There were posts on the BBC Radio 3 Jazz board about the death of Paul Rutherford. And elsewhere... another great musician gone (Art Davis dying last week - and the folk singer Tommy Makem).I saw Paul Rutherford a few weeks ago at the Freedom of the City festival (review here) and he blew up a storm in company with Marcio Mattos and Veryan Weston. Complete with clenched fist salute at the end of the set - Rutherford was a man with a deep attachment to Communism. It struck me as quaint at the time... thinking back on it now, more a sadness for lost utopias. Here was someone who held to his road, no matter what. And apparently never received much financial reward for his revelatory, inspiring experimental work on his instrument. What came across at that gig was how deeply rooted he was in the tradition, oddly enough... I'm trying to sort out a proper tribute later, as I have a recording of the gig as part of a larger file. For now, here he is with the cream of the crop on the Tony Oxley session 'Four Compositions for Sextet' playing 'Amass.' Opening on Evan Parker's tally-hooing call to action soon joined by Bailey and Rutherford et al. Rutherford comes through strongly about 4 minutes in but makes a strong contribution throughout to one of the definitive albums of the Brit avant-garde. Bliss was it in that dawn etc...
Here's Rutherford offering his own philosophy on music:
'If I didn’t like the music, I wouldn’t play it—simple as that. All the music I was involved with I enjoyed. Music was basically the goal.'
The interview with Clifford Allen in 'All that Jazz' that this extract is taken from is both a fascinating insight into the birth of the free improvising scene in the U.K. in the sixties and Rutherford's contribution to it - and a terribly sad description of what it cost him to follow his art for very little reward. One of the world's premier visionary musicians - stuck on a pension in the U.K. and rarely getting gigs...
Tony Oxley (d) Kenny Wheeler (t) Evan Parker (ts) Paul Rutherford (tr) Derek Bailey (g) Jeff Clyne (b)