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Published: 2008/01/25
by Brad Farberman

Dream Garden – Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures

Justin Time 8537-2

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.

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