Composer and percussionist Adam Rudolph has been hailed as a pioneer in world music by the New York Times. His recordings blend contemporary improvisations with music of other cultures, notably Gnawa (Moroccan) music. He's collaborated with Don Cherry (on Gift of the Gnawa, which he also produced), Yusef Lateef, Jon Hassell, Sam Rivers, Pharoah Sanders, Hassan Hakmoun, L. Shankar, Fred Anderson, Wadada Leo Smith, Omar Sosa and others.
Recorded at Bill Laswell's studio, this new recording features Brahim Fribgane (oud, tarija); Graham Haynes (cornet, flugelhorn); Hamid Drake (drum set, frame drum); Kenny Wessel (guitars); Ned Rothenberg (shakuhachi, bass clarinet, bass flute, alto sax) Shanir Blumenkrantz (acoustic bass, sintir) and Steve Gorn (bansuri, clarinet, Pakistani oboe).
Conferring a label on a record like Dream Garden is difficult, so let's say it's world jazz of the highest caliber. Hand percussionist Adam Rudolph has been leading a group called Moving Pictures for more than 15 years, and the latest incarnation features some impressive musicians: Graham Haynes on cornet and flugelhorn, Ned Rothenberg on reeds, Kenny Wessel on guitar, Shanir Blumenkrantz on bass, Hamid Drake on drums, Brahim Fribgane on oud and percussion, and Steve Gorn on reeds and bansuri flutes. Their music incorporates the sounds of so many lands - Morocco, India, Egypt, Cuba, Chicago - that it's difficult to know where to begin. The percussive foundation created mostly by Rudolph and Drake sets a solid foundation for each tune, and other sounds arise - the mournful, hollow tones of the bansuri; the soft plucking of the oud; Hayne's languorous cornet. Middle Eastern tonalities pervade Twilight Lake; Caribbean flavors spice up Happiness Road; and a 15/8 African rhythm propels the funky;Walking the Curve; And in the middle of all this, the influence of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew; is clearly felt in the energetic groove stew of Helix. --Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe, Feb 5, 2008
Growing up on Chicago's south side in the 1960s, percussionist Adam Rudolph was exposed to all sorts of great stuff: blues (Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters), jazz (Art Ensemble, AACM), classical music (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). But what he really latched on to was so-called world music: on his records and in his playing, Rudolph draws from the sounds of Bali, Cuba, Ghana, Haiti, India, Morocco and, one would assume, other countries I haven t been to. And the resulting music is a fascinating blend of here and there, as exhibited on Rudolph s latest disc, Dream Garden.
The here, in particular, contains a compelling concept: in assembling the group for this record, Rudolph pulled players from the downtown scene (saxophonist Ned Rothenberg, bassist Shanir Blumenkrantz, cornetist Graham Haynes), world scene (flautist Steve Gorn, percussionist and oudist Brahim Fribgane), Ornette Coleman scene (guitarist Ken Wessel played with Ornette for more than 12 years), and Chicago scene (drummer Hamid Drake) in order to realize the music on Dream Garden. And it s this synthesis of different sound mentalities that has made for such an interesting notch in Rudolph s discography. On said record, the new avant garde takes a trip around the world.
On A Vision of Pure Delight, Blumenkrantz and Wessel introduce us to what is mostly a two chord vamp beneath Gorn s flute work, Rothenberg s bass clarinet and Haynes beautiful cornet soloing (Haynes is the son of legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, if you were wondering). Helix begins atop a truly nasty, ostinato bass line, leading us to a thoughtful, spacious solo from Wessel that straddles the line between in and out. Twilight Lake is a vehicle for Fribgane's outstanding oud ruminations. --Brad Farberman, Jambands.com, Jan 25, 2008
They used to say that everyone who bought the first Velvet Underground record must have started a band. In time, we may come to realize that every jazz musician who moved into the area of World Music first caught the bug from Don Cherry s Mu, Brown Rice, or any of the other number of globally-minded records Cherry issued after he moved away from the post-bop free jazz of the Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler quartets.
With his group Moving Pictures, percussionist Adam Rudolph (a Cherry alum) brings together several internationally-aware musicians to extend the tradition pioneered by Cherry. You would think Rudolph were a cornet or flute player himself, considering the generous space his compositions offer to Graham Haynes and Ned Rothenberg. From track to track, the horns ride on top of the steady, dipping rhythms of Brahim Frigbane s oud ( Walking the Curve ) or the assaultive polyrhythms originating from Hamid Drake s trap set ( Oshogbo ). Guitarist Kenny Wessel takes his place next to Haynes and Rothenberg, chopping along with the forward-driving momentum of Shanir Blumenkranz bass ( Cousin of the Moon ) or supplying a repeated lick to support a Haynes solo ( A Vision of Pure Delight ).
The music on Dream Garden does not, however, entirely derive from the music of Don Cherry, whose work had an ethereal quality while, at the same time, generating the feeling that the instruments in play were strange and exotic and hands-on. By now, the instrumentation Rudolph employs isn t that unfamiliar and the recording process tends to smooth out the rough edges. But Rudolph listens to his own muse; she speaks with several different accents in a variety of languages and Rudolph doesn t need a translator. --Jeff Stockton, All About Jazz, Feb 6, 2008