PAUL RUTHERFORD trombone [1 - 4], euphonium 
PAUL ROGERS double bass
NIGEL MORRIS drum set
1 - GHEIM 1 - 34:27
2 - GHEIM 2 - 15:03
3 - BRANDAK - 10:19
4 - CRONTAK - 8:50
5 - PRINDALF - 6:49
1 - 2 originally issued in 1986 as Ogun cassette OGC531
3 - 5 previously unissued
Caution is a word that Paul Rutherford does not seem to know. His free playing is projected naturally, it is arhythmically designed and it traces a melodically logical root despite being athematic in the traditional sense. Rutherford can be a natural master of extemporisation and he can join horn with vocal tube to create a unique vocabulary of voice and trombone accents. In so doing, he offers a bucolic and unaffected look at free playing.
All of this overlooks his sense of humour. His often copied style embraces the flippant as easily as the profound. He shuns musical niceties, invites belly laughs and regards the trombone's natural flatulence as a purgation of pomposity. This recording shows his reliance on tradition as well as his amazingly empirical aspirations. He plays with the alacrity of a George Brunis and delivers his glissandi with the near alcoholic slur of an Honore Dutrey. Yet, he is one of the outstanding modernists of his day.
He is backed here by Paul Rogers' naggingly inventive bass and by Nigel Morris' urgent and verbose drum figures. Rogers offers new alternatives throughout this excellent concert work, while Morris moves out from the background to create tense, aggressively conceived patterns that lend shape to the whole performance. The whole is an exercise that does not pander to the hands-together-recognise-the-tune audience, but rather to a listener willing to enter into Rutherford's world of voracious exploration.
BARRY McRAE (1986)
Paul Rutherford's best known trio was Iskra 1903, which for most of its life included Philipp Wachsmann and Barry Guy. In the early 1980s, Rutherford also felt like playing in a more Free Jazz-type setting (albeit without any written material), and so concurrently formed the trio heard on this CD. In the year or so of its existence, this trio did a tour of East Germany as well as performing at the 1983 Bracknell Jazz Festival (near London). The whole of that concert performance of great honky European improvised music is heard here, and although the MC says there would be no encores, some studio recordings from a few months later have been added, including a final one in which Rutherford plays euphonium instead of trombone.
This was one of the earliest recordings to feature Paul Rogers, and it shows him to be a brilliant performer even at that early date. He has been living in France for the last decade. Equally brilliant is the drumming of Nigel Morris. He studied with Philly Joe Jones, Tony Kinsey and John Stevens, and is perhaps best known for playing in some of the successful Jazz-Rock groups in the 1970s and 1980s. He moved to California around 1990.
MARTIN DAVIDSON (2004)
"A continuous free set, recommended listening for ignorami who think the '60s avantgarde a sterile mutation. Rutherford, as you know, was one of the first modern sliphorn extroverts, sliding in and out of tune and tonality; bassist Paul Rogers mirrors his approach, playing hit-or-gliss with the tempered scale. Nigel Morris' constant drum chatter keeps the melodists from getting stuck in side alleys. The trio ping-pong, hammer at riffs, fall into a catchy melody or two, and ebb and flow along rhythmic channels Morris and Rogers set up. Nothing new about their approach, but it works well enough to confirm the timeless value of one or more classic jazz styles."
KEVIN WHITEHEAD - CADENCE 1988
"Rutherford has a classical technique, singing, raucous, pitched and inflected like a bluesman's voice, and is gifted with the ability to invest a completely free line with melodic logic and authority. The original set included the whole of a trio performance at the Bracknell Jazz Festival, caught in analogue but beautifully detailed. The opening piece weighs in at over half an hour, a long, steadily evolving idea from Rutherford that constantly hints at jazz models without a single discernible quote or allusion. This is free music that even the most phobic jazz purist can relate to.
The set is arguably most important for an early glimpse of bassist Rogers, with whom Rutherford went on to make the duo ROGUES in 1988. He's already possessed of a powerful technique, solid and percussive, full of trombone-like slides and jazzy figures but driven by an idiosyncratic logic that is still yielding impressive results. Morris is probably better known as a fusion drummer, but his unmetrical playing is equally effective and the kit has a full share in proceedings.
A few months after the summer gig the same trio was recorded in the studio. Three previously unissued tracks and a valuable glimpse on Prindalf of Rutherford's second-string euphonium work. It's unmistakably the same voice but with a solidity that sometimes overpowers the bassist, who cranks out a steadily unravelling obstinate in response. Rutherford's other great gift is a sense of humour. The trombone has obvious slapstick potential, but you'll come away from this smiling at the sheer joy of it, that delight in making beautiful, human, inhuman sounds that makes PR a national treasure."
BRIAN MORTON - JAZZ REVIEW 2004
"Rutherford is in top form as he leads bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Nigel Morris through a rather blustery sequence of improvisations. Alternatively, many jazz-fusion fans might be curiously surprised to hear Morris delving into the freer musical spectrum, given his notoriety with the '70s outfit Isotope. Here, the drummer stirs the pot with multihued cymbal swashes and dynamic timekeeping manoeuvres. And of course, Rogers lays down the rock-steady lines for Rutherford's fertile soloing endeavours and fiercely executed navigations."
GLENN ASTARITA - ALL ABOUT JAZZ 2004
"Rutherford employs the excellent and witty skills of bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Nigel Morris (perhaps best known for his work with the fusion group Isotope). The thirty-four minute GHEIM 1 is a sprawling, energetic piece of free jazz with bassist Rogers, in particular, impressing our ears with his frenetic details on both rhythm and melody. It would surprise many that the assertive young man heard on these recordings was making some of his earliest music. GHEIM 2 is a more ambitious piece with a modest beginning soon evolving into a churning, volatile mix that eventually soothes itself into a chilled, straight-ahead-like groove. How they get from one point to the next is a rather stunning development. It is a seamless, on-the-run, shift from one theme to another, a fascinating example of the best in free jazz.
The studio pieces have more of an outline to them than the live GHEIM. With order and direction better defining their roles, these three pieces still enjoy the dynamic rhythm work of Rogers and Morris. The bassist continues his feverish pace and stunning accuracy while Morris' light touch is equally busy though more hushed. It seems that atop these rich rhythmic textures, Rutherford has it easy. In reality, though, his warm delivery on the trombone is a marvel of simplicity and an ingenious element that greatly adds to the acceptance of this otherwise vigorous mix of sounds. Put together, the live and recorded sessions make GHEIM a tremendous and valuable jazz album.
While Rutherford and Rogers remain active in the world of jazz (both releasing several albums since this '83 date), drummer Nigel Morris' output looks to be spotty and varied between the realms of fusion and other non-jazz genres. From the magic presented here, it seems a shame that we don't know more about him."
GERMEIN LINARES - ALL ABOUT JAZZ 2005
"In 1983, Paul Rutherford was performing with a trio that was very different in style from the highly abstract Iskra 1903, the trombonist's main trio vehicle for a long time. This group, billed simply as the Paul Rutherford Trio, is busier, wilder, more energy driven and free jazz-oriented. Joining him are two players that were new to the free improve scene at the time. Bassist Paul Rogers was a young cat, although this recording doesn't let it show. He already displays an impressive musical vocabulary, especially in his arco playing. His pizzicato still features a strong jazz influence, something that works well with Nigel Morris' drumming. Best known for his tenure in the Canterbury-related jazz-rock group Isotope, Morris had been doing free improv work on the side, following John Stevens' workshops and playing with Keith Tippett, among others. This is a too rare surviving example of his freeform drumming. Talkative but surprisingly quiet, he sounds like a free jazz drummer (Rashied Ali comes to mind) who deliberately plays soft (but just as frantically) in order to listen to what goes on between the other players. Rutherford hardly ever had an off year and 1983 certainly wasn't one. This recording finds him stretching toward jazz licks without ever crossing that line, instead integrating his fragmented phrasing and amazing sounds to the free jazz pulse, all the while displaying bottomless creativity. The live set is more energetic and relentless (GHEIM 2 is particularly powerful), while the studio set is closer to the kind of European Free Improvisation you would expect from Rutherford, as he explores dynamics more extensively while Rogers relies more on the bow. Itıs a shame this trio didnıt carry on longer (and that Morris faded out)."
FRANÇOIS COUTURE - ALL-MUSIC GUIDE 2004
"This live session from the 1983 Bracknell Jazz Festival is a bit of an anomaly for Rutherford. Here, with bassist Paul Rogers (on one of his earliest recordings) and drummer Nigel Morris, the trombonist colours his penchant for garrulous free improvisation with the propulsive momentum of a free jazz outing. The setting captures Rutherford in particularly boisterous form, and he revels in letting loose with freely cascading lines full of leaps, smears, and grumbling blats. Even at this early stage, Rogers is a stalwart partner, though his tumbling bass lines don't quite have the focus of his more recent work. Even so, his energy is key to driving the trio with insistent vamps that spin off into darting solos. Morris is a rambunctious player, his drumming brimming with riotous vigor that goads the music along.
On the live set the trio hits with a forceful vitality. Rutherford's trombone jabs with power and grace, building peaks of mounting intensity. Rogers counters with a muscular force, displaying remarkable stamina across the extended pieces. If Morris' playing is a bit busy at times, it keeps the activity level high.
The reissue is extended with previously unissued material, adding three pieces recorded in a studio five months after the live gig. On these pieces, the playing is a bit more reserved and the closer miking gives the music a warmer, more intimate sound. Rutherford makes extensive use of mutes to change the timbre of his horn, bringing out a more vocal quality. Rogers and Morris respond in form, ratcheting back a bit and leaving a bit more space in the improvisations.
The final piece features Rutherford on euphonium, and he attacks the valve instrument with the same verve as his trombone playing, tossing off dive-bomb flurries. If all this becomes a bit exhausting after 75 minutes, it is still a valuable glimpse at an area of Rutherford's career that is not well documented, as well as an intriguing chronicle of Rogers in a formative state of his playing."
MICHAEL ROSENSTEIN - ONE FINAL NOTE 2004
"Though this music dates from 1983 it still sounds fresh and stimulating. In a tourbillon of interweaving fingerings, interscapular exhalations and pugnacious shuffling of accents and rhythms, Paul Rutherford's trombone leads the trio through organic explorations of advanced free idioms, his unique voice well distinguishable in the morphology of two live recordings augmented by three mordant improvisations recorded in a studio in the same year. While drummer Nigel Morris joins the context with sapient ruptures and slippery rhythmical extensions, one can't help noticing the early presence of Paul Rogers' great talent: his double bass radically extirpates any trace of submission to obviousness, jolting the combustibles in this lively rendezvous of twitchy freewheelers."
MASSIMO RICCI - TOUCHING EXTREMES 2004
"The whole of a trio performance at the Bracknell Jazz Festival, caught in analogue but beautifully detailed. The opening piece weighs in at over half an hour - a long, steadily evolving idea from Rutherford that constantly hints at jazz models without a single discernible quote or allusion. The set is arguably most important for an early glimpse of bassist Rogers, with whom Rutherford went on to make the duo ROGUES in 1988. He's already possessed of a powerful technique, solid and percussive, full of trombone-like slides and jazzy figures but driven by an idiosyncratic logic that is still yielding impressive results. Morris is probably better known as a fusion drummer, but his unmetrical playing is equally effective and the kit has a full share in proceedings.
A few months after the summer gig the same trio was recorded in the studio. Three previously unissued tracks and a valuable glimpse on Prindalf of Rutherford's second-string euphonium work. It's unmistakably the same voice but with a solidity that sometimes overpowers the bassist, who cranks out a steadily unravelling obstinate response. Rutherford's other great gift is a sense of humour. The trombone has obvious slapstick potential, but you'll come away from this smiling at the sheer joy he takes in making those beautiful, human, inhuman sounds."
RICHARD COOK and/or BRIAN MORTON - 'The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD' 2006
RAUL DA GAMA - JAZZDAGAMA 2014
JEPH JERMAN - THE SQUIDS EAR 2015
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