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Paul Rutherford

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An experimental, unpredictable player who also has a good sense of humor, trombonist Paul Rutherford's worked in many seminal free bands beginning in the '60s. He started on saxophone in the mid-'50s, then switched to trombone and played that instrument in Royal Air Force bands from 1958 to 1963. He met John Stevens and Trevor Watts in the RAF, and they co-formed the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in 1965. Rutherford studied days at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and played free sessions at night during the mid- and late '60s. He began working regularly with Mike Westbrook in 1967, and formed his own group, Iskra 1903, with Derek Bailey and Barry Guy in the early '70s. Rutherford also played with the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Globe Unity Orchestra, and Tony Oxley septet, as well as with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens. He began developing an unusual trombone language in the mid-'70s, mixing electronics, vocal effects, traditional jazz devices, and intriguing sounds and voicings. Rutherford issued some compelling solo sessions in the '70s, then formed a new edition of Iskra 1903 with Guy and Phil Wachsmann in the '80s. He also continued working with the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, played in the Free Jazz Quartet, and recorded duos with George Haslam.

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Birth Name:

Paul William Rutherford


29 February 1940 in Greenwich, London, England

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s