Roswell Rudd / Mark Dresser – Airwalkers (CF 066)
Roswell Rudd’s resumé is a long and storied one, including recordings with Steve Lacy, John Tchicai and Archie Shepp, along with over a dozen discs of his own. But this pioneer of trombone in avant garde and free jazz is especially at home in this duo meeting with bassist Mark Dresser, who has a classical background, but left the symphony to work extensively as a leader and sideman on numerous avant garde jazz dates. The songs are originals and improvisations, except for one miscredited standard, a loping, relatively straight ahead interpretation of Jimmy McHugh’s “Don’t Blame Me”. The duo’s musical journey takes them through a variety of influences from around the world, from the catchy Caribbean flavor of the boisterous, offbeat “Calypso Lite” to the wild “Pregnant Pauses” that has a bit of an Oriental air in spots and the humorous “Burst” with Rudd’s laugh-like mute work. But the obvious highlights are the two takes of the title track, in which both Rudd and Dresser are at their most expressive. Even those who normally shy away from experimental music will find these compelling performances to be very accessible.