On paper last year's Blue Mongol (Sunnyside) seems like an awful mismatch: jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd performs with the Mongolian Buryat Band, whose sound is similar to that of Tuvan groups like Huun-Huur-Tu. But if any jazz musician can adapt to such a radically nonjazz context, it's Rudd. A former assistant to Alan Lomax, a onetime ethnomusicology student at Yale, and a master of both Dixieland and free jazz, he's consistently open to new ideas: for 2003's Malicool he collaborated with Malian kora player Toumani Diabate, finding common ground between Mali's Mande grooves and his own blustery, metallic tone and astonishing improvisations. On Blue Mongol his blubbery, multiphonic trombone duels with Battuvshin Baldantseren's throat singing, creating wonderfully tangled, splinter-toned lines. But more impressive is Rudd's ability to find his way through traditional Mongolian melodies; though harmonically complex and hypnotic, they're more like country songs than anything else, beautifully played on instruments like the horse-head fiddle, zither, and limbe (flute). Rudd's originals sound of a piece with them, excepting the silly "Buryat Boogie." This is the project's Chicago debut. a 7 and 9:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.