Roswell Rudd, Fay Victor, Lafayette Harris, Ken Filiano – Embrace (2017) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Roswell Rudd, Fay Victor, Lafayette Harris, Ken Filiano – Embrace (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:05:07 minutes | 582 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © RareNoiseRecords

The adventurous trombonist and composer Roswell Rudd made a decided shift in direction on his first RareNoise Records release as a leader by embracing jazz standards he has loved and played throughout his long and illustrious career. Accompanied by the brilliant pianist Lafayette Harris, upright bass virtuoso Ken Filiano and soulful vocal sensation Fay Victor, the 81 year old jazz master delivers with rare potency and poignancy on the aptly titled “Embrace”. This intimate, drum Less quartet session is brimming with conversational playing between all the participants, with Rudd and Victor partaking in some particularly interactive exchanges on jazz classics like Billy Strayhorn’s “Something to Live For”, Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, Thelonious Monk’s beautiful ballad “Pannonica”, the standard “Can’t We Be Friends” and the traditional “House of the Rising Sun”.

Arriving mere weeks before Roswell Rudd’s passing late last year, Embrace can’t help but take on a valedictory air. It may very well be the final gift left to us by one of jazz’s most singular personalities. Rudd’s goodbye comes not in the shape of a free-blowing fête, Dixieland throwback or Malian encounter, but through expansive interpretations of standards that stretch the fabric of what we often take for granted. “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” for example, ditches its dirge-like demeanor and adopts a party vibe, and “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You” opens with drunken warbling before settling into its swinging comfort zone. Each familiar favorite on the playlist proves both pliable and durable when filtered through this drummer-less quartet.

The art of inflection, the painting of broad expository strokes and a synergistic spirit are the greatest virtues of this music. Rudd’s stylishly coarse lyricism offers a slightly different perspective on classics like “Something to Live For,” while his horn’s 50 shades of bray enliven the most active of scenarios. Vocalist Fay Victor’s scat chops and self-assured flexibility lend themselves well to these settings, and mark her as a kindred spirit of Rudd’s. Pianist Lafayette Harris acts as foil and straight man with his classy chording, and bassist Ken Filiano’s mastery of pitch and time allows him to tighten and slacken the reins as he sees fit. Embrace is an album that reminds us that Roswell Rudd’s slide carried the entire sweep of jazz history in its movements. But it also affirms the very notion of this music as a form of collaborative high art.

01 – Something to Live For
02 – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
03 – Can’t We Be Friends
04 – I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
05 – Too Late Now
06 – House of the Rising Sun
07 – I Look in the Mirror
08 – Pannonica

Recorded & Mixed by Jamie Saft at Potterville International Studios, Catskills, NY.

Roswell Rudd – trombone
Fay Victor – vocals
Lafayette Harris – piano
Ken Filiano – double bass