JJ 07/93: Ray Anderson – Every One Of Us

Thirty years ago Graham Colombé acknowledged the trombonist's avant affiliations but found him exploring the plunger mute tradition. First published in Jazz Journal July 1993


In spite of the presence of former Ornette Coleman sidemen, only two tracks here give evidence of Anderson’s avant-garde associ­ations, whereas four of them find him exploring with brilliant suc­cess the great tradition of plunger mute playing. His vocalised work in Muddy And Willie recalls the ‘talking’ of Rex Stewart and sev­eral phrases on the opening track are reminiscent of Snub Mosley’s use of the plunger, but Anderson doesn’t simply recapture past glories, his influences are thoroughly absorbed into a highly expressive style with its own strong identity.

On three of the plunger tracks his playing is loosely blues-based but on Lady Day, a beautiful ballad by Wayne Shorter, his long notes and subtle tonal variations produce quite a different mood. For further variety there are a couple of vocals – the light-hearted Snoo Tune for his daughter, with some confident scatting, and Brother, in which Anderson’s voice is more than capable of handling the awkward tune and serious lyrics.

Kinda Garnerish and Dear Lord offer more experimental music but even on these tracks Ander­son’s shouting attack and use of glissandi owe more to the pre-bop trombonists than the J.J. John­son school. Nabatov plays well, and Haden and Blackwell play very well. If this was Ed Blackwell’s last session he was lucky to find himself contributing to music of such high quality.

(1) Funkalific; (2) Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?; (1) Kinda Garnerish; Muddy And Willie; (2) Snoo Tune (for Anabel); (1) Lady Day; Dear Lord (52.13)
(1) Ray Anderson (tb); Simon Nabatov (p); Charlie Haden (b); Ed Blackwell (d). NYC, June 1992. (2) same except Anderson (tb/v).
(Gramavision R 2 79471)