The JHDB Roswell Rudd site launched on his birthday anniversary in November of 2018, and it will continue to grow as more material is acquired and processed. Riches old and new are exposed in this first annual update.


The gathering of video resources for this first annual update of the Rudd JHDB site emphasizes the magic of Roswell captured in hand-held location recordings from clubs, rehearsals and backstage. The duet with pianist Jesse Stacken was done on Roswell’s home turf in Kerhonkson NY, and the trio including Lafayette Harris and Ken Filiano at the Chelsea apartment that was his second home. Pennsylvania’s still-thriving Deer Head Inn was the setting for Roswell joining up with pianist / singer Bob Dorough and co. Among the delighted audience members is photographer and long-time friend Larry Fink. We also follow a latter-day lineup of the group Monksieland to New York’s Iridium Jazz Club—Don Byron (clarinet); Dave Douglas (trumpet); Rudd (trombone); Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass); and John Betsch (drums).

Audio Performances

Now Playing:

Play Bard College by Roswell Rudd with Thurman Barker
Play Solo from Barry Harris Live 2 by Roswell Rudd


Rudd and Shepp

One of the profound and enduring professional relationships of Roswell’s musical world was his bond with tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp. The two appeared on record together as early as 1961, then regularly through the second half of the 1960s. The interview with Shepp here (done for the JHDB in February 2018) gives critical insight into the value of Roswell’s musicality, and also the stories surrounding some of those early activities.

Through the video segments in this update, we join the Shepp-Rudd group (with Reggie Workman at the bass, Andrew Cyrille on drums, and pianist Dave Burrell) at New York’s Iridium. These very long clips also show Amiri Baraka coming by to read work with the band.

Two shorter video segments take us again to Kennedy Center: As an NEA Jazz Master, Shepp was honored in an April 4, 2016 concert. We eavesdrop on the rehearsal of “Hambone” and other Shepp favorites by an all-star frontline of Roswell, tenor saxophonist David Murray, Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

Rudd and Baker

Rudd and guitarist Duck Baker struck up a musical friendship in 1995, when Roswell’s Herbie Nichols expertise was solicited for Spinning Song Baker’s recording of Nichols’s music. By the 21st century, they were appearing in duo in a handful of clubs and concerts both on stage and in private homes. This 2002 performance from the defunct, cherished New York city venue Tonic showcases the rambling quality that they thrived on and strived for—letting their shared wide range of repertoire compel the performing route in dozens of different directions.

Rudd and Baker at Tonic

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Musicians Featured:
  • Duck Baker
  • Roswell Rudd