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Paul Rutherford: Chicago 2002

Though it is a single CD, British trombonist Paul Rutherford’s Chicago 2002 (Emanem) is something of a two-fer. Recorded at the Empty Bottle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music, the album is divided between Rutherford’s trailblazing solo music and a septet comprised of usual suspects (trombonist Jeb Bishop, tenor saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, bassist Kent Kessler and percussionist Kjell Nordeson) and a bona-fide wild card: soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill. “Bottling Up” exemplifies Rutherford’s unique ability to make challenging, trenchant materials flow effortlessly and his keen sense of pacing, which makes the half-hour trombone solo not merely a survivable proposition but a hugely enjoyable one. The three septet tracks are solid, despite a few moments of distracting exuberance. When Rutherford has a roadmap, which is the case with “Loliloquy,” a feature for the redoubtable, off-handedly plangent Coxhill, the music is compelling. The CD, however, only suggests the collaborative potential for Rutherford and Bishop, perhaps the most creative American trombonist to emerge in the past decade. A follow-up is indicated.

Originally Published