Yimba Rudo is the self-titled recording debut by a trio consisting of vibraphonist-percussionist Kevin Norton, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer-percussionist Jim Pugliese. “Yimba Rudo” (which means “Sing Love” in Zimbabwe’s Shona language) is an adventurous yet accessible avant-garde jazz group that displays the influence of African rhythms and World Music. During the thought-provoking set by the chamber jazz trio, Yimba Rudo explores seven originals by Norton, four from Pugliese and a pair by LaSpina. Each of the musicians has their opportunities to be in the lead in the democratic group.
Among the highlights are “Reconcile The Classical View” (which has a sly bass pattern behind the vibes solo), the percussive theme and variety of sounds of “Toronto,” the stormy interplay by bass and drums on “Moonstruck,” several introspective ballads (including “Winter Retreat,” a gloomy “The Faustian Bargain,” and “Tearing Down Walls”), and the catchy “Walking The Dogma.” Utilizing both improvised and worked-out ensembles, the trio thinks as one, following each other’s ideas spontaneously and creating their own style of music.
Each of the members of Yimba Rudo has a long and impressive resume. Kevin Norton has performed with everyone from Anthony Braxton to Milt Hinton including Fred Frith, Scott Robinson, John Zorn, Connie Crothers and Paul Dunmall. He founded the Barking Hoop label (which is releasing Yimba Rudo) in 1999.
James Pugliese has ranged from adventurous jazz and rock to experimental music in his career, appearing on over 90 CDs. He has performed with the New York City Ballet and in the New York Philharmonic Horizon Series, recorded the music of Edgar Varese and Charles Wuorinen when he was 18, and among his diverse associations have been John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Bobby Previte, John Cage, and Philip Glass.
Steve LaSpina has been an important bassist on the New York jazz scene for over three decades. Along the way he has worked with such greats as Benny Carter, Chet Baker, Marian McPartland, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, Stan Getz, Phil Woods, Jim Hall, Carmen McRae, Randy Brecker and countless others in the who’s who of jazz.
All three of the musicians have also worked and recorded as leaders. Now, as they combine their skills as Yimba Rudo, they are creating fresh new music that deserves a close listen.