Trombonist Roswell Rudd's Flexible Flyer was an against-the-grain gem when it was first issued on Arista-Freedom in the late '70s. At a time when AACM and BAG artists were writing the new chapter in jazz history, Rudd moved as far away as he could from the '60s new thing that initially brought him international recognition. Collaborating with vocalist Sheila Jordan and pianist Hod O'Brien, Rudd developed a winsome repertoire based on his own loosely swinging originals, choice covers ("Maiden Voyage" and "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"), and O'Brien's memorable, wistful "Waltzing in the Sagebrush."
The finesse-oriented team of bassist Arild Anderson and drummer Barry Altschul was well attuned to Rudd's delicate balance of joyous swing and introspective lyricism. The result is an album that has just not stood up well over the years, but has gained gravity with the passage of time.