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Roswell Rudd's MALIcool

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Editors’ Notes

While it has become extremely fashionable for western musicians to collaborate with Malian masters, few of these collaborations have produced any genuinely surprising music. Most often such sessions see visiting western musicians, be they Damon Albarn or Ry Cooder, take a back seat to the virtuosity and rhythmic invention of their Malian cohorts; and while albums like Albarn’s Mali Music and Cooder’s Talking Timbuktu have much to recommend them, they often appear self indulgent in comparison to the unadulterated efforts of old Malian masters themselves. Rowell Rudd’s and Toumani Diabate’s unfortunately titled MALIcool is a refreshing exception to this rule. Rudd, a noted free jazz trombonist, has always had a penchant for transgressive experiments and MALIcool is a brilliantly conceived project that more than delivers on the extravagant promise of its underlying concept. Diabate’s always subtle finger-picking provides the bedrock rhythms for Rudd’s unhinged flights of fancy. The resulting work is a delightfully unclassifiable piece of inspired musical and cultural fusion. Fans of Rudd and Diabate will be equally delighted by the unexpected brilliance of this work.

Customer Reviews

The iTunes description is wrong. This is brilliant world jazz.

Absolutely gorgeous (listen for yourself). Here's a review lifted from Amxxxn... free jazz's greatest trombonist, Roswell Rudd, has created another masterpiece. His horn--wide-bore and fatly swaying blats--mixes magically with Toumani Diabate's kora, Lassana Diabate's balofon, and Basseko Kouyate's ngona to make a wonderland of strings, percussion, and resonant color. Sayon Sissoko's guitar and Henry Schroy's bass lend a structural foundation over which the marimbalike plunks dance and Rudd's horn pliably fills space with broad, full-blown clouds, an ideal, unexpected expander of all that's going on around the trombonist. Monk's "Jackie-ing" has a structure that Toumani's kora thrives in, with canyons where the strings make a phenomenal, rich showing. It's the more traditional stuff that has Rudd thriving, always with such sureness that he sounds as if he's played Malian music all his life. But still: you won't believe the adaptation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony's "Ode to Joy" as it forms the launch pad for the set-closing "Malijam." --Andrew Bartlett


Born: November 17, 1935 in Sharon, CT

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Bebop was probably the worst thing ever to happen to the trombone. While the blockish rhythms and rough-hewn sonorities of early jazz were tailor-made for -- and in part, defined by -- the infinitely flexible instrument, the technical requirements of modern jazz just about put it out of business. Over the years, a number of very fine players (J.J. Johnson and Frank Rosolino being, arguably, the foremost among them) managed to adapt the instrument to the exigencies of bop. In the process, however,...
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Roswell Rudd's MALIcool, Roswell Rudd
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