What the critics are saying:
**** —Penguin Guide to Jazz on cd Eighth Edition
"Curiously, when timbre follows texture during these fully-rounded performances on Hoxha, Rutherford’s slide work and use of mutes at points takes on a gutbucket, traditional jazz coloration, not too distant from the solos of his older contemporary Free Jazzer Roswell Rudd. Trad Jazz was popular in the United Kingdom when Rutherford was coming up and while he, unlike Rudd, was likely never a recorded Dixielander, the fearless technique and casual joy of those older bonemen could influence anyone, even if by osmosis.
Harmonizing Rutherford’s sweeps, swoops and echoing timbres with Vandermark’s flutter-tongued tenor saxophone rumbles, backed by only bass and drums, also bring up memories of Rudd’s 1960s strategies with equally strong saxmen like John Tchicai and Archie Shepp. Müller’s string-scraping applications, sudden col lengo thrusts and spiccato patterning are the extreme opposite of the steady bassists Rudd worked with in these bands, however. As for van der Schyff, in this situation his thought process is focused more on Free Music than Free Jazz. He’d never be confused with Milford Graves or Beaver Harris. Just listen to the resonation of his cymbal lines, the snaps and rolls on his snares and toms, his slap on unlathed cymbal surface, and the all-encompassing rattles, nerve beats and sand dances he produces from his drum tops. Vandermark’s clarinet is another point of demarcation here, since his pinched and nasal trills and woody resonation serves as unmistakable counterpoint to the trombonist’s echoing purrs and low-pitched elongated slurs.
All this bravura technique surrounding it functions as the prelude and postlude to “Baragon”, Hoxha’s touch-over-21-minutes showpiece. The drummer’s rattles and raps plus the reedist’s high-pitched trilling give way to an ample demonstration of the mature Rutherford style as he slides around the slide brace, bell and mouthpiece, crying and shouting through the tube, slithering from harsh note mastication to full-fledged braying and blubbering. During the course of the tune Vandermark plays many roles, at one point creating a sibilant but flowing counter line, broken up with sudden squeaks and shattering tones, and at others – on tenor saxophone– creating a tongue-slapping ostinato. Plunger comments and back-of-the-throat squeals are the trombonist’s response as van der Schyff shifts to rock-like bounces and the bassist wraps things up with an inclusive bass thump. "
Jazzword February 13, 2006