Roswell Rudd

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Roswell Rudd
Rudd in 2006
Rudd in 2006
Background information
Birth nameRoswell Hopkins Rudd Jr.
Born(1935-11-17)17 November 1935
Sharon, Connecticut, U.S.
Died21 December 2017(2017-12-21) (aged 82)
Kerhonkson, New York, U.S.
GenresAvant-garde jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Years active1957–2017
LabelsColumbia, Sunnyside, Universal, DIW, Verve

Roswell Hopkins Rudd Jr. (November 17, 1935 – December 21, 2017)[1] was an American jazz trombonist and composer.

Although skilled in a variety of genres of jazz (including Dixieland, which he performed while in college), and other genres of music, he was known primarily for his work in free and avant-garde jazz. Beginning in 1962 Rudd worked extensively with saxophonist Archie Shepp.[2]


Rudd was born in Sharon, Connecticut, United States.[1] He attended the Hotchkiss School and graduated from Yale University, where he played with Eli's Chosen Six, a dixieland band of students that Rudd joined in the mid-1950s. The sextet played the boisterous trad jazz style of the day, and recorded two albums, including one for Columbia Records. His collaborations with Shepp, Cecil Taylor, John Tchicai, and Steve Lacy grew out of the lessons learned while playing rags and stomps for drunken college kids in Connecticut.[3] Rudd later taught ethnomusicology at Bard College and the University of Maine.[4]

On and off, for a period of three decades, he assisted Alan Lomax with his world music song style (Cantometrics)[5] and Global Jukebox projects.[6]

In the 1960s, Rudd participated in free jazz recordings such as the New York Art Quartet; the soundtrack for the 1964 movie New York Eye and Ear Control; the album Communications by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra; and in collaborations with Don Cherry, Larry Coryell, Pharoah Sanders, and Gato Barbieri. Rudd had lifelong friendships with saxophonists Shepp and Lacy, and performed and recorded the music of Thelonious Monk with Lacy.[7]

Rudd and his producer and partner Verna Gillis went to Mali in 2000 and 2001. His album MALIcool (2001) is a cross-cultural collaboration with kora player Toumani Diabaté and other Malian musicians.[8]

In 2004, Rudd brought his Trombone Shout Band to perform at the 4th Festival au Désert in Essakane, Tombouctou Region, Mali. In 2005, he extended his reach further, recording an album with the Mongolian Buryat Band, a traditional music group of musicians from Mongolia and Buryatia, entitled Blue Mongol. He also conducted master classes and workshops both in the United States and around the world.[9]

Rudd died of prostate cancer on December 21, 2017, at home in Kerhonkson, New York.[1] His archives were donated to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.[10]

Awards and honors[edit]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

Recording date Album Label Year released Notes
1965-11 Roswell Rudd America Records 1971
1966-07 Everywhere Impulse! 1967 Also released as part of Mixed
1973-07 Numatik Swing Band JCOA 1973 Live with the Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1974-03 Flexible Flyer Freedom 1975 Live
1976-03 Blown Bone Philips / Emanem 1979
1976-05 Inside Job Freedom 1976 Live
1978-07 Sharing Dischi Della Quercia 1978 With Giorgio Gaslini
1979-03 The Definitive Roswell Rudd Horo 1979 Rudd plays all instruments
1982-05 Regeneration Soul Note 1983 With Steve Lacy, Misha Mengelberg, Kent Carter, Han Bennink
1996-11 The Unheard Herbie Nichols, Vol. 1 CIMP 1997
1996-11 The Unheard Herbie Nichols, Vol. 2 CIMP 1997
1999-06 Monk's Dream Verve 2000
1999-03 –
Broad Strokes Knitting Factory 2000
2000-01 Eventuality: The Charlie Kohlhase Quintet Plays the Music of Roswell Rudd Nada 2000
2000-09 Live in New York Verve 2001 Live with Archie Shepp
2001-01 Malicool Sunnyside 2002 With Toumani Diabaté
Roswell Rudd & Duck Baker: Live Dot Time 2021 Live with Duck Baker
2004-08 Airwalkers Clean Feed 2006 With Mark Dresser
2005-10 Blue Mongol Sunnyside 2005
El Espíritu Jíbaro Sunnyside 2007 With Yomo Toro
2008-06 Keep Your Heart Right Sunnyside 2008
2008? El Encuentro Mojito 2008 With David Oquendo
2009? Trombone Tribe Sunnyside 2009
2011? The Incredible Honk Sunnyside 2011
2013? Trombone for Lovers Sunnyside 2013
2014-07 Strength & Power RareNoiseRecords 2016
2016 August Love Song Red House 2016 With Heather Masse
2017? Embrace RareNoiseRecords 2017

As a member[edit]

Yale University Dixieland Band, Eli's Chosen Six

  • College Jazz: Dixieland (Columbia, 1957)
  • Ivy League Jazz (Golden Crest, 1957)

The New York Art Quartet

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Russonello, Giovanni (December 26, 2017). "Roswell Rudd, 82, Trombonist with a Wide-Open Approach, Is Dead". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Archie Shepp Discography,; accessed December 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Profile Archived 2007-06-22 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed December 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "Bard Press Release: JAZZ AT BARD PRESENTS THE ROSWELL RUDD QUARTET IN CONCERT ON SATURDAY, MARCH 22",, February 18, 2003; accessed December 22, 2017.
  5. ^ Alan Lomax, Roswell Rudd, and Victor Grauer. "Cantometrics: an approach to the anthropology of music", Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Extension Media Center, 1976.
  6. ^ "The Global Jukebox", Association for Cultural Equity; accessed December 22, 2017.
  7. ^ Peter Stone. "Roswell Rudd". Association for Cultural Equity; accessed December 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Kelefa Sanneh (February 18, 2004). "WORLD MUSIC REVIEW; When Cultures' Sounds Don't Match, but Echo", The New York Times; accessed December 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Mitteleuropean Jazz Academy Roswell Rudd Master Class Meran/o (I)", YouTube; accessed December 22, 2017.
  10. ^ "What's News". The New York City Jazz Record. No. 200. December 2018. p. 5.
  11. ^ Jazz Journalists Association, Jazz Awards -- 2003;, accessed December 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Jazz Journalists Association Eighth Annual Jazz Awards - Winners;, accessed December 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards 2005;, accessed December 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Profile,; accessed December 22, 2017.
  15. ^ JJA Jazz Awards: 2010 Winners,; accessed December 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Roswell Rudd's Trombone Tribe 75th Birthday Party, JazzCorner;, accessed December 22, 2017.

External links[edit]