Roswell Rudd

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Roswell Rudd
Roswell Rudd.jpg
Rudd in 2006
Background information
Birth nameRoswell Hopkins Rudd Jr.
Born(1935-11-17)17 November 1935
Sharon, Connecticut, U.S.
Died21 December 2017(2017-12-21) (aged 82)
Kerhonkson, New York, U.S.
Genres Avant-garde jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Instrument(s) Trombone
Years active1957–2017
Labels Columbia, Sunnyside, Universal, DIW, Verve

Roswell Hopkins Rudd Jr. (November 17, 1935 – December 21, 2017) [1] was an American jazz trombonist and composer.


Although skilled in a variety of genres of jazz (including Dixieland, which he performed while in college), and other genres of music, he was known primarily for his work in free and avant-garde jazz. Beginning in 1962 Rudd worked extensively with saxophonist Archie Shepp. [2]


Rudd was born in Sharon, Connecticut, United States. [1] He attended the Hotchkiss School and graduated from Yale University, where he played with Eli's Chosen Six, a dixieland band of students that Rudd joined in the mid-1950s. The sextet played the boisterous trad jazz style of the day, and recorded two albums, including one for Columbia Records. His collaborations with Shepp, Cecil Taylor, John Tchicai, and Steve Lacy grew out of the lessons learned while playing rags and stomps for drunken college kids in Connecticut. [3] Rudd later taught ethnomusicology at Bard College and the University of Maine. [4]

On and off, for a period of three decades, he assisted Alan Lomax with his world music song style (Cantometrics) [5] and Global Jukebox projects. [6]

In the 1960s, Rudd participated in free jazz recordings such as the New York Art Quartet; the soundtrack for the 1964 movie New York Eye and Ear Control ; the album Communications by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra; and in collaborations with Don Cherry, Larry Coryell, Pharoah Sanders, and Gato Barbieri. Rudd had lifelong friendships with saxophonists Shepp and Lacy, and performed and recorded the music of Thelonious Monk with Lacy. [7]

Rudd and his producer and partner Verna Gillis went to Mali in 2000 and 2001. His album MALIcool (2001) is a cross-cultural collaboration with kora player Toumani Diabaté and other Malian musicians. [8]

In 2004, Rudd brought his Trombone Shout Band to perform at the 4th Festival au Désert in Essakane, Tombouctou Region, Mali. In 2005, he extended his reach further, recording an album with the Mongolian Buryat Band, a traditional music group of musicians from Mongolia and Buryatia, entitled Blue Mongol . He also conducted master classes and workshops both in the United States and around the world. [9]

Rudd died of prostate cancer on December 21, 2017, at home in Kerhonkson, New York. [1] His archives were donated to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. [10]

Awards and honors


As leader or co-leader

Recording dateRelease dateAlbumLabelNotes
19651971 Roswell Rudd America Records
19661967 Everywhere Impulse! Also released as part of Mixed
19731973 Numatik Swing Band JCOAWith the Jazz Composer's Orchestra
19741975 Flexible Flyer Freedom
19761979 Blown Bone Philips / Emanem
19761976 Inside Job Freedom
19791979 The Definitive Roswell Rudd Horo Rudd plays all instruments.
19821983 Regeneration Soul Note With Steve Lacy, Misha Mengelberg, Kent Carter, Han Bennink
19961997 The Unheard Herbie Nichols, Vol. 1 CIMP
19961997 The Unheard Herbie Nichols, Vol. 2 CIMP
19992000 Monk's Dream Verve Records
19992000 Broad Strokes Knitting Factory
20002000 Eventuality: The Charlie Kohlhase Quintet Plays the Music of Roswell Rudd Nada
20002001 Live in New York Verve With Archie Shepp
20012002 Malicool Sunnyside With Toumani Diabaté
20052005 Blue Mongol Sunnyside
2002–20042021Roswell Rudd & Duck Baker: LiveDot TimeWith Duck Baker
2002–20062007 El Espíritu Jíbaro SunnysideWith Yomo Toro
20042006 Airwalkers Clean Feed With Mark Dresser
20082008 Keep Your Heart Right Sunnyside
20082008El EncuentroMojitoWith David Oquendo
20092009 Trombone Tribe Sunnyside
20112011 The Incredible Honk Sunnyside
20132013 Trombone for Lovers Sunnyside
20162016 August Love Song Red House With Heather Masse
20142016 Strength & Power RareNoiseRecords
20172017 Embrace RareNoiseRecords

With the New York Art Quartet

As sideman

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  5. Alan Lomax, Roswell Rudd, and Victor Grauer. "Cantometrics: an approach to the anthropology of music", Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Extension Media Center, 1976.
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