Saturday, 11 August 2007

Memories of Paul Rutherford 1940-2007

For a while Paul taught at De Montfort University; one lunchtime he gave an impromptu solo trombone concert to students and a few of us who'd got to hear of the gig. In his Guardian obituary John Fordham describes his style as 'glancing, elusive' and that sums it up well- little snatches of melody coming at you from all angles, short passages of multiphonics. After 2 longish sets the applause was loud and sincere, then Paul said: I think I'll play a bit more. In the bar afterwards I asked him to name his favourite trombonist; he replied Honoré Dutrey (& and now I'll never know if he was putting me on.)

The last time I heard him was when Leicester Jazz House promoted Elton Dean's Newsense (ie the new edition of Ninesense) at the Y Theatre. There were problems; the BBC recorded the gig and had to drill a big hole in the outside wall to accommodate cables; the theatre decided to hang on to all of the BBC location fee which we had hoped to keep a slice of, and the piano tuner failed to turn up, which did not exactly please Keith Tippett- we finally got him there at half time. But all this was forgotten when in the second set the trombone section: Paul, Annie Whitehead and Roswell Rudd was let loose.

Paul was a proud man, well aware of how important a musician he was, and angry that he did not receive the recognition he deserved; he would point out that although Albert Mangelsdorff was credited with introducing multiphonics to trombone improvisation, he himself was there first. He was an unreconstructed Leninist, refusing to accept that his hero had any part in the degeneration of the 1917 revolution into tyranny.

Fordham reports that Paul's last job was as a doorman in a working men's club; shame on us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People should read this.