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Four situations with the late, inventive tromobonist Rutherford, with electronics solo, in trio and in a quartet; remarkable and unusual improvisation from one of the greats.

Rutherford, Paul
Tetralogy 2CD

Rutherford, Paul: Tetralogy 2CD (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

"Paul Rutherford (1940-2007) was surely the most original and inventive (and enjoyable) trombonist of the last 40 years, and also one of the greatest exponents of free improvisation. It is therefore appropriate and desirable that recordings of his excellent music, like the four in this collection, are made available to the public.

The two sets on the first CD were recorded at the ACTUAL-81 festival in London organised by Anthony Wood. The solo set is unusual in that a considerable amount of electronics were used to enhance the trombone or euphonium. The additions include a voice-mike (with added tremolo), a bespoke box made by Ian Mackintosh, and probably standard items such as ring modulators and octave dividers. These were all controlled by the soloist, and used in various ways: to provide an apparently random counterpoint, to produce a varied response to the brass instrument and to distort and modify the sounds of the horn.

Rutherford’s voice has been an integral part of his playing ever since he independently started producing multi-phonics some 40 to 50 years ago – here the use of a voice-mike emphasises his voice more than usual. His interest in using electronics arose when working with his trio Iskra 1903 in which the other two (string) players always used them.

Three days later, Rutherford convened an improvising brass quartet with fellow trombonist George Lewis, Martin Mayes (French horn) and Melvyn Poore (tuba). They performed two pieces (the first is marked as two tracks). There are wonderful solo moments and duo interactions, but perhaps the highlights are the ensemble sections which are fine examples of spontaneous arrangements.

My original plan was to issue these two items on a single CD; but it occurred to me that any listener not otherwise familiar with Rutherford’s work would get a strange introduction, as these two are very different to anything else of his on record. So I thought that a second CD of his more typical work from the same period would be appropriate.

Riccardo Bergerone recently came up with the Pisa Jazz Festival solo tape, which presents Rutherford without any electronics. Even with just his trombone or euphonium (augmented by his voice) he comes up with a remarkable range of sounds, and unique lines involving wild leaps. The performance of two pieces (again, the first is marked as two tracks) is almost complete.

The final section is something by the working trio that Rutherford set up to contrast with his other trio (Iskra 1903). It features brilliant work by two (then) young musicians as well as the leader. He wanted me to issue this at the same time as the material they recorded the following year, but there wasn’t enough room on GHEIM – Emanem 4107. The format of this session is slightly different, in that each piece begins with a short solo. Rutherford uses his euphonium on his feature – it would appear that he also uses it on the first section of the ACTUAL-81 solo, and the last of the Pisa solo.

Thanks are due to Jean-Marc Foussat and Riccardo Bergerone for recording the music and making their recordings available, and, above all, to Paul Rutherford for making so much wonderful music."-Martin Davidson, from the liner notes

See all items in the EMANEM & psi category

Related Categories of Interest:

EMANEM & psi

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Electro-Acoustic Improv
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Free Improvisation
Quintet Recordings

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Product Information:

UPC: 5030243520220

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 5202
Squidco Product Code: 12212

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve 3 panels
CD 1 Tracks 1-3 analog concert recording made in London (ICA) by Jean-Marc Foussat on August 20, 1981. Tracks 4-6 analog concert recordings made in London (ICA) by Jean-Marc Foussat (& Riccardo Bergerone) on August 23, 1981. CD 2 Tracks 1-3 analog concert recording made in Pisa (Giardino Scotto open-air theatre) by Riccardo Bergerone no July 13, 1978. Tracks 4-6 analog studio recordings made in London on June 16, 1982.


Paul Rutherford-trombone, euphonium, electronics, voice, tambourine

George Lewis-trombone

Martin Mayes-French horn

Paul Rogers-double bass

Nigel Morris-drum set

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Track Listing:

CD 1:

1. Elesol A 18:00

2. Elesol B 8:21

3. Elesol C 6:49

4. Braqua 1A 23:47

5. Braqua 1B 6:42

6. Braqua 2 12:48

CD 2:

1. The Great Leaning 1A 11:30

2. The Great Leaning 1B 15:26

3. The Great Leaning 2 11:09

4. One First 1 8:14

5. One First 2 6:13

6. One First 3 11:49