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Portland Jazz Festival: A Celebration of ECM

Roswell Rudd

For over 40 years, exploratory trombonist Roswell Rudd (pictured) has forged a career-or perhaps more accurately, an artistic legacy-of left turns and marriages between tradition and brazen innovation. Long considered an avant-garde avatar, Rudd nonetheless continues to transcend that damnable tag by perpetually proving that ultimately, music is music and the tools are a means to a glorious end. From his cacophonous stints in Archie Shepp’s mid-’60s band and the New York Art Quartet to his fantastic, underrated solo albums; from his jazz operas “Blues for Planet Earth” and “Gold Rush” to MALIcool (a collaboration with traditional Malian musicians), Rudd’s tireless forays into the unknown have resulted in some truly stunning moments, and his current collaboration-at least in a live setting-with Badma-Khanda’s Mongolian Buryat Band did nothing to refute that history.

First, some background on Badma-Khanda and the Mongolian Buryat Band: Born into a Buryat family in Inner Mongolia, China in 1979-her grandparents defected from Communist Russia in the ’30s-Badma-Khanda grew up entrenched in the history of her ancestry (a Mongolian people numbering approximately 250,000 whose native lands are located north of the Russian-Mongolian border near Lake Baikal), learning its language and traditional folk songs. Now a superstar in Russia who is equally adept at belting catchy ethno-pop as well as interpreting the subtle nuances of ancient Buryat songs, Badma-Khanda performs all over the globe, enchanting those who’ve most likely never experienced the beauty of Buryatia.

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