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DAVE DAVIES, host:

Trombonist Roswell Rudd started out in Dixieland in the 1950s, then got into another kind of collective improvising free jazz in the 1960s. Back then, he also played the music of modern jazz pianists Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk. Later, Rudd kept a low profile, setting the stage for a triumphant return in 1990s. On his new album, Rudd plays with his new band, Trombone Tribe, and sits in with some other groups as well. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has a review.

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WHITEHEAD: Roswell Rudd is a warm, enthusiastic guy, who enthuses mostly about the trombone, his fellow trombonists, and brass ensembles featuring trombone. So, Rudd's really in his element on his new album 'Trombone Tribe'. Half of it is by a sextet of the same name where he's reunited with an old colleague enjoying his own big comeback, bassist Henry Grimes. The Tribe's other trombonists are Steve Swell, an extrovert like his boss, and ex Frank Sinatra sidewoman Deborah Weisz, who is handy with a plunger fluegel.

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WHITEHEAD: The 'Trombone Tribe' channeling a Duke Ellington train song with Bob Stewart on tuba and Barry Alstchul on drums. On record, as live, the band gets a little shaggy around the edges, as irrepressible as its leader. The other half of Roswell Rudd's new album ropes in still more trombone players. He throws together a couple of numbers with five slip horn colleagues, including big band vets Eddie Bert and Sam Burtis, wild man Ray Anderson and open-for-anything younger colleagues, Josh Roseman and Wycliff Gordon.

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WHITEHEAD: Roswell Rudd's tune 'Astroslyde' inspired by the percussive role low brass plays in East European bands. On one number on the trombonist's new album, he sits in with Steve Bernstein's sextet, Sex Mob, to play the tune 'Twelve Bars' by Rudd hero Herbie Nichols. Bernstein plays slide trumpet here -a smaller, higher trombone.

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WHITEHEAD: Rudd also hit the road to meet with like-minded players. In New Orleans, he joins the four trombone unit Bonerama, and in Belgium, he rendezvous with a favorite West African sextet the Gangbe brass band of Benin. Rudd wrote them a short suite with echoes of his old boss Carla Bley, composer with her own brass band influences. As with the other groups Rudd saves some solo work for himself.

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WHITEHEAD: Roswell Rudd's album 'Trombone Tribe' is a grab-bag, skimming from a few different projects. But that all-over-the-globe quality is a strength. It helps explain Rudd's enthusiasm for so many kinds of brass music. To him it's all one big thing.

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DAVIES: Kevin Whitehead is a jazz columnist for emusic.com. He reviewed "Trombone Tribe" featuring Roswell Rudd, on the Sunnyside label. Coming up, a classic vampire story. John Powers reviews "Let the Right One In," now out on DVD. This is FRESH AIR.

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