spiritual music, tuba with vocal chanting, and a modal improvisation, again via Monk. They playing from top to bottom is fantastic, diversity the watchword as you would expect, and the cohesion of all the groups quite enjoyable from track to track, and never boring. It's a genuine triumph for Roswell Rudd in the golden years of a very successful occupancy in modern music, and comes highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
feat: Trombone Tribe Band
feat: Sex Mob